Category Archives: Travel Necessities

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The Best Airports for Coffee Lovers (and Must-Try Cafes!)

Traveling is exhausting, and there’s nothing more frustrating than paying too much for a mediocre cup of coffee at the airport. Here’s some insurance against that scenario: a guide to the best airport coffee in the world.

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Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

O’Hare is the busiest airport in the world by the number of takeoffs and landings, and there are a correspondingly large number of fantastic coffee shops at the disposal of travelers. The best of the best are Metropolis Coffee and Kofe by Intelligentsia, both located in Terminal 5. Metropolis does their own roasting with a focus on their espresso, which is complex and beguiling. Kofe features brews by Intelligentsia, a local favorite, and also offers a selection of snacks and baked goods.

As a bonus, Argo Tea has three locations in the airport in Terminals 2 and 3, and features a calm atmosphere as well as a wide selection of black, green, white, and herbals teas.

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)

Philadelphia PHL’s Guava & Java, located in Concourse B, features coffee roasted by the local experts La Colombe, and is known for their single-origin blends. They also serve innovative smoothies and juices such as the Mixed Berry Tea Infusion.

Le Bus Cafe is another local option at the airport, also serving La Colombe coffee as well as excellent breads, pastries, and sandwiches. It’s the perfect place to stop for a great cuppa as well as a great meal: offerings such as the Thai turkey salad or the Chili Roasted Chicken sandwich are far better than average airport fare.

Portland International Airport (PDX)

There are two places in Portland that offer coffee by the excellent Stumptown Coffee Roasters, based in Portland but now nationally famous. Travellers in a rush should stop by Flying Elephants, which offers a variety of to-go meals, but those with a little extra time should be sure to visit Country Cat, where they specialize in Southern-style cooking with local ingredients. Try the eggs benedict on a biscuit and a glorious Bloody Mary for the best pre-flight meal in Portland.

A word of warning: beware of Coffee People, a former airport favorite. It was sold to Starbucks in 2006 and the coffee hasn’t been the same since.

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Copenhagen Airport (CPH) and Keflavik Airport (KEF)

Copenhagen’s and Keflavik’s spots on this list is secured by the presence of a single exceptional coffee shop in each airport, Joe and the Juice, an outpost of the local cafe. It was named the best airport coffee shop in the world in 2014 by the Airport Food and Beverage Awards, and makes an excellent cup of coffee as well as intriguing coffee drinks like the ginger latte. The hip and buzzing atmosphere of the cafe is supplemented by daily live music. They’re committed to healthy eating, and the juices, smoothies, and sandwiches are optimized for taste and nutritional content. Joe and the Juice rocks, end of story.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

San Francisco’s airport has coffee shops for every traveller’s needs. Those looking for an exceptional fair trade brew should head to the locally-based Equator Coffees and Teas in Terminal 2. Frequent flyers who need something a little stronger than a standard coffee will appreciate the famous Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe. For a bite to eat as well as a great cup, check out Klein’s Deli and Coffee Bar in Terminals 1 and 3. Their sandwiches are delicious and generously sized and the cookies make a great in-flight snack.

Bonus: Cafe Versailles at Miami International Airport (MIA)

Anyone flying to or from Miami should make time for a stop at Cafe Versailles, especially those in need of a caffeine boost. Cuban coffee is the specialty here, a dark roast espresso sweetened with demerara sugar as it brews. It packs a serious punch. The Cuban sandwiches and pastelitos are also fantastic.

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5 Easy Tips for Getting Amazing Sleep on the Road

If you find that your sleep quality decreases while traveling, you’re not alone. A National Sleep Foundation poll found that most adults prefer the comfort and calm of their own bedrooms over a hotel room—even a luxurious one. And don’t even get people started on the perils of trying to catch some shut-eye on an economy class flight.

Short of bringing their bed with them wherever they go, what’s a weary traveler to do? Whether you’re trying to catch some ZZZs on an airplane, in a hotel, or in a train or car, here’s how to get better sleep while on the road.

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1. Get comfortable.

