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Top 6 Tips for Stress-Free Travel

Summer may be nothing but a distant memory due to these long winter months, but that’s exactly why we should be looking to get away and travel. Some travel mishaps can be avoided, some you can even plan around, however some are simply just a part of traveling. That said, there are a few important things to keep in mind, before and during your travels, so you want to plan your trip thoroughly. Make sure you pick the right luggage, purchase your essentials, and read these six tips to help ensure a smooth vacation.

Ways To Make Your Vacation Stress-Freetips for stress free travelRoyalty Free Photo

Make Photocopies of Important Documents

What happens when you get to the airport of your destination and you can’t find your passport, you can’t get back home and you can’t go forward? If you have a photocopy of your passport, along with extra photos, officials are more than likely to let you travel; you may need to take a trip to your country’s embassy within the country you’re visiting but other than that you’ll be able to travel. This will save you stress, money, and a ruined trip.

Pre-Plan Your Outfits

Don’t be a last minute packer; make sure you pre-plan your outfits. Otherwise you may end up with mismatched outfits that look horrible in holiday photos! By pre planning, you not only ensure that you look good, but you can make sure that the night before a flight you can relax as you have either already packed or you will know what you need to pack!

What To Pack In Your Carry-On

There are a few very important items that you should always pack in your carry-on. Make sure you pack electronics, such as your phone, laptop and chargers, medications, a toothbrush and a pair of extra underwear. Now, even if your hold luggage gets lost, you’ll have all the essentials with you until the rest of your luggage arrives.

Bring Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise cancelling headphones are the perfect investment when trying to drown out the loud crying baby, or the snoring guy next to you. Especially when you’re in for the long haul, you want to make sure take you can relax and have a stress free flight. The price tags on these bad boys may be hefty, but trust me they’ll be worth it.

Talk to the Locals

When visiting a foreign country, it’s always a good idea to learn the lingo, even if it is just a small amount. You also want to talk to the locals if you can, ask them to point you in the direction of the best restaurants, sights, cafés and shops. The locals will know all the best places that you’ll never find in your sightseeing guide!

Take Lots of Photos

Photos make the best souvenirs, so make sure you take plenty so you can reminisce on the great time you had on your travels. However, don’t get too caught up in getting the perfect picture that you forget to admire the amazing scenery you’re visiting.

 

Hopefully with these tips your travels will go a lot smoother and you will have a stress free vacation!

 

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8 Clever Ways to Make Travel Memories Last Forever

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

Many souvenirs start off as good ideas and end up collecting dust or being given away to someone who may appreciate them more. The point of a keepsake is for it to trigger wonderful memories of your travel adventures for years to come, and perhaps become something to pass down.

Unique Souvenir Ideas For Travel Memories

Make your travel memories last forever with these clever ways of collecting:

1 Collect Found Objects

unique souvenir ideas

Fill a time capsule, antique travel trunk or scrapbook with found objects you collect from every place you visit. The object doesn’t have to be a souvenir in the traditional sense or cost money. The most treasured objects have a mystery surrounding them and several stories to tell. The found objects could be small and random or have something in common, even though they originate from different places:

  • Pick up a stone from the ground from wherever you visit.
  • Collect a leaf or flower from an interesting plant that catches your eye.
  • Save bottle caps from local breweries in different cities, states and countries.
  • Bring home napkins with logos or copies of menus (with permission) from restaurants.
  • Collect quotes in a journal from random people you meet on the street.

When picking up found objects from nature, collect these in a sustainable way. Do not pick up feathers from birds of prey, which are also protected and an illegal action in many places. Don’t overharvest plants. Leave nature intact as you collect your memories.

2 Collect Stamps

Stamp collecting isn’t only a hobby to share with a grandparent, it also makes a wonderful international map and memento record of your wayfaring. Find interesting stamps in museums, philatelic libraries, and in regular postal offices and small shops that sell stamps. Imagine having a story to tell about purchasing the stamp for your collection and then artfully placing it in a keepsake notebook to pass down for generations!

Once retrieved, collectors would glue a stamp into an album, but now archival methods and tools have turned philately pursuits into an artform. Many beginning collectors focus on topicals (topics, such as horses or flowers) or forming a collection of stamps from the lands of their ancestors:

“A lot of travelers, especially stamp collectors, enhance their travel experience and travel memories by creating philatelic passports of their travels,” says John Apfelbaum, President & CEO of Apfelbaum, Inc.

“Using a small notebook, they purchase stamps at foreign post offices where they travel and ask the post office workers to cancel the stamps affixed in their little notebook. That way when they come home they have a memory of their trip along with an interesting local stamp and cancellation.”

3 Keep a Travel Journal

keeping a travel journal

There’s no way you could forget your latest trip, right? The mind works in amazing ways and memories have a way of blending together over the years. You will remember beautiful and strange details, while others will be foggy but still touching. Record those details now in a travel journal:

  • Write down the best moments.
  • Record snippets of overheard conversations.
  • Inscribe those found quotes from strangers.
  • Sketch those details.
  • Make a collage in the pages.

Your travel journal will need to be portable and doesn’t have to necessarily be in physical form. A journal you’re able to hold has a special quality that a digital one won’t, yet a travel blog is easy to take with you wherever you go as it doesn’t need to be packed and transported.

4 Make a Global Spice Rack

While on the road, collect the flavors of the world. What spice or spice mix is an area famous for? While in New Orleans, track down the best southeastern Creole flavor combination, for example.

Add each selection to your spice rack at home, or build a test tube spice rack that makes you feel like you’re cooking in a laboratory. Every time you make a dish, you’ll taste a travel memory.

5 Make Magnets from Travel Photos

SNS Instax SHARE SP-2

There are many ways to make travel photo magnets. You could use a service to produce them, such as Social Print Studio (uses your Instagram photos) or Fox Print. You can also instantly print out your photos with Fuji Instax SP-2 Printer and all you need to do is attach them to a magnet strip with a sticky surface. Turn any magnetic surface into a display board for your travel memorabilia magnets.

6 Build a Library of Area Authors

Build a global library of living authors from around the world. Attend book signings in the area you’re visiting, if any, and obtain a signed copy from the author. Peruse book shops and ask about local authors. Whether it’s science fiction, romance, poetry or a haunted destinations book, your library will be diverse and extra special when it reflects the places you have visited.

You will be able to say something personal about nearly every author, and if nothing else, talk about that time the bookstore owner of this quaint shop in Croatia pointed you toward the best wine you’ve ever tasted.

7 Make a Video

Think of it as a highlight reel of your favorite travel moments. Take a few minutes of video on your trip, and when you get home, condense your media files into a single video. Continue to add onto this video as you travel.

To ensure that it doesn’t get overwhelming, set a time limit for the footage you take and add on to your single video. You don’t have to download any complicated software to edit the video, if you don’t want, because Google Photos will edit for you.

8 Curate a Collection of Modern Art

The beauty of this idea is to target regional artist works from the area of your visit to collect. Ask a student artist sketching if he or she will make something quick for you for a generous tip or cup of coffee. Visit local galleries and support them by purchasing prints or original works.

Artists will often paint popular tourist spots but also create art around places that are personally special. Make your curated collection of art all the more unique by visiting the destinations that are depicted, whenever possible.

