We’re about to let you in on our favorite travel secrets.
The editors of Fodor’s have a lot of frequent flyer miles. In 2018, we traveled by boat, plane, train, and automobile to every continent except Antarctica. Whether we’re traveling for work or for fun, we all have our travel secrets about how to make the journey as smooth as possible—and we’re willing to share them with you. From how to fly to what to where to when to travel, we’ve got you covered with travel advice from the pros.
Visit Ski Resort Towns in the Summer
I have zero interest in propelling myself down a snowy mountain/into a tree on two skinny sticks in the frickin’ cold, so I had kind of ruled out ski resorts as a vacation destination…until I went to Vail this summer. I went fly-fishing (my new favorite hobby), hiking–and meditating–with llamas (my new cocktail chatter), sampled new favorite craft beers at a beer festival, and enjoyed après-ski-minus-the-ski-injuries at a posh hotel–Hotel Talisa–in Vail. Added bonus: as well as being less arctic, most ski resorts are less busy and less expensive in summer!
Always Bring Melatonin
I feel like I am the lady on the plane who is passing out doses to all my neighbors, but I can’t stress how helpful melatonin is both in transit and in travel. I’m all for Xanax or alcohol to help you sleep on a plane, but melatonin helps you go right back to sleep after you are woken up 10,000 times (the snack trolley runs over your foot, the pilot tells some asinine anecdote, your seatmate has to pee, etc. ad nauseam). And when you actually have to be awake, you don’t have to fight the grogginess of a hangover or aftereffect of a prescription sleep aid. Also, stop trying to fight jet lag. You just can’t. Just take the melatonin when you want to go to sleep. It’s a miracle supplement.
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Find Your Perfect Cozy Plane Outfit (and Ditch Your Bra)
2018 is the year I stopped being in denial about the arctic temperatures on airplanes and figured out my plane travel look. I wear the same thing on the plane, no matter where I’m traveling—even if it’s from one hot climate to another. The basic rundown is a wrinkle-free flowy pant, a cotton/spandex tank top in lieu of a bra (both for comfort and for not having to get groped by TSA when a bra clasp sets off the sensors), a light turtleneck sweater, some kind of wool cape (I have a woven one from A Piece Apart and one that I got in Morocco), an extra pair of socks if I’m wearing sandals, and a light pashmina/wrap to top it all off. This cozy cocoon of loose fabrics brings me the warmth and joy that’s missing from your standard airplane climate. I’ll never forget the time I flew from New York City to Palm Springs in the summer and almost froze to death on the plane ride there wearing only a light sweater. Now I never leave home without a jacket.
Keep Calm and Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
I found myself in a flurry of airport mishaps to and from Italy. My best advice is to believe in your own self-sufficiency when traveling, especially alone. I learned that I could navigate my way through delayed flights, missed connections, and a general travel-anxiety-induced tornado swirling around in my stomach when everything that could’ve gone wrong on a very long trip…did. If things do indeed go ridiculously wrong, try to stay calm. Breathe, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and know that you will get through this. You’ll get home. It may not seem like it, and sleeping in airports is uncomfortable, but you’ll survive, dude. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, and ask a lot of questions in general. It’s okay to be that annoying person who (politely) asks, “What is going on?” You can ask for information, just don’t be a jerk about it. And, hey: Try to get a free food voucher out of it. Treat yourself to some airport snacks. You deserve it.
Book a Hotel
Don’t Go to Europe During the Summer
Despite having the perfect trip to Norway and Scotland, I now remember why I don’t travel in the summer. It’s too hot, too crowded, and too annoying. And I just don’t have the patience anymore. Jam-packed flights, crowded roads and sights, and sky-high hotel rates reminded me of the joy and magic of shoulder season. I’ll trade long, sunny days for smaller crowds and cooler temperatures any day.
Invest in Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Noise-canceling headphones are a game changer. Instead of using soundproofing, like normal headphones, these babies use active noise control to drown out unwanted sound. They also act as a successful sleep aid when your somewhat illegal cannabis stash just won’t do the trick on a long-haul flight.
ALWAYS Get Insurance
Hands down, the best (or worst depending on how you look at it) lesson I learned this year was that I have to know exactly what’s covered under all of my insurance plans when I travel. For example, what does (and doesn’t) my own car insurance cover when it comes to rentals? Does my credit card offer any coverage? And, if you don’t have car insurance, does your home (or renters) insurance cover rental cars? Does the supplemental coverage offered by the rental agency actually help, hinder, or do nothing at all? I had to rent a car for a trip and experienced an act of God in the name of golf ball-sized hailstones that rained down upon the rental, smashing the windshield and rendering it totaled.