Travel

One Thing I’ll Never Travel Without Again

Bangkok

Have you ever had a travel mixup? Earlier this winter, we were headed to Thailand…

Picture this: My fiancé had to go to Thailand for work, so we decided to make a vacation of it. We would be flying separately — I was spending Christmas in California with my family, he was in New York with his — and meeting at the Bangkok airport, where we would travel onward together. But when I arrived, he was nowhere to be found.

I called his phone and it went straight to voicemail. In a state of panic, searching through my email for confirmations, I realized he had just boarded at JFK. When coordinating our flights, with different times zones, we had been fooled by good old AM/PM and accidentally booked tickets arriving a day apart. Alone in a bustling airport, in a country I had never visited, where I didn’t speak the language, with nowhere to stay that night, was not how I envisioned starting my romantic holiday.

Luckily, this never happened. A week before we were set to leave, I had discovered the app TripIt and we narrowly avoided this debacle. I had emailed everything that had to do with my trip — hotel bookings, flight reservations — to TripIt and it lined up all my info in a chronological list right on my phone. With my itinerary laid out so nicely and neatly, I suddenly realized I was arriving a day too early. So, I booked a hotel ahead of time and ended up having a relaxing night alone nursing my jet lag instead of scrambling to find somewhere to stay last minute.

TripIt was super helpful throughout the rest of our vacation, too. The app stores all your reservations and confirmation numbers; updates you on flight delays; and lets you know when you should leave for the airport based on local traffic. It was also fun and satisfying to open it during the trip and see what had been checked off and what we still had on our plate — like a day with these elephants. Honestly, I’ll never travel without it again.

A few other things I always pack for vacation:
* natural wipes for when I am too tired to wash my face after a long day of exploring
* aromatherapy to clear my head on planes (and trains and cabs)
* a dad hat because I never feel normal in those floppy beach hats
* this adaptor if traveling internationally
* and, of course, a gripping read

Have you tried TripIt? Do you have any must-haves or apps for traveling?

P.S. How to plan your best vacation, traveling with a baby, and a romantic trip gone awry.

(Photo by Adam Ferguson. This post isn’t sponsored, we just love TripIt:)

  1. LT says...

    This is cool! I work for the parent company of TripIt, Concur. So cool to see my fave blog talking about it!!!!!!

  2. Hannah Spring says...

    Splitwise is GREAT for traveling with friends. It’s an app that lets you create a group, add in any expenses you happen to pay for (groceries, cabs, hotel room), and then select people to split the costs with. At the end of the trip it will tally up all the $ everyone owes to one another so you don’t have to do the math on your own.

    Another hack for international travel is that most/all iphones are now unlocked upon purchase. You can use an earring back to pop out the SIM card (bonus points: the earring trick which will make you feel like a super sly CIA agent!) and you can buy v cheap SIM cards and data at the airport in most countries. If you don’t go this route, it can be handy to download the trip advisor city page onto your phone and/or save the google map on your iphone so that you can access these without wifi/internet.

    I like to get a new dress or article of clothing before a trip so that when I wear it after the trip I’m reminded of my travels and specific memories… Has worked well with a romper from madewell and a flowery dress from Neiman’s last call.

    Would be cute to have an illustration on what NOT to bring while traveling (full makeup kit, a pair of heels you’ve never worn before, all your uncomfortable/lowest on the totem poll underwear because you forgot to do laundry before your trip, etc).

  3. my husband introduced me to TripIt when we had our first trip together in Bali. Until today I still put all my itinerary in old fashion way every time we have a trip, however my husband sticks to Tripit and he loves it!

  4. Penny says...

    Oh and it is so good when travelling with friends but departing from different cities, as we recently did; ten days in japan with another couple, because you can share your trips making it easy to see each others flight times etc

  5. Penny says...

    I am OBSESSED with tripit, it is the most useful app ever. I tell everyone about it who I know travels it is so so good.

  6. Clara says...

    This girl’s worst-nightmare scenario is a single woman traveling alone’s life.

    • Lauren says...

      Yes!! I thought the same thing.