 

Make your memories transcend time with a little creativity. Focusing on collecting particular items or building upon how you display those souvenirs at home will ensure you don’t break your suitcase zipper by overstuffing with random knickknacks. When you collect, gather touchstones of experience, and the travel stories you share will be even more powerful.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


 

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Tips To Get Through Airport Security Quickly During The Holidays!

This Winter, Get Your Family Through Airport Security Quickly

Travelling with the family can be challenging, especially when you get to airport security. Following these tips from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will not only help bring the stress level down, but also get you through the checkpoint faster and easier.

Download CATSA’s App

CATSA mobile app

Go to CATSA’s website (catsa.gc.ca) and download their “Breeze through security” mobile app. In addition to wait times, you’ll find information on what you can and can’t bring through security and helpful tips about the screening process.

Remember The 100ml Rule

Put large containers of liquids, aerosols and gels in your checked baggage. Only amounts less than 100 ml, placed in a 1 L clear, re-sealable plastic bag, are permitted in your carry-on baggage. This includes beverages and non-solid food (e.g. yogurt, pudding and peanut butter). However, beverages and food for children under the age of two are exempt from these restrictions (e.g. breast milk, formula, juice and purees). Keep these items within reach as they need to be inspected separately.

Leave Gifts Unwrapped

How to take gifts through airport securityIf you’re bringing gifts, leave them unwrapped in case their contents may need to be inspected. Some airports have gift-wrapping services located past security during the holiday season.

How to Pack Your Electronics For Airport Security

Bringing your children’s electronic games is a good way to keep them busy at the airport. To save time leave small electronic devices like tablets, e-books, cameras and handheld video games in their cases or in your carry-on baggage for screening, then simply place the case or baggage in the bin. If you travel with large electronic items like laptops, DVD players, netbooks, notebooks or game consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, etc.) you need to remove them from your carry-on baggage and place them separately in a bin. Make sure there are no other items on top or underneath.

airport security tech gear pinwrapped gifts for airport security pin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose Easy-to-Remove Outerwear

Make sure the little ones can easily remove winter jackets, boots and hats. These items must be placed in bins for screening.

Look For the Family/Special Needs Lane

If you need help at the checkpoint, look for the Family/Special Needs lane. It features screening equipment that can accommodate larger items, like car seats and strollers, and screening officers who offer additional assistance.

Have Your Boarding Passes Ready

Remember to have all family members’ boarding passes ready for inspection.

Looking For More Information?

If you have more questions about the screening process,  you can find answers online at catsa.gc.ca, on the go with CATSA’s mobile app or on social media via Twitter or Pinterest). You can also watch short info videos, like the one below, on CATSA’s YouTube channel. Bon voyage!

 

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The Best Way To Save On Travel – Fare Comparison

If there’s something we’ve learned to do throughout all of our travels, it’s to find ways to save money when possible. With the abundance of costs to take into consideration, the price of a trip can add up quickly. There are meals to buy, and snacks if you are feeling hungry in between. There are accommodation costs and entrance fees to attractions. Then there is the transportation cost to and from a destination, as well as within. The amount of money you can spend on travel is endless but if you’re savvy enough, you can find some great ways to save. With extra money you can put it back in the bank or put it towards other aspects of the trip you may want to spend more on (we usually up our food game… but that’s just us)!

Since one of the biggest expenses of a trip is usually transportation to and from a destination, it’s no surprise we often focus our money saving energy here. What is the key to our travel savings for transportation? Comparing fares. Now it may sound like a no-brainer, something most people do anyway, but to actually find the best deals and maximize on the savings requires extensive time researching and calculating costs. You’ve got to price out each airline and option and figure out which offers the best deal with the best itinerary and you can spend hours doing so… or it can be as simple as knowing some very effective online tools and cutting the time and energy required to find great deals, drastically.

Creating Travel Memories Without The Huge Bills

Keep reading to find out how liligo.com wants to help you make the best travel memories by offering a chance to win one of 15 Insta360 cameras OR a Mavic Pro Drone!

luggage

For us, we absolutely love it when we find a fantastic fare comparison website and that’s why we got excited when we learned about liligo.com a travel comparison search engine AND app that offers features that are hugely helpful for finding the best prices when researching transportation. It is estimated that using comparison websites saves approximately $6.7 billion dollars for travelers every year and we’re not surprised. It is amazing how much difference you can find between airlines, itineraries and dates when you take a deeper look and using a website that consolidates all this information for you is priceless. You can spend the time you’d normally use to research, getting excited and preparing for the actual trip.

With 2017 right around the corner, it’s a perfect time for making travel plans for the New Year and it only makes sense you’ll want to find the right fit for your next trips. With our love of comparing prices, having all the options laid out is why we like liligo.com so much – it is unique and unlike other sites as it doesn’t only compare flights, it also compares buses, trains and car offers at the same time leaving you to choose which method is the best for you in price and style. Being able to see all possibilities allows you to focus on the travel memories you want to create rather than the planning process itself.

liligo.com Features To Know When Planning 2017 Travelnighttime airplane

Since the best way to save on travel and create amazing memories is using fare comparison to find the best options, we wanted to introduce you to liligo.comand show you some of the features that we love and think will greatly help in your effort to fit to your own budget and get the most out of your next trips!

Alternate Modes of Transportation To Compare

This is something incredibly unique and a feature we can’t get enough of. Since it is the only free travel comparison site that allows you to search and compare a whole host of travel options it makes it a great choice for those who are flexible enough to choose whichever mode – train, plane, bus or rental car – proves the best for cost and time.

In fact, much of our travels through the US could have greatly benefited from the comparisons found as often times a flight just doesn’t make sense in terms of budget or distance. Being able to compare it all is a huge help when deciding on how you are going to get from one destination to another.

Saving Money On Spontaneous Tripsspontaneous trips map

If you know us, you know we tend to be spontaneous with our travel plans and often play roulette when it comes to where we go next. It’s because of this that the “Where To Go” feature is hugely appealing. By using this section on the site, you are able to find the destinations that you can travel to, within the budget you desire for the dates you are looking to travel. It is a fantastic way to decide on a destination and can be a great way to create some interesting memories should you decide to have some fun with it – why not pick the first place you see, or the destination with the lowest fare, or even close your eyes and point? Even if you’re not into being quite so spontaneous, it’s still a great way to determine where to go for a trip!

The Android App

Having an app at the ready is always something we appreciate as we’re always on the go and this app makes it super easy to compare options no matter where we are. What we also really like is the added feature called “Sweet Spot” which helps you find the, well, sweet spot between the quickest and cheapest form of transportation. It really helps narrow down the options and find the ideal journey for you!

Putting It All Together

With all this talk about how to save money and how to find the best travel options, you’re probably ready to start checking it out and taking a look at all the features we just mentioned. We don’t blame you! It’s amazing how much the planning process of a trip can set the tone for the experience itself and having ways to cut down on the stress and hassle of it all is always great!

liligo.com Sweepstakes!liligo.com sweepstakes

Getting excited for travel in 2017? Not only can you find the best price and travel options for your trips they also want to help make those travel memories amazing by offering you a chance to win one of 15 Insta360 cameras or a Mavic Pro Drone! Definitely some must-have items for your 2017 travels!

The sweepstakes can be entered multiple times so be sure to start entering early!

The sweepstakes is open to all US residents and will close on December 26th, 5pm EST.

To participate, click here – good luck!!

 


Disclaimer: The sweepstakes is run through liligo.com and we are in no way responsible for the management of the sweepstakes, the selection of winners or prize distribution.