If you’ve ever tried to sleep next to two other people in the backseat of a moving vehicle, you’ll know that this can be easier said than done. But sleep will come faster if you do what you can to make yourself comfortable. Try to wear loose-fitting clothing, take off your shoes, and cuddle up under breathable fabrics for the best chance at decent sleep. If you’re in a plane, train, or car, an inflatable or travel-sized pillow will also help.

2. Keep the environment cool, quiet, and dark.

Studies routinely show that people sleep best in spaces that are quiet, unlit, and cooled to less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. While you may not be able to control the temperature wherever you’re trying to sleep (except in a car or hotel room), you can keep things quiet by packing earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones or (at hotels) asking for a room that’s located away from the elevator, stairwell, vending machines, and pool (Also don’t forget to hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door). Limit your exposure to light by closing a hotel room’s curtains or packing an eye mask for flights.

3. Stick to your routines.

Consistency is key to getting good sleep, so do what you can to mimic your own bedroom environment wherever you are. Bring along your favorite pair of pajamas, a picture of your family or pet, and any other small items that will help you feel at home. Also be sure to stick to your normal bedtime routines, such as drinking a cup of tea, reading a book, listening to music, or practicing breathing exercises before closing your eyes.

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4. Avoid stimulants.

Caffeine, alcohol, and exposure to “blue light” (aka the glow emitted from electronic devices like tablets, laptops, and smartphones) can all make it harder to catch some shut-eye. Try not to drink coffee in the afternoon or evening; don’t drink alcohol within a few hours of heading to bed; and turn off all electronics at least an hour before hitting the sheets. Avoiding these stimulants will help your body wind down so you can fall asleep faster.

5. Head to sleep-friendly hotels.

Reading reviews of hotels online prior to booking will help alert you to whether a hotel is known for having raucous guests or promoting quality slumber. Some hotels have even started investing in amenities to help guests get better sleep.

For example, the Lorien Hotel & Spa in Alexandria, Va. offers guests a “Dream Menu,” or a collection of services and products designed to help guests get better sleep (think hot water bottles, Snore-no-More pillows, and a Bed Wedge that elevates your upper torso). At the Fairmont San Francisco, guests can take advantage of a sleep kit complete with sleep machine, earplugs, eye mask, and slippers. Crowne Plaza hotels offer a “Sleep Advantage” program that lets guests elect to stay in quiet zones sans room attendant, housekeeping, or engineering activities from 9 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. And Hampton hotels offer a “Clean and Fresh Bed” designed to provide guests with optimum comfort in the form of streamlined covers, four pillows per bed, and high-thread-count sheets.

Most importantly? Even if you find yourself tossing and turning, don’t lose hope. Fretting over lost sleep will only make you anxious, so try not to stress too much if you wanted to snooze through an entire eight-hour flight and only managed to catch an hour or two of ZZZs. A little bit of sleep is better than none. And if all else fails, never forget the power of a cat nap.

 

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How to Stay Comfortable on the World’s Longest Flights

Emirates Airline recently announced the creation of the world’s longest direct flight, a daunting 17.5 hour trip that will fly from Dubai to Panama City starting February 1st. That long flight time might sound daunting, especially when seated in economy. But a little effort and attention can go a long way in taking a flight from unbearable to relaxing, whether travelers are braving the new route from Dubai to Panama City, or just looking to make a transatlantic or transpacific flight more comfortable. Here’s a step by step guide for making the most of a long plane trip.

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Step 1: Choosing a Seat

First of all, try to avoid economy if at all possible. The seats, the food, and the amenities will all improve, as will the enjoyment factor of the trip. If booking a ticket in first class or business class just isn’t budget-friendly, consider using miles to upgrade. To make the next trip easier and start earning miles for the future, enroll in the airline’s frequent flier program or search out credit cards with airline-redeemable points.

If economy is unavoidable, however, the seat can make all the difference. There are a wide variety of websites where travelers can view seating plans based on flights and carriers, such as SeatGuru, SeatExpert, SeatMaestro, and SeatPlans. Think carefully about what type of seat you want. No one likes the middle seat of course, but also there are other things to keep in mind as well.. Certain travelers may prefer the aisle seat if they like to get up and stretch or use the bathroom frequently, whereas the window seat may be preferable for those trying to sleep on night time flights. To avoid engine noise, try to stay close to the front of the plane.

