Monday, February 11, 2008

PinkBird's Travel Pointers (Volume III):

After recently earning a free night at a hotel, I thought it was time for another edition of PinkBird's, here are some more travel tips:

1. Join hotel and airline rewards programs. This may seem obvious or even silly (especially if you're thinking, "I never stay at ____ Hotel") but...a few stays here and there can earn you rewards. For example, last summer we spent a few nights at the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore's Inner Harbor (it's not a bad hotel, especially if you stay on the Regency Floor). Then, recently we spent one night there over a weekend. A few days later we got an email telling us we'd earned a free stay. We didn't even know we were working toward a free night, and now we have one to use at any Hyatt, and depending on where we stay, that will be a savings of up to a few hundred bucks!

2. Can I get this at home? If you experience an awesome snack, an wonderful bottle of wine, a lovely beverage, or beer, take a picture of the label so you’ll know exactly which one you had. (You can also keep the cap, label or package, but this can get messy and lost). Who knows? Maybe you can find it when you’re back at home.

3. It's no secret, I'm crafty, and I love to make things. So, when I'm traveling I live to look for thrift stores (in England and parts of Europe called Charity Shops), craft stores, bead shops, and the like to buy unique beads or charms that I can then make into one of a kind memory jewelry when I return home. I'm also quite lucky that I generally travel with people who are either crafty or patient and will wander around and not complain while I'm comparing beads and chatting with shop owners.

4. When traveling, I often like to bring a shawl-size scarf to function as a sweater substitute, scarf, head wrap, or even a blanket on a train. I bought a lovely scarf in Morocco last year and wore it quite a bit while walking around cities near the sea. I looked good and liked the fact that I was wearing something "local." The scarf also gave me several different looks as well as layers for cooler weather. (Tip 4.5: Layers! pack items you that are versatile and that can be added or subtracted in layers for warmth and comfort!)

5. Pack with color coordination in mind. This means, if you’re a “match your shoes to your purse to your belt” person, pick one color, like black or brown, and go with it. This way you’re not packing a belt, shoes, or handbag in every color. Also, you'll want to be comfortable, so if those cute red ballet flats are a bit snug, why not leave them at home.