ALWAYS be sure to do your research whenever booking for travel – know the reputation of the airlines, hotels and companies you are travelling with/to and the booking agents and sites you use to book. Reviews are hugely helpful and can help navigate you towards reliable and trustworthy brands and companies. 


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10 Ways To Style Up Your Travel Outfit

By Dana Hughes

Travelling is always tiring and time consuming. Running through airports or train stations, checking maps and making sure we stop at gas stations for a refill, sucks up almost all our energy.  So we usually like to dress as comfortable as possible in order to reduce stress. But most of the time, comfortable means boring and it really doesn’t have to be like that when it comes to your outfits. Here is a list of 10 amazingly easy ways of jazzing up your travelling clothes.

Tips For Creating A Stylish Travel Wardrobe

1. Jewelry

jewelry for travel

One of the easiest ways to really bring to life a bland travelling outfit is jewelry. This means that you can basically wear whatever you want, even jeans and hoodies as long as you sport the right amount and type of bling. For example: are you wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a cardigan?

Then throw on a multilayered necklace that includes pearls, beads, chains and crosses. Embellish your wrists with heavy bracelets and nobody will even notice you’re wearing jeans. Or, are you wearing a simple cream colored top with pants? No problem. Gold is the answer. A big chain necklace will take you out of the boring zone and into the fun and luxury one.

2. Sunglasses

sunglasses for travel up style travel fashion

If you’re travelling by car, let’s say and you have a long drive ahead of you, you will definitely need sunglasses. But, as a trick of embellishing your outfit for that journey, leave your classic Ray Bans to rest at home this time and go for a big, dazzling pair instead. You cannot go wrong or unobserved with a pair of Lolita sunglasses from LoLoBu. They have a thick white frame which is why, if you pair them off with a red hot lip, the effect is guaranteed.

You can’t go wrong with a pair of round ones, the Harry Potter type, especially if you get them in a crazy neon color from, let’s say, Dior. But 2015’s star were definitely the cat eyes sunglasses. So rock a pair of golden ones, like Quay proudly introduced this year with a completely black outfit and a hat and watch as all eyes turn on you in the crowded airport.

3. High-heels

high heels for travel fashion

I know you’re going to wrinkle your nose at the idea of going on a trip in high heels, but hear me out first. High heeled shoes are empowering, luxurious and make a statement, especially when you’re travelling. They really say: “Wow, this girl is about to go on an eight hour flight to Rome wearing sky high heels. She must really have it together. Why can’t I do that?”

Watch as you become an example and an inspiration to women around you, because, indeed, attempting an eight hour flight in high heels is a feat of strengths and if you can do it, it must really mean you’re a strong, independent woman, who does have it all together.

4. Luggage

stylish luggage for travel

Another obvious point in order to style up your travelling ensemble is the luggage. Instead of carrying your stuff around in a plain, black bag, make sure to buy an interesting, colorful and stylish one. Go romantic, for example and buy a retro one, especially if you’re travelling light, or go diva with… Chanel.

5. Scarves

scarves and travel fashion

The accessory we all love and cherish is, probably, your best friend on a trip. It’s very versatile and can serve for many other purposes, not just to hang around your neck. Therefore, when travelling, don’t think only about the comfort and warmth a scarf comes with, but design and style as well. Therefore, instead of choosing a bland one, try a plaited blanket scarf, for example, a huge shawl-like one or, why not, a head scarf.

6. Maxi Dress

travel style maxi dress

The maxi dress or skirt may seem another odd choice for travelling. That’s because when we think about going on trips, we mainly think of pants, but, actually, maxi skirts and dresses are very comfortable. More comfortable that pants even, in hot weather. So, you can choose a simple, mono chrome maxi skirt, pair it off with a crop top and you have an amazing outfit for the airplane or train, no one else will have.

7. Casual Chic

casual chic travel fashion

Probably the most eye catching and, at the same time, most comfortable style you can adopt while travelling is the boyfriend style. Grab a pair of low-waist, baggy, tattered boyfriend jeans, a white tank top, a hoodie and a baseball cap and you’ve got yourself a head-turner outfit straight out of the hood fashion, as well as one you could probably climb a mountain in.

8. Stylish Boots

travel fashion stylish travel boots

Boots are another great way of combining stylish attires with being nice and comfortable while you travel those long miles. They are clearly the way to go, almost always. We don’t recommend you travel in, let’s say, sandals. Your toes will get dirty and crushed in no time through the airport or train station. However, with boots you run no risk of that and if you can find a dazzling pair, your success is guaranteed.

9. Oversized Sweaters

travel fashion and oversized sweaters

Oversized sweaters can save you a lot of trouble. They will keep you warm and you won’t need a supplementary piece of clothing, like a cardigan or a jacket. Just the sweater will do. The world has fallen back in love with them as they re-entered the trend this year. They are highly fashionable right now and the best part – you cannot go wrong with them, no matter what pattern or color you choose.

10. Hats

stylish hats for travel

And last, but not least, hats. Either you’re travelling during summer to some hot holiday location or in winter time to a snowy one, you will still require a hat. So why not make it a jazzy one and the main attraction of your outfit? If you’re feeling bold enough, you can try a funny one, with cat ears on it, for example, because they have been in trend this year.

 

So take these ten tips and go crazy and creative with them. The purpose here is to make travelling as pleasant as possible for you, and a well put together, sparkling outfit will certainly do that.

 


dana-hughesABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dana K. Hughes is a travel enthusiast and a photography student, who loves to plan unforgettable trips. She is also a dedicated writer, who loves long walks through unknown cities and spying on people’s outfits. Dana is currently doing an internship at http://serbags.com, where she writes original articles that inspire readers to showcase their individuality and bring out their personal style. You can also find her on Twitter.


 

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10 Tips For Travel To Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand. Tucked away in the mountain valleys of Thailand’s northern countryside. A place where tranquil views of rice paddy fields and waterfalls attract tourists looking for a peaceful retreat, and perhaps some meditation, from more hectic cities. After we decided to travel to Pai ourselves, we understand the appeal it has for tourists and expats in the country: lazy morning walks, motorbike rides through lush jungle and stunning landscapes, afternoon indulgences in good coffee and food and evenings spent browsing the nightly walking street.

What To Know When You Travel To Pai, Thailand

The desire to visit Pai while in Thailand has been steadily growing, but there are a few things to know before you venture all the way to this more secluded area. We’ve made our way on our own by scooter from Chiang Mai to Pai, we’ve scoured for the best accommodations to suit our needs, we’ve explored Pai and the surrounding area for things to do and we’ve dined at some amazing restaurants while there… and through all of it we’ve come away with some tips we think are important for anyone who wants to travel to Pai.

1. Choose Your Method of Transportation Wisely

drive to pai, road to pai, chiang mai to pai, how to get to pai, thailand mountain roads

The majority of people who visit this mountain valley town, head from Chiang Mai to Pai and there are several ways to do so. If you’re looking to visit Pai, you’ll want to take a look at your options and judge which makes the most sense to you.

