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Stop Checking Your Bags And Start Living Free

Don’t Check your Luggage Airlines and airports are modern marvels which I’m amazed run as well as they do, but even well-oiled machines have their problems. Hundreds of airplanes, thousands of people traveling in different directions and each with bags of personal belongings, mistakes are bound to be made. There are too many moving parts […]

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Don’t Check your Luggage

Airlines and airports are modern marvels which I’m amazed run as well as they do, but even well-oiled machines have their problems. Hundreds of airplanes, thousands of people traveling in different directions and each with bags of personal belongings, mistakes are bound to be made. There are too many moving parts to trust a machine that big, that’s why I never check my luggage.

 

I hate checking my luggage when I fly and you should too. Checking a bag just complicates things and is essentially a waste of my precious time. I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of airline miles and the one thing I can definitively say is that checking luggage is bad news.  

I’m a professional traveler, one who lives out of a suitcase for weeks at a time and I never check my bag with the airlines. Checking luggage is another cost that these airlines tack on to an already hefty price tag. Checking bags cost extra money that I’d rather spend on my trip. Some airlines do offer free checked bags but restrictions usually apply, so its best practices to figure out your carrier’s baggage rules ahead of time.

 

Not only do most airlines charge you to check luggage, they regularly go lost and sometimes are even ransacked by airport employees. My mother had her digital camera stolen from a checked bag, granted she shouldn’t have checked her digital camera in the first place.  Theft and damaged bags is a serious problem that airlines and airports don’t seem to take seriously.

It’s no secret that airlines lose luggage and never give you a good excuse as to why. Many times they are just delayed because they missed a connecting flight, but any delay in not having your personal belongings can really ruin a trip.

 

Is there anything worse on a trip than the airline losing your luggage? How about checking your suitcase and when you get to your destination, something of value has gone missing? These scenarios can ruin a perfectly good vacation, so why put your fun in the hands of others? I’ve been burned by the airlines enough to learn my lesson and hopefully you can learn from my experiences too.

If you learn how to pack your carry on bag correctly and only bring the bare essentials, anyone can forgo checking of bags altogether. Now I understand that not every trip allows you to go checked bag free but to ease your travels I suggest you make an effort. Packing smart and planning ahead are your two keys to victory and a hassle-free experience.

 

I always tell people that if you can’t wear something multiple times during a trip then you probably don’t need to bring it. Of course, circumstances arise where you need to bring something special, in these cases you can make sacrifices to make it all fit. I tend to pack one less of everything I think I need. If I’m packing two pairs of jeans, I’ll toss one last second and go with my gut.

Always remember that hotels have laundry and it’s easy to do a quick load or two mid-trip to essentially double your wardrobe. Resorts and higher-end hotels will even offer a laundry service so you don’t even have to break a sweat. I love staying at AirBnb’s where you can choose laundry as one of your search criteria, so you know you’ll have in-house laundry.

For some people packing light is a terrifying ordeal and you can’t imagine not having choices. Sounds like my wife, but once she planned ahead and packed smart, she was amazed at how convenient packing light truly is. Save yourself the hassle of having a bulky bag when you get to your destination and enjoy the freedom of packing light.

Time is the most valuable asset we all have and you only get so much, so save as much as possible by not checking a bag. Arriving at the airport hours in advance and waiting at the gate for an hour or so is a real drag and is seriously cutting into your pina colada time. Save yourself an hour on each end of your flight and get your vacation on.

 

Tips to Pack Smart

Russian Doll

Everything has a home when you are packing smart, so learn from the Russian Dolls that your grandmother probably had. Russian dolls perfectly fit inside each other to save space, think about this principle with packing. Socks balled up can fit inside your shoes; extra purses should be packed with underwear or other small garments. If you pack like this then you will be amazed at how little space you actually need.

Plastic Bags

Pack each individual article of clothing in a plastic bag that has a zip top enclosure and vacuum seal each bag by sucking excess air out.  This packing trick is an excellent way to make extra room in your luggage and also helps you organize your bag.

Make a List

I’m a list maker and a double checker, but these practices actually help with packing smart. I try and plan out my outfits by checking what the weather will be like and packing accordingly.

Layers

Layers are your best friend when packing light. Believe me when I say that three shirts and a windbreaker pack much easier than a bulky winter jacket. Each layer can be worn separately to create varied looks.

Pack smart, pack light and never check your luggage again.


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Moving To A Job For A 6 Or 12-Month Contract: Tips To Succeed

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Working full-time at a company for years simply is not for everyone. There are those people with great skills that prefer to work on a contract basis. This could be for a year or for 6 months depending on the need of the client. The best aspect of contract work is that hours over 40 per week can be charged at a high rate. This will help reduce the chances of being asked to work a long weekend as it will be very expensive for the company. The truth is that you are not obligated outside of your 40 hours per week to do anything else. Below are tips to help you succeed when you are constantly taking on new contracts in various parts of the country.

Remote Roles Are Superior

The truth is that as a contractor you likely will want to find a remote role. Relocation can come with a number of issues and a multitude of stress. The one variable to consider is that some contractors take jobs in new locations so they can explore the country. The number of remote roles is exploding as so many people are refusing to head back to the office. The pandemic showed companies and professionals that they could maintain productivity while working at home. The convenience led some professionals to vow to never return to a traditional work environment. 

Moving To A New City 

Moving to a new city for a contract can be a blast as you have a certain amount of time that you will be there. You will likely try to find a rental but purchasing furniture is not something that would be considered a good investment. Furniture rental is likely the best option if you do not want to have to deal with moving furniture across the country when you get another contract. You want to get the most out of living in your new city which likely does not include going shopping for furniture. Take the time to look into all of your options for lodging as well as what part of a city that you would like to live in. 

