Category Archives: Travel

Some Things You Should Never Forget Before a Trip

Over-packing can be heavy and costly, but there’s no doubt that under-packing can sometimes leave us worried we’ve forgotten something. Leave the anxiety at home with our list of five important things to always remember before a trip!

CHECK VISA & VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS

Every country has different tourist visa and vaccination requirements, so make sure you abide by the guidelines and meet requirements well in advance. This user-friendly interactive guide is helpful in starting your research to ensure you are well prepared. Health updates regarding country-specific illnesses – like the current Zika virus outbreak – should also be monitored regularly.

GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel insurance can cover the cost of lost or stolen personal items, trip cancellations, and even medical emergencies – this can prove to be beneficial in the event of an unplanned disruption of your trip. Just as you insure your home, car, and even your phone, make sure to insure your trip to avoid costly penalties! Different insurances cater to specific needs to travelers (low-cost, medical, international travel) so choose one than fits your travel style and budget.

MAKE COPIES OF IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

Although nearly everything is sent via email or saved on a back-up drive now, it’s important to realize the value of hard copies. Should your travel documents be lost or stolen, it’s critical to have them saved elsewhere. Keep a folder of these documents on you at all times (in your purse or carry-on) while traveling, and email them to yourself before your trip for added precaution.

Passport (Identification page with photo.)
Visa
Travel Insurance
Driver’s License
Credit Cards (front and back.)
Travel Itinerary
Airline Tickets
Reservation Confirmations (hotel, rental car, cruise tickets, etc.)
Vaccination Certificates
BOOK ACCOMMODATION

It may be tempting to be spontaneous and book your hotel rooms or lodging on a whim, but it’s not usually something I recommend. Events like holidays and festivals can be a nightmare if you don’t already have accommodation booked.

Don’t be stuck with the leftover, low grade rooms and instead book at least a month in advance. Hotel staff insiders even admit that those who book through their website or over the phone usually get better rooms than those who book last minute or through other online booking sites. Be sure to read online reviews, and beware of additional charges like parking, cleaning, and pool/spa fees.

HAVE A WELL PACKED CARRY-ON

In addition to your travel documents (and copies), you’ll want to have some basic essentials within arm’s reach:

Headphones: Thin hotel walls and noisy plane passengers are inevitable, so come prepared and pack a pair of headphones that can easily plug into your phone or iPod.

Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals: Better than any generic ginger chews on the market,Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals contains the clinically-tested ginger dosage required for preventing and treating motion sickness common on planes, boats, and windy drives.

Scott and I both suffer from motion sickness on rocky boats and flights, but we’re hesitant to take something that is going to make us drowsy. I tried these Non-Drowsy Naturals on a recent trip to Kauai –during a zodiac tour of the notoriously choppy Na Pali coast as well as a bumpy helicopter ride — and I did not feel a hint of nausea! These are our new go-to motion sickness pills and it’s something I will not leave home without.

Hand Sanitizer: Don’t overestimate your immune system; the last thing you want on your vacation is to catch a cold. Hand sanitizer, or antibacterial hand wipes, should be compact and easy to stash in your carry-on.

Power Converter: One of the most important things travelers often forget to bring on international trips is a power converter. Check online to see which converter you’ll need for the country you are visiting. I always bring at least two because I have so many electronics to charge.

Reusable Water Bottle: Leave it empty as you pass through security in the airport, of course, but carrying a water bottle with a filter attached will save you money regardless of where you fly! No more shelling out money for bottled water or worrying about catching an illness internationally.

The Best Jobs for People Who Love to Travel the World

When Scott and I started our blog, our hope was to inspire others to travel, even with a full-time job. Our travel goals don’t include becoming permanent nomads, so we try to find the balance between work and a whole lot of travel.

I was a bookkeeper for years (before I began making a living traveling the world) and Scott is a software/techie expert — both of which provide flexible schedules for traveling. The truth is, there are plenty of ways you can make money while traveling the world. For those of you who are curious about which careers won’t limit your insatiable travel bug, here are ten of the best jobs for people who love to travel the world.

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR

Independent contractors like writers, editors, personal trainers, life coaches, and other self-employed positions that work on commission can be a great career for those looking to control their own schedules. For those self-motivated enough to work at it, being your own boss gives you the freedom to prioritize your own work schedule.

Before we started our travel blog, we took a couple of invaluable courses which helped us launch our business. I would recommend these courses to anybody who is considering starting their own business or blog.

BOOKKEEPER

Bookkeepers and auditors can now easily work from home thanks to technology, and is a great career for those looking to telecommute. Even in a more traditional office setting, business tends to come in heavily during certain times of the year when taxes are due, so taking a light hour workload during the “off-season” is customary.