  7. Katherine says...

    I totally encountered this debacle once. I was flying to Australia, mistakenly calculated crossing the international date line too early, and found myself with an extra 48 hours in Hawaii, when I thought I had 12! After a few hours of frantically calling every hotel on the island only to discover they were all fully booked due to a conference in town, I decided to embrace the chaos. I took the city bus down the beach, walked into a hotel, pretended I was a guest, stored my luggage in their holding area, and spent the whole day on the beach before meeting a kindred spirit who, it turned out, was close friends with my childhood best friend. She graciously let me spend 2 nights at her house and drove me to the airport a few mornings later to continue on my journey to Australia. While this whole debacle could have been avoided with TripIt, and it certainly wasnt for the faint of heart, it ended up being one of my dearest memories :)

  8. Nannette says...

    have used this app for a while now….love it

  9. Jillian says...

    I downloaded TripIt, eager to see my April trip to Japan neatly lined up, and was mind-boggled when I saw that we were scheduled to check into our airbnb the day before our flight! Thanks for helping me wrap my head around the International Date Line– and for saving me $74. ;)

  10. Caroline says...

    Great article – my partner and I have been travelling for 5 months so far and Tripit is brilliant. One thing that’s saved us SO MUCH CASH though is getting a Revolut card each (this is for people from the UK, I think there’s a similar app for US folks though?) – it doesn’t charge you anything extra to withdraw money around the world, and it also gives you the live exchange rate, not some rubbish terrible rate like my bank does. Also they’re prepaid cards so we don’t have to keep track of who buys what, we just both put £100 on it and know we’ve contributed an equal amount. It all works through a swanky, super-fast app. It’s literally saved us so much money and it’s worked in every country we’ve been to! So, I’d never go anywhere without it now. Travel apps for the win!

  11. Sarah-Jane P. says...

    I travel regularly with my work and tripit looks fantastic. I’m definitely going to give it a try for my upcoming trip to Australia and New Zealand.

    When I’m travelling I always take a turkish towel, even if I’m staying in up-market hotels. It can be used as a beach towel, a sarong, a pashmina or even a blanket. As for the flight, I always have a pashmina or infinity scarf for that comforting extra layer when it gets cold mid-flight, an eye mask and ear plugs, my kindle and a small zip-lock bag with everything I need to freshen up mid-flight or while in transfer.

    Travelling hand luggage only is something I always aim to do so I am slightly obsessed with packing cubes. I’ve even managed a previous 3 week trip to Australia with only hand luggage. My fiance and I are eloping whilst we are in New Zealand, so that brings its own packing dilemmas and I don’t think travelling with only hand luggage will be an option this time!

    I only started travelling long-haul about 3 years ago and if its ok, I’d love to recommend Her Packing List http://herpackinglist.com/ to CupofJo readers. Its written by women, for women and I’ve found it invaluable in planning trips and recommendations for travelling gear.

  12. I use Pana! It’s exactly like TripIt but far prettier and if something goes wrong you can chat to a concierge :)

  13. Kim says...

    Kayak has a similar feature on their app and I LOVE IT. Plus their Explorer section will show you the cheapest flights from your airport to anywhere in the world. It’s an amazing tool that has helped me book my last international adventure! Highly recommend.

  14. Debby Downer says...

    We missed a flight out of LaGuardia once because Tripit had the wrong terminal info! Delta scolded us for using an outside app for flight info. So little tip – if you do use it, be sure to double check info from your actual airline.

  15. I’m an old school list maker.. I have tried apps but I just feel more comfortable with a word doc..

  16. This sounds like a great app! When you first mentioned the elephants I was pained for a moment because animals used for tourism purposes are often stolen from the wild (with the mothers often killed in the process) and horribly treated, but it looks like you were at a sanctuary? Whew!

    • Claudia says...

      I had the exact same reaction! :)

  17. Colette says...

    I love tripit!!! I have been using it for years, and it’s also so fun to look back at all of my past trip plans too :) Family trips, weekend trips with girlfriends in college, business trips to random cities. It is so helpful and has saved me so, so many times! I even started paying for tripit pro last year, which keeps track of all of your travel rewards programs AND (best part) tells you when your miles will expire. I booked a last minute weekend flight to DC when I realized my United miles were expiring soon. 100% worth the $50 for tripit pro!