There may even be some possible seating improvements at the airport itself. Check with the desk attendant at the gate to see if there’s an empty row or set of seats on the plane that could provide more stretching room. Be sure to scope out the seats on the plane itself as well in case someone has missed their flight and there’s a better seat open.

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Step 2: Packing the Carry-on

Think of a carry-on bag as the toolbox for hacking a long flight. Packing smart can elevate a trip from boring and uncomfortable to productive and relaxing. Here’s a checklist for the essentials.

  • Before leaving, make sure all devices are charged and loaded with movies, books, and music. It’s best not to rely on a functioning entertainment system on board the plane.
  • Pack things that will help with sleep, such as an eye mask, ear plugs, or sleeping pills. Think twice about cumbersome items like neck pillows unless they’re inflatable.
  • For snacks, bring foods that are high in protein and fiber, since those are often lacking in airline meals. It’s also helpful to treat yourself to something nice on a long flight, so
  • A blanket and a good pair of socks to wear instead of shoes on the plane will make the trip much more comfortable.
  • For the all-important TSA liquid allowance, bring the essentials to stay moisturized and hydrated, such as a facial spritz, moisturizer, lip balm, and nasal spray.
  • Hand sanitizer is also a must on flights to kill bacteria and prevent colds that might be picked up from seatmates.
  • Deodorant, toothpaste, and a toothbrush can also refresh and revitalize travelers on a long journey.

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Step 3: Settling In

First things first: do some seat-side carry-on rearranging. Take out the essentials (headphones, liquids, reading material or devices, socks) and put them in a smaller tote bag or nylon bag to put under the seat. Leave the rest in the carry-on and stow it away. This will allow for much more legroom and better sleep, and the rest of the supplies will still be accessible once the flight begins.

Airplanes can be very cold, so take off your shoes and replace them with a comfy pair of socks. This will also help simulate bed conditions for a restful sleep. Remember to put shoes back on for trips to the bathroom though!

If the flight will cross time zones, the wait for take-off is a great time to set all watches and devices to the destination’s time to help combat jet lag on arrival.

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Step 4: Passing the Time

Now for the flight itself. If it’s an overnight trip, try to get to sleep at what would be a normal hour in the arrival timezone to avoid being groggy on landing. For a daytime flight, many travelers find it helpful to break up a long trip into smaller, more manageable chunks.  Set a phone or watch alarm to go off at hour or two hour intervals and use those benchmarks to divide the trip. This can make a trip both more productive and keep travelers healthy. When the alarm goes off, take the opportunity to get up and do some stretching, which can prevent stiffness and more serious conditions brought on by long flights. Try twisting, folding over, and rolling the head and neck to stay limber. If there’s work to be done, schedule it for the beginning of the flight, and make time for movies, naps, games, or reading later on.

Not to spoil the party, but it’s best to lay off the alcohol and caffeine on long flights. They’re both dehydrating, and the plane is doing enough of that on its own. Stick to water or drinks with electrolytes, such as Gatorade or coconut water. Remember that hand sanitizer as well — those tray tables probably aren’t cleaned with regularity. Armed with the right resources and tools, even 17.5 hours can become bearable. Sit back, relax, and find a little enjoyment between takeoff and landing.

Start Planning Your Trip to the Rio Olympics Right Now

The Rio Olympic Games may not take place until August 2016, but anyone hoping to attend the event in person should start planning their trip now. With more than half a million people expected to attend, a trip to the Olympics is going to require a significant amount of preparation. Check some of the big items off the to-do list now, and you’ll arrive in Rio de Janeiro as a gold medalist in trip planning. Here’s how to get started.

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1. Buy event tickets

Every country has its own official ticket source for the Olympics. In the U.S., that source is CoSport. Individual tickets went on sale back in May, which means tickets are now selling fast. In order to initiate the purchasing process, you’ll need to create an account on cosport.com.