WEB DESIGNER

Since it’s become so easy to access the internet no matter where you travel now, a web designer is an ideal job for the technomad who wants to bring his or her work with them. Maintain a creative day-job with an office in a new place every day.

Before you consider starting an online business, you will need a website and hosting. We recommendBluehost; not only are they inexpensive (get a discount and only pay $3.95 per month by signing up through our link), but they’re also built for WordPress, have one-click install, and offer a number of other handy website management tools.

DOMESTIC SERVICE PROVIDER

Nannies, dog walkers, housekeepers, and au pairs can give you plenty of opportunities to work and travel at the same time. Besides having part-time or flexible hours, nanny and au pair work is also a great way to become employed abroad, especially in countries in Western Europe.

RESTAURANT INDUSTRY EMPLOYEE

Working as a bartender or server is a perfect way to finance travel. The flexible hours can give you the freedom to explore, while an ability to speak English can be a hiring point if you’re applying to server jobs in restaurants looking to attract more English speaking tourists.

PUBLIC SERVICE

Working three twelve-hour days might seem stressful to some, but for those interested in working as a policeman, fireman, doctor, or registered nurse, there are benefits to the schedule. Many of these kinds of jobs offer four days of free time after the condensed, extended on-call shift, perfect for short excursions.

SEASONAL EMPLOYEE

As Rolf Potts pointed out in his traveler’s guide “Vagabonding,” you don’t need to be rich to travel full-time. Working seasonally for two or three months as a field worker, retail assistant, or hotel host can help you save up enough money to finance months of travel in advance.

FLIGHT ATTENDANT OR PILOT

A natural choice for those who like to travel is to take a job that inherently involves visiting place to place. Flight attendants, pilots, and other transportation experts are required to fly to new cities every day — which makes it much easier to visit an exotic destination between shifts.

TRAVEL EXPERT

If you’re especially passionate about a certain city or attraction, why not look for employment there as a tour guide, using your knowledge to help other travelers learn about the area? If you have a special skill set such as travel photography or rock climbing, becoming certified and offering lessons can be a great way to visit places like Yellowstone National Park, the Great Barrier Reef, or Havasu Falls where those skill sets are in demand.

TEFL TEACHER

Companies like Bridge TEFL and i-to-i offer certifications in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, a working position in high demand, especially in Asia. You can be hired full-time as an English teacher with a regular salary, and can even negotiate for your ticket and living situation to be financed by your institution — essentially getting paid to live in a foreign country.

These are just a few ways to travel and still make money. For more ideas on how others have realized their dreams of traveling the world while making a living, check out a couple of guides from our friend, Wandering Earl.

Tips To Travel the World for a Living

The million dollar question: “How do you make a living traveling the world?” It seems like a foreign idea to most people — like an unattainable dream. Dozens of travel bloggers have written about this subject, but I hope to bring a different perspective because we live in one of the most expensive cities in the world (well, a beach town near the city); we have rent to pay, monthly utility bills, and no plans to sell everything to become permanent nomads.

I did have plans to leave everything behind in my twenties, but as I’ve grown older and planted roots in our beloved beach town, that desire has diminished. I see the value in balance and have found this lifestyle currently makes me happy. Things may change in the future, but for now, I’m learning to be location independent and work for myself, but with a home base.

So how do I make enough money to be my own boss and get paid to travel the world? It’s a combination of things and often a juggling act that comes with some anxiety about where my next dollar will come from.

So far this year, I’ve brought in more income than I did in the previous year. That doesn’t mean I get to keep all of that money. There are expenses involved with running a successful blog, which include CPA fees, hiring freelancers, equipment insurance, Travel Insurance (we use World Nomads), new equipment, web hosting, and, of course, taxes. Not to mention the $320 per month I now get to pay for medical insurance.

Still, it’s more than I made working for someone else and I’m able to work from anywhere in the world, doing what I love!

HOW TO PREPARE FOR SELF-EMPLOYMENT

Getting started on your path to self-employment can be daunting. I spent years studying everything I could get my hands on. I’ve had to work extremely hard and sacrifice other things in my life in order to get to where I am today. There are a few courses that really helped me take the leap and trust in my own ability to leave my traditional job. I recommend these online courses to anybody who is considering working for themselves: Designed to Sell and Build Your Own Empire in 1 Year.

Working for yourself usually means your income will come from many different sources. Here are a few of mine.

THIS IS HOW I GET PAID TO TRAVEL THE WORLD

PHOTO SALES

Most people are not going to get rich from selling their photos, but it’s a welcome surprise when someone likes your images enough to purchase a canvas or print. I’m forever behind on adding current photos to our fine art portfolio, so it’s always a work in progress.

PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICES

We don’t actively seek out photography jobs, but we have been hired by a few hotels and San Diego restaurants to provide photographs for their marketing materials. Also, if a destination likes a particular photo or set of photos, they will occasionally offer to purchase them. In the past, we’ve photographed new construction homes and remodels for contractors, but our current photography portfolio includes mostly hotels, restaurants and travel destinations.

SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTING

I work with several online and local companies as a social media consultant. This isn’t always related to travel, so I’m able to learn about how different industries use social media. These projects range from short two-week gigs to several months.

BLOG ADVERTISING

We write sponsored posts and place the occasional banner ad on our blog. This income varies greatly from month to month because we are extremely picky about who we work with.

FREELANCE WRITING

I’ve written for a few sites over the years. This portion of my income has grown tremendously in the past couple of months as editors and website owners find our website through Google search. If freelance writing is your dream, you’ll want to read Become a Freelance Writer: Get Published and Get Paid.

REAL ESTATE & STOCK INVESTMENTS

I invest in real estate with family and have been involved in flipping one or two houses every year. I bought my first house at the age of 21 and have learned a great deal about real estate and stock investing from my father. Since I was a little girl, he’s always worked for himself and made smart investment decisions. This has also taught me that you win some and you lose some, but don’t ever invest more than you can handle losing.

PARTNERSHIPS WITH BRANDS

There have been a few brands over the years who have reached out to us to become brand ambassadors. These are usually long-term partnerships with companies who offer products or services which we already use or that we feel our readers would benefit from hearing about.

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS

We’re often invited to participate in paid social media campaigns. These are usually tourism boards, brands, or hotels who are looking for top bloggers and social influencers to help promote their destination.

THINKING ABOUT STARTING A TRAVEL BLOG?

As you can see, living the life of a professional travel blogger can be overwhelming at times. You need to learn how to juggle a million things, stay on top of writing posts, share often on social media and be able to produce several different income streams.

When I’m not traveling, I’m usually tethered to my laptop, trying hard to fight the urge to spend all day at the beach (which is only a five-minute walk from our house). Multiple deadlines in one week can get overwhelming and it often feels like I’m never caught up on work.

In addition to creating content, we are always making sure our site is running smoothly and we’re currently in the process of switching our site from Textpattern to WordPress. Thankfully, WordPress has themes like StudioPress to make the switch a little less painful. We’ve been through our fair share of hosting companies and have found Blue Host to be the most affordable hosting for bloggers.

If you are interested in starting a travel blog and you are not sure where to start, I bought the Travel Blog Success course about six months after we launched the blog and I can’t recommend it enough. The value I’ve gotten out of this course continues today, four years later, with the forum and Facebook group where I’m able to share ideas with other professional travel bloggers on how to make money in this ever-changing industry. For a more in-depth look at travel blogging, read: how to start a successful travel blog.

While I love my job and wouldn’t change it for the world, becoming self-employed was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. We both worked eighty plus hours per week for at least two years after launching our blog. Even when I started seeing an income after one year, I kept my part-time job because the money is never steady. Some months I make $500 and some months I make over $10,000. I was a basket case the first few months of full-time travel blogging, so I’ve had to train myself to trust that things will work out when those slow months inevitably occur.

Self-employment is definitely not for everyone. Luckily, there are plenty of jobs that can be done remotely these days. Here are the ten best jobs for people who love to travel.

Best Travel Tips After 10 Years of Traveling the World

After over ten years of consistent travel, I’ve definitely learned my fair share of lessons. Like the time I was robbed on a train because I let my guard down or the time Scott and I showed up at the Bozeman Airport only to find that we no longer had a car rental.

Some of these travel mishaps can be avoided and some of them are just a part of traveling. You simply cannot plan for everything. However, keeping a few important things in mind will make your travels much easier. So, in no particular order, here are The best travel tips:

BE FLEXIBLE

We always plan for delays and try not to get upset when things inevitably go wrong. Patience is extremely important when traveling!

MAKE A LIST

About a week or so before each trip, I make a mental list of items I don’t want to forget — which I WILL forget if I don’t write them down. I’ve learned that when I think of something, I need to write it down.

LEARN COMMON PHRASES OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE

A simple “Please,” “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry” in the local language goes a long way. I also like to learn the word for beer, but that’s just me.

DON’T FORGET AN EXTRA CAMERA BATTERY (OR TWO)

Have you ever gotten to that epic sunset photo spot and realized your camera battery is dead and you don’t have a back up? I try to bring at least three camera batteries on all of our trips so that we don’t miss out on that perfect shot.

ALWAYS BRING A SARONG

Sarongs can be used as a wrap when you are cold, a towel, a curtain, or a piece of clothing that can be worn dozens of different ways. Solid colors are great, but if you want something that stands out, I love this sarong.

ALWAYS BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE

A medical emergency can wipe out your savings — or even worse. We use and trust World Nomads for travel insurance.

MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OF IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

In my early twenties, I was very good about keeping a copy of my passport in a separate bag from my actual passport. Then I got lazy. Recently, a friend of mine lost her passport at the airport. She was told that if she had brought a copy of it and extra passport photos they would have let her travel. Since she didn’t, she was forced to forfeit a $2,000 flight and a week in Europe. I now carry a copy with me.

PACK EXTRA UNDERWEAR

Undies are small and it’s always a good idea to have a few extra pairs in case of emergencies. Another option is to pack these quick-dry underwear so you can easily wash them on the road.

PRE-PLAN YOUR OUTFITS

I’m a lazy, last-minute packer, so I’ve spent too many trips with all black or all grey outfits because I didn’t plan my outfits before packing. I look back at photos and wish I had put more effort into packing.

PUT ELECTRONICS, MEDICATIONS, TOOTHBRUSH, AND AN EXTRA PAIR OF UNDERWEAR IN YOUR CARRY-ON

A few important items should always go in your carry-on. A swimsuit is also a good idea if you are going on a beach vacation. You can buy most of these things if your bag gets lost, but having them in your carry-on will save you money and time if your luggage gets lost in transit.

ENQUIRE ABOUT THE PRICE BEFORE YOU TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

It’s a good idea to ask about the price before you hop on a bus, guagua, or other form of public transportation. We learned our lesson in the Dominican Republic.

BRING LOTION IN YOUR CARRY-ON

I fill both sides of a contact lens case with hydrating lotion (I use this all-natural hydrating lotion) because they rarely have it in the lavatories and airplane cabins are exceptionally dry.

STAY HYDRATED ON PLANES

I know it’s fun to get drunk at 30,000 feet, but it’s also much easier to get dehydrated. Staying hydrated — especially on long-haul flights — makes it easier to get over jet lag too.

PUT YOUR ROOM NUMBER & HOTEL ADDRESS IN YOUR PHONE

Am I the only one who can’t remember my hotel room number?? There has to be others out there like me.

ASK THE LOCALS

We always ask the locals to point us to the best restaurants, awesome spots to watch the sunset, the best coffee shops, etc. I do like to tell people what type of food I’m craving though. I’ve been led to some interesting restaurants that wouldn’t have been my first choice.

BEWARE OF FREE PUBLIC WIFI

I always try to avoid logging into bank accounts or entering any passwords while I’m using free public WIFI at a place like an airport. I’m not as strict about it once I’ve gotten to my hotel, especially if they have a password for their wifi.

ALERT YOUR BANK AND CREDIT CARD COMPANY OF YOUR TRAVEL PLANS

This is a great habit to get into if you don’t want your credit card company or bank to put a hold on your card while you are overseas.

WEAR SUNSCREEN

My face moisturizer has SPF. This is just something I do every day, but it’s especially important while traveling.

TAKE PLENTY OF PHOTOS

They make the best souvenirs!

KEEP AN OPEN MIND

Don’t judge other customs. You are a visitor. Be respectful.

LEAVE ROOM FOR SPONTANEITY

Don’t plan your entire itinerary ahead of time. It’s tempting, I know, but those unplanned moments while traveling can be the best memories.

LET SOMEONE AT HOME KNOW YOUR PLANS

This is extremely important when traveling solo, but it’s still a good idea no matter how many people are in your travel group.
SEPARATE YOUR PERSONAL ITEMS

When Scott and I travel together, we mix our personal items into each checked bag (assuming we have more than one). That way if one of our bags gets lost, we both still have some clothing and personal items.

SEPARATE YOUR SOURCES OF MONEY

Don’t keep all of your cash and cards in one spot. I usually hide some cash and a back up credit/bank card in a separate bag — not the same bag as my wallet.
TRAVEL FIRST AID KIT

We pack up a small first aid kit with aspirin, Benedryl, cold meds, Tums, cough drops, bandages,Activated Charcoal pills (these are a life saver for traveler’s diarrhea and minor allergic reactions), Neosporin, and other things that we may not always have easy access to when traveling. J&J sells an inexpensive mini first aid kit.
LOVE TO TRAVEL?

Want to know how to travel the world? I’ve put together a page full of useful travel resources with tips and tricks I’ve learned after consistently traveling for over ten years. Learn how I make a living while traveling, how to find the best prices on flights and accommodation, how to save money for travel, how to start a travel blog, and more.

Tips To Stay Stylish While Traveling

Packing clothes for a trip can be an incredible hassle. With many airlines charging growing fees for checked baggage, packing light has become not just an issue of space but of economics, too. In my twenties, the only thing I cared about was how much my bag weighed. Now, in my thirties, I carefully consider what goes into my suitcase — so I can save luggage space and still remain stylish.

