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Frequent-Flier Miles Devalued

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I’m thinking of getting out of the frequent-flier-mile game. It’s just not worth it anymore.

No, I won’t completely abandon it. There’s still plenty of value in earning miles for flights, gaining points for hotel stays, and remaining loyal to one brand.

But the mileage credit card frenzy? It isn’t worth it anymore.

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Is it Impolite Not to Tip a Bellman if I Don't Have Change?

Tipping Bellmen

A: Overseas, tipping is by and large not expected at every interaction. So if you don’t have the right change, you won’t break your bellman’s heart. That said, handing out a few American dollars is also acceptable; it’s a nice gesture of thanks and—in some parts of the world—U.S. dollars are as welcome as local currency. If you have no change and your bellman did a top-notch job, it’s worth seeking him or her out at the end of your stay to deliver a tip.

In the United States, where porters often make less than minimum wage, tips are expected to supplement salaries. So don’t be shy about asking a bellman to break a larger bill. “These people are working for cash, so they have cash on hand,” says one bellman at a New York City hotel. Otherwise, get your porter’s name and leave a tip with the concierge before you check out.

Melanie Lieberman is the Editorial Projects Assistant and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites. 

Photo by HBSS/Corbis

How To Prepare For Winter Storm Hercules

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With a name like Hercules, the snow storm set to bear down on the Northeastern U.S. tonight and tomorrow is sure to cause some heavy damage. Inches of predicted snow fall are in the double-digits for cities from New York to Washington, D.C. (up to 18 inches), while the National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings for Long Island and parts of lower New England. Major highways like I-87 and I-84 will close from midnight until 5 a.m. Friday. Take these tips from T+L to prepare for the first blizzard of 2014:

Be aware of flight delays by signing up for text and email alerts from FlightStats as well as your airline.

Bring adapters and chargers with you to the airport to keep all of your gadgets and mobile devices running (entertainment for your toddler means sanity for you). Travel-friendly board games and packable snacks are also smart for kids.

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Three Words on How To Travel Better

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We asked a team of experts in a recent Twitter Chat for their travel rules of the road, which we’ve been revealing in a series of blog posts. We asked our panel to reveal how they travel better in only three words.

Designer, Chris Benz (@cmbenz) must be a T+L-type traveler because he lives by the words: “Carry, On, Only.”

T+L’s Travel News Editor, Jennifer Flowers (@JennFlowers), is traveling the world and trying food that she encounters in new cultures, so naturally, Imodium, Pepto-Bismol, and Tums are necessities in her suitcase.

T+L’s Director of Editorial Product Development, Peter Frank (@pfrank1), makes sure Ambien is available for long-flights (assuming there wasn’t a flight delay and he met the T+L team at the bar first!).

Follow @travlandleisure on Twitter and #TL_Chat for more expert tips.

Gabrielle Blitz is the Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure

 

Best Apps and Websites to Travel Better

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How do you travel better? We asked a team of experts in a recent Twitter Chat for their rules of the road, which we're revealing in a series of blog posts. We started off the chat by asking our panel for the apps and websites that help them travel more efficiently. Our T+L Lifestyle Editor, Shane Mitchell (@shanegoesforth), loves Google Translate to help her ask for necessities—like WiFi, of course. 

Our Editorial Assistant, Nikki Ekstein (@nikkiekstein) includes Spotify Premium among her must-have travel essentials. A-List Agent, Joel Zack of Heritage Tours Private Travel (@HeritageTours), has clearly learned a lesson from high roaming charges and uses WhatsApp for texting. Smart agent!

Follow @travlandleisure on Twitter and #TL_Chat for more expert tips!

Gabrielle Blitz is the Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure

How to Maximize Your Miles and Points

Maximize Your Miles and Points

Frequent-flier miles and hotel points are perks of life on the road—currencies that are supposed to make it all worthwhile. A string of stays at cookie-cutter convention hotels and side-of-the-road motels adds up to a free tropical family vacation at a jaw-dropping resort.

