Below are general travel helpful hints, tips, and resources. Please let me know if you encounter a bad link or if a service is no longer in business.
Airline Seat Maps: While you can usually see where your seat is located on most airline’s website, I prefer to use SeatGuru. The site shows you the seats to avoid on specific flights (based on date and flight number for the airline) as well as information about the booking classes, seat details, and even where the restrooms are. Unless you are intimately knowledgeable about your airline’s specific aircraft, I’d suggest you use SeatGuru.
Clothing: I don’t like to pack and carry large suitcases when I travel. I like clothing that serves multiple purposes, is easy to care for, and is durable and mostly wrinkle-free. I have found that items from Bluffworks have packed and traveled well, while retaining shape, style, and comfort. Their jeans, slacks, and blazer were the main components of my wardrobe for 30 days of cruising where I was a speaker (and it was all in a carry-on bag!).
Cruising: It would not be fair for me to recommend any particular cruise line as I’ve been a speaker on 7 cruise lines, and I’ve cruised as a regular passenger on 9 cruise lines, for a total of close to 40 cruises. I am a part-time travel agent (through a major hosting agency) with a key focus on cruising and on certain destinations. You may visit my “Travel with Stuart” website at travel.stuartgustafson.com/
Electrical Outlets: Do you know what the voltage is, and what types of outlets, you’ll encounter as you travel? This Wikipedia article is my main source for that information. I have several single-use plug adapters, plus a voltage converter, that I take on my travels. Use a plug adapter ONLY if the power source for your device shows that it can take the country’s voltage input. [CAVEAT: I am not responsible for any potential damage to your devices should you encounter any issues when you travel.]
Foreign Currency Exchange: There are numerous online services where you can obtain foreign currency for your travels, but I’ve never used any of them. You can typically exchange currency at many travel agencies (including AAA offices) and banks (my first choice). Your worst exchange rate is generally at the airport, but sometimes that is your only choice because of the currency or because you only need a small amount.
International Travel Information: Get up-to-date health, safety, visa, and other important information from the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. State Department. Find out how long you can stay in a country; what are the currency restrictions; is a visa required; what are potential health risks; where is the U.S. embassy located, etc.—all important items to know while you’re planning your trip.
Packing Lists: Packing lists for men and women, and for different types and lengths of travel, will be available soon!
Passports and Visas: I have used VisaHQ for many years for ALL my and my family’s passport and international visa needs. They are fast, reliable, and trustworthy. Their main office is right on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C., giving them quick access to the foreign embassies and consulates. They processed my 10-year visa for China as well as getting me a new enlarged passport very quickly.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Probably the best known and most popular European travel programs (radio, T.V., and on-ground travel), Rick Steves has been traveling Europe for over forty years. He started traveling with his parents as a teenager, and has turned his love of European travel into an amazing business. My wife and I went on his 21-day Best of Europe tour (many years ago), loved it, and left with some long-term friendships and travel partners from that amazing experience.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: This program called STEP is a free service from the U.S. State Department where you can “Subscribe to get up-to-date safety and security information and help us reach you in an emergency abroad.” I use it every time I am planning a foreign trip; I am sent emails about potential health and security risks, and it also lets me know how to get in touch with U.S. officials in case I encounter problems while traveling. I highly recommend this free service!
Time and Date Information: Whenever I need to know what time it is in a certain country (Zoom or Skype calls are inconvenient at 3 in the morning!), I use Time and Date. You can find local times, World Time Zone information, when countries utilize Daylight Savings, etc. This is a super-handy resource!
Toiletries and Other Items: I was always going to the store to buy “travel-sized” packages of toothpaste, doedorant, hair gel, shave cream, etc. That was until I discovered TravelPAKT with its amazing assortment of items for travel. You can select a pre-packaged assortment of items, or put together your own PAKT bag. They’re space-saving and convenient!
Travel Guides: The selection of your travel guide series is about as personal as what type of underwear you prefer. I suggest that you try several brands and see which one matches your personality and style of travel. I do not recommend getting one brand for one trip, another brand for the next trip, etc., unless, of course, you are doing that to research which type you prefer.
Trusted Traveler Programs: These are are “risk-based programs from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to facilitate the entry of pre-approved travelers. All applicants are vetted to ensure that they meet the qualifications for the program to which they are applying.” I have participated in Global Entry since 2012, and have found it to be a very efficient way to re-enter the USA by air.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Looking for places to venture that are filled with culture? Bookmark this World Heritage List of over 1,100 cultural sites, then create your own sorting mechanism as you plan your next journey.
World Airport Codes: Curious about which airport is in which city? Or where that three-letter airport code is? Here is the only source you’ll need to answer all your questions about airports all over the world.
World Weather: Do you have friends in other parts of the world, or are you planning a trip and you want to know what the weather is like there? I use World Weather Information service for reliable up-to-date information. There are over 2900 cities around the world listed on this site.