  18. I gotta say – I’m anti apps and electronic solutions – I ALWAYS run out of battery and NEVER roam when I travel. So these solutions can fail! I print paper, date order them, and throw them out as I’ve ‘used’ that flight/booking etc. It ALWAYS works, and I can wave it in front of drivers etc. Low tech works!!

  19. Yes! I’ve been using TripIt to plan a big trip to Europe and it has been so helpful! Not only does it line everything up chronologically, but it helps me realize where there are gaps in our trip planning. I love that you can just forward confirmation emails and it will input all the info automatically. It’s like magic!
    Also, by “big trip to Europe” I mean: we aren’t quitting our jobs and vagabonding around Europe for five months!
    It took a lot of time to build up the courage to do this but using TripIt has made the planning a lot less nerve wracking.

    • Marti says...

      And by “aren’t” I mean… we ARE! Woopsie.

    • Sharon says...

      I always book flights directly with the airline and try to stick with one airline as much as I can…. they have a great reward program.
      Hotel wise, I look at expedia, booking and other such sites but also always check the hotel site directly…. I have many times gotten cheaper rates or extras like breakfast included ( in Europe where breakfast is a complete meal) for cheaper than what I can find on discount sites. Moisturizer wise, I love the Clinique moisture surge overnight mask.

  20. I always book our trips through the same discount travel website, and they provide an itinerary to print for flights/hotels/transportation from/to airport. They also have an app and provide emails that I can access from my phone. Aside from buying tickets for shows ahead of time when we have traveled to NYC, we usually don’t make too many definite plans ahead of time. We do research what we would like to do, but are often spontaneous about choosing exactly what we do and when we do it. So, I’ve never felt the need to use an app such as this. We are planning our first trip to a different continent this year, though, so that might change my approach. I will definitely keep it in mind for that trip. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I would love to hear about how people plan for travel. As I mentioned, I have always purchased plane tickets and hotel stays as a bundle deal on a discount website. Recently I wondered if maybe I’m not saving as much money as I thought doing it that way. Does anyone use a travel agency anymore? Are there advantages to using a travel agency? Do most people purchase plane tickets from the airline directly? Are there secrets to finding the best flights while paying the least amount for them? We like to stay at luxury hotels, if possible, and I do think we have saved a lot of money on hotel accommodations by using a discount site, as I have compared the rates available through the hotel website directly.

    I love hearing what people take on flights and consider must-haves when traveling. I need a recommendation for a good travel-size facial wash for someone with sensitive skin and a travel-size facial moisturizer. Any ideas?

    • Em says...

      I’m no travel expert, but I will tell you what I do! I always book directly with the airline because I try to always fly the same airline when possible, in order to built up rewards and status, instead of hopping around to different airlines. Depends on how much you fly, paying a little more for one flight in order to stick with your airline can be beneficial in the long-run as you accrue miles. (And I have my airline’s credit card too). I like to use Google Flights when looking for deals. They have some nice tools like calendars showing you the cheapest days to fly, and also a tool where you type in your home airport and it shows you different places you could go by price and by month. Once I’ve used that, I go to my airline’s website to book.

      For hotels, I always book with hotels.com, because I like their rewards program: 1 night free for every 10 nights booked through them, available on almost on the hotels on their site. They average the price of your 10 nights and that’s how much you get towards your free night.

      For finding out activities and tours while on vacation, I like to use tripadvisor.com. I look at the “Things to Do” section under each city.

    • Em says...

      Oh, edited to add: I use Airbnb about half the time and Hotels.com the other half of the time, just depending on where I’m going and what kind of trip it is!

