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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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Travel

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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Travel

Stocking Stuffers For Kids Who Love To Travel

If you’re a parent with kids who love to travel, here are some great stocking stuffer ideas to make sure your next vacation is a huge hit!

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Traveling as a family can be wonderful. It’s a great way to get closer as a family and create memories that will last a lifetime. But it’s always tricky with the kids! Sometimes it seems like you’re constantly walking on eggshells just waiting for one of them to decide they’re not having fun and promptly throw a loud and public tantrum.

So what better way to keep them calm and having fun than gifts! So this Christmas season, fill your kids stocking with some of the awesome travel-oriented gifts that will surely keep them happy for months to come!

FIREFLY FLASHLIGHT

First and foremost, this is just an adorable flashlight. It looks like a little firefly! So clever. But it’s also great for the camper kid in the family. Some kids just love sleeping under the stars or in a tent outdoors. So having a flashlight is key. And giving your child their very own flashlight is a cool way to make them feel important and independent.

RAINBOW WATERCOLORS MOVE ACTIVITY TRACKER WATCH

Just like with the flashlight, giving your child a watch is a great way to make them feel important, independent, and more like an adult than a child. Especially as it tracks steps taken, distance traveled, and sleep time. Just like mom and dad’s fit bits! Plus this watch just looks so cool. They’ll certainly love it.

GOPRO HERO

This may not feel like the best stocking stuffer for your children, but they’re so easy to use and can be really fun for your kids. It’s waterproof so it’s perfect for goofy fun at the pool, lake, or beach. And if your kid is into biking, skateboard, and the like, this is the perfect stocking stuffer as it can be easily attached to their helmet and help them make awesome compilations of their adventures.

They are a little expensive though. So this is definitely for the kid that has been really good this year.

COZYPHONES

It’s amazing that these awesome headphones aren’t a much bigger deal. They’re basically just adorable and cozy headbands that also have headphones in them! Brilliant idea right? They keep your child’s head cozy and warm, allow them to express themselves by wearing some wacky, and keeps them distracted and comfortable because they’re listening to their favorite music! It doesn’t get much better than that.

TRAVEL SPIROGRAPH

I don’t know about you, but I used to love spirographs! They’re so much fun and great time killer. So if you’ve got a long flight or road trip ahead of you and you’re worried about your kids not having fun, these are a great stocking stuffer. Also, as a creative release, it’s a great mental exercise and obviously a better use of their time than just watching that movie they’ve already seen a hundred times before on a tablet.

TRAVEL BINGO

This travel Bingo set is another great time-spender on long trips. It’s extremely simple but extremely fun. As you see any of the things pictured on the card, you flip down the marker. Then, once you have a straight line; BINGO! And just like with the travel spirograph, it forces your children to be more active and use their minds, which is always a huge plus.

 

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Travelers! Never Leave Home Without These 5 Essential Travel Items

Traveling can be extremely stressful and uncomfortable. These five items will help make your traveling experience an easy one.

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Everyone loves (and needs) a good vacation every now and again. Getting out of town and exploring new areas is good for the soul. But the actual traveling part can be extremely stressful and uncomfortable. A lot of people are so stressed out by it that they don’t even bother traveling at all. But, have no fear, help is here! Check out these five must-haves for any and all travelers.

 

SLIDER SANDALS

This may seem simple and not all that worth it, but they can make that terrible security check process so much easier. No more untying and retying your shoes. No panicking that you’re holding up the line as you do so. Just slip these bad boys on and off and you’ll be through that line in a breeze. Also, as long as your comfortable in your socks in front of strangers, going shoeless while you’re on the plane feels great!

PACKING CUBES

This one is for my fellow OCD types out there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lugging my suitcase around just thinking about how all that wonderful folding I had done was completely going to waste. But getting packing cubes like these completely changed my traveling experience for the better. You can keep everything organized and separated perfectly, while also maximizing your luggage space! Even the laziest and most unorganized of us can benefit from these beauties.

PASHMINA WRAP

This might not be as necessary for any of you that run hot, but it can be a lifesaver for those of us that can’t stand how cold airplanes get! I don’t know why those overhead vents have to blast cold air at us like they do, but I’ll tell you right now I do not like it. So having a light wrap like this that is easy to keep in your carry on can make the flight so much more comfortable.

SKIN MIST

Traveling is a messy business. How many times have you gotten off a plane and felt like your face had never been dirtier or greasier? I’d say it happens to me about, oh… every single time I’ve ever stepped on the plane. Having a skin mist like this one on hand to freshen up does wonders for your skin and your mood. Everyone deserves to stay fresh! Throw this baby in your bag and thank me later.

PORTABLE CHARGER

I think we’ve all been in the apocalyptic situation where I phone dies. It truly feels like the end of the world. How will I call or text people? How will I call a Lyft? How on Earth will I post an Instagram?! Well keep one of these little lifesavers with you and you will never have to experience that terrible fear again. If you get a good one, it can fully charge a dead iPhone up to five times. Trust me. You need one of these, like, yesterday.

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