The most popular method of transportation is by minibus or larger air-conditioned bus. The minibus is the quickest way to get there but with 762 turns to navigate, motion sickness is incredibly common and driving on a tight schedule, you’ll not be making many stops. Though it’s only around a 3 hour drive, we recommend taking this only if you’ve got a pretty strong stomach and need to get there in a hurry! At approximately 150-200 THB each way, it is also one of the cheaper options for getting yourself to Pai

If motion sickness is sure to be a problem, the air conditioned bus offers a bit less sway, though those 762 turns will still be felt. This method will take longer but will be more comfortable and will ring in a slightly cheaper tab at 100-150 THB. If you can afford to take more time to get there, we’d recommend this as it offers some more comforts.

If you’re looking for adventure, you can always rent a motorbike and drive the exhilarating route from Chiang Mai to Pai. Be forewarned: This is not a method to be taken lightly and should only be attempted by those who have experience riding motorbikes and who are comfortable with long drives on uneasy terrain. It is a route known to be prone to motorbike accidents as drivers take corners at unsafe speeds not anticipating the difficulty of the road.

Having said that, we drove from Chiang Mai to Pai and back again on motorbike and had one of the most amazing times! We took it at a comfortable pace, made sure to gas up when we could and kept hydrated. If this is something you’re looking to do, we have even more tips on getting from Chiang Mai to Pai by motorbike, including where we rented our motorbike. This method will also cost you about 200THB minimum per day but will give you the freedom to come and go as you please and eliminate having to pay for transportation once in Pai.

You can also rent a car to travel to Pai and make the ride more comfortable all around but it will increase your expenses, so price this out beforehand and explore your options!

The last main method of getting to Pai is by plane and it is also the most expensive. You’ll save time on the actual trip (only about 30 mins from Chiang Mai) but will add on time getting to and from the airport as well as time spent in the airports themselves.

Whichever method you choose, think wisely whether it is the right one for you. There are pros and cons to all options and as Pai is not the most easily accessible of places, you’ll want to be sure you’ve picked a method of transportation that offers you the safest and most comfortable option that fits within your budget.

2. Rent A Motorbike In Pai If You Didn’t Drive Up On One… But Don’t Learn There!

If riding a motorbike to Pai is not your idea of a good time, you’ll be getting to Pai with only your own two feet to get you around. For the most part, this is all you need, but if you have an urge to explore, you’ll need to either hop on a tour, hire someone to take you around or rent a motorbike once you get there. Bike rentals will be a little more expensive here than in the larger city of Chiang Mai, but they’ll still be decently priced. There are however, some key details to consider before, and while, renting a scooter in Pai.

  1. The same rule applies here as anywhere else when renting a bike: do a full check of the bike before hopping on, you may want to take photo and/or video documentation of any scratches or dents before you leave the rental place with images of it in the background
  2. Ensure you have insurance or are insured by the rental company, and
  3. Make sure you have a proper and fitted helmet

Most importantly, when talking about Pai, is do not use this opportunity to actually learn how to drive a motorbike. We can’t tell you how many patched and bandaged people we saw walking around Pai when we were there. It is a popular place for people to rent their first motorbike and the combination of new drivers, small streets, hilly terrain and many, many people can create a less-than-optimal place to ride, especially if you’ve never done so before.

3. Book Your Accommodations Strategically

While this mainly applies to those who are driving a scooter or car to Pai, or those who plan to rent a scooter once there, it is a good idea for anyone heading to Pai. Though there is a main stretch of road with accommodations throughout, there are also outlying hotels and hostels. If you’re planning on having a motorbike with you, you’ll want to make sure the place you book has parking available as it is not always simple or easy to park along the walking street overnight. Since you will have a bike, you are obviously able to make your way to and from the main areas and have a bit more room to negotiate where you’ll be staying. If you have a car, you’ll definitely need to find an accommodation in Pai that has the space available.

If you’re not looking to rent and are relying on your own two feet or hiring transportation once in Pai, you’ll probably want to make sure you are located somewhat centrally to the walking street or the activities you are looking to do once there. We’ve put together some of the best accommodations in Pai and have also reviewed one of our favourites, right on the walking street, Soi One Bedrooms.

4. Explore Outside The Main Strip

Pai Mountain View THailand

Though it’s tempting to keep things easy and stay within the main area of Pai, you’ll be missing out on a ton of beautiful scenery and great things to do.

Head out and visit Pai Canyon, drive through rice paddy fields and beautiful mountain landscapes, explore the various waterfalls nearby and find marked, and unmarked, viewpoints that will leave you speechless.

There are various things to do and see like the War Memorial Bridge on the outskirts of Pai, Wat Phra That Mae Yen – the temple on the mountain, Pai Piranha Fishing Park, The Chinese Village and yoga classes or retreats.

Pai can be as eventful or as relaxing as you make it but getting out of the main area and walking street will give you a wide range of things to do in Pai, no matter your purpose for your trip there!

5. Visit Mae Hong Son

This is one thing we didn’t get to do on our visit to Pai, but really wish we did. Heading even further north, you’ll reach Mae Hong Son and if all the talk in Thailand was true, it’s a beautiful area not to be missed. If you can add this stop to your trip, you might want to do so! Though growing in popularity, it is still less tourist-packed as many other areas in Thailand and offers some of that classic Northern Thailand scenery and tranquility.

Mae Hong Son also borders Myanmar, so depending on the current Thai tourism laws (please check these before you travel to Thailand) you may be able to do a border run if needed or use this as an entry way on to visit another country! It’s only 2-3 hours drive from Pai and you can drive your rental car or scooter or take a bus straight from Pai. If you do go, let us know what you think and show us photos – we’re anxious to get back to northern Thailand and find out for ourselves!

6. Visit The Walking Street More Than Oncegrandmas pancakes pai vendor on walking street

If you can, depending on how long you are there and what your itinerary entails, heading to the walking street more than once is a definite must. Now, you may get there and think that you’ve seen all you can see with one walk up and down it… but you’d be wrong. We found that we saw new things, paid attention to different vendors and watched new stands pop up each night we ventured out.

Taking another walk along the street also allows you to try new food vendors that you may not have had a chance to try previously – whether you were just too full from the other food you bought, or you missed seeing them altogether! In fact, it wasn’t until our second night strolling the walking street that we stopped and bought something from, what is now, our favourite Pai Walking Street vendor – Grandma’s Pancakes! We liked it so much, we went back the next day to try a different flavour (because you just can’t resist some Nutella on your pancakes!)

7. Meet People

Whether you’re sitting in a coffee shop, in a common area of your accommodations, dining at a restaurant or walking the walking street, be open to talking to others – you’ll find locals and tourists alike are extra friendly and open to meeting new people! Of course, you’ll want to take regular stranger-danger precautions like you would anywhere (be smart!) but you’ll also learn quickly that the people who live and visit Pai are by large a pretty friendly and talkative bunch.

We met some travellers in a coffee shop looking for help with WiFi who we passed by several times while in Pai and said ‘hello’. We met a couple on the walking street one night who gave some amazing restaurant recommendations and we met two backpackers at our hostel with whom we became fast friends and still stay in touch with!

Pai is really no different than anywhere else – if you put yourself out there, you’re bound to meet good people and make friends – but because of the close proximity to, well, everything and the small space most people are occupying, it’s easier to keep bumping into the same people and getting to know the familiar faces!

8. Find Time to Relax!

This is a place for relaxation, meditation, yoga, etc and even if you’re not into that it’s not a bad idea to take some time to live in the moment and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings. Chances are you’re visiting Pai from Chiang Mai or Bangkok, or are headed to one of the busier cities at some point. Though we love the activity of the large cities and can often be found in them, it is nice to take some time away from it all.