  21. Cazmina says...

    Ooh this app sounds really handy! I usually make a word document with all the details, suggested places to eat etc., then I print it, and save a PDF of it on my phone & in my email.
    A great app for travelling in groups is Settle Up – rather than always splitting the bill or trying to remember who paid for that taxi days later, you just enter it all in the app (it only takes a few seconds after you set it up on the first day) and at it tells you who owes what to whom so you can sort it out at the end of the trip.
    I tend to use my phone a lot when travelling (taking photos, using google maps etc) so the battery runs out quite fast. I always take a little portable battery charger and cable. I also take a deck of cards – they’re pretty universal and a great way to pass the time or make new friends (either in your accommodation or stuck in an airport).

  22. Sarah says...

    Agree Tripit is a fabulous app Megan, especially when travelling to multiple destinations in the one trip.
    My travel essentials are: a mini Bluetooth speaker, a torch (used frequently to find missing items in dark hotel rooms!), herbal tea bags (never a guarantee to be supplied in hotels) and nice lounge wear (amazing how often people forget you need something comfortable to sit around in when travelling).

  23. Wow, what a great service! I could’ve used this last summer when I traveled to Southeast Asia for work, visiting three countries along the way and meeting up with two separate groups of visitors who met me there! I had every single important file downloaded in Dropbox and in an email folder, but it definitely didn’t lay everything out nicely for me. One bonus would be if this app could help you arrange everything in chronological order (including layovers) BEFORE you book!!

  24. Sofia says...

    I also love TripIt and have been using it for a long time. You can give the calendar link to your family so they know what you’re up to without having to deal with emails, etc.

    Google Trips is giving TripIt a run for their money though, and basically does the same thing automatically if you have a Gmail account. The Google Trips app is also so useful, especially for info on how to get around whatever country or city you’re visiting.

    Other things I pack:
    A portable wireless device – a no-brainer for $7.75 a day, especially if the hotel you’re staying at charges for wifi. Makes traveling around so much easier. https://www.xcomglobal.com/

    If you’re going somewhere with dicey food/water – Immodium (saved me from mid-flight traveller’s diarrhea) and Cipro

    • Nikki says...

      What a great idea! A portable wireless device,

    • IMMODIUM. You only need to have one traumatic traveling experience without it (like diarrhea on a day long bus ride through the Himalayas…) to never ever go anywhere without it.

  25. lauren g says...

    I still love writing everything down. on paper. with a pen. For each major trip I use a brand new small journal & write out all the travel plans: airports, hotels, rentals, etc. Then I also write down anything that sounds cool: clubs, shopping areas, museums. Then while on the trip I jot down things I want to remember: an artist, a band I heard, an embarrassingly hilarious moment. It is so much fun to revisit those journals because EVERYTHING is in there!

  26. jaclyn says...

    I never travel without shakra spray from Aveda for any stinky situation and I use night cream to encase myself on the flight. Things I do NOT travel with anymore- camera (I use my phone if I need it. I like to stay present.), extra accessories (I buy shoes, purses, jewelry from local places if I see something), hairdryer/curling iron/straightener (sometimes it’s nice to give my hair a break). I bring one carry on bag and it has to be light enough to carry all day (bc you never know!).

  27. Em says...

    I love TripIt too! The planner in me loves having everything lined up so neatly. Sometimes when I’m having a rough day at work, I’ll open the app just to gaze at my upcoming trips.

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Me too! I’ve been doing that with my honeymoon :)

  28. SD says...

    Love Tripit! And it works even without internet which is awesome.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!! i SWEAR by it now. we used to make these long “cheat sheets” on word documents for our trips, and i’d print them out, and have papers flapping around when we arrived at airports. tripit is so much easier. i don’t usually love apps, but it’s so great.

  29. Alice says...

    I love that this isn’t a sponsored post – you’re just genuinely passionate about something and sharing it! So COJ.
    But I’m not so sure I’d love tripit itself…

    I love unexpected adventure and experiences. I visited one of my favourite countries in the world because a woman I met on a beach and clicked with recommended it so wholeheartedly I changed plans on the spot. And the most peaceful place on earth I have ever seen was also a last minute whim off a schedule and into bliss. I love road trips and open returns. I think an itinerary would make me feel less free to improvise.
    Now, with kids, travel is a more organised affair, though I hope to go back to travelling more freely when they’re a bit older. I hope it’ll make them travel with resilience. Maybe it’ll just piss them off, we’ll see!