TRAVEL STYLE: HOW TO LOOK STYLISH WHILE TRAVELING

PACK MOSTLY BASICS & A FEW STATEMENT PIECES

About 70% of the clothes you pack should be basics, not statement pieces. Dark blue jeans, a black skirt,a cute sundress, shorts or a warm coat, depending on the local climate, and a few dressy-casual blousescan all be mixed and matched to fit any occasion. By stocking the majority of your suitcase with basics, you remove the need to pack a different set of clothes for each activity.

For example, wearing a plain black or white tank top with some dark jeans or shorts can be perfect for physical activities like hiking, biking, or just exploring a city by foot. That same tank top, when tucked into a black skirt and covered with a cardigan and a scarf, becomes a cute and flirty outfit for a dinner in town.

DRESSES

While most of my clothes are solid colors while traveling, I do have one or two colorful dresses and pairs of shoes to brighten up my outfits. For instance, this dress goes with me almost everywhere.

From the vineyards of Emilia Romagna to the beaches in Mexico, this cotton dress pairs perfectly with a cardigan (I love this cardigan) or long-sleeved solid top — and it doesn’t wrinkle in my suitcase.

SHOES

Another way to spice up an outfit is by packing a colorful pair of shoes to go with solid colors. These are my favorite travel shoes and I get compliments every single time I wear them — even from men! They go with jeans, shorts, dresses — basically any solid-colored outfit — and they have an extremely cushioned insole with amazing arch support. I found them at a surf shop in San Diego, but they sell them cheaper on Amazon!

Boots are another great item to liven up an outfit. Not all boots pack well, but I found a cute pair of knee-high boots that don’t take up too much space in my luggage. I normally end up wearing them on the plane, anyway, because they are so comfortable.

These ankle boots are a good option if it’s too hot for knee-high boots and you prefer more of a heel.

SCARVES

I’m slightly addicted to buying cute scarves and have a drawer full of them at home. It can be tough to pick just one scarf to bring on a trip, so if I’m traveling somewhere cold, I might sneak two or three into my bag.

WORK WITH LAYERS

Layering is the key to dressing your outfits up or down. A little black dress for that night on the town, for example, becomes a lot more appropriate for day wear when it’s topped with a shrug or sweater and worn over dark stockings. Similarly, dark jeans with a plain blouse can quickly become dressed up with a well-fitted colorful jacket or long scarf used as a shawl.

DRESS UP YOUR OUTFITS WITH ACCESSORIES

Like with your clothing, keeping your accessories fairly simple means they will fit more easily with any outfit. Small gold or silver studs, a nice pendant, and your favorite charm bracelet or watch should cover most of your needs, whether you’re going dressy or casual. You would be surprised how easy it is to do a lot with just a few accessories!

I have a few cuff bracelets that always stay packed in my toiletries bag — so I never forget them when packing for a trip. Turquoise and silver bracelets go great with solid-colored clothing.

If you need something flashier or realize you have forgotten something at home, there’s always the opportunity to shop for souvenirs at your destination. Whether it’s a necklace, sunglasses, or a new scarf, chances are that the place you’re going has its own unique style. Purchasing your accessories at your destination can be a fun way of incorporating that local style into your wardrobe, as well as getting a nice memento to bring home with you.

CONSIDER YOUR DESTINATION

Obviously if you’re going to Yakutsk, Russia, you don’t want to pack shorts and a swimsuit. Similarly, a trip to Mauritius is not the place for heavy winter coats and turtlenecks. I always joke that it’s easy for me to pack for a tropical destination — I just throw in a few sundresses and five bikinis.

It’s much more difficult to pack light for a cold weather destination, so this is where layering really comes in handy. Don’t forget scarves, gloves, a beanie, and warm socks. This slouchy knit oversized beanie keeps me warm and — depending on what color you choose — it can brighten up an outfit.

Considering your destination while packing involves more than just packing for the geographical climate — it also means being aware of the cultural and political climate of your destination, too.

If you’re visiting Istanbul or another location whose culture sports a more conservative style, be respectful and wear longer shirts, skirts, or pants. While it will matter less in more cosmopolitan areas, in rural areas your different style of dress might be considered rude or inappropriate. Research your location before you pack to get an idea of what other travelers have found works best.

LOVE TO TRAVEL?

Want to know how to travel the world? I’ve put together a huge page full of useful travel resources with tips and tricks I’ve learned after consistently traveling for over five years. Learn how I make a living while traveling, how to find the best prices on flights and accommodation, how to save money for travel,how to start a travel blog, and more.

Tips To Make The Most Of Reward To Get Free Flights

The airline miles game has changed. Here’s what you need to know.

If you think frequent-flier programs are too complicated to figure out, you’re not alone. A study in June by the U.S. Department of Transportation found the programs so byzantine that even its own analysts had trouble evaluating them.

