MR Travel Thread

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Chip NoVaMac, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #1
    Based on comments between ~Shard and myself, among others. I thought we can have a single thread (and if interest warrants a "forum of its own) for travel tips.

    This would encompass how to pack, how to save money (best places to stay, eat, and beating transportation costs), places or things that one must do.

    To make it easier, I ask that unless commenting on a particular post; that a poster use the "title" heading to give us an idea of what the post is about. I had thought about using my own site as a place for this; but thought for the near term this was the best way to make this work.

    Hopefully we will look past the "rule" about multiple posts here on MR with this thread.

    To give an idea of what I am thinking, what follows this post is an idea of what I am thing of. To provide some continuity, I am thinking that we should use the following convention: country (USA, UK, IR, IS, and the such), followed by the city (San Franscisco, London, Dublin, Reykjavik ), and the travel tip.

    If it is a general travel tip, like how to pack, that would be proceeded by "General"

    Lets see if we can help each other out in our travels.
     
  2. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #2
    USA -San Francisco - Hotel

    I stayed at the Grant Hotel (http://www.granthotel.net/) at 753 Bush St. (at Bush and Powell on the cable car line) this past summer. Rates are $60 to $100 a night. It was clean and quiet. A great nites stay in SF for those that want a bit more than a hostel.
     
  3. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #3
    USA - San Fransico - Transporation

    I had a great time with the City Pass (http://www.citypass.com/city/sanfrancisco.html) while staying at the Grant Hotel (see my other post).

    It gave me unlimited access to most transportation options in SF, except for the BART. As well as tickets to access major museums for one low price. In my six days there I made up for more than twice the value of the Pass with transportation alone.
     
  4. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #4
    General - Packing tips

    Travel as light as you can. No one ever says "next time I will pack more". I did a test packing today for my trip to Iceland and London. My carry-on is now down to 15#US! Now may camera and electronic gear needs some work.
     
  5. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #5
    Travel Tip:

    Bring two pair of jeans versus several pairs of khakis/cargo pants for a trip. They hold up well for three days at a time and roll nicely into a small package.
     
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #6
    Packing Tips - Backpacking

    For longer, backpacking type trips. A small bottle of woolite turns three pairs of socks, two T-shirts, and three pairs of underwear into a wardrobe.
     
  7. njmac macrumors 68000

    njmac

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #7
    Travel Tip: Food

    When you are travelling abroad, try to eat what the locals eat.

    This, however, is a very difficult thing to do. Locals want to impress the visitors and sometimes that means that the fancy new French restaurant in town is the best place to go. Even if you insist that you want to eat where they eat, they are still tempted to steer you toward what they think you want. This is a rampant behavior in India, Asia, Africa and others. Really press for authentic meals.

    When you find an authentic restaurant... get this.... the waiters and cooks will actually cook your meal differently than if you were a native. Be firm yet polite and the odds are still stacked against you but it won't hurt to try.

    At all costs, please avoid worldwide chains like McDonalds, Starbucks etc. I beg you.
     
  8. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #8
    General: Women's wardrobe & research

    You guys going on about two pairs of jeans and some running vests being a wardrobe!:rolleyes:

    For women - useful tips include plain tops that you can dress up with a couple of floaty scarves brooches. Consider wearing a top to dinner one night and then wearing it to the beach/during the day on a second day. Lots of other useful tips (for guys and gals) here.

    Research the area online before you get there - and that doesn't mean on a flight there. There may be activities you need to book months ahead of time to do properly. Don't schedule your days rigidly but have some ideas of things you plan to do - just in case that museum is closed on a particular day or closes early. Reading the local online newspapers can be a great way of finding out good restaurants to go to, great shows or simply interesting shops.

    Bring yourself something back. It doesn't have to be expensive and it certainly shouldn't be tourist tat but find something that reminds you of having been there - looks around room at various glasswork, cushion covers, carved coasters, plates.
     
