Thursday, December 29, 2016

What's In Your Carry-On?

Check out this list of must-haves for their carry-on bag, compiled from some traveling friends. What do you carry in your bag?

1. Universal (All-in-One) Plug Adapter
An absolute must have with me...

2. Noise-Canceling Headphones
"Noise-canceling headphones were probably the best travel investment I have made," says pro photographer Erik Dresser, who logs tens of thousands of air miles each year for his work. Dresser notes that the headphones let him shut out the general din of the aircraft so he can relax more easily, permit him to sleep in flight without getting woken up by chatting passengers and crying babies, and signal to others that he is not up for socializing.

3. Portable Phone Charger
This is a must.

4. Car Charger
If you will be renting a car, bring a car charger/adapter. Recharging your stuff while driving helps combat the "not enough accessible outlets in the hotel" factor and allows you to use your device to map your route, play a podcast or distract your kids in the back seat without running down the battery.

5. Weatherproof Phone Case
In my informal gadget survey of friends who travel frequently, the one thing that few of them owned but many were thinking of getting was a weatherproof phone case. At home such cases often seem overly bulky, but when traveling they've found it more common to get caught out in bad weather.
"Ziploc bags work to protect the phone, but actually using the phone through a wet plastic bag is a mess," one noted.

6. Tablet
Bringing a tablet as well as a phone had always seemed like just too much stuff to me -- until newspaper and magazine apps started getting good. I used to leave home with more than five pounds of paper reading material, which I left behind for other potential readers in airplane seatback pockets, gate areas or hotel lobbies; now I download magazines and books to a tablet.

7. Kindle
For heavy vacation/travel reading, many hardcore readers swear by the Kindle because it's so easy to read outside in strong light. If you read a ton while traveling, and in all kinds of places, a branded Kindle e-reader is probably the way to go.
Admittedly, bringing a Kindle just for reading and a tablet for apps isn't ideal for light packers, but it helps that the Kindle is smaller and lighter than most tablets.

8. Solar Charger
For hardcore travelers who might spend long periods of time away from plugs of any kind -- such as backcountry hikers, climbers and campers -- solar chargers are a useful addition to a packing list. Sure, part of the point of heading into the backcountry is getting away from connectivity, but that doesn't mean that GPS devices, cameras or even smartphones are completely verboten.

9. Portable Hard Drive/Wireless Router
Okay, this puts us into the gadget weeds a bit, but for some folks a device like this can really help, allowing them to convert a wired connection into a secure wireless network to which they can connect multiple devices, as well as providing backup storage.
If the hotel has a wired internet access point, this can make a big difference when the Wi-Fi isn't cutting it and your whole traveling party is trying to get online, or if you really need to post that magazine article.

10. Sun/Insect Repellent Shirt
This isn't exactly a gadget, but clothing has become quite technical in nature and can provide more than just routine cover. Many companies make pants, socks and shirts that provide specific protection from both sun and insects, including measurable UV protection as well as EPA-certified insect repellent properties. Many are lightweight and breathable as well, making this a "tech" purchase perfectly suited to travel.

11. Smart Suitcase
We're in the early days of smart suitcases, but the idea is extremely compelling -- being able to check on your smartphone where your bag is, how heavy it is and whether it has been opened. Some smart suitcases even provide the ability to charge devices through a USB connection.

There are also simple tracking devices you can put into your luggage, so that might be another way to tap into this type of tech without going all in on an expensive bag. As this tech comes into its own, soon enough tracking our own bags might seem almost routine.

What's in yours?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to Everyone...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Will Your ID Work at Security?

According to Travel Weekly, TSA is already alerting travelers to upcoming ID requirements which will take effect in 2018.

These changes are part of The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005. There will be Minimum security-related requirements for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. The law establishes what data a state must require before issuing a license or card and what data they must subsequently store electronically. It also says what technology must be encoded in the IDs and what data must be printed on the IDs.

Right now, there are nine states that are NOT compliant. They are Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington. If those states don’t comply by January 22, 2018, travelers from those states will have to provide alternate ID when traveling. Accepted forms include passports, passport cards, trusted-traveler cards, and military IDs.