If you travel to Pai you’ll also get a good glimpse into life in the northern, and remote, areas of Thailand. That includes a more tranquil landscape and it’s nice to be able to tap into that and appreciate the beauty of the country.

9. Try The Coffee

Coffee Hill Rest on drive to pai

Northern Thailand does coffee good! So good, we’ve even listed 5 top cafes in Northern Thailand to find good coffee while you’re there. One of them just happens to be on the way to Pai, but even if you’re not navigating your own way there, there’s plenty of good coffee once you get there. We tried different cafes and coffees while in Pai and you’ll probably be hard pressed to find a bad cup of joe!

If you’re a coffee lover, this will be a paradise for you and if you’re not, there are plenty of fresh fruit juices and teas to satisfy whatever beverage craving you have!

10. Do Your Research Before You Take A Tour!

While walking the streets of Pai, you’ll probably see signs or be approached by someone for a tour to the outlying areas, particularly tours that include a visit to the “Longneck” people of the Karen Hill Tribe. Before you make a decision to go, we’d recommend doing some research into this industry. Much of the “tribe life” you’ll see, including the neck rings, are maintained for tourism reasons only and many people feel it is exploitation and harmful to the people of the tribe. Whatever you decide, it would be beneficial to look into the issue and decide whether it’s something you’re still interested in, and comfortable, doing or not.

 

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6 Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

To all of you “Future Mrs.”, a “Congratulations” is in order. So now that the man has popped his question and the bride-to-be is going forward with planning, there’s so much to do! Time is ticking until the knot is tied. A destination wedding might be something you have always thought of. However, there are a lot of things to be aware of.

Planning Your Destination Wedding

Here are 6 things you should consider to have the destination wedding of your dreams.

1. The Location

destination wedding on the beach

You can’t have a wedding without picking a location! If you’re thinking of having a destination wedding, then “destination” could mean a few things. It could mean you want your wedding to take place five hours away at your favorite beach. It could also mean you want to fly over seas to a nice resort. Either way, the best destinations to have your wedding aren’t right around the corner.

Because your location will be farther away, you need to keep in mind that when you’re planning you’ll be making calls to the venue rather than driving there to see it in person. Give yourself a few options and then narrow it down. Ask yourself questions like “How far do I want my guests to travel?” and “What did I fall in love with about this location?” to help you make the final decision. You can have the sand between your toes on a Hawaiian island or a giant castle in Europe as the “wow” factor for your romantic ceremony. Dream big! It’s all about picking the right location.

2. The Guest List

Think about how many people you want at your wedding. Destination weddings usually have a lower numbered guest list due to the travel. It can also get expensive for guests when they pay for their own travel and accommodations, which is the reason why less people will attend. Most weddings like this have just a small number of family and friends, which keeps it pretty intimate. This can give the wedding a more relaxed feel, meaning less stress for the bride!

3. The Travel Items

wedding on beach bride

You will need to break out your inner minimalist when it comes to what you bring to your wedding. Most destination weddings are celebrated over multiple days, and you know you’ll end up packing a bigger suitcase. It’s a good idea to skip the DIY wedding decorations and leave it up to the wedding venue to give your ceremony some glam. The mother of the bride can travel with the wedding dress to ensure the groom doesn’t sneak a peak. Did you want your dog to be the ring bearer? Then you’ll need to make sure the flight allows pets before your book your plane ticket. The little details will come together at the wedding, but you should definitely leave the big stuff at home.

4. The Budget

What are you expecting to pay for? No, you don’t have to pay for the travel and accommodations for your guests, but if it’s in the budget you can make that offer. Typically the bride and groom pay for venue, the décor, and the food and drinks. If your wedding is at a location your guests can drive to, consider the gas and toll expenses they will have to pay. Don’t let the budget overwhelm you, and stick with what’s important. This will make it easier on the planning side, where the time and money is at the minimum level. You can use budgeting tips to plan your wedding and definitely cut down some of the cost.

5. The Invitations and RSVPs

beach wedding

Inviting guests to a destination wedding is more complicated than sending out invitations to a wedding in your hometown. There’s a lot of invitation etiquette you might not have thought about. You will need to send out the “Save the Dates” early enough to allow your guests to schedule their travel arrangements. They are usually sent 6-8 months before the wedding. Flights typically cost more when they are booked closer to the date. Save your guests money by sending out invitations earlier.

The RSVPs give you confirmation on who will attend your wedding. Give your guests a strict reply date, so you have time to plan accordingly. The more details you announce on your save the dates, invitations, and RSVPs, the better understanding your guests will have. This part of planning a destination wedding is all about the timing.

6. The Weather

Always, always, always have a back up plan! You can plan the perfect wedding, with the perfect location, but if a tropical storm decides to blow through your big day, you’re going to wish you had a back up plan. Beaches aren’t so beautiful in the rain. When you plan your wedding with the venue, make sure you come up with an indoor plan. You can’t control the weather, and that’s okay! You can still have a gorgeous destination wedding, and they say rain on the wedding day means good luck!

Don’t let the stress and expenses of a destination wedding scare you away from having the wedding you’ve always wanted. Keep your plans organized, and keep your guests informed. If you want a wedding on the beach then go for it girl! Say “I Do” at the destination of your dreams.

                                                


 Kacey Mya Profile Picture                                           ABOUT THE AUTHOR                                                                  Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. You can find her on Twitter & Pinterest.


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Beginner Travel Hacks to Travel for Less

By Anne Slater-Brooks of Travel The Globe 4 Less

What if there was a way you could stay in top hotels for free? Or you could fly business class for less than economy? Would you be tempted to travel more?

Well rest assured, it really is possible to bag free hotel nights and fly in style for less than the price of an economy ticket. It’s called travel hacking and for those unfamiliar with the term, this is simply the art of using airline and hotel rewards programs to travel for less.

Travel Hacks To Get You Going

Whether you’ve never heard of travel hacking and want to get started pronto, or are looking for some tricks to add to your arsenal, here are my top tips for kick-starting, or growing, your travel-hack journey.

Hotel Loyalty Programs

hotel robe hyatt city of dreams

Make sure that every hotel night you book is rewarding you in some way by signing up to their rewards program. You have two choices, either join the individual hotel loyalty program (but then you will be restricted to hotels in that group) or opt for hotels.com, which allows you to earn rewards for every night booked, irrespective of the chain or hotel you stay at.

The latter offers more flexibility but means you may miss out on achieving tier status (levels reached that result in greater rewards) and thus better benefits. You do however, earn one free hotel night for every ten stayed. Other programs allocate a grade to each room type and this corresponds to the number of points required for a redemption.

The best thing about hotel reward programs is that rooms are entirely free. No taxes or fees to pay on top. All you have to do is collect enough points to book one or more free nights. It has been known for me to enjoy a trip to the Florida Keys almost entirely free (excluding flights from the UK of course!)

You can also double dip by taking out a branded hotel credit card, meaning that every hotel you book will not only count towards your ten free nights, but will earn you additional hotel rewards.

Get Cheeky

This is just a minor point in relation to existing points balances. You may occasionally find that a long forgotten balance you collected from some past hotel stay has expired. This is by no means a guarantee but I have had success by simply emailing them and politely asking them to reinstate the points.



