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Everything You Need to Know About Traveling This Fall and Holiday Season

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling This Fall and Holiday Season

Remember those viral TikToks over the summer capturing never-ending lines at the airport, flight delays and cancellations, and rooms full of unsorted luggage? While those nightmare scenarios might not be the norm for would-be travelers at the moment, the busy holiday season is looming. And with that comes a new set of headaches, especially when you couple it with high ticket prices and everyone swarming the airports at the same time. As stressful as it may be, the bright side is, we get to travel again, and better yet, the list of places we can finally go to has grown. With all of that in mind, there are, in fact, several ways to keep your stresses and costs to a minimum, according to the expert traveler behind The Points Guy, founder Brian Kelly. From the top spots on everyone’s list to how to score that coveted business class upgrade, Kelly has five tips to keep in mind before you book that next big trip.

Flight Prices Are High, So Embrace Technology

Back in pre-Covid times, you could capitalize on a good sale, or perhaps even a site error that gave you an extremely cheap fare. Sadly, those days are long gone. With the rise in gas prices and the pent-up demand for travel, it’s pretty difficult to find good deals, especially if you’re looking during peak times. Kelly recommends using Google Flights to track fares for specific dates and destinations. But if you’re more adventurous? “Consider using their Explore Map feature to search for cheap flights from your home airport, if you’re flexible on where to go,” he says.

Keep Track of Your Luggage

We’ve all seen the horror stories play out, with baggage backed up at airports or straight up lost. Kelly says things are better, but don’t rule out the same scenario repeating itself again this fall and winter. “There are still issues due to staffing shortages, especially at the main Europe airports like the ones in Amsterdam and London Heathrow,” he cautions. While the best advice is to pack light and jam everything into your carry-on luggage, that might not be possible. In that case, he suggests getting an AirTag so you know exactly where your bag is, even if it never makes it onto the plane.

Know Where to Go (Or Avoid)

Depending if you’re the type to jump on travel trends or looking to avoid the crowds, Kelly has noticed several destinations emerging as the top spots in the next few months. Domestically, cities like New York, Orlando, Los Angeles, and Seattle are popular, while internationally, it’s everywhere from Mexico (namely Cancun) to Dublin to Qatar and other Asian locales. “Doha’s extra popular this November as it’s hosting the World Cup. And we suspect an increase in bookings to Asia, particularly Japan, which recently opened up, as well as Thailand,” he says.

Maybe Wait on That Big Asia Trip

Speaking of heading across the Pacific, Kelly says while you might be eager to finally revisit countries that have only just opened up to tourism, it’s probably better to give it a few more months. “Know the rules! There are still restrictions in place such as vaccine booster requirements. I’d recommend waiting a bit after a country reopens, hear how travel is going, and then plan your trip,” he advises.

Business Class Upgrades Are Getting Rarer, But Not Impossible

Have you been hoarding all of your credit card points in hopes of snagging a coveted front of the plane, lay-flat class seat at no extra cost? Well sadly, those chances are getting slimmer—unless you’re willing to spend big. “It’s been a tough summer for loyalty program redemptions as travel has rebounded and business class award space has either been unavailable or incredibly expensive,” Kelly says. That’s not to say it’s impossible though, and you can leverage your frequent flier miles. The easiest way is to bid for an upgrade, as a lot of the airlines let you do that when you check in. Another way to score a seat? Sometimes it pays to be nice and ask for what’s called an operational upgrade. “This is when planes oversell economy tickets so they’ll bump passengers to business or first class,” Kelly explains.

If you’re set on gaming the system and getting the most out of your points, flexibility and waiting until mid-2023 for that big vacation will be your best bet. “Most airlines open their booking calendars 330 days out. Searching now for next summer’s redemptions will likely get you some of the cheapest pricing,” Kelly says. To really make every precious credit card point count, you can also check TPG, which alerts readers to when the likes of Amex or Chase offer transfer bonuses to airline loyalty programs. This can bring down the cost of redemption significantly.

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The One Suitcase Hack That Will Keep Your Clothes Wrinkle-free, According to a Professional Packer

The One Suitcase Hack That Will Keep Your Clothes Wrinkle-free, According to a Professional Packer

Lydia Mansel of Just Packed shares a packing trick that ensures your clothes stay smooth wherever you go.