There, you’ll be able to search for and purchase tickets on CoSport’s website. (Keep in mind that each account can purchase no more than 48 tickets.) Because ticket inventory is constantly being updated on the site, it’s a good idea to check back often to see if tickets for the events you want to attend have become available. If you have specific requests pertaining to group purchasing, accessibility needs, and so on, then contact CoSport before purchasing tickets.

If you’re still not seeing the tickets you want, you can try eBay, Craigslist, and other sites. But keep in mind that purchasing through these platforms can be riskier than going through the official reseller.

One important note: When purchasing tickets for different events, remember to allow for travel time between venues. CoSport recommends scheduling at least two or three hours between events that take place on the same day within the same city.

2. Purchase your flight

Think strategically before booking your flight to Rio. You’ll do your wallet a favor by trying not to fly at the same time as the majority of the spectators, like within a few days before the Opening Ceremony and on the day after the Closing Ceremony.

Instead, plan to fly in or out while the games are underway, or schedule in a few extra days of sightseeing on either side of the games. That way, when you do fly, the crowds and prices should be (at least slightly) less astronomical.

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3. Book lodging

Because hotel space in Rio is limited, it’s a good idea to book a hotel or hostel as soon as possible. While it might be tempting to take advantage of the offers for rental apartments online, Olympic representatives have warned visitors to be wary of staying anywhere that hasn’t been certified by a government agency. Your best bet is to book an area hotel, stat.

4. Obtain a visa

Currently, U.S. visitors to Brazil are required to obtain a visa prior to entering the country (to the tune of $160). However, there have been rumors that Brazil may waive the visa requirement for U.S. citizens who attend the Olympic Games.

The safest bet is still to go ahead and secure a visa. (Keep in mind that the process can take several weeks.) But if you want to hold out for the chance of saving the visa fees, then keep following the news to find out what Brazil’s tourism minister ultimately decides. If you have questions, contact the nearest Brazilian embassy or consulate.

While you’re at it, make sure your passport is up to date.

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5. Get the lay of the land

Before landing in Rio, learn what you can about the Olympic stadium and events as well as the surrounding areas. Developing familiarity with the Olympic venues and local customs will make the entire trip go more smoothly. Specifically, it’s helpful to know the following.

  • The competition venues are grouped in four main clusters: Deodoro, Maracana, Barra (the location of the Olympic Park), and Copacabana. Within these clusters, events will be assigned to different zones. Remember that if you want to see several events on the same day, you’ll need to budget time for moving between the different venues.
  • Public transportation on municipal and rapid transit buses is complimentary for visitors traveling to or from an Olympic venue and who are in possession of a valid ticket. Once you’re in Rio, check rio2016.com frequently for the most up-to-date information regarding public transportation.
  • Brazil’s monetary unit is the real. Rio can be an expensive city to begin with, and you can also expect many vendors to impose a 30 percent mark-up during the games. It’s a good idea to start saving for the trip now.
  • August is the end of winter in Brazil, so you’ll want to pack accordingly. Because Rio is located near the coast, expect exceptionally mild winter temperatures; daytime highs can pass 80 degrees while nights are typically in the 60s.
  • Rio is the second largest city in Brazil, and it’s known for its relaxed beach culture, tropical forests, and intercultural music and food scenes. The primary language is Portuguese. If you’re able, plan to explore the local culture while staying in the area.

6. Make preparations

Even though it’s too early to finalize many plans, it’s helpful to start prepping for the more minor details of the trip far in advance. Start creating an itinerary, figure out what sightseeing you want to do in Rio or surrounding areas, and think about security restrictions and what you’ll need during the days that you’re attending the games. The official website for the Rio Olympics, rio2016.com, offers a wealth of information to help you plan the details of your trip.

By doing as much as you can to prepare for a trip to the 2016 Olympics in advance, you’ll spare yourself the last-minute stresses that come with procrastinating on trip planning. While the rest of the world is scrambling to secure visas and book hotels, you can sit back, relax, and get excited for the games to begin.  