  9. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Location:
    1123.6536.5321
    #9
    Re: Travel Tip - Food

    I completely agree. The tourist traps are the restaurants, etc. on the main strip and popular areas - not the best food and overpriced. Eat off the beaten path where the locals eat - you know that's good food, and you'd be surprised at how easy it is to find those kind of places in most cities. If you're backpacking, always ask around as well - that's the great thing about meeting other backpackers - they can recommend where to stay, where to eat, what companies to book excursions with, etc. :cool:

    Also, the grocery store is your friend. Buy some cereal, milk, OJ, yogurt, bread, sandwich meat, a tomato, etc. and bingo - you have breakfast for an entire week and sandwiches for lunch for a week - all while spending about $30. Try to eat out at restaurants for a week on that budget. :cool:

    Lastly (for now) always bring a spoon. You have no idea how often this actually comes in handy. :cool:
     
  10. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Location:
    1123.6536.5321
    #10
    Questions

    I should also mention, FWIW, that if anyone has any questions, please ask them here as well, or feel free to PM myself. I've enough traveling around the world that I know the ropes! :cool:

    And well done on starting this thread Chip NoVaMac - I think it'll be an excellent resource!
     
  11. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #11
    Travel tip: jeans tip from iGary (aslo footwear)

    That is my thought for the trip to Iceland/London at the end of this month. The only problem I see is with the weight of the jeans compared to the likes of Docker slacks.

    To cut down on my carry-on weight limit of 18#US (in my "test packing" I am at 15#US), I am planning on wearing my pair of jeans, as well as my sweater and my "ski parka" (a rain-proof shell with a zip out lining - and if I needed them, a heavy pair of boots (for future travels). For this trip I am wearing a pair of Merrell low cut "hiking" shoes with a decent tread for the winter.

    In another post I will outline my final carry-on bag, as well as my photo/electronic "gear" bag. I have a backpack that I am leaning towards. But I do have a LowePro Reporter 500 coming in for evaluation for my photo/electronic gear.

    I will plan on buying something like what you showed me a couple weeks ago, a "walking sandal" that works with and with out socks for those of us partial to "shoes" for my summer travels.
     
  12. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #12

    Attached Files:

  13. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #13
    Re: Travel Tip - Food

    I am looking forward to my time in Iceland at the end of this month. There are two customs/events in Iceland close to my stay. One is Bun Day (http://www.icetourist.is/displayer.asp?cat_id=608), and in conjunction with Bursting Day. Both of these coincide with travel days for me, but I am told that they happen as an extended "holiday".

    Add to that March 1st is "Beer Day" in Iceland ("Each year on Beer Day Icelanders celebrate the lifting of prohibition on March 1st, 1989").

    Rick Steves calls this a picnic. And in Reykjavik given recent news that it ranks as the most expensive city in the world, eating "cheap" is hard to dine-in. But I do not plan on "cheaping out". I plan on at least one meal, and a few drinks at the "tourist" places during my stay.

    Maybe given the TSA, a spork maybe a better choice. :)
     
  14. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #14
    General - useful resources (websites)

    This list is intended to mostly be commercial businesses with a product, not a discussion group.

    Guidebooks & Maps - America

    AAA - American Automobile Association. Not perfect, but generally a good value overall...if you're already a AAA member, these are free benefits, which is a price that's hard to beat :)

    Guidebooks & Maps - Europe

    Michelin - for Electronic Maps, click here. You can get hardcopy Michelin maps throughAmazon ; IMO, they're worth their weight in gold if you're driving.

    Rick Steves. Rick's an American who's in love with Europe...has figured out how to make a career out of it. He has a Public TV show that you might find locally, and his forte is on "down to earth", with an emphasis on small (and CHEAP) B&B's and the like to really get to know the culture. His guidebooks encourage "off the beaten path", but do help guide you through the 'must see' famous tourist attractions. For example, if you want a photo of the Venus de Milo in the Lovre but without any other tourists standing around, you get there early and follow his 'plug-n-chug' tour to that gallery. We've been using Rick's guidebooks for 7 years and will continue to do so.

    Travel Clothing: these are some sources we've found to have useful stuff.

    Rick Steves, again. He has some pretty good carry-on suitcases (including a style with backpack straps), a bungee-style clothesline, etc. etc.

    TravelSmith claims to be the 'Worlds best travel clothing'. They're probably right. The stuff can be expensive, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet when you can't find any acceptable alternative below. Good stuff for women here.