  30. I always bring wet wipes with me! Super refreshing!! The great thing about this post is all of the ideas that other people are commenting with! Bring a reusable container, lemon in a waterbottle etc etc

    http://thedianaedition.com

  31. I’m interested to learn more about the app. My must-have app? – husband lol!

  32. Twyla says...

    I have a few travel ‘must-haves’ – I get one of those old-lady 7-day pill boxes, and fill each compartment with pills I might need: Pepto Bismol, Advil, an antihistamine, Melatonin, Cold & Flu drugs, vitamins etc. I can’t tell you how many times this has come in handy. Grapefruit Seed Extract is also very helpful if you’re travelling to a third world country. It’s a powerful anti-bacterial and is very effective for when you have bad water-poop, killing any bad bacteria or amoebas. It also will get rid of a bladder or urinary tract infection in, like a day.

  33. Mimi says...

    I LOVE TripIt. It organizes everything from flights, bus trips, hotels and car rentals. The moment you book something with a confirmation, Tripit automatically inputs and stores the information. Going as far as alerting you on flight delays and terminal changes. I HIGHLY recommend it.

  34. Karinny says...

    Yes on the book! Such a good one, please recommend more books like this, I have a couple of trips coming up :)
    Always love COJ reading suggestions!

  35. Melinda says...

    Love TripIt. I’ve always travelled with my itinerary, hotels, insurance etc in a private Google doc (shared with my mum and sister just in case). The big advantage of TripIt is you don’t have to enter any of that data manually – it collects the info from your confirmation emails. Plus I can still share it with others! Now that I’ve used it I will not travel without it.

  36. I’ll have to check out this app next time I travel! I’ve definitely heard of stories from friends of misbooking because of the time difference!

    http://www.thebeautydojo.com

  37. Ah, Thailand. It’s an incredible country, and sooooo far away from here (US)! The flight was brutally long, and I sat next to a woman who (literally) threw-up the whole flight. I felt horrible for her, and offered her one of my dramamine pills (that’s a must-have on trips for me because I get motion-sickness fairly easily), which she gratefully accepted. Unfortunately it did not seem to help her. So I spent about 18 hours hiding under my big scarf (my other must-have travel item. It comes in handy in so many different way! Makeshift towel, covers your shoulders when you enter a holy place, sun-shade, pillow, beach cover-up, etc. etc. etc.) and sniffing my bottle of Thieves Oil (another must-have travel item.) Miraculously I didn’t catch whatever she was sick with. Poor woman!

  38. Capa says...

    This actually happened to me. In Bangkok! :)

    It was in the pre-app days, so once I landed, I just got myself booked into a (really crappy) youth hostel for the night, just a block away from the fancy hotel we had for the coming week, and walked around the area taking in the bustle of this remarkable city. No app required.

  39. Lindsay says...

    Oral rehydration salts, or ORS. Probably the least sexy component of any travel plan, but I travel a lot (for work and for pleasure) and have ended up avoiding hospital stays in a few countries and continents just because I have packed ORS. Antibiotics for tummy issues are over-prescribed and can cause long term damage. ORS help you stay hydrated through these thoroughly un-glamorous travel moments and avoid unnecessary antibiotic use.

  40. Meg Kreuz says...

    Tripit is fantastic…we also love the Hotel Tonight app. When our Airbnb fell through in Paris (the lock-box with the keys was broken…impossible to get a locksmith on a Sunday night) we were able to find a back-up place to stay in moments. In fact, the nicest room in the hotel for a very affordable rate.

  41. Sil says...

    I love the Beach Boys hat (I’m a huge fan).

  42. Jessica says...

    My husband and I have been making word documents titled “Place Name Travel Deets” for our whole relationship. I get all the info in one place and then his OCD self makes it look pretty with tables, pictures, bolds, underlines, etc. This App would solve that…but part of me doesn’t want to let the tradition go. I’m such a luddite.

  43. Beth says...

    I love, love, love Thailand. I’m so jealous that you were able to travel there! I would go back there in a heartbeat if I could!

