Earlier this month we introduced some good ideas from our partners at Travel Channel on how to make traveling before, during, and after the holidays a little more enjoyable and a lot less stressful. There is so much information available that we’re sharing more tips with you today – courtesy of TravelChannel.com and the FrugalTravelGuy.com.
What and How to Pack Up Your Family
Before you pack your luggage, make sure you grab the most important items you’ll need for your trip, especially if you’re flying. IDs, tickets, passes and any other documents that are required for entry into a building, destination or attraction aren’t things that can be purchased or easily replaced. Packing for a flight requires a more strategic list than that for a road trip.
Packing for Toddlers and School-Age Kids
The key to packing for an infant is to carry any and every item that will keep them happy during the journey. This is where your Gerber snacks, Baby Einstein toys and Disney storybooks become your best friends. Thankfully, your toddler or school-age children are less dependent and can help you with the packing process. Giving them this responsibility helps build their excitement for your family vacation and also teaches them organizational skills early on.
There’s an APP for That
Turn your phone into the equivalent of an electronic Swiss Army knife with 10 of the TravelChannel’s favorite road-tested travel apps. All you have to do is download them and go.
Forward confirmation emails from airlines, hotels, bus companies and more to TripIt, and the app will instantly organize it all into a single trip itinerary that you can view on your phone (or on your computer). The service also makes it easy to share itineraries with friends, family members and co-workers.
Hungry, but don't have a lot of time between flights? Finished your book and need a new one for the next leg of your trip? Maybe you just want to find the nearest ATM. Skip the giant wall map of the airport terminal. Before you deplane from your first flight, get the lay of the airport land with GateGuru. The app offers gate-by-gate lists of restaurants, shops and services in, most (for now) US and Canadian airports.
If you're traveling outside the US but don't want to return home to a crazy big cell-phone bill, rely on Skype's mobile phone app, which allows you to make low-cost calls over the internet instead of using your cell-phone provider's costly per-minute international plan. Pair Skype with free Wi-Fi in the hotel lobby or café of your choice, and you can phone landlines or other cell phones for just pennies and other Skype customers for free.
Don't get lost on that new-to-you public transportation system. Plug your start and end points into HopStop to find out the best train or bus route in the city you're visiting. The app is currently available for 16 cities, states and regions in the US and Europe, including New York City, Long Island, San Francisco, Paris and New Jersey. Yes, New Jersey.
That landscape in front of you screams out for a panoramic photo, don't you think? Take 2 to 5 snaps of any scene and AutoStitch will digitally sew them together to create a panorama. Right there. In your phone. Nifty.
Photos are nice but how about a soundtrack to go with those vacation memories? With iTalk, you can capture on your phone the sounds of your trip: bird calls, street sounds and late-night sangria-fueled banter with newfound travel friends (but, please, get the friends' permission first). Use the free iTalk Sync program to download audio to your computer via Bluetooth.
As much as we enjoy some good crowd-sourced information via Twitter or Yelp, we still love a good guidebook. Or, these days, a good guide app. Companies including Not For Tourists and Sutro Media publish quality guides written by travel expert.
And as we have noted earlier this month, if you happen to decide to stay at home right here at our apartments in El Paso, Texas, we’ll look forward to sharing the seasons with you!