    Norm Thompson is another "dress clothes" source, although they have some stuff that isn't necessarily what I'd call really "travel abuse" friendly. Always check out the details.

    LL Bean doesn't have a lot of stuff with high-tech travel fabrics, but they do have some. Check out their clearance sales for CoolMax fabrics, etc.

    Magellan's store also has a lot of the gimmicky travel gadgets that you probably don't really need ... resist the temptation :)

    Campmor
    Sierra Trading Post
    Ex Officio
    REI

    ...are all good sources for more casual, hiker/safari types of clothing, usually at much more affordable prices. They have frequent clearance sales too.


    Camera Gear - Suppliers

    Go to Google, enter "B&H" and hit the "I feel lucky" button. Enough said.


    -hh
     
  15. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #15
    General - DRIVING TIPS

    PLANNING is always key ... do it at home when you have plenty of time, instead of at Frankfurt airport after you've not slept on the redeye.

    If you have an idea of your general driving itinerary before you go, consdier the following:

    1. Sit down to make your own "AAA Triptic" booklet. Do this by photocopying the relevant sections of your Michelin Map (spiralbound maps are easier here) and taking a yellow highlighter to the path.

    --> Feel free to repeat photocopied pages, and then collate and staple.
    --> Assemble this for *ONE* Day's driving.

    2. Concurrent with the above, write down your route's turns & landmarks for the Navigator. Again, just for ONE day.
    --> Don't just say "A6 North". Say "A6 North...to Frankfurt, Bamburg, etc" (see Autobahn note at end)
    --> For important turns, also write down the direction you don't want to go, ie: "NOT towards Wursburg". Knowing what turns you don't want is very useful when trying to find the turn you do want.

    3. Since you're going somewhere, what are you going there for? Gather up this paperwork too.

    4. Take items 1-2-3 and put them all into a Gallon-sized Ziplock Bag. It should just barely fit.
    --> Put the date that you need these directions on the outside of the bag, along with a short description (11-19-05: "Bamburg to Wursburg")

    5. Repeat the above steps for each day you'll be on the road.

    6. As you finish a day's drive ... throw away the "used" pages that you don't need. But keep the ziplock for putting stuff in ...such as dirty laundry :) Also keep a few pages because they're blank on the back...in case you revise plans and want to write a new itinerary overnight.


    This has worked great for us in Europe.

    AUTOBAHN NOTE ---> Be aware that Autobahn's don't really have "NORTH / SOUTH" types of signs! Instead, their signs tells you what major cities are ahead along that route.

    Many signs will have a list of cities on them...too many listed to read them all at 100kph! But they are arranged logically once you figure it out: its just a nearest--to--farthest list...or is it a farthest--to--nearest?

    The answer is "it depends where you are": Germany and France do the opposite of each other: one is farthest at the top, and the other is farthest at the bottom (I think Germany's farthest top?). As such, your navigator needs to know this so as to know where to start reading on the sign. No wonder the Soviets never invaded! :)


    -hh
     
  16. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #16
    re:General - DRIVING TIPS

    Good tips. though I am "uneasy" based on what I have heard about Icelandic drivers - they seem to be tied to their cell phones and and have little regard for other drivers.
     
  17. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #17
    Travel tip: Jeans (women's and men's)

    Make one pair of jeans black rather than blue -- these, when "dressed up" with a nice top (sweater, blouse, shirt, etc.) will get you into places which otherwise might frown upon standard blue jeans.
     
  18. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #18
    Travel tip: bags and flexibility

    Before I went to SF I had to buy new luggage. That wasn't a particular problem. What I DID wrestle with was how to best take my PB and my camera gear. I looked at bags online and in stores. I finally bought a backpack that is not specifically for camera gear, but which did have a compartment for the PB. My baby fit nicely in there in a protective sleeve. I found that I could actually fit my Domke satchel bag with the camera and two lenses inside into one of this backpack's compartments. Terrific! But.... oh, sooo heavy!