 

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The Business Traveler’s Guide to Staying Healthy on the Go

While traveling for work can at times be stressful, it can also provide a nice break from the day-to-day grind of an office job. Then again, breaks from routine can be a catch-22. When it comes to health, for example, experts often suggest the power of habit can be key to everything from a good night’s sleep to a nutritious diet a reality.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at three of the biggest hurdles to staying healthy on the go, along with tips on how to overcome them.

Beating Jet Lag

Switching between time zones can wreak havoc on some, with the World Health Organization listing everything from general sleepiness to reduced mental performance to indigestion as possible side effects. Beating jet lag is relatively simple, though. Besides making sure you’re well-rested before departure, the key is to get your body into the new rhythm as quickly as possible. More specifically:

  • Begin the transition before you travel. As the CDC suggests, simply start going to bed an hour or two later than usual if you are going to be traveling west and reverse that shift if you’ll be traveling east.
  • Once you get to your destination, resist the urge to collapse and take a nap as soon as landing and instead stay awake at least until an early local bedtime — even if it means you rise extra early the next morning.

Fueling Up

Food plays a large role in health as well, but the phrase “eating healthy” is a vague one that likely has different connotations for each traveler. Regardless of what it means to you, the main suggestion remains the same: Be prepared. No matter how or where you’re traveling, preparation is the main ingredient to keeping the right stuff in your stomach.

  • For starters, travelers hopping in the car for their business trip have it a bit easier since they can pack a cooler of fruits and veggies as some core eats, both for the travel itself and for staying full while at the new destination.
  • Folks traveling via air should research what’s offered on their airline to gauge how much needs to be packed in advance in order to stay full without sacrificing nutrition.
  • In both cases, keep your bag stocked with easy but healthy snacks to help combat compulsive buying food you might otherwise choose to avoid.
  • Finally, it can be useful to research both the hotel and surrounding area before departing, especially for travelers with food restrictions. (And we’ve previously rounded up some of the best hotels for gluten-free eaters and vegans!) Hunting around for hotels that come with kitchens can also be smart for folks with more severe allergies or other dining out concerns.

Staying Active

When it comes to staying active on a business trip, it can be relatively easy to hit the hotel gym early in the morning. Such an experience can vary dramatically based on the quality of the gym, of course, but an alternative approach is to make physical activity an integrated part of the itinerary.

  • To stay active even when you’re squeezing in meetings, try working in some destinations (perhaps a restaurant if no offices fit the bill) that are walking distance from your lodging.
  • If the weather permits, suggesting a couple walking meets or more active meet-ups is another way to make sure a business trip doesn’t turn into hours sitting in stuffy conference rooms.

All in all, a little extra planning is most straightforward way keep healthy habits on-point even while doing business away from home. Get into the new routine as soon as possible, fuel your body with the right eats, and work some movement into the itinerary to keep a healthy foundation everywhere you go.

 

6 Selfie Stick Variations Every Traveler Needs Right Now

Selfie sticks: Love ‘em or hate ‘em (and boy do some people hate them), they’re becoming a legitimate trend for world travelers and homebodies alike. At no point has this been more apparent than with the recent creation of the selfie spoon, which allows anyone aspiring to Instagram fame to simultaneously showcase their meal and their own face as they consume it.

In the spirit of adding selfie capabilities to previously un-selfie-fied objects, we’ve come up with several proposals for selfie sticks that every world traveler shouldn’t have to live without.

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1. The Suitcase Selfie Stick

It’s a selfie stick, it’s a suitcase, it’s the selfie suitcase! This suitcase comes fully equipped with a selfie stick jutting out of its handle. Travelers will be thrilled to document that elusive, dramatic moment when they grasp the suitcase with their travel-ready hands before striding off into the unknown. The premium version includes a home manicure kit to keep users’ hands adequately photogenic come selfie time.

2. The Graffiti Selfie Stick

Given that some disrespectful tourists have decided it’s totally reasonable to carve their name into the Colosseum or tag graffiti in America’s national parks, it’s about time they had the option to record themselves in the act. The Graffiti Selfie Stick boasts a can of spray paint on the end so users can smile for the camera as they scrawl their names across every historical artifact or natural wonder they encounter on their travels. To facilitate running away from law enforcement, the stick easily collapses into the palm of a hand.

