Surviving the Long Haul Journey: In-Flight Survival Tips (Part 1)

Flying used to be an exciting adventure – rather than just mere survival – especially for long haul flights.    The reality of the airline industry is centered on functionality, as they cut personal space to add more seats, and reduce service in the main cabin.

This has led to a test of endurance – a test that I want to help you pass with “flying” colors.  With some advance planning, your long haul international flight doesn’t have to be a 10+ hour nightmare in a horribly cramped prison-like seat.

In my last post, Surviving the Long Haul Journey: Choosing Your Flight, I shared how your flight selection can have a large impact on your flight experience.  In this post, I share my tried and true In-Flight Survival Tips.

Financial disclosure:  I have no connections with any of the named entities discussed in this article.

Dressing for Success

Wear comfortable clothes, and dress in layers.  Airplanes can be very cold while in-flight, but very warm on the ground before the engines are running.  To be comfortable in both scenarios, dress in layers.

Be prepared for the air conditioning system to not operate as expected.  Your ideal temperature may not be everyone else’s ideal temperature.  We were once on an international flight on a very warm plane.  I had worn a long sleeve shirt as my base layer, and I could not get comfortable the whole flight. Lesson learned.

Your travel outfit should double as pajamas, but still look presentable.  Please do not be that person wearing inappropriate sleepwear on board!  You could change into your pajamas onboard, but that increases your carry-on luggage bulk.

Seat Selections

If you have two people traveling Continue reading Surviving the Long Haul Journey: In-Flight Survival Tips (Part 1)

Surviving the Long Haul Journey: Choosing Your Flight

Flying used to be more about an elegant journey – rather than just mere survival – especially for long haul flights.  People used to dress up for an airplane flight.  Now, it is more about functionality and endurance as airlines cut personal space to add more seats, and reduce the number of flight attendants in coach.

This has led to a different flight experience – one that I want to help you navigate.  With some advance planning, your long haul international flight does not have to be a 10+ hour nightmare in a horribly cramped prison-like seat.

Choosing Your Flight

Survival begins before you purchase your plane tickets.  When I am searching for airline tickets – for myself, or friends who are trusting me with their travel plans – I start my search on Continue reading Surviving the Long Haul Journey: Choosing Your Flight

10 Must-Have Smartphone Apps for the Savvy Traveler

 

Smartphones are indispensable in our daily lives.  While in our country, I can check the weather, plan a route home that avoids traffic, research restaurant reviews, and update my Facebook account (not while driving of course) without thinking twice about how to connect to a network.

Having the right smartphone apps can enhance your travel experiences.  As I have shared in previous blogs (7 Tips to Save Your Cell Phone During International Travel and 8 Must-Have Smartphone Communication Apps for Travel), it is wise to leave your smartphone in ‘Airplane’ mode while out of the country.

Therefore, it is very important that phone apps used while overseas work offline, or with Wi-Fi.  Here, I share some more apps I have found particularly useful while traveling.

Currency App Pic

Currency – (Free) or XE Currency (Free).

Having a foreign exchange app is important to understand how much you’re actually getting for your dollar.  Before traveling, check the exchange rate of the countries that you will be visiting.  Updated currency exchange rates can be updated with a Wi-Fi connection while abroad.  Right now, the euro is incredibly low against the US dollar.  Time to go to Europe!! Continue reading 10 Must-Have Smartphone Apps for the Savvy Traveler

8 Must-Have Smartphone Communication Apps for Travel

Smartphones have made our daily lives immeasurably more convenient.  Using GPS to map a route to the closest Starbucks, using Google to research Risso’s dolphins, uploading your pictures to Instagram – sometimes we may take the ease of obtaining information for granted.

Having the right smartphone apps can enhance your travel experiences.  As I have discussed in a previous blog (7 Tips to Save Your Cell Phone During International Travel), it is wise to leave your smartphone in ‘airplane’ mode while out of the country.

It is therefore very important that phone apps used while overseas work offline, or with Wi-Fi.  Here is a list of communication apps I have found particularly useful.

Google Apps

1.  Google Translate:  (FREE) Much improved, Google Translate can translate between 90 languages, and read aloud phrases in the chosen language.  In addition, Google Translate now uses your smartphone camera to read written signs, and can instantly translate them on your smartphone screen.

This feature works instantly between English and: French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.  This app translates 36 total languages when you take a picture of the signs.

I used Google Translate Continue reading 8 Must-Have Smartphone Communication Apps for Travel

10 Money-Smart Cash Tips To Know Before You Travel

 

Financial disclosure:  I have no connections with any of the financial entities discussed in this article.

I love shopping while I’m traveling, and understanding how to get the best exchange rate for euros, Pounds, and Kroners allows me to get the most for my money.  Today, I will be sharing money-saving Cash tips that can be especially helpful for international (and domestic) travel.

Related Savvy International Traveler Posts in this series:

 Nothing speaks louder than Cash

Negotiating foreign currencies used to be much more of a challenge than it is today.  With so many countries in the Eurozone, there is one currency for much of Western Europe.  In this modern age, it is much less necessary to ‘change money’ into foreign currency.  However, there are still times when having cash is very useful.