This is less likely to be successful with airlines but often you can prevent miles expiring with them by simply buying something through their shopping portal or taking part in an online survey. For instance, to prevent my American Express miles expiring this week, I simply signed up to E-Rewards and completed a brief survey. I also bagged 100 points in the process!

Flight Reward Programs

westjet in the air

Most airlines offer a loyalty scheme but before you go filling in lots of forms to join them all, you need to think smart. Many airlines are members of an airline alliance meaning you only need to join one loyalty program within the alliance to earn points for all flights taken with any of the airline alliance members.

This is a much better approach as it allows you to build points balances quicker than building up minuscule balances in lots of programs only to see them expire if you don’t use them within a specific time period.

Miles collected can be redeemed for flights in any class but the downside is that usually taxes and fees are extra. If you are based in the US, you are lucky because your taxes can be incredibly low allowing you to redeem points for flights for little more than a Starbucks coffee!

If you are in places like the UK or Canada, the taxes and fees are a killer and for this reason, I don’t usually advocate using rewards to book flights in economy and instead prefer to go upmarket booking flights in business or first class and depending on the program, using these rewards for upgraded seats can even allow you to fly business for less than economy.

Get Credit From Your Credit Cards

Now this is where it gets super interesting! Once you are signed up for those all important airline reward programs, you can apply for a credit card allowing you to add to your balance significantly. American Express offers a variety of cards which allow you to convert membership rewards into points for many airlines, giving you great flexibility.

They also offer very attractive sign up bonuses with the AMEX Gold card paying tens of thousands of points after spending an initial minimum amount. The sign up bonuses tend to be really high if you are US or Canadian based, though they’re pretty significant for those in other areas of the world as well.

American Express may not be for everyone however and if not, branded cards providing rewards for specific airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Lufthansa are available in the UK . There’s a much longer list of available cards in the US (you lucky things!) so you can really target the card you sign up for to coincide with the airline reward program you joined, such as Southwest, Delta, and Jet Blue. In Canada, credit cards are often available with a travel rewards option and the points can be converted into the specific points used by each airline before a ticket purchase is made.

As an example, I have a British Airways American Express card and AVIOS points, but I also have a Lloyds Bank AVIOS Duo which includes a MasterCard for those occasions when AMEX isn’t acceptable.

Earn Top Cashback

top cashback logo

Top Cashback in the UK is a godsend. It allows for cashback to be converted into AVIOS with British Airways or Tesco Clubcard points (more on that next!). Substantial Cashback balances can soon be accumulated if you make a point of conducting all your online shopping by clicking through to the relevant store from Top Cashback. Not all stores are covered but there are hundreds which are. For instance, I book my trains, hotels, some flights, Christmas presents and more through the store.

Cashback earned can be cashed out for real money if you are in need of some holiday spending, or alternatively, you can convert them into miles with British Airways. You can also convert into Tesco Clubcard vouchers and then convert them to AVIOS (British Airways currency) earning 12,000 points instead of 5,000 if you send them directly to British Airways.

Top Cashback USA also allows you to earn Cashback on many hotel and airline bookings however this is cashback in the true sense of the word. It may help you out with spending money for your next trip, or even allow you to purchase a few extra air miles but there is currently no facility to convert them directly into airline or hotel reward points. On this one, us Brits really have the better deal! Although American based, Top Cashback USA is also open to residents of Canada or Mexico, though not all retailers will ship outside of the US. In addition, there are limited payout methods for residents outside North America.

Interestingly, Top Cashback is also available in India, Japan and China on dedicated sites for those countries.

Use your Tesco Clubcard Or Other Customer Rewards

For anyone unfamiliar with Tesco, it is one of the leading supermarkets in the UK and offers a loyalty card, known as Tesco Clubcard (similar to your CVV Reward card) whereby you earn points for shopping in store, at petrol stations and online. These can then be converted into either Virgin Flying Miles or British Airways AVIOS.

In Canada and the US, equivalent cards, such as Air Miles or Aeroplan miles, are also available to be collected at grocery stores, gas stations and various other retailers and can be used to purchase flights or hotel stays, or converted into equivalent points on an airline or hotel chains points program.

If you pay with your credit card you will also earn those reward points on top – double whammy indeed!

Shopping Portals

The sake and wine selection in your room at the Nobu Manila

Almost every airline and hotel brand seems to offer either a shopping portal or partner earning opportunities. Similar to Top Cashback, if you head to the hotel or airline website first, find the store you are interested in, click through and buy, you will earn additional points payable within six to eight weeks.

This is definitely one of my top ways to earn. Between Top Cashback, British Airways Gate 365 and the AVIOS store, I have thousands of stores covered and after credit cards, this is my most lucrative earning strategy.


Related Post: Learn some great road trip travel hacks!

road trip travel hacks


Sign Up For Updates From Travel Hacking Blogs

When I started travel hacking, I found the information on other blogs invaluable so I promise this isn’t just a pitch to encourage you to part with your email address. Signing up for updates keeps you advised of new offers and opportunities to earn more rewards.

My top picks are Head For Points in the UK, and any of the Boarding Area sites in the US. The Points Guy also has a section dedicated to Canadian credit cards among other general tips and guides for anyone looking to delve into travel hacking.

Use FlyerMiler

When it comes to redemptions I highly recommend checking out FlyerMiler which allows you to search for the best value reward flights for your chosen destination. You can filter your results by class of travel, redemption cost, airline and other options making it a quick way to establish the best value redemption options. You may even wish to use this system to research which airline alliance may be best for you as it would be shame to commit to one airline to discover they charge double for their redemptions of a similar airline you could jump into bed with.

There can be a huge difference between redemption prices of different airlines and some airlines regularly offer redemption sales. I’ve seen flights to Beijing from London with Lufthansa in business for as little as 70,000 whilst British airways would charge you around double this in points.

Start With These Top Travel Hacks 

So there you have it, some great ways to help you on your travel hacking journey. It does take time and research is needed to workout the best programs and strategies for you, but in the end the travel rewards will be worth it!


Anne Travel the globe 4 less profileABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne, of TravelTheGlobe4Less, works in financial services by day and moonlights as a travel blogger over on www.traveltheglobe4less.com by night. She has travelled to more than seventy countries on six continents and uses travel hacking to indulge in business class flights and luxury hotels. You can also find her on Twitter or Facebook.


 

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Staying in Shape While on the Road

By Dan Ramos

Staying in shape while you’re on the road can be difficult.  Whether you’re travelling for work or on vacation, the amenities and structure you’re used to at home are typically hard to come by.  Not to mention, the urge to indulge in local cuisines is a difficult battle for us foodies out there.  Despite the challenges, staying fit while travelling doesn’t have to be so hard, and I’m here to tell you it can actually be fun with the right mindset!

Tips For Staying Fit While Travelling

First and foremost, you have to plan ahead.  Knowing what kind of food you’ll be eating, how you’ll get that food, when you’ll be working out and how you’ll be working out are all critical things to think about when you’re travelling. Here are some tips and tricks to help stay in shape while on the road!