3. The Hotel Bed Selfie Stick

Those sleepy Instagram shots from beds in far-off places just got a whole lot easier to execute. The Hotel Bed Selfie Stick consists of a selfie stick sturdily mounted to the headboard of a queen-sized bed that’s ingeniously and generically designed to match most hotel rooms’ décor. Of course, you’ll need to pay extra to check this product, but it’ll be worth it once you arrive at your hotel, hit the sheets, and awake underneath a camera so perfectly positioned that when you smile, the world will see just how happy you are to be on vacation.

4. The Theme Park Selfie Stick

Whether at a waterpark in Orlando, a themed ride at Disneyland, or a roller coaster in Texas, no trip to an amusement park is complete without adequate photographic documentation. That’s where the Theme Park Selfie Stick comes into play. The stick comes securely mounted to a shoulder harness that can be worn at all times, so you can document your screaming face on a roller coaster just as easily as your satisfied smile after consuming a plateful of fries and cotton candy. Just be sure to follow all selfie stick length requirements on rides.

5. The Backpack Selfie Stick

Any solo traveler who’s set out to backpack around the world knows how tough it can be to document the journey without a helpful pal snapping photos. Despair no more, because the Backpack Selfie Stick is here to save the day. The stick comes fully integrated into the top of a backpack that’s just barely small enough to qualify as a carry-on. It’ll document your struggles as you attempt to hoist the overloaded pack into the overhead bin, maneuver it into crowded subway cars, and drag it up the three long flights to your shared room at a hostel (perhaps while quietly cursing your inability to pack light). Ahh, memories!

6. The Skyline Selfie Stick

The selfie-in-front-of-a-pretty-skyline is quite possibly the most essential photo in any traveler’s memory box. While obtaining these images is already facilitated by the original selfie stick, the problem is that standard options only showcase a small sliver of what is clearly a skyline worthy of more expansive ogling. Enter the Skyline Selfie Stick. Thirty feet wide and ten feet tall, the stick allows ambitious travelers to capture an image at least 40,000% larger than one taken from a standard selfie stick. Thirty-foot-wide phone sold separately.

It’s hard to imagine the travel industry has survived this long without these critical innovations. Here’s hoping someone develops a prototype for these models, stat. And if we left any essential selfie stick innovations out? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

 

Things You Should Do Before Landing at the Airport in a New Country

Crowds at baggage claim, long lines through customs, signs in foreign languages and different cultural norms–arriving at the airport in a new country can be stressful, even for the most seasoned jetsetters.

Even after making it through customs, tackling unfamiliar currency exchanges and arranging ground transportation can put a jet-lagged traveler over the edge. Give yourself a break by prepping ahead of time for the smoothest landing possible with these travel tips.

Write Down Your Address on Paper

This may sound like a no-brainer, but these days, it’s easy to forget to write things down when you can just save info in your email or on the notes app in your phone.

Depending on which country you are visiting, you may be asked to provide the address of your accommodations when you fill out a customs form before landing. Don’t get caught with your address in your email inbox while you’re without service, or when you’re on the plane or standing in line at customs with only three percent battery life left.

Practice Phrases That Are Useful

We’ve all heard it before: “Just make sure you know the words for bathroom and beer, and you’ll be fine.” While a cold beer upon arrival does sound pretty nice, learning key phrases about transportation, accommodations and other navigation-related topics can be much more helpful when you’re trying to navigate from the airport to your hotel.

Know the Value of a Dollar

Yes, we live in a world where credit cards are a widely accepted form of payment. That being said, there is nothing worse than having absolutely zero cash and realizing a business doesn’t take plastic.

The ATM or currency exchange should be your first stop after making it through customs. But standing in front of an ATM before heading to your hotel in Istanbul and suddenly realizing you have no idea how much a Turkish Lira is worth can be daunting.

Skip the frantic Google search while standing next to an ATM by scoping out the currency situation before you arrive at the airport. Research exchange rates, the average price for a meal and typical cab fares to get an idea of how far the currency can take you. Then you’ll have a plan when it comes time to withdraw cash.

