Category Archives: Travel Tips

NEW VIDEO – TEA IN CHINA

New video where David takes Adam and Sr to his favorite local tea shop for tea tasting.

Skip lines at customes and and airport security.

There are 2 programs out there that will make your life at the airport much easier.

Global Entry (Get through US customs without waiting in lines)
 

I have been a Global Entry member for the past year and a half.  It is a spectacular program which, once you have been approved, lets you use an automated machine that scans your passport, takes your fingerprints and photo, and lets you fill out that pesky arrival card on a touch screen.

The best part about this is zipping through the whole process while trying to catch a connection or after you arrive home from a long flight.

The sign up process is fairly involved with a good amount of paperwork and an in person interview with an agent.  There is a $100 fee, which some frequent flyer programs or credit card programs will cover for you.  The registration lasts 5 years.

Visit http://www.globalentry.gov/ to get signed up.
TSA Pre (Get through security with your shoes on)


I had signed up for this program a while back but just experienced it for the first time last week.  The TSA person scanned my ticket before I entered the general line and directed me to a new line I had never seen before which had a “TSA Pre(check)” sign next to it.  I walked right up to the security conveyor belt and a TSA person instructed me to leave my laptop and liquids in my luggage, keep my shoes and belt on and just empty my pockets.  I was done in under 2 min.  It was AWESOME!

This program goes hand in hand with Global Entry so I would sign up for both.

Visit here for more info http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/escreening.shtm

How to Fight Air Sickness and Nausea on a Long Flight

Air Sickness is a combination of motion sickness and altitude sickness.  I have done plenty of research on remedies and found some of my own measures that help. Below are the key items and actions which will help keep you feeling good as you are cooped up in a plane for 10+ hours.

STAY HYDRATED
Air planes are incredibly dry and dehydration can be the main cause to headaches, nausea and general air sickness.

  • COCONUT WATER is hands down the best drink to bring on a plane. Brands such as VitaCoco, ONE or Zico can be found in most airport newsstands. The hydrate better than sport drinks and electrolyte enhanced water.
  • Never pass on water when offered by the crew.
  • Avoid alcohol, this can add to the dehydration.
  • Limit your caffeine intake.

SNACK ON CRACKERS AND PRETZELS
This is a trick I learned when sailing. If you snack on bland crackers (like oyster crackers, saltines, water crackers) and pretzels, it keeps your stomach settled. If you hit a lounge beforehand stock up on their crackers.

GET SOME SLEEP
Lack of sleep will add to that air sickness feeling. Try to relax. Sleep is your friend.

    •  Get a neck pillow, put in earplugs, strap on a sleeping mask and take deep breaths
    • Dramamine, and PM meds can help with this too
    • Try herbal relaxers like Valerian Root…this is great stuff, even helps with adjusting to time zones.

***BONUS TIP: Adam’s Dehydration Magic Potion Recipe***
If you still feel sick after landing, or after a long night, try these below steps.

In a blender mix up (or omit banana and mix in a glass)
1. Half a can of Coke Zero (Must be coke, not pepsi or Shasta or RC etc.)
2. About 8oz straight Coconut Water
3. One dose of liquid pepto bismol
4. 1 banana

Use this drink to swallow 2 Excedrin Migraine tablets

You will start feeling better in about 30 minutes.

Packing Tips part 1

Here are a few packing tips that I have learned along the way…Part 1

IF POSSIBLE CARRY ON
Having all your luggage with you gives you flexibility and ensures that your luggage doesn’t get lost.  If I have a 4 day trip, I carry on.  If I am going to be in a different hotel each night for a week, I carry on.  Remember that hotels have laundry services, so if needed you can minimize what you bring along in the first place.

DON’T FORGET YOUR UNDERWEAR
I pack my clothes as I would get dressed.  (1st)Underwear, (2nd) Pants, (3rd)Shirts, (4th)Socks.  That way I don’t miss any of the essentials.  Whoops I forgot my belt.