Be Realistic About Your Workload

Contractors can be taken advantage of by some companies as there is very little recourse for them. With this being said, there are contracts that will pay contractors through the entire contract even if they are terminated. You want to be paid on the same level as people that are just as productive as you. Being supremely productive might just lead to more work. You want to thrive in a new contract role without setting expectations far too high to sustain for the entire duration of the contract. 

The ability to get new contracts regularly that pay well provides ultimate convenience. The ability to take a few months off after a contract allows you to rejuvenate mentally. Use the tips above so you will never have an issue finding a new contract due to the great reputation you have built. 

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Don’t Break The Bank When You Travel

Check out these great money saving tips so you don’t go broke taking your next vacation. 

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There’s really no way around it: traveling is expensive. On top of the obvious charges like flights and hotels, there will always be the little daily expenses that you didn’t fully prepare for when you were preparing for your trip. But the last thing you want to do is just not think about it and throw money around like a madman. There are definitely still ways to save money while traveling. And here they are!

THE TUESDAY RULE

I have to admit, I didn’t even really know about this “rule” before I started writing this article. But, for the most part, the cheapest flights of the week are almost always on a Tuesday. So, if you can, try to schedule all your flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This can dramatically lower the cost of your vacation.

DON’T BOTHER WITH HOTELS

Thanks to rental services like Airbnb and VRBO the hotel industry has really taken a hit. And prices have gone way up because of it. So, no matter how bad we may feel about their declining business, they’re just not the best option anymore. You can find a great deal with all the service and amenities you need from one of the vacation rental sites. There are even a few sites that deal in “house-swapping” where you basically just stay in each other’s homes during simultaneous vacations and don’t have to pay a thing!

BOOK DIRECTLY THROUGH THE AIRLINE

Many of the flight booking sites like Expedia or Travelocity actually don’t offer as many options as are available to you if you book through the airline. There are other services like Google Flights and Skyscanner that find the cheapest flights being offered by the airlines, and then you can just contact the airline yourself and book those specific flights. It’s a little extra work, but it can end up saving you more money than you think.

A LITTLE SPONTANEITY NEVER HURT ANYONE

Sure, doing your homework and planning ahead can most certainly help you save money on a vacation. But sometimes there are last minute deals made available when airlines are just trying to fill out their flights. So if you have a favorite airline, sign up for the mailing list. This way you’ll know when they are offering really cheap flights. And if you’re in the mood to just get out town regardless of where you’re going, this is a really cheap and fun option.

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8 Reasons to Rent a Car for Your Next Vacation

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8 Reasons to Rent a Car for Your Next Vacation

Vacation is the time to relax and leave your normal day-to-day worries behind. The last thing you want is to stress out over your transportation.

Whether you’re traveling near or far, there are fine reasons to rent a car rather than drive your own vehicle or depend on public transit. Here are a few:

1. Save wear on your own car.

Depending on how far you travel, driving will add a lot of miles on your car. You might as well wear out someone else’s vehicle instead of your own.

Plus, if your own car is old or in bad condition, renting one could help you avoid potential road trouble. Rental cars are highly reliable because they are usually newer models and kept in top shape.

So no matter where you go, you can be fairly confident you won’t get stuck on the side of the road.

2. Save money.

If your car eats a lot of fuel, you might save a lot on gasoline by driving a rental. They’re typically fuel-efficient because they are newer models. And you might be surprised to learn you could save around 15% by booking a rental car at the last minute!

3. Travel safely.

Another reason to choose a rental car over other modes of transportation is safety. Think about it.

In a taxi, you’re relying on another driver. Aboard a train, bus, or subway line, you’re packed into a tight space with many other people. It’s better to be in control of the wheel.

If you drive your own car, and it’s older or already has issues, you run the risk of your car malfunctioning and causing an accident. Rentals are much more reliable because they’re well maintained.

That said, if you’re ever involved in a car crash, make sure to consult an experienced auto-accident attorney. He or she will help you file any insurance or legal claims and make sure you arrive at the best resolution.

4. Drive more comfortably.

Rental cars are kept squeaky clean, so they feel like brand-new vehicles. This will make your travel much more comfortable, compared to your own vehicle, which may be dirty– or at best, cluttered.

You can also choose a car to rent that you wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to drive. Maybe a nice Mercedes Benz or a new Audi.

This is a great way to test-drive nice cars to see what they feel like. And it’s way better than cramming into a subway car or a bus.

5. Show off your ride.

Rental cars not only feel nice on the inside; they also look good on the outside. This means you can drive in style and make a good impression wherever you go. Just be sure you always lock the doors and keep your valuables out of sight, so nobody is tempted to break in!

6. Keep a flexible schedule.

Renting a car means you can come and go as you please. No need to hail a taxi or wait on a bus; just drive when you feel like it.

If you have a full itinerary, it’s faster to get from place to place with a rented vehicle than by relying on public transportation. You’ll have more time for sightseeing and getting in all you want to.

7. Enjoy more privacy.

In a rental car, you can have your own space. You don’t need to worry about strangers listening in on your conversations or making you feel uncomfortable. Travel with privacy.

8. Carry your luggage more easily.

Finally, transferring your luggage between buses, trains, and subways can be a pain. When you have your own rental, you can keep your stuff in your trunk wherever you go. It’s much less hassle and requires less energy.

The Bottom line

When you plan your next vacation, think about getting a rental car. It should make the experience more enjoyable, and that’s what vacation is all about.

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