You can always check for more info on the TSA website.

I reported on this a while ago, but it's getting closer. After all, 2017 is just around the corner and that means 2018 is right behind it

Monday, December 19, 2016

Airport Parking...What Do You Do?

If you fly often or if you only fly occasionally, you still need somewhere to park your car. Right?

Check out what my trusted resource, Jenn at Airport Parking Helper, has to offer.

Christmas is less than two weeks away! If you're flying somewhere to celebrate with family or friends, you're probably getting pretty pumped.
In fact, you're likely so excited you've completely blocked out what awaits you at the airport. I'm talking crowded parking lots, long lines, busy terminals, stressed-out airline workers. ** Sorry if I sound like the Grinch! **
Luckily, Andie and I have put together a roundup of our favorite holiday air travel survival tips that are sure to help ease some of your stress.
Read it now or pin it for later, but don't wait too long. Trust me, you'll be happy you reviewed these jewels of info well before heading to the airport!
Have you made your holiday airport parking reservations yet? If not, be sure to start at our Top Travel Deals page where we've got coupons for:
·  $5 discount at off-site airport parking lots with free shuttle
·  15% off your deposit at a hotel with free parking and shuttle
Happy holidays and happy travels!

P.S. Do you have a friend or relative traveling soon who could benefit from our airport parking expertise and discounts? Please forward this email to them and accept our sincere thanks!
You can always sign up to receive their's worth checking out.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pack Your Drugs Safely

Many of us take prescription medications. So, what do you do when planning your next trip? Do you know how to pack them? Do you know what to do if you lose them?

First of all, think about packing your meds.

Do you know what restrictions apply in the country where you are going? It’s easy enough to check with the embassy to see if your meds could be on their restricted list.

It’s a good idea to leave your meds in their original containers and carry a copy of your prescription with you. It’s also a good idea to have a digital copy of your script. Back it up in the cloud to be safe.

Take enough with you for the whole trip, including a few extra.

Pack your meds in your carry on luggage.

Look up the generic name of your meds. All drugs are not sold under the same names.  You can check out the International Nonproprietary Name (INN) as this would help a pharmacist in another country.

If you need to purchase meds, do so at a legitimate pharmacy to avoid getting counterfeit drugs. And, if you do purchase some and end up with side effects, be sure to notify your physician about this.

Monday, December 12, 2016

What Should You Do? Travel Smart...

Before your trip: Sign up for TSA's PreCheck (, a trusted traveler program which has spread to more cities across the U.S. and is now available at more than 180 airports. You won’t have to remove your shoes or your laptop from its case.

Sign up for U.S. Customs Department's Global Entry program (see, another shortcut for frequent international travelers, especially as the federal government immigration and customs lines get longer.

Check in online: If you aren’t checking bags, this will save time at the airport. If you do check bags, it isn’t nearly as much help.

Before you leave home for the airport: Check your flight status. Most airlines will text you flight status updates if you sign up on their websites, and sites like and will do the same by text, on the web and through smartphone apps. It never hurts to check.

Pack your personal ID, etc.: Make sure you know exactly where your ID, boarding pass, credit cards, etc. are in your wallet, purse, or carryon bag. If you put them in the same place every time, you’ll know right where to look for them. You won’t be holding up the line when the TSA agent asks for your documents.

Put things away: Anything you won’t need at the airport, make sure it doesn’t get in the way of your important papers.

Check parking: If you know ahead of time where to park, which lots are closest to your gate, and where the shuttle stops, it will save time and worry once you get to the parking lot.
Is your bag heavy? Weigh it at home or at the scales at the airport. You might need to remove something before you check it. If you stuff your carryon bag too full, it may not fit in the overhead bin.

Once through security: Check the flight status boards again for departure updates and gate information.

Going abroad? Do you know the difference between Customs and Immigration? Customs agents are mostly concerned with what you have with you, whether you have fruit or vegetables from another country, contraband items, anything subject to tariffs, large amounts of cash and the like. Immigration officers, meanwhile, are concerned with your citizen status, the intended duration of your stay and what you will be doing during your visit. In short, customs officers are interested in your stuff; immigration officers are interested in you.