Delayed planes, lost luggage, misplaced passports, long security lines, wrinkled clothing. These are the not-so-glamorous parts of travel that rarely end up on your Instagram feed. While it’s hard to circumvent most of these unfortunate instances, there is a secret to at least avoid one of these inconveniences: wrinkled outfits.

Let’s face it. No one wants to be stuck ironing on vacation. Sure, you could make a case for bringing a travel steamer along for the ride, but that just takes up precious suitcase space. Don’t worry. You don’t need either. It all comes down to the proper way to pack your bags. And we promise it’s one of the simplest hacks to follow.

You know the large plastic bags you come home with from the dry cleaner? Instead of stuffing them in your trash or recycling can, save them. When packing for your next adventure, put your more delicate items inside the dry cleaning bags, including your cotton and linen pieces. Don’t worry about fabrics like silk, wool, denim, and cashmere, as they are less likely to wrinkle.

You’ll fold each piece of clothing as usual and place it inside a separate bag before placing it in your suitcase or duffel bag. This tactic works because the bags will slide against each other, meaning your cotton t-shirts and breezy linen pants won’t get stuck and inevitably cause deep creases and messy wrinkles while in transit.

No dry cleaning bags? No sweat. Trash bags or liners work too — just make sure they aren’t scented. You want to avoid a suitcase that smells like fresh pine or lemon zest.

Unfortunately, this travel secret isn’t fool-proof (a few wrinkles may pop up), but it will reduce the number and severity of creases.

What if you don’t have any plastic to spare? Layering your clothes with tissue paper can be helpful, too. Loosely rolling your delicate clothes is also preferable to folding; just place them on the top or outer portions of your bag, where there will be less pressure.

One final anti-wrinkle packing tip for those travelers who tend to procrastinate: Unpack as soon as you arrive. Yes, it’s tempting to drop your suitcase off and head straight to the hotel pool, but you’ll spend more time getting rid of those wrinkles later on. Take five minutes, hang up your most delicate clothes, and then enjoy a wrinkle-free vacation.

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Six simple tips for better travel fashion

Six simple tips for better travel fashion

Travel isn’t synonymous with style. In fact, it’s kind of the antithesis. But it needn’t be that way. There’s no secret formula, no hidden recipe and there’s certainly no reason to be strolling around in zip-off cargo pants and jelly shoes.

A few key points to remember:

1. Don’t overthink it

Unless you’re trekking in Nepal or Patagonia or traversing glaciers in Antarctica, wearing “adventure clothing” is mostly unnecessary.

Sure, limited suitcase or backpack space may be prohibitive and multipurpose items like the aforementioned zip-off cargo pants may seem very practical. But if you were wandering the streets of your own city for the day, would you whip out the cargos and hiking boots?

Think about that. If you’re in a city, dress for the city. If you’re at the beach, dress for the beach. Polar fleece isn’t an all occasion fabric. Nor are board shorts an all-occasion pant.

2. These boots were made for walking

Comfortable shoes are very important, yes. You’ll be spending more time on your feet than you usually would, walking cobbled streets, strolling through markets, ducking up rollicking country lanes, but comfort doesn’t necessarily mean jelly shoes.

There are so many comfortable, practical options available now that are appropriate for walking AND looking stylish. After all, you need your comfortable shoes to take from those cobbled streets right into that hidden romantic café you just stumbled upon. If the moment catches you, you don’t want to run home to change your shoes (or worse still, dine in Crocs).

3. Basics are your friend

Limited space is a very real problem. You can’t pack every incarnation of every outfit into that tiny 20kg bag (see point 1 re. zip-offs). So choose simple basics that work together.

It’s amazing how far a few classic white shirts, some simple tees, good jeans, some classic shorts and a basic t-shirt dress will get you. Keep it clean and simple and you will be rewarded with versatility and travel elegance.

4. Stick to natural fibres

You will regret the 100% nylon top – razzle-dazzle though it may be – you bought when you’re sweating it out with the locals on the Indian rail. Similarly, nothing keeps you warm like a good merino layer when you’re traversing the depths of a European winter. Essentially, natural fibres breathe, which is perfect for warmer climates and long days, but also perfect for limited access to washing facilities.

