For as long as there have been pants stitched with pockets, there have been people trying to pick 'em. They scheme in every city—skills sharp, techniques tested, methods honed to a science—for ways to separate unsuspecting tourists from their cash. And the only way to keep them from ruining your big trip is to beat them at their own game; here's your guide to their secrets.
A: When to book flights is a question that torments even the most experienced of travelers. Who hasn’t sat in front of the computer wondering: Do I wait for a better deal, or is this the best I’m going to see?
There are no hard-and-fast rules for hitting the right booking window. A recent report from online travel agency CheapAir found that, historically, the lowest average fares have been available seven weeks before departure. Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), which manages airline ticket sales for U.S. travel agencies, conducted a similar study and located the best airfares six weeks prior to flying. But that window changes dramatically depending on where you are traveling—and when.
Being in a strange place can be invigorating and eye-opening. Some of my favorite travel memories include an early-morning run along the Danube River in Budapest, touring the temples of Angkor Wat, and having late-night drinks and steak in Uruguay.
There have also been plenty of business trips where the only sites I saw were those visible from my hotel room window, because I was too busy running from one meeting to another.
Regardless of what type of trip you’re on, there are several steps you can take to ease an overseas journey. Here are 12 of my favorite international travel tips:
Hotel business cards. The first thing I do when arriving at a hotel overseas is take a business card from the front desk. That way, if I ever get lost, I have the name and address of the hotel in the local language. Large populations around the world speak English, but having something in a local language that I can show locals and taxi drivers is an extra bit of insurance.
Traveling by air can leave even the most seasoned traveler feeling helpless and trapped by the system. Between security lines and flight delays, there are many things out of our control when flying. But it doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. Smart travelers can take several steps before they fly to help solve any problems that creep up.
These five tips will make flying easier, even on the worst days:
Getting the Best Seat
A friend of mine who frequently flies between New York and Johannesburg on a South African Airways Airbus A340-600 always tries to get seat 73D. Why? It doesn't cost any more than other coach seats, but because of an emergency crew hatch on the floor there is no seat 72D. That means extra feet—not inches—of legroom.
Q: Any advice on flying with skis? —Hitomi Ueda, via e-mail
A: Most airlines treat a collection of sporting equipment as a single piece of checked luggage—so your skis, poles, and boots count as only one item, not three. We recommendPark Accessories, a new line of bags made with Italian coated canvas. Shown: the Northern Lights, which holds two pairs of skis ($1,150).
• 2 nights' accommodations in a standard room at Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro, with mod-retro rooms in the theater district • 2 tickets to Buddy Guy’s Legends blues club, owned by the iconic artist himself • Admission to Chicago’s History Museum to see the “Crossroads of America” exhibit on the history behind America’s Blues Capital
Cost: $270 ($135 per night)
Book via telephone only for travel between February 1 and March 31.
For more information, please visit Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro; to book, please call (800) 643-1500 and use booking code BLUE14.
How can you look your best while on the road? From the initial packing and planning stages to the moment you arrive at your hotel room, here are beauty travel tips from lifestyle vlogger, Jessica Harlow, of the Hyatt Place's new Seamless Travel Series.
Be realistic. Only bring what you're actually planning on using.
Separate your products into makeup categories, with individual plastic bags.
Stay powder shatter-proof. If you're planning on checking your makeup inside your luggage, use cotton balls for a little added cushioning.
Invest in a travel bag to store toiletries.
Look your best, feel your best. Make sure to visit your hotel gym and boost your endorphins.
Make this list and check it twice!
Gabrielle Blitz is the Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure
Flu season is at its peak, and with the polar weather showing no signs of taking a mild turn, people across North America are feelings its effects.
Just take a look at the Flu Near You map, which showed a spike in flu-activity for the week ending of January 14. The multicolored dots represent the more than 50,000 participants reporting flu-symptoms or illness, allowing the site to generate a crowd-sourced chart of the disease.
These mobile tools—each vetted by T+L tech correspondent Tom Samiljan—will help you get closer to nature without cutting the (phone) cord. Pick your adventure alter-ego and find out which app is the best for you.
This stargazing app sees the sky through your camera and instantly annotates the applicable constellations. Location-specific animations tell you when you might see certain stars based on where you are anywhere in the world. The best part: this pocket astronomer works seamlessly without data roaming. $2.99, iOS.