Do you know what happens to your luggage during connections? Check to see if your luggage will be booked through to your final destination. Ask if you need to collect it if you’re going through customs and immigration. You’ll need to know this if you need to have enough time to get it and check back in.

Make sure you have a pen handy. You will need to fill out your customs forms and it’s much easier and quicker to do this on the plane before you land.

Make sure you write down your purchases, especially large dollar ones. You can lump t-shirts and gifts together. But, that $400 purse needs to be listed separately.  Declare any alcohol or tobacco products over your duty-free allowance.

Customs and immigration can be a confusing process if you’re not familiar with it. Keep this in mind:
…Get off plane
…Go through immigration or passport control
…Go to baggage claim and get your bags
…Go through customs
…Check back in for your next flight if you are connecting

Remember…don’t joke around. Agents take their jobs seriously and this isn’t the time to act goofy.
You will see signs to avoid cell phone use. They mean it. So, if you need to contact the person picking you up…do it before you are in line. Then, silence your phone and put it away.

Remember...don’t pack any fruits, vegetables, produce, meat, cheese, plants, etc.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Few International Travel Tips for Beginners

While many readers are experienced in international travel, you may have friends who are traveling abroad for the first time. Here are a few important things to know before you or your friends take their first journey somewhere other than the US.

It’s a good idea to learn some basics about the country you’re traveling to. For instance, check out the currency rate before you go. Keep in mind, it can change over the months or year before your trip. If you understand what the rate is and how much the US Dollar is worth, it will save you from overspending. Figure out a quick conversion in your head. Don’t worry if it’s not exact. Just getting close will help.

Lean the basic numbers. Can you count to 10? If you use your fingers, be sure you know what the count is in other countries. Holding up your index finger may indicate you want one. At least, that’s what you meant. In some countries, it means two. Your thumb would indicate one.

Do you know how to say yes and no? Can you say please and thank you? You don’t need to be fluent in the language, but learning some basic words and phrases will help you out.

Is your passport up to date? Make sure it doesn’t expire too close to your trip, as there are countries where you need at least six months before it expires in order to travel there.

Do you know if you need a visa? Check out the State Department’s website,

If you have a connecting flight, do you know about that airport? Many large airports can seem confusing, especially if you are intimidated by the language. Check out where the gates are, what terminals you need, and where customs is located.

There are many more, but this is a start. I’ll cover different tips later.

Have fun…

Monday, December 5, 2016

Security Checks

Security at airports is a way of life for those of us who travel. If you don't travel often, security rules and regs may have changed since the last time you traveled. Security may also differ when leaving or when entering a country.

If you leave a certain area in an airport, you will most likely have to go through security again.

Be prepared. Keep your passport or travel documents handy. Know where they are so you don't have to fumble for them when you get in line.

Be ready to take off your jacket and shoes. Wearing easy-to-remove shoes makes your trip through security a whole lot quicker. People in line behind you will thank you.

If the metal detector beeped at your bracelet one will probably beep the next time. Maybe you should put it in your carry on bag until you are finished going through security.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Have You Done This?

Recently I read about some packing mistakes on several different blogs and websites. Travel expert Johnny Jet of listed many of these. I've complied a list from other readers and from other's experiences. Take a look...

Have you ever made any of these mistakes when packing?

Packing anything that you absolutely need in your checked luggage? How about valuables? Did you know the airlines lose a whopping 24 million bags each year? You'd be out of luck if your bag was lost and you need your prescription medication.

Packing liquids in your checked luggage, without them being in a plastic bag or well protected? Thinking that bottle of wine or rum will be good to travel wrapped in your dirty laundry isn't quite good enough. Neither is placing your big bottle of special shampoo among your underwear.

Forgetting to pack something you really need for the trip before you leave home? If you made a list, and paid attention to it, you wouldn't leave your passport or your glasses or your extra pair of contact lenses sitting at home.