  44. Sarah Beth says...

    One thing I discovered while traveling on my honeymoon in paris is to bring a big tote bag in a neutral that your husband will be willing to carry. I brought a giant, plain longchamp with me, and it was so great to share the schlepping duties. If you bring your normal purse, you’re gonna end up carrying all the guidebooks and kindles and extra money and camera, and your husband probably won’t want to carry it. But a neutral tote bag ensures that everyone gets to have a backache, but slightly less than the backache you’d have if you didn’t share.

    • Erin says...

      This is such a great idea! I do always end up carrying all of that stuff in my crossbody.

    • Sara says...

      My husband brings a backpack and carries everything. Lucky me!

    • Megan Cahn says...

      I do this, too!

    • Cousa says...

      That’s a great idea! My hubs always insists on carrying my purse, and he acts like a college girl holding her purse on her forearm and embarrasses me in public!

  45. Stephanie says...

    Also, for anyone who is inspired to go to Thailand by this post (which you should be), I recommend Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, which is in Northern Thailand just an easy, cheap one hour flight from Bangkok. It’s a sanctuary, no riding, but lots of feeding, petting, and education. It was literally one of the best days of my life and I basically think everyone should drop what they’re doing and make a plan to go there.

    • I second this! I went to this park as well when I visited Thailand and it was one of my favorite experiences there. It’s really lovely because the elephants are generally rescues and so you still get to interact with elephants while also helping them. I’m so glad you mentioned this because it really is incredible!

    • Erin says...

      Thank you for mentioning the Elephant Nature Park. It is such a wonderful place. I spent a week there as a volunteer a few months ago. It was one of the best experiences of my life. For anyone planning a trip to Thailand, please don’t ride elephants, or attend any elephant shows. Elephants endure unthinkable torture in order to perform those tricks or allow people to ride them. Instead, look into visiting an ethical sanctuary where you can spend time around the animals, walking with them, feeding them, and watching them interact with each other.

  46. Lisa says...

    I’ve used a similar app – TripCase, and agree it’s great. The first time I used it I was flying I to the US and had to complete a boarding card. Normally I would be scrambling to try and find the address of the hotel, but in this case it was there, all ready for me

    I don’t do flights anymore without wearing fabulous travel tights. I started when I had a broken leg and it makes a difference, particularly long haul. My legs used to swell up like nobody’s business, but not anymore! Sure, they are hideous but I really don’t care how I look on flights so it’s fine.

  47. Brittany says...

    Megan sorry if this is super nosy, but do you and your partner have an age difference? Mine is 13 years older than me. Always interesting to find others with similar (like Joanna)! I never notice it personally, we always felt just right together.

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Hi Brittany, he’s actually a year and a half younger than me :)

    • Andrea says...

      I think he looks like Mandy Patinkin (at least in the picture you shared)! What a handsome man :)

  48. Stephanie says...

    The app sounds great, but if anyone is too lazy to work out getting it and using it, here is my method. As I plan the trip, I keep a plain old Word document and I list everything day by day. So it looks like this:

    Feb. 27 (Fri)- Korean Air 3465 LAX-Seoul-BKK, 1.5 hour layover in Seoul

    Feb. 28 (Sat)- arrive BKK 11:20pm; driver will be at gate 1 with sign; Sheraton Grande 2 premier nonsmoking rooms, confirm #5474498

    Feb. 29 (Sun)- Bangkok Day Tours, guide John will meet us in lobby 8:30am, tour temples, pool time

    And so on. You can put as much or as little as you want, in whatever format makes sense to you. I like to include the tour guides’ names and phone numbers. I keep this with me with all my emails, tickets, confirmations, and trip insurance attached, in a plastic sleeve. Also, I have my husband go over all of it to make sure I don’t screw up the AM-PM, etc.

    • Sil says...

      I’m old school, too. I print the word document and keep a digital copy in the clud just in case.

  49. Tara says...

    LOVE Tripit. I tell everyone about it. I feel like they should pay me at this point lol. Also their premium was worth it when we went from, CA, NC, to France last year.

    • Stephanie S. says...