And recent changes haven’t exactly helped travelers. In August, American Airlines joined fellow “legacy” carriers United and Delta in rewarding passengers for dollars spent, not miles flown; Southwest and JetBlue have similar systems.

The shift makes it much harder for casual fliers to rack up miles. Take a JFK–LAX roundtrip: Until recently, it would have earned a non-elite flier 4,950 miles. Under the new rules, on a typical $500 fare, including $60 in taxes, you’ll get only 2,200 miles for the same trip.

Scoring freebies now takes more strategic thinking, both in accumulating mileage and cashing in. Use these tips to get the best payoff.

Skip the upgrades

Redeeming points for upgrades used to be a good deal, but the math has changed. “Airlines have been adding co-pays to a lot of upgrades,” says Ben Schlappig of PointsPros.com; those can run up to $500. And some carriers don’t let you upgrade with miles if you’ve bought the cheapest tickets. That undercuts the deal.

For a business-class award ticket, a better strategy is to just use miles to buy the trip. “The mileage difference is often minimal between upgrading and outright booking,” Schlappig says.

Break it down

Most airlines let you cash in miles two ways: on “saver” tickets that take fewer miles but have limited availability, and anytime versions that can cost twice as many points but have more flexible dates. When you’re booking travel, think in terms of two one-way legs, says Mike Choi, co-founder of IFlyWithMiles.com, a mileage booking service. Even if you get only one at the lower rate, you’ll still end up with more miles to spend next time.

Go long

You get the best bang for your miles by using them for the most expensive routes and seats. “The sweet spot is international premium business class,” Choi says.

That’s because you pay much less for higher-end options, relatively speaking, when spending miles instead of cash. For instance: A roundtrip business-class ticket to Paris on United costs 115,000 miles—less than five times what you’d pay for a cross-country U.S. economy-class trip. But if you pay cash, that Paris getaway could run almost 17 times the U.S. fare.

Swap partners

Alaska Airlines still uses the old-fashioned, miles-flown points system, but it partners with Delta and American—so capitalize on that relationship if you can. Accumulate miles on Alaska the old way, then cash in points for a trip on its partners. Note you’ll be limited to “saver” tickets, so use this strategy when your dates are flexible.Target your plastic

With miles getting harder to accrue, airline credit cards are now a critical part of the equation. You can still find sign-up bonuses of 50,000 miles or so, says George Hobica, president of Airfarewatchdog.com. Just one key caveat: Some cards, like the Platinum Delta SkyMiles American Express, limit those bonuses to people who have never had the card in the past. Be sure to check terms and conditions before applying, he says.

Take the cash

Infrequent travelers should rethink airline loyalty altogether, whether booking travel or using credit cards. Domestic travelers who spend less than $8,600 on trips a year can earn more rewards with a cash-back card than a travel card, NerdWallet found earlier this year.

Choi sets a slightly different threshold, suggesting cash-back cards for anyone who won’t travel enough to reach elite status. “For domestic travel,” he says, “you’re usually better off just saving up the cash back and buying the cheapest fare available.”

Tips To Expect You’re Traveling When Labor Day

Travel over Labor Day weekend is expected to be up 10 percent compared to last year, according to TripAdvisor.

Sixty percent of people traveling for the holiday will be driving, while airports and airlines are preparing for 15.6 million passengers, according to Airlines for America.

FlightAware showed some delays already accumulating in New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington D.C. before noon on Friday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expecting increased traffic along the U.S.-Canada border, and is warning drivers to plan for additional travel time.

Meanwhile Hurricane Hermine’s lingering effects will impact millions of people’s plans: “This storm presents challenges for travel and tourism along coastal areas, but if you’re aware of it, you can put a plan in action,” Mary Glackin, head of Science and Forecast Operation at The Weather Company, told Travel + Leisure.

Here is the info you need to be prepared as you head into a hopefully relaxing Labor Day weekend.

Weather
If you’re on the East Coast, expect a stormy, wet weekend. Hurricane Hermine hit Florida early Friday, and although the storm weakened upon making landfall, it will bring rain and winds up the coast over the weekend.

“The storm is projected to track up through Georgia and the Carolinas, then into Virginia and Delaware,” said Glackin. “Finally it will move offshore and linger to bring impact will the northeastern coastal regions.”

By Monday, the storm should be winding down off shore, but could make for rough surf and windy conditions for beachgoers.

Road conditions
AAA has decided Labor Day does not warrant a driving forecast the way other holidays—like Thanksgiving and July Fourth—do. But the organization did release a notice about gas prices, which are expected to rise.

Motorists headed to areas with heavy rains should remember to drive cautiously—getting to your Labor Day party late is better than getting in an accident.