Here are some savvy traveler’s tips to avoid fees and get the most value out of your vacation dollar.

1.  Bring some cash – even US Dollars are fine. Some cash is better than no cash, whatever currency it may be.  In some countries, they will accept US Dollars even if they do not take credit cards.  They may not give you the best exchange rate, though, so be aware and check your math!

Continue reading 10 Money-Smart Cash Tips To Know Before You Travel

10 Money-Smart Credit Card Tips To Know Before You Travel

 

I love shopping, and understanding how to get the best exchange rate for euros, Pounds, and Kroners allows me to get the most for my money.  Today, I will be sharing money-saving credit card tips that can be especially helpful for international (and domestic) travel.

Related Posts:  In Part 1 of this series, I covered  7 Tips to Save Your  Cell Phone During International Travel.

Disclaimer: I have no financial connections with any banks mentioned in this post.

(Plastic) Money Makes the World Go Round

Negotiating foreign currencies used to be much more of a challenge than it is today.  With so many countries in the Eurozone, there is one currency for much of Western Europe.  Hotels, restaurants, and larger stores in most countries accept credit cards.  In this modern age, it is much less necessary to ‘change money’ into foreign currency.

Here are some savvy traveler’s tips to avoid fees and get the most value out of your vacation dollar.

  1. Get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

Many credit cards charge 2%-3% in foreign transaction fees on every purchase.  Why pay these bank fees when there are an increasing number of credit cards that have no foreign transaction fees?  Call your bank to see if a card you already have is foreign transaction fee-free. Continue reading 10 Money-Smart Credit Card Tips To Know Before You Travel

7 Tips to Save Your Cell Phone During International Travel

 

Part of what I love about international travel is seeing a new perspective, and interacting with people from different cultures.

As Americans, we are often sheltered in our understanding of the world, and our role in it.  Traveling internationally as cultural ambassadors and seeking to understand local customs helps us better understand who we are, and better appreciate the blessings that we have in our lives.

Experiencing new countries’ cultures has helped me connect with people by finding common ground.  After traveling through Istanbul and Kusadasi in Turkey, I was able to connect with a Turkish hotel clerk in Boston.

It was wonderful seeing his eyes light up when I mentioned that I had been to his home country, and truly enjoyed my experiences there.  Over the years, I have had similar connections with many others.

Why do Americans not travel internationally as much as people from other nationalities?  Continue reading 7 Tips to Save Your Cell Phone During International Travel

The 411 on the TSA 3-1-1: Are TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry Right For You?

(Part 4 of 4)

The 411 on the TSA 3-1-1:  Are TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry Right For You?

(Financial Disclosure – I have no financial associations with TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry.)

This is the fourth article in my Blog series: “The 411 on the TSA 3-1-1.”  In this segment, I will review Trusted Traveler programs and whether they may be right for you.

First, a couple TSA screening tips:

Travel Tip #16:  Wear comfortable, easy-to-remove shoes for your flight.  You should be able to walk – or possibly run to your next gate to catch a tight connecting flight – in these shoes through the airport if necessary.

 Travel Tip #17: Going through airport security, Continue reading The 411 on the TSA 3-1-1: Are TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry Right For You?

The 411 on the TSA 3-1-1: Travel Assistance for Wounded Warriors, Military Leisure Travel, and Gate Passes for Military Families

(Part 3 of 4)

The 411 on the TSA 3-1-1:

Travel Assistance for Wounded Warriors, Military Leisure Travel, and Gate Passes for Military Families

This is the third part of my Blog series entitled “The 411 on the TSA  3-1-1.”  In Part 1 of this Blog article, I shared tips on the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule, including exemptions such as medical liquids, breast milk / infant formula, and juice.  In Part 2 of this Blog article, I shared additional tips on traveling with children, and traveling with a medical disability.

This segment actually is not specifically about the 3-1-1 liquid rules, but will highlight specific TSA tips for members of our military, including leisure travel and deployment tips.

We honor our military service members for their sacrifice in defending our country and our freedom.  I am so glad to learn of accommodations that the TSA has in place to assist our military travelers.

The TSA offers special assistance to “Injured, wounded service members, veterans and Wounded Warriors.”

Military members may contact: Continue reading The 411 on the TSA 3-1-1: Travel Assistance for Wounded Warriors, Military Leisure Travel, and Gate Passes for Military Families

Traveling with Children, and Support  for Travelers with Disabilities

(Part 2 of 4)

The 411 on the TSA 3-1-1:  Traveling with Children, and Support  for Travelers with Disabilities

This is the second part of my Blog series entitled “The 411 on the TSA      3-1-1.”  In Part 1 of this Blog article, I shared tips on the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule, including exemptions such as medical liquids, breast milk / infant formula, and juice.

Traveling with children can be a joy as you share world experiences and connect with family members to create wonderful memories.  It can also pose additional challenges, and being informed can help make the process go much smoother.

If this is your child’s first flight, explaining the screening process ahead of time is helpful to make the experience as seamless as possible.  As a rule, Continue reading Traveling with Children, and Support  for Travelers with Disabilities

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