      I love it too! I have been using it for years. I set it up so that it automatically scans my email for any reservations and it creates a trip itinerary for me. This also helps when family or friends come to visit and they forward you their itinerary. Tripit will set up an itinerary so it’s easy to go to the app and see when they will arrive/depart. I also have it linked to my calendar so my travels plans are automatically set up as events (with the correct time zone) :)

    • Erin says...

      What! You can link it to your calendar?? I also love Tripit and have been using it for years, but clearly missed this very important feature.

    • Erika says...

      I, too, use it constantly. I travel a lot for work and it’s SO much easier to just forward confirmation emails for rental cars, airline reservations, dinner reservations, hotels, etc. than my old method – write it down in a notebook (and hope I don’t lose the piece of paper!) Also, this way I avoid data entry errors! I have our whole sales team hooked.

  50. This app sounds amazing! I’m a compulsive planner, and when we went to Europe last summer we had several flights and different airbnbs booked, traveled solo and joined up again at one point, and had an Excel and Word document listing all of our plans and confirmation numbers. This would’ve been so helpful! Definitely planning on taking advantage of it for our trip this fall. ;)
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  51. Mara says...

    I never travel without Aveda Blue Oil. It’s a little vial perfect for traveling that includes a relaxing blend of oils that you rub on any tense areas. I always rub some on my temples and underneath my nose before take-off and it smells wonderful. Much better than the stale airplane air.

  52. Ah! Love TripIt-no more frantic e-mail searches for flight confirmation numbers. My favorite travel tools-melatonin and an eye mask. Not sleeping on vacation is no fun! Hope to see photos of your Thailand vacation!

  53. Heidi says...

    Maps.me is a great app for offline maps. You can save Google maps offline but not for every country, such as Cuba. Maps.me for Cuba was amazingly detailed and all the functions are available offline (restaurant info, search nearby, walking directions etc).

    • Amy says...

      Good to know! I’ve downloaded Google maps for travelling before but didn’t realize they weren’t available for everywhere (I haven’t travelled much lately).

  54. Smart! I gotta get this for the next trip I plan. I’m thinking about meeting my husband while he’s Madrid and bringing my 3 kids with me. It’s gonna be crazy and stressful and, from the sound of it, this app will help relieve a lot of that stress. Thanks for the tip.

  55. Oh man, my stomach started to turn when I thought you were alone at the airport! Haha! Glad you caught the mistake. That might be one of my nightmares…I had never even ridden a bus alone until I was 18! I would definitely have a momentary freak out.

    I like to bring an apple, pretzels and a few bars on flights, things that wont upset my stomach and are rather comforting. An eye-mask is a must as well. Before we fly I always pick up water and some trashy gossip magazines, as a little treat. It’s a habit I can’t seem to break!

    http://www.shessobright.com

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Chiang Mai was my favorite of all the places we went :) The temples! The food!

  56. Andrea says...

    TripIt Pro also tracks all your frequent flyer and reward miles and when they expire. I upgrade to this each year, having had miles expire in the past without me knowing about it. It can track FF, hotel, credit card and/or any other reward program, often just off the email statements you get.

    I also like that it stores my itinerary on my iPad offline. So many times I’ve been stuck without wifi someplace and need to check a reservation detail and I can just pop open my iPad.

  57. Jo says...

    Haha- this did actually happen to me 10 years ago when meeting my mom in Paris. Luckily she was the one to arrive a day early, as a 20 year old arriving in my first foreign country where I didn’t speak the language I’m not sure what I would have done. My poor mom had to take that train trip to and from the airport 3 times within 24 hours so she could meet me. Moms are such heroes!

  58. Katherine says...

    I’ve used tripit–it’s very handy! My partner and I are doing a year of distance right now, so I’ve been flying a LOT…

    Things I always bring: my empty water bottle with a piece of lemon in a separate container (i get such intense rageface at having to buy $7 plastic bottles of water in airports, and sipping lemon water is nice on an airplane. but store the lemon separately so that security doesn’t freak out and ask you “WHAT IS IN YOUR WATER BOTTLE”); something to read (but N.B. it can’t be harrowing–I tried to read “beloved” on an airplane one and seriously alarmed my seatmate when I wouldn’t stop crying). Face wipes, deodorant, and a hydrating liptint in my carry-on, because it feels so nice to get off the airplane and then quickly refresh yourself–wakes me right up and makes me way more pleasant when I’m going through customs!

