Tag Archives: Travel tips

Airport eats: snacks to pack for the airport and your flight

If my mind was a pie chart there would be a large slice labeled Intense Thoughts about Snacks.  A subcategory of that slice would be Travel Snacks with a sub-subcategory for Airport Snacks.  And since we’re about to leave for a trip my Intense Thoughts about Snacks mind wedge is in full planning mode. Most airport food is disgusting, innutritious and […]

A skeptic’s guide to travel guide books

I use guide books when I travel, but always selectively and with skepticism.  Why am I a skeptic?  Because many guide books are inaccurate and poorly updated.  Here’s a perfect example: for the past 18 years I’ve worked at the same museum, and throughout those 18 years customers have steadily approached our staff looking confused […]

How to travel in winter

Around this time every year I open my email to find an inbox full of cheap airfare alerts–cheap winter flights to cold weather destinations.  I feel cocky seeing those cheap winter airfares.  And oh yes, smug.  Just for a minute or two, I indulge in contempt for snowbirds, for sun-worshiping zombies, for geezer cruisers.  While they’re flipping themselves […]

Caspar David Friedrich painting or The Infamous Blue Traveling Poncho?

This could be a post about an ugly travel poncho.  Or more likely, a tribute to the earnestly brooding Romantic landscapes of German painter Caspar David Friedrich.  However, I’d prefer this to be be a story of how an undignified rain coat can transform the experience of traveling in crappy weather from dreary to hilarious. So, is it The […]

How to get your coffee fix while travelling on a budget

My routine is the same every morning: I get out of bed, trip on my cat, and make a single espresso in my stove-top moka pot.  It’s a safe bet that you, my reader, have a similar caffeine routine (though maybe not a 19 pound cat circling your feet).  So how do you satisfy your coffee […]

Why you don’t need to be rich to be a cultural tourist, and why it’s probably better not to be (really!)

I remember the exact moment: after a morning of winding our way uphill through the medieval Albayzín neighborhood of Granada in Southern Spain, we reached the San Nicholas Viewpoint. We picnicked while taking in the enchanting view of the Alhambra and surrounding mountains and I mentioned to HOB that, according to our guide book, this […]

Laundry 101: how to keep your clothes clean while traveling

If you really love me   tattoo my name on your neck in fancy script name a ship after me buy me lots of shiny jewelry that will probably give me a rash wash my stinky socks in a giant Ziploc bag and hang them on hotel radiator so they’ll be dry tomorrow morning. No […]

Pack light, don’t forget the emergency lipstick

I’m on the way to the airport tonight with an 18 pound backpack.  Packing light is a non-negotiable necessity for a budget traveler.  If you want to be independent and highly-mobile traveler, pack light.  If you want to be tied down by your luggage, be dependent on elevators and porters, and have your airline lose […]

How to get the best customer service from tourist information and visitor services employees: an insider view

One of your most valuable resources as a budget traveler are tourist information centers and the visitor services staff at museums and cultural centers.  The employees of these organizations are passionate about where they live and work and they are experts on what tourists need to know.  They can reliably provide you with brochures and […]

Public bathrooms in Europe, or how I conquered the Turkish toilet and lived to squat again

My first time was in a rather upmarket restaurant in Paris.  I asked for the bathroom and when shown the way I entered what surely was the wrong room, since it was only a porcelain hole in the ground.  I ran out, looked at the sign on the door, went back in, and to my […]