Check out transportation options

Speaking of typical cab fare, you should also research transportation options before you land. If you decide to take public transportation, most tourism boards offer information about public transportation so you can determine the nearest bus or metro stop to your hotel, and the lines you’ll need to take to get there. You’ll thank us when you’re navigating your way through the Tube to your London hotel like a pro, instead of standing in front of a transit system map for way longer than you might care to admit.

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Survival Guide: Camping in Bad Weather

Camping in perfect conditions is one of the most serene and peaceful outdoor activities. There’s nothing better than sitting around an open fire with close friends, swapping stories and gossip, drinking beer, all while taking in a clear starry sky as a creek softly babbles in the distance.

Unfortunately, though, camping is hardly ever so idyllic. The car won’t start or opossums make it into the food or, even worse, the weather turns. Though many campers come prepared for all different types of bizarre situations, dealing with bad weather is tricky and can make for some incredibly frustrating moments. Thankfully, there are ways to prepare for these dreary circumstances that can make them not only bearable, but memorable, and fun!

First, make sure to constantly monitor your surroundings. Is there a sudden stillness in the trees? Have the birds stopped singing? Are there dark clouds gathering in the corner of the sky? By detecting bad weather early, you can start to make preparations: collecting and wrapping wood in waterproof bags, hanging tarps above the campsite, or simply leaving before the storm hits (sometimes, you just need to pack up and head to a hotel). Don’t assume the storm will pass—be proactive and adjust your campsite accordingly. It may be annoying to make these adjustments if it turns out to be a false alarm, but being dry and prepared is always better than being soaking wet and surprised.

In general, there are a few items that you should always keep in your pack in case of bad weather. Newspaper, aside from providing some leisurely entertainment, can be used to start a fire in lieu of wet wood. And plastic bags can be used to hold electronics, food, or anything else you might want to save from getting wet.

As far as clothing’s concerned, you’ll want to make sure to bring along some light rain gear, which can be as simple as a sturdy poncho or as extreme as a full rain suit. For tops, opt for a wicking material, such as lightweight nylon in the summer and polypropylene in the winter. Avoid cotton when you can because, though cotton t-shirts are certainly comfortable, they don’t hold up to extreme weather well at all.

And, perhaps most importantly, remember that bad weather is often not the thing that ruins a camping trip, it’s the bad attitudes and grumpiness that come along with the change in weather. So pack some things to keep up morale in the face of a storm: waterproof cards, a harmonica, a collection of ghost stories. If you approach a storm with creativity and humor, even the most droll weather can become fodder for a great experience.

Dinube

The Luxury of a Comfy Chair (& Office) While Working as a Digital Nomad

Living a nomadic life certainly isn’t without tradeoffs. I remember the days when I had a comfortable office chair to sit in. I tell ya, as a digital nomad traveling the globe, those days are few and far between. Most of the chairs at Chiang Mai wifi spots I frequented consisted of wood chairs. Many without cushions. If there were cushions, they were extremely thin. Same in Spain and Greece. Worse in Africa.

I’ve been in Barcelona a little over a week, heads down working on Oh Hey World — in not so comfortable chairs. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Jonathan Hayes at Dinube (working on a digital wallet in the cloud), who responded to my message on a Meetup Group for Barcelona entrepreneurs where I asked about co-working space. His co-founder is currently in Boston, so the timing of having an extra desk available at his office worked out great. And there would be no charge.

So I spent yesterday working from an office with a real office chair in a real office with great WIFI. It was glorious.

Thanks Jonathan (and Dinube) for the Spanish hospitality.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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What You Do NOT Need to Live A Summer in Saint Thomas, USVI

I just spent 5 weeks in Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, and here are some of the supplies you don’t really need to spend a summer here (ie the items that haven’t been touched):

  • tennis shows (though you’ll want these if you plan on hiking)
  • jeans
  • rain jacket (you might want this if you plan to bike or run regularly, but the showers are so short that you don’t really need it)
  • button up dress shirt
  • fleece

What do you need?

Nice flip flops, shorts, tshirts, and a swim suit. That’s about it.

 

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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