Pack Healthy Snacks

Being on the road typically means you’re schedule is a little out of whack, but that doesn’t mean your diet and workouts have to be.  Letting yourself get too hungry is a major reason we overeat and something we need to defend against.  Grabbing some healthy snacks is a perfect way to keep us full in between meals.  Things like peanuts, beef jerky, fruit, granola, tuna pouches and sliced vegetables are all great options.  If you’re going to be spending a lot of the time in the car I would recommend picking up a cheap Styrofoam cooler with some ice which will provide you with more options for the types of snacks you pick up.

hiking-lake-tahoe

Eat at Places That Post Nutritional Information

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been with people who have ordered a salad thinking they were being healthy, just to find out it had just as many calories as the cheeseburger.  Just because something seems healthy doesn’t always mean it is.  More and more restaurants are posting their nutritional information, taking the guessing game out of the calories and macronutrients you’re consuming.  If the place you’re eating at doesn’t supply nutritional information, feel free to modify your meal for healthier alternatives.  Salad instead of fries, dressing on the side, grilled instead of fried and holding the cheese and mayo wherever possible.

Stay at Places with Kitchenettes

Instead of eating out for every meal, why not stay at a place with a kitchenette?  Kitchenettes are great because you can cook your own healthy meals and know exactly what you’ll be consuming.  The one added benefit to renting a place with a kitchenette is you’ll actually save money.  Yes, they’re generally more expensive than regular hotel rooms, however that cost is offset by the amount of money you would save from eating out for every meal.




surfers-carlsbad

Cheat Meals Are Actually Okay

How can you travel to Japan and not want to try their sushi, or go to NYC and not want some thin crust pizza?  One of the perks about travelling is getting to try food for which the area is known for.  And I’m here to let you in on a little secret…. It’s okay to try this food!  But before you order that large pepperoni pie I should say there’s one little caveat.  Cheat meals are fine, but moderation is key.  This goes back to packing healthy snacks and not letting yourself become too hungry.  Eat slow and savor every bite as you should use healthy meals to keep you full and cheat meals to get a taste of the city.

sand-sledding-NM

Workout First Thing in the Morning

If you’re on the road it’s usually safe to assume you’re there for a reason and not to just sit in the hotel all day.  With that being said, you probably have an erratic schedule which could make it much harder to sneak in a workout later in the day.  For this reason, I highly recommend getting your workout done first thing in the morning.  That way it’s taken care of, you no longer have to worry about it and there aren’t any excuses you have to make as to why you didn’t work out… because you already did it!  If mornings just don’t work for you, schedule a time every day that you can commit to getting a workout in.  Having a routine to rely on is key when the rest of your schedule is up in the air. Simply put, make your workouts a priority.

Find the Workout that Works For You

Once again this goes back to the planning stage.  Know yourself and know what kind of workouts work best for you. Are you the type of person that always goes to classes?  If so, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll use the hotel gym. Research some local gyms that offer classes in the area or find a public workout on Meetup.com and go!

surfing-carlsbad-ca (1)

Get a Franchised Gym Membership

Larger franchise gyms like Golds, Planet Fitness, NY Sports Club and Anytime Fitness will typically give you access to all their gym locations once you become a member.  Going this route can save you a lot of money in the long run as you don’t have to pay every time you want to use a gym at a new location.  Not sure which gym to go with?  Almost all gyms today offer some kind of a free trial, pick one of those up and take it for a test run.

Portable Workouts

If gyms and classes really aren’t your thing, maybe you should try the at-home workout method.  There are a boatload of options in terms of equipment you could bring with you on the road, but personally there are two that I won’t leave home without –  a jump rope and resistance bands.  Being both extremely lightweight and portable, these two items will give you practically everything you could need for a full body workout.  Want to take the at home workouts to the next level?  Try out the TRX Pro.  It’s definitely more pricey than the jump rope and resistance bands but it offers a wider variety of workouts and increased difficulty as you’re now using your bodyweight for resistance.

snowboard-breckenridge

Plan Fun But Challenging Activities

Workouts don’t have to be limited to your hotel room or a gym.  Find some local activities that will get your blood flowing. Personally, I would recommend participating in activities that the area is well known for like snorkeling in the Bahamas or SUP (stand up paddleboard) in Lake Tahoe. No matter if it’s surfing, snowboarding, hiking, walking on the beach or rock climbing, these are all great ways to burn calories while having some fun.

 

 


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan is a former professional baseball player turned software engineer and world traveller.  Working 100% remote for startups to fortune 500 companies he’s able to maintain a nomadic lifestyle without sacrificing the security of a full time job.  To read more about his story checkout  http://danramdom.com/omc. You can also see more of his story and work on Twitter.

 


 

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Travel Hacks For Planning A Road Trip

Summertime is right at the doorstep – the time for cottages, camping and road trips. We love road trips, maybe more than the average couple. From sleeping in the car in Germany, or scooting from Chiang Mai to Pai in Thailand, no matter where we go we try to get a road trip or two in the itinerary… we’re almost always planning a road trip. We’ve been on so many it’s hard to keep track. There was our spontaneous road trip to New Brunswick for a long weekend and then there was the time we took our rental car from southern Spain to the northern city of Pamplona. With all this booting around in a car over the years, we’ve learned many road trip tips and want to share the knowledge we’ve gained. You can also head over to our tips for a long weekend road trip if you’re looking for some more tips for an even quicker trip!

11 Great Tips For Planning A Road Trip

car rental road trip in Germany

 

Here are some of our tips for things to bring as well as other travel hacks for planning a road trip to make it a cheaper, easier and less stressful trip!

1. Download Sit or Squat and Gas Buddy

These days it seems like hundreds of apps come out a day. We’ve found two that might be useful on the road trips you take this summer depending on where you’re travelling. If you’re the type of person who needs a clean washroom or else you won’t go, or at the very least just want to be prepared for what you’re getting yourself into, Sit or Squat is going to be your best friend. Sit or Squat allows users to add toilets anywhere and lets you know if you can “sit” (the washroom is clean) or “squat” (the washroom isn’t clean).

Gas Buddy is another useful app this time providing a list of the gas prices around you. By knowing your location, Gas Buddy is a key road trip travel hack that will save you money (even up to 20 cents per gallon) by showing the cheapest gas near you. Users can also collect points by submitting gas prices themselves.




2. Use a Car Charger Adapter That Will Even Charge Your Computer

BESTEK 200W Power Inverter 3 AC Outlets with 4.2A 4 USB Charging Ports

An inverter converts car battery power to household electricity so you can charge your electronics without a car charger. Bringing a power inverter is always a great idea and is probably the number one road trip hack that we follow, only because we bring our laptops with us everywhere we go. But it doesn’t stop at laptops, a travel power inverter can power almost anything, from camera batteries to powered coolers for your food and drink, there are a ton of useful items you can bring if you have something to power them up with.

No matter what inverter you decide to go with, make sure to choose the right voltage and wattage for your products. If you don’t pick the proper voltage for your electronics, you can cause big issues.

3. Portable Charger

Reeljuice 8000 mAh Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank with 4ft. Built-in Cable

Yes, we just told you how important an inverter is to have in the car to charge your electronics, but what about those times you are away from the car exploring? Or when you don’t have the car running? Or the car battery has died? For this reason, we never travel without a portable charger, no matter where we go or what our mode of transportation is. GPS on your cell phone and the ability to make emergency calls or look up information while on the road can be essential. Gone are the days when road maps and pay phones were found at the side of the road or at rest stops. Now, having functional electronic gear can be the difference between being lost for hours in unsafe conditions and enjoying a stress-free trip on four wheels.