And if you don’t already have a map app, Google Maps or Waze could be your best friend this weekend.

Airlines
Several airlines have issued fee waivers for travel this weekend. A bummer if you were really looking forward to that Labor Day getaway, but good news if your plans are flexible and staying where you are sounds preferable to facing potential delays.

Tips to Score Free Flights

The airline miles game has changed. Here’s what you need to know.

If you think frequent-flier programs are too complicated to figure out, you’re not alone. A study in June by the U.S. Department of Transportation found the programs so byzantine that even its own analysts had trouble evaluating them.

And recent changes haven’t exactly helped travelers. In August, American Airlines joined fellow “legacy” carriers United and Delta in rewarding passengers for dollars spent, not miles flown; Southwest and JetBlue have similar systems.

The shift makes it much harder for casual fliers to rack up miles. Take a JFK–LAX roundtrip: Until recently, it would have earned a non-elite flier 4,950 miles. Under the new rules, on a typical $500 fare, including $60 in taxes, you’ll get only 2,200 miles for the same trip.

Scoring freebies now takes more strategic thinking, both in accumulating mileage and cashing in. Use these tips to get the best payoff.

Skip the upgrades

Redeeming points for upgrades used to be a good deal, but the math has changed. “Airlines have been adding co-pays to a lot of upgrades,” says Ben Schlappig of PointsPros.com; those can run up to $500. And some carriers don’t let you upgrade with miles if you’ve bought the cheapest tickets. That undercuts the deal.

For a business-class award ticket, a better strategy is to just use miles to buy the trip. “The mileage difference is often minimal between upgrading and outright booking,” Schlappig says.

Break it down

Most airlines let you cash in miles two ways: on “saver” tickets that take fewer miles but have limited availability, and anytime versions that can cost twice as many points but have more flexible dates. When you’re booking travel, think in terms of two one-way legs, says Mike Choi, co-founder of IFlyWithMiles.com, a mileage booking service. Even if you get only one at the lower rate, you’ll still end up with more miles to spend next time.

Go long

You get the best bang for your miles by using them for the most expensive routes and seats. “The sweet spot is international premium business class,” Choi says.

That’s because you pay much less for higher-end options, relatively speaking, when spending miles instead of cash. For instance: A roundtrip business-class ticket to Paris on United costs 115,000 miles—less than five times what you’d pay for a cross-country U.S. economy-class trip. But if you pay cash, that Paris getaway could run almost 17 times the U.S. fare.

Swap partners

Alaska Airlines still uses the old-fashioned, miles-flown points system, but it partners with Delta and American—so capitalize on that relationship if you can. Accumulate miles on Alaska the old way, then cash in points for a trip on its partners. Note you’ll be limited to “saver” tickets, so use this strategy when your dates are flexible.

Target your plastic

With miles getting harder to accrue, airline credit cards are now a critical part of the equation. You can still find sign-up bonuses of 50,000 miles or so, says George Hobica, president of Airfarewatchdog.com. Just one key caveat: Some cards, like the Platinum Delta SkyMiles American Express, limit those bonuses to people who have never had the card in the past. Be sure to check terms and conditions before applying, he says.

Take the cash

Infrequent travelers should rethink airline loyalty altogether, whether booking travel or using credit cards. Domestic travelers who spend less than $8,600 on trips a year can earn more rewards with a cash-back card than a travel card, NerdWallet found earlier this year.

Choi sets a slightly different threshold, suggesting cash-back cards for anyone who won’t travel enough to reach elite status. “For domestic travel,” he says, “you’re usually better off just saving up the cash back and buying the cheapest fare available.”

Some Reasons Why Need Meditating On Vacations

The positive effects last far longer than your vacation.

It’s good for the mind, body, and soul to escape with some relaxation on the beach. But you might want to consider meditating while you’ll away to give yourself even more of a healthy boost.

Vacationers who meditate while on vacation may be less inclined toward depression and stress, according to new research from scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; the University of California, San Francisco; and Harvard Medical School. They found that a resort vacation provides a strong and immediate benefit to stress and well-being — especially when you meditate while you’re there.

The research studied 94 healthy women, aged 30 to 60. Participants stayed at the same resort in California for six days; while half were simply on vacation, the other half joined a meditation training program with mantra meditation, yoga and self-reflection exercises. Researchers also studied a group of 30 experienced meditators already at the resort.

The researchers examined gene network expressions changes to determine the effects of vacation and meditation. The novice meditators, experienced meditators, and regular vacationers alike all showed signs of improvement in stress response and immune function during their time at the resort. Both novice and experienced meditators, however, showed these improvements much longer after their vacations ended — as long as ten months after the vacation.
While the meditators showed improvements far than non-meditation vacationers — according to metrics like blood samples and self-reported well-being surveys — it’s unclear whether these enduring effects are due to continued practice or psychological changes in how people view their lives.

