Travel Essentials: A Travel Addict’s Tips

Kevin and I recently returned home from 3 crazy weeks in Europe.  We were there on business, but we also made sure to cram in as much play as possible.  It was our 16th trip in 12 months.  Here are my top tips for minimizing that gap between business and pleasure while on the road…

BEFORE YOU GO

1.  Charge it

If you have a biz with high expenses, make sure your plastic comes with benefits.  An unexpected perk of being married to a goldsmith, is that we have a ridiculously high Visa bill each month.  Perk, you say?? Well, gold and diamonds don’t come cheap, and for every dollar that we spend on materials, we are also pocketing air miles.  Our credit card has taken us to Montreal, Toronto, LA, New York, Argentina and Germany.

When it’s time to cash in those points, choose carefully.  A flight from Vancouver to Toronto often costs the same as a flight to Europe, but only requires half the number of points.  Therefore, I try to search out travel deals to places like Europe, and use my points for North American travel.

If you are traveling with your partner (business or personal!), alternate whose points you use, rather than each of you using your own points.  For example, when we flew to Argentina, I used my points to fly us both.  Because I was paying with points, I wasn’t eligible to collect more for flying, but Kevin was.  When we flew to Europe, we used Kev’s points, so I could collect.  This way we actually ended up pocketing thousands of points while we were using them!

2.  Beware of the Telecom Troll

This is especially important for all of you Canadian ladies!  Our telecomcompanies are notorious for charging outrageous (and often hidden!) fees when we cross borders.  Check with your phone carrier to see exactly how much you will be charged for calls, texts and data plan. 

We prefer to text, and unless it’s an emergency, we disable our data plan because we have no control over how many emails we receive.  We arrived home from Argentina to discover we had been charged for every email received!  Because we spend so much time in the states, we also have a pay-as-you-go American SIM card. 

3.  Invest in an iPod Touch

We check our email on our iPod to avoid having to pay those data fees!  In countries like Morocco, I also wasn’t stoked on the idea of lugging my laptop around with me.  Taking an iPod lightened the load and I didn’t have to worry about my laptop being stolen.

ON THE GO

4.  My Favourite Links

Jauntsetter – This weekly newsletter/blogis aimed at travel for NY Women, but it’s packed with deals, links and tips that are of great value for us non-New Yorkers as well

Not For Tourists – Another great city-specific travel guide

Kayak – A comprehensive travel search engine.  I have found fantastic deals on boutique hotels here.

SkyAuction – eBay for travel.  Brilliant.  I’m almost hesitant to let this secret of my out, but it would be bad karma not to.  Not so excellent if you have very specific dates that you need to travel, but if you’re flexible, place your bid.

Budget Travel – I never like to pay more than I have to, and Budget Travel Magazine has been the source of my greatest finds, such as Home Hotel in Buenos Aires.

BACK at HOME

5.  Blurb

Far too many pictures  are relegated to a life on Facebook, but don’t quite make it off the computer.  Head over to Blurb to drag and drop all of your travel images into an amazing book.  I make a new book for each trip.  The result is cheaper, more compact, and more professional than your traditional photo album.  I imagine that it’s like scrapbooking but cooler and with less glue.  Zoe and Kevin also use Blurb for their portfolios.

Safe and Happy Travels!

gen+loadedbow

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2 Responses to “Travel Essentials: A Travel Addict’s Tips”

  1. […] wedding, a baby, paternity leave, travel, and meeting many new […]

  2. Great tips – and thanks for letting the cat out of the bag about your budget travel secrets!

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