Our portable charger of preference is ReelJuice 5X Portable Power Bank by Lynktec. Sturdy and reliable, it can charge your device 5 times – that’s enough power to last you for 2 days of charging! We also have cords aplenty to tangle when we travel so the retractable cord on this power bank is something we have appreciated on the go.  The other thing we love about taking this with us, especially on a road trip, is the ability to charge both the power bank AND our cell phone at the same time with the pass-through charging option so we don’t have to worry about waiting for one item to charge before we can charge the next. This power bank combined with an inverter means we’re set for all our electronic needs on the road!

Grab your own ReelJuice Portable Power Bank from Amazon!

 

4. Use Google Maps Offline

We use Google Maps everywhere we go, no matter where we go and no matter how we travel. Google Maps works in almost any country and is usually accurate while working offline. This makes it an amazingly handy tool to have bring on a road trip as it is basically the new age of a paper road map. As long as you’ve got a charge, you can open the app and navigate to your destination. The icon identifying where you are can be used as a compass of sorts and will even move with you as you go.

The other great feature we use constantly is the starred location feature. When you do have data, like when you are planning a road trip route at home or have stopped somewhere with WiFi, you can find a location or point of interest on the map and star it. That way, when you are offline again or, as was our case once in Thailand, in the middle of nowhere and without a signal, you can still see the star on the map and find your way there.

5. Need A Mattress? Try An Inflatable Pool Raft 

Sometimes on long road trips we like to take turns driving while the other one sleeps. At home (in Toronto) we have an SUV and by laying the back seat down we have a so called bed, you can lay down some blankets so it doesn’t feel so hard, but we like to take a pool raft to lay down to make it a bit more comfortable. An air mattress would probably do the trick as well, but a pool raft is quickly blown up, deflates to a smaller size, and can be re-purposed as, wait for it, an actual raft if your destination involves water. This may sound like a strange road trip tip but it can make all the difference!

6. Grab an Adapter That Plays Through Your Radio.

iClever Wireless FM Transmitter Radio Adapter Car Kit with 3.5mm Audio Plug and USB Car Charger, Black

Nothing makes a road trip great than a great road trip soundtrack. Creating that soundtrack from the constantly fading in and fading out radio stations as you drive however, is not so great. Instead, getting an adapter allows you to just download songs on your phone (or stream if you have data and a good connection) then plug and play. Radio adaptors are a savior on road trips, the further you drive from cities, the more you’ll have to change those radio stations & avoid static.

We’ve mentioned having your own personal soundtrack as one of the reasons to take a road trip in Europe but having some great music in the car really does enhance the experience. Music is also a great provoker of memory and associating the songs to the memories you are making will create a lasting connection.

An adapter like iClever Wireless FM Transmitter, will not only play your music through your phone, it will also keep your phone charged so you’re not draining your battery in the process!

7. Already Paid For Parking? Sleep in the Parking Garage in the Car! 

In larger cities, you’ll often find underground parking or parking garages the norm. If you’ve already parked in one to explore the city, you’ve just given yourself an amazing accommodation opportunity –  Pull out that inflatable pool raft and enjoy the extra security of the parking garage and a night’s stay already paid for.

We ended up in Heidelberg at one point during our Germany road trip. We had detoured because we wanted to check out a castle in town but we had no plan on where to stay. We parked our car close to the castle and spent the day walking around the castle and town. We loved Heidelberg so much we ended up exploring a lot longer than we expected… until 10 pm. After searching for places to stay we realized that the available hotel rooms in the area were out of our budget, so we decided to stay in the car in the parking garage that night since we had already paid most of the 14 euros it would cost us for 24 hours. We put down the back seat (in the Volvo) and  used the trunk cover to block the remaining light from our eyes and had an amazing night’s sleep believe it or not!

We should note that since we were in Europe, we were not able to bring our trusty inflatable pool raft and STILL managed to get comfortable.

8. Avoid Conflict. Use Apps like Venmo to Split the Cost of Gas & Food.

Going on a road trip with others can cause some awkward moments when it comes time to gas up or pay for other expenses. There’s the “oh I’ve got this one” and the “I’ll grab the next one” then there’s the “well you paid for the last one and it was twice this bill… so I guess I’ll grab this and the next”. No one means to forget to pay someone back for covering a cost or end up paying a lesser share of the total cost, but it happens. No one in the car may mean to short the other but it’s not uncommon when trying to cover costs of travel between two or more people. It can leave everyone feeling a bit uncertain of their place on the financial side of the trip… but it doesn’t have to.

If you think you are able to keep an accurate tally of the costs, or all the receipts, you can simply designate one person to pay all the expenses, divide the final tally by the number of people on the trip and get a per-person amount to be paid back. If you’re looking for a bit less hassle, you may just want to download Venmo.

The app Venmo allows you to split costs with ease without having that awkward moment of asking for money. While there is still one person who foots the initial bill, gas, restaurant bills, and the like can be split and paid back on the spot through the app.

Note: The transfers are NOT instant so there will be a delay and you’ll want to make sure you’ve set up your account and all is functioning before you hit the road to avoid any problems.

9. USB Charger

Anker 40W 5-Port USB Car Charger with PowerIQ Technology for iPhone 6s 6 5; iPad Air 2, mini 3; Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge S5; Note 5 4 3; Nexus 6 9 and More (White)

If you haven’t noticed it yet, we’re all about power. When you’re on the go with electronics it is a must have. Nowadays very few people don’t carry at least a cell phone with them, and like we mentioned before, it can be very important to have functioning electronics on certain road trip routes. Added to that is the inability to use the apps we’ve mentioned, and have yet to discuss, should you run out of juice while on the road.

When you’re on a road trip with multiple people you might need multiple USB chargers so everyone can charge their phones and tablets, because let’s be honest, we may highlight the importance of having a device charged for safety reasons but most people don’t want to go without a working cell phone or tablet. Whether you go for a car inverter or not, having a USB charger that powers everyone’s electronics Anker 40W 5-Port USB Car Charger can be a great tool that keeps the peace in the vehicle and allows for a smoother ride.

10. Know The Rules of the Road.

This may sound unnecessary but we can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard stories about tickets received or errors made while driving in a different province, state, or country. A huge part of planning a road trip should involve figuring out what you need to know if you’re driving in a new province, state or country. Whenever we rent a car in a foreign country, aside from searching for rules online, we now ask the car rental company if there are any rules that we should know about. They are a great resource for information as they will have heard the mistakes that other renters make on a regular basis.

You don’t want to come home and, a few weeks later, receive a large traffic violation in the mail. Trust us, it’s what happened to us in Germany. While coming off the autobahn we didn’t slow down enough and didn’t know that every off ramp has speed cameras. We might have known if we asked the car rental company about any tips to know or common mistakes made. When we rented in Spain, we asked about the rules and were given a lot of great information about traffic violations, typical mistakes and even information on highway names and numbers to avoid accidentally taking a toll route.

11. Look On Instagram (Follow us! @OneModernCouple)

Instagram is a fantastic way to find restaurants, attractions and accommodations in any place. Just punch in the hashtags for that specific city, town or country and watch the magic happen. Instagram is a great travel hack we use pretty much everywhere we go. We’ve even made many friends by finding fellow travellers in the area. We met another blogging couple in Taipei Taiwan and they took us on a hike to a place called Teapot Mountain, someplace we would have never known about it if we weren’t on Instagram.

Are you a foodie? We also have a food Instagram account – @OMCeats – come join us there too and find some great suggestions for where to eat!!

 

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travel hacks for planning a road trip pin