    The day before the trip I re-read the airline website section on tips and what they would/would not permit -- for the first time I realized that, ah, I could have a carryon bag PLUS a "personal" item which could be a laptop bag or briefcase.... With that in mind I once again played with packing everything. The way it ended up was that I took the backpack, planning to use it out in SF, but I actually packed it into my large bag that was being checked through. On the plane I used the matching carryon bag (which is on wheels) and in there I stashed the DSLR camera and lenses (again in the Domke satchel bag for added protection), plus a small P&S, and all the rest of my odds-and-ends of electronic gear (memory cards, chargers, etc.). I also took my Oakley laptop bag, into which went the PB, a couple of paperback books, my iPods, the power source for the PB, etc., etc... It was easy enough to roll the carryon bag through the airport and to stack the laptop bag on top.

    Once in SF I did another trial run of the backpack fully loaded with the PB and my camera gear. I'd done this at home, but not really sufficiently. I soon realized and sadly acknowledged that with the amount of walking I'd be doing that this would undoubtedly do irreparable damage to my back, so I took advantage of being able to stash the PB each day in the hotel's safe (that sleeve did come in handy after all!) and then used either the backpack or the satchel bag alone for going out and about...

    Bottom line here: flexibility. I was really glad that I had the options to use my satchel bag, laptop bag and laptop sleeve in different ways at different times as the occasion warranted. I think that when I fly out there for next year's MacWorld, I'll probably leave the backpack at home. To be honest, I'm just not really a backpack person...
     
  19. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #19
    The Grant sounds like a terrific deal! I decided to stick with the reservations I'd already made at the Argent for MWSF simply because I knew that hotel was just a block and a half from the Moscone Center. From past experiences at conventions, I was well aware of the advantages of one's hotel being close to wherever the event is, and more than once during my stay I was grateful for the proximity. That said, if I were going back out there for a pure vacation not connected with a convention or some event, I definitely would be interested in the Grant -- the location there is great and convenient for taking off for days of touristing.
     
  20. njmac macrumors 68000

    njmac

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #20
    Chip, a few drinks at a tourist place is ok but spending money on a tourist meal is not. Your "tourist" meal will not just be expensive, but it will probably not be good, and on top of that it will be a meal you can get anywhere.

    Please, seek out a local restaurant, a person's home (best choice ever as long as they don't try the usual tactic and make you what they think you, as an American would like) or street food. It may be cheap or expensive, but it will be something that most likely won't be found elsewhere. Sure, it's a little more legwork, but it may turn out to be memorable.

    Street food, btw, will almost always be authentic, usually cheap, and usually fantastic!
     
  21. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #21
    I second this! I didn't take advantage of the City Pass this time because I knew I was only going to be able to do a limited amount of touristy stuff and wasn't sure of just when I'd be free to do it. As a result, I paid much more on the times I was able to do something. The City Pass definitely would pay for itself very quickly.
     
  22. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #22
    Great place. I had my very first kiss there, on my 16th birthday, at the National Forensic League's National Speech & Debate Tournament. Romantic city, hot speech chick... terrible kiss. Alas. :eek: Still had fun. :)
     
  23. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #23
    General - xBooks at airport security

    While most travelers probably already know this, airport security will generally ("always", in my personal experience) allow a laptop to go through the scanner in a sleeve. Helpful if, like me, you don't like scratched cases.
     
  24. rdowns Suspended

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #24
    I've been asked to remove my laptop from its sleeve on every trip I've taken since 9/11. About a dozen round trips or so.
     
  25. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #25
    General - packing

    A lot of people seem to really like the rolling technique for clothes. My preference is as follows (works best for somewhat limited trips, where you'll tend to change all but maybe pants each day):
    • Buy lots of very large ziplock bags.
    • Sort your clothes for the trip so that each day's clothing (minus, usually, pants, which are often worn more than one day) is in one pile - one neat pile (i.e., one pile for each day).
    • Slide each pile into a ziplock bag.
    • Gently roll the bag to remove air and seal it before unrolling it.
    • Slide clothing packets into your backpack or bags - they're surprisingly small.
    • Each morning, pull out a bag and change into that day's outfit.
    If you're careful while packing, I've found that this method produces clothing which is less wrinkled than rolling - and which is more densely packed.
     

Share This Page