That’s the promise, at least.

Most frequent travelers know the ins and outs of these programs well. Some people even become obsessed with their mileage balance. But even the best pro can learn something new. Here are my favorite tips for some of the more obscure ways to earn and redeem miles. Feel free to add your own in the comments section below.

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Packing Tips & Secrets Straight From Our Experts

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How do you travel better? We asked a team of experts in a recent Twitter Chat for their rules of the road, which we’re revealing in a series of blog posts. With the holiday season upon us, we asked for packing tips and tricks.

Co-Founder of Skift.com, Jason Clampet (@jasonclampet) mails the big-ticket items ahead, so that he can pack (and bring) as little as possible.

Weather Channel Meteorologist, Maria LaRosa (@TWCMariaLaRosa), lays dresses and pants across the bottom of a suitcase to create a lining. She then fills in the contents of the suitcase with other items and folds the “lining” over the packed goods. She swears—no wrinkles! Sounds to us like enough of a reason to try this trick on our next getaway.

Our T+L Trip Doctor (@TLTripDoctor) brings contact lens cases for small amounts of toiletries like eye makeup remover and moisturizer. She’s the Trip Doctor for a reason!

Follow @travlandleisure on Twitter and #TL_Chat for more expert tips.

Gabrielle Blitz is associate social media editor at Travel + Leisure

How to Survive a Flight Delay

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How do you travel better? We asked a team of experts in a recent Twitter Chat for their rules of the road, which we’re revealing in a series of blog posts. With Christmas being one of the biggest travel days of the year, we wanted to know the first thing our panel does when their flight’s delayed (don’t worry, it won’t happen to you!).

Our T+L Trip Doctor (@TLTripDoctor) is responsible by checking @flightstats to see options for getting on another flight. Well, at least she starts out that way…

In the end, there was an overwhelming consensus by our panelists and chat participants. Digital and Brand Marketer, Melanie Nayer (@chic_travel) and T+L’s Rich Beattie (@richbeattie), Brooke Porter (@brookeporter1), Peter Frank (@pfrank1), and Shane Mitchell (@shanegoesforth) all seem to agree—find the nearest bar!

Follow @travlandleisure on Twitter and #TL_Chat for more expert tips.

Gabrielle Blitz is associate social media editor at Travel + Leisure

Our Airport Survival Kit For Holiday Travel

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How do you travel better? We asked a team of experts in a recent Twitter Chat for their rules of the road, which we’re revealing in a series of blog posts.

With the holiday season upon us, we asked our panel what’s in their airport survival kit. Designer, Chris Benz (@cmbenz), plans ahead and brings adapters and chargers for the airport and a large bottle of water for the in-flight experience. SeatGuru (@SeatGuru) said hand sanitizer is a necessity for the airport, if you want to stay fresh.

Follow @travlandleisure on Twitter and #TL_Chat for more expert tips.

Gabrielle Blitz is associate social media editor at Travel + Leisure

Q+A with Anya Fernald, CEO of Belcampo

Anya Fernald

After a slew of food industry jobs, including a stint as the director of Slow Food Nation in San Francisco, Anya Fernald turned her attention to Belcampo, a food and agritourism company that owns and sustainably manages farms in California, Belize and Uruguay. The Belize property, located in Punta Gorda, is also a 16-room resort where guests can learn to harvest coffee beans and roast their own blends, or pick cacao to make bars of chocolate.

Below, Fernald, who travels up to two weeks of every month, tells us about her jet-setting style—and her favorite in-flight foods.

Q: What is Belcampo best known for in the U.S.?

A: Meat! We produce excellent grass-fed and finished beef as well as pork, poultry, lamb, and goat on our 20,000-acre farm in Northern California. All of our meat is sold through our own shops. The first one is open in Marin County, and we’re opening five more in the Bay Area and greater Los Angeles area in the next few months.

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