5. Be culturally appropriate

Research where you’re travelling and dress accordingly. In essence, the key to dressing well on the road is blending in and being respectful. That might mean covering up more than usual (think long sleeves), or having a versatile cover all or scarf handy for temples and churches.

6. Bag it up

Handbags and day bags are another integral element of travel wear. You often end up carrying more than you usually would day-to-day while you’re out exploring – cameras, notebooks, sun cream. But that doesn’t mean you need a trekking pack. There are a number of great, easy totes or and simple daypacks available now that don’t scream “I’m travelling and I have lots of expensive gear in my backpack.”

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Travel fitness tips 6 Yoga exercises for long layovers

Travel fitness tips: 6 Yoga exercises for long layovers

Check out these 6 Yoga exercises for long layovers to make your journey smoother and also assist you in making it a fruitful one as it will improve your mood and affect your interaction with others during the travel.

Experiencing long layovers during travel can be very tiring and lead to frustration, headaches, stress etc but health and fitness experts suggest that during this time you can practice what is also commonly known as airport Yoga to make this waiting period easier for you. Not only will practicing Yoga help you to relieve any body pain, muscles stiffness, cramps, swelling of your feet etc but will also help you to become more calm and relaxed and this is a very important aspect to make your journey smoother and also assist you in making it a fruitful one as it will improve your mood and affect your interaction with others.

1. Practice pranayama -

One of the most effective and fastest ways to get your mind and body to calm down is through pranayama. Pranayam is yogic technique for breathing and bringing your observation to how you are inhaling and exhaling. Even taking a few deep long breaths especially when you are feeling stressed out can immediately lighten your mood and make you feel more relaxed.

2. Utilise this time productively with Padmasana -

Instead of wasting your time scrolling on social media or chatting you can instead practice yoga whether it is breathing, meditating, or physical poses. For example you can cross your legs into Padmasana also known as Lotus Pose. Hold this pose for his long as you can and not only will you be strengthening your lower body and building flexibility but this pose also has a very calming effect on the mind. This will also get the blood flowing in your lower body and release any stiffness in your knee joints helping you sit for a long duration in your flight.

3. Release stiffness from the spine with Ustrasana -

Roll out your yoga mat in a comfortable place and you can practice Camel Pose. To perform camel pose get down on your knees and stretch both arms upward. In this position take your hands and place your palms on your heels and gently bend back. Doing this will help you to relieve any stiffness from your middle and lower back and also stretch out the shoulders. One of the most common complaints of travellers is that prolonged sitting in flights causes back pain and this pose can help you release this and enjoy a supple spine also.

4. Padahasthasana -

The next pose that you can practice is a forward fold in standing position. This is also very effective pose in releasing any lower back stress and also stretches your hamstrings and calves. Begin in Tadasana, exhale gently bending your upper body. Drop your head and keep shoulders and neck relaxed. See if you can place fingertips or palms on either side of feet. Try to keep knees straight.

5. Paschimottansana -

Practice a forward fold in a seated position known as paschimottanasana. To get into this pose you can sit with both legs stretched out forward; keep your toes in a flexed position, and inhale lift both arms up. Hold this pose straightening out your back as much as you can. As you exhale reach down forward and try to hold your heels, ankles, or any other comfortable place pulling yourself closer to your body

6. Halasana -

Avoid this particular pose if you are performing it during the night time. Ideally, it is recommended that you practice all the poses on an empty stomach as this will bring you the benefits without any discomfort in your body. To perform halasana you need to lie down on your back; take both legs up, and over your head trying to drop your toes down on the floor behind you. You can place your palms on your lower back to support yourself

Mudras and Meditation

He advised, “Along with these five poses you can also practice meditation that involves observing everything that is going around you. As airports are noisy places you may not be able to sit and empty your mind in order to meditate instead you can practice Sthiti Gyan where you observe everything that is going around you and try to recall it to test your own memory and observation powers. In order to remain physically and mentally alert and active you can also employee the use of mudras. Mudras like Ling Mudra, Shankh Mudra, and Even Prana Mudra are the three types of mudras that you can practice while waiting during your layover. Avoid practicing halasana in the night and instead you can do Shavasana or Anandasana.”

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