ROLL CERTAIN PIECES
Some people like to roll everything rather than fold, I mix it up a little.  I always roll my underwear, athletic gear and t-shirts.  I fold pants, polos, shirts and blazers(a video on how to pack a suit on its way).  Socks I use for stuffing and padding.

TRY PACKING CUBES
I have been using packing cubes for the past year and I really like them.  The keep my clothes sorted and allow me to quickly remove chunks of my luggage so I can get to the bottom without making a mess.  There are plenty of options for packing cubes out there.  I use Rick Steve’s Packing cubes which I bought on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Rick-Steves-Packing-Cube–Black/dp/B000PWIQHW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342466837&sr=8-1&keywords=rick+steves+packing+cubes

REPACK YOUR DIRTY LAUNDRY
Ever notice how you have less room in your suitcase on the way home?  Yes you probably bought some stuff but most times it is because the dirty laundry bag is stuffed and bulging.

I know it sounds silly but I refold my dirty laundry when I put it into my laundry bag, it keeps it in the same size as when I packed it, giving me all that space I had when I efficiently packed my bag in the first place.

 

Do you have any packing tips?  Leave us a comment.

Thanks for following Sample the Culture and check in next Monday for another blog entry.

Funny Signs, English Translations, and No Signs

Have you ever been in a taxi in bangkok and see this no sign?  Our video will explain!

Funny signs, no signs, engrish, lost in translation….we take a look at some signs in asia and the no sign stickers on bangkok taxis.

Shopping the Bazaars in Istanbul

Mordor, What a Hassle

There’s some pretty funny Trip Advisor reviews from the movies over at College Humor. My favorite…Mordor Review by user Fr0d0:

College HumorFor more “Trip Advisor Reviews from the Movies”, click here.

The Smart Traveler’s Traveling Tips

Last week marked my 25th birthday, and my friend gave me a book called The Smart Traveler’s Passport. It’s a great little book, full of tips about packing, dining, lodging, shopping, sightseeing and all that other great stuff that goes into a big journey. Reading all this little tips made me think of some of my own tips I’ve learned after figuring it out the hard way on trips. 

1) Don’t Fold Your Clothes, Roll Them

I’m a hefty packer…go ahead and roll your eyes, but I need my mandatory two pairs of shoes, and as the ladies can appreciate, I like to have “options”. Rolling your clothes to pack in your suitcase saves tons of room, and helps keep everything wrinkle free…even after security rummages throughout your bag. And you’ll have a lot of extra room for that great pair of stillettos. 🙂

2) Plan Your Trips Around Tax Time

February and March are great times to travel. You’ll find some amazing deals since it’s usually off season for most places and right after the holidays. And depending where you go, the weather is not always that bad. Plus, if you do your taxes early, that nice big tax return can help pay for your trip.

3) Listen to the Locals and Look for Lines

Avoid the touristy stuff, and do what the locals do. You’ll avoid getting ripped off (well most of the time) and have a much deeper experience with the place you’re visiting. Ask people who live/have lived there before you go, and look for the places that have long lines of locals. If the locals love it, it’s probably worth trying.

4) Don’t Sweat the Small Things

I typically use a plastic soap dish to pack and story my jewelry. I’ve lost many earrings and necklaces in the bottomless pit of my bag, and I’ve found that the little plastic boxes are a great way to keep track of them and avoid having my bag swallow them whole.

5) Always Bring Chapstick with SPF

For fair-skinned people like me, chapstick is a lifesaver. I learned my lesson in Thailand when I emerged from a jungle with chapped and blistery lips. Apply it well and apply it often. Bring a few too, in case you lose one. 

6) Always Always Always Bring Home a Souvenir

A lesson learned from my mom. On my trip to Bangkok, I completely forgot to bring home a souvenir for myself, but I gave my mom a gorgeous vase I picked up at a market. When she asked when I brought home for myself, I confessed nothing. She insisted I take the vase. To this day, whenever I look at it, it reminds me of trip…and it makes me smile every time. Thanks Mom. 🙂