The researchers also pointed out how “impressive” they found the significant changes in such a short time spent in a relaxing environment.

“The benefit we experience from meditation isn’t strictly psychological; there is a clear and quantifiable change in how our bodies function,” said Harvard researcher Rudolph Tanzi in the news release.

Another takeaway from the study is that workers should not feel guilty about taking vacation time. In fact, this and other research indicates that vacations have positive, quantifiable effects on productivity at the office. For instance, a study from Intuit found that 82% of small business owned reported increased job performance after taking a vacation.

Tips To Stay Beautiful While Traveling

Hydrating sprays, dry shampoos, moisturizing face masks.

Travel may be good for the soul, but between moisture-zapping airplane air and aggressive sun exposure, travel has the potential to be downright awful for your hair and skin. Luckily, there are lots of tips and tricks to keep your skin glowing and your hair, well,cooperative. Read on for hacks for looking (really, ridiculously) good while on the go.

In the Air:

Eyebrow maintenance

Airplane bathroom lights are notoriously horrifying, revealing every single line, hair, and pore. Instead of picking at your skin (don’t do it!), use that light to your advantage to give your eyebrows some love. That light will make every misplaced hair obvious. Give yourself a time limit—if you spend more than three or four minutes, not only are you probably over-plucking, you’re also hogging the facilities.

Foot spa

Use your time in the sky to take care of your feet (which will surely be working overtime as soon as you land). Slather on a rich foot cream, like Eucerin Plus or Bliss Foot Patrol, and then slip on a pair of aloe-infused or moisturizing gel socks (Dr. Scholl’s, Ulta, and many other brands sell them). Leave them on for the duration of the flight and step off the plane with feet that feel ready to walk across Dubrovnik or the Great Wall. While you’re at it, give your eyes and lips some special treatment with a hydrating lip balm and a dose of a rich eye cream like Caudalíe S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue.
Facemasks

Air travel can be a nightmare for skin, no matter what skin type you have. If you can handle being that person on the plane, it’s smart to use a sheet facemask like the SK II Facial Treatment Mask or the Innisfree It’s Real Facial Mask Sheets. Simply slap one of the papery masks on your face, ignore any one staring at you (it’s a good time for a cat nap), and let the mask hydrate, clarify, and tone your skin while you fly. For something subtler, apply a gel mask that goes on like a thick cream. Sephora has travel-ready options for most skin concerns, which are easy to surreptitiously slather on.

Hydrating Water Spray

Fight dry air by packing in your own water mister. These tiny spritzers offer moisture after a long flight, and can help you wake up after an overnight haul. Evian and Avène both make great travel-sized options. Don’t forget to hydrate the rest of you, too, by drinking plenty of water while you fly.

On the Ground:

Dry shampoo

If you’re rushing out the door of your hotel to grab a ferry to Estonia or an early morning tour of the Tate Modern, you may not have time for a full shower. Enter the minor miracle that is dry shampoo, which soaks up grease, volumizes limp strands, and leaves hair smelling fresh. Even better, if you want your blowout or your color to last for the duration of your trip, dry shampoo can help by cutting out the deleterious effects of water and shampoo on your style.

Multi-use products

Space is a premium when you travel, so make your cosmetics do double duty by filling your makeup kit with beauty balms that provide serious sunscreen as well as skin perfecting, two-in-one lip and cheek color, like Nars’s The Multiple. Another multi-tasker, Korres Milk Protein 3-in-1 Cleansing Emulsion, can remove makeup, cleanse, and tone skin, and Smith’s Rosebud Salve can be used on lips, cuticles, split ends, and more. And don’t forget to use what’s already in your kit like lipstick as blush and eyeliner smudged into eye shadow.

Silk or satin pillowcase

Packing your own pillowcase can radically alter your traveling lifestyle. Beauty sleep is real, and you’ll probably get a better night’s sleep knowing you are sleeping on your own soft pillowcase, and not whatever much-used one the hotel supplies. Second, satin and silk are both good for your hair and your skin, that can help prevent wrinkles, alleviate hair frizz, and keep skin and hair, because they don’t draw out moisture like cotton. Plus, satin pillowcases can make an adult hostel feel like a five-star hotel.
Colorful lipstick

The right tube of lipstick can take an outfit from average to glamorous jetsetter with a single swipe. Throw on some red or bright pink lipstick and even your favorite beat-up jeans and t-shirt combo can look downright chic, quickly taking outfits from day to night.

Cleansing wipes

When you’re too tired from sight-seeing to give your face a proper wash, opt for cleansing wipes like Pixl’s Makeup Melting Cleansing Cloths and the Body Shop’s Tea Tree Oil Cleansing Wipes.