    And a weird but handy thing I always bring when I’m travelling is an empty tupperware container or other reusable, sealable container that easily fits in my purse. It makes a BIG difference–you can pack some healthier snacks for when you’re out and about, you can use it to store fragile things on planes (packed with socks + the thing), you can buy small fruits and things when you’re out and about without bruising them, you can stick an exploding face cream in there if it happens… it seems ridiculous, but it comes in SO handy.

    • Amy says...

      Thanks for the tip about the tupperware! I always travel with a few extra ziplocs (particularly good for soiled baby clothes) but they don’t protect fragile items.

    • Justine says...

      good tip!

  59. jenn says...

    luckily we were together, but my husband and I confused 11:00 in Portugal to mean 11:00pm (logical, we arrived at 9:00pm) and thought we had a 2 hour layover, but it ended up being a 14 hour layover!! yuck!! luckily hotels are walking distance from the airport, and one, last-minute night was only 47 Euros!! ….now we know we need to visit Portugal, it’s beautiful, and everything is incredibly cheap for Europe…

  60. Amy says...

    Mixed feelings about this one. Some of my best travel experiences have been because of snafus- a missed train in China led to stay with some local college students who overheard us speaking English in the station and wanted to practice their language skills. An unexpected museum closure in DC meant my 6 year old tried pain au chocolat for the first time in a nearby cafe. Arriving early in a strange city to explore by myself for a day sounds amazing! How much do you miss when your head is down in your guidebook (or cell phone), hurrying to the next “must-see” destination? Obviously, business travel is a different story, but on vacation I think many scheduling problems are blessings in disguise, if you embrace the opportunity for unexpected adventure.

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Yes, for sure! I ended up visiting the palace in Bangkok that I wouldn’t have had time to see otherwise :)

    • maya says...

      I thought the exact same thing when reading this. It’s those unexpected moments that make for the best stories and experiences. Yes, it would have been annoying to be alone for a day, but you would have survived, and likely had a great story to tell. AND ….what if something happens to your phone?

  61. cooper says...

    Perfect timing! I leave on Saturday for a big trip (MSP -> Denver -> San Francisco) involving multiple flights, an Amtrak train, buses, etc., and the logistics are stressing me out! This app sounds like a lifesaver!

    I really like buying a paperback at the airport – it feels like a souvenir of sorts, and most airport kiosks have a just-right-sized collection of bestsellers, which makes it less overwhelming than a full-fledged book store :)

  62. I use TripIt also! My husband and I use it to track each other’s itineraries.

  63. Jenny says...

    This is perfect timing! My husband is in Africa and we are planning to meet in France in a few months. I was wondering how to coordinate everything so we would arrive around the same time, and this app solves the problem! Thank you!

  64. I just discovered two things from my last trip that I will now always take with me:
    1. Humidifer because hotel rooms are always SO drying!
    2. House slippers because hotel room carpets are icky.

  65. Rebecca says...

    Signing up now for summer vacations! Thanks!

  66. Martha says...

    This app is perfect timing, I leave for London and Dublin in a month – 2 cities, and 4 people! This will be great to coordinate all of our flight and Airbnb info.

  67. Never used this but have, actually, found myself in similar situation. My husband and I arrived in Seoul after many hours travelling to discover that we had booked our hotel for the next day…all the time zones from Britain had confused us. Brief panic but kind woman on info desk managed to get us into our hotel, no probs. Won’t forget that in a hurry. Always, always travel with scarf/pashmina and a book. Too anxious to read it but it calms me down just knowing I could.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      different time zones make it so easy to do that! also, i’d love to start traveling with a pashmina, seems perfect for a plane blanket, etc. i always bring a tiny flashlight and it’s remarkable how many times i’ve needed it.

    • Amanda says...

      Yes on scarf! I always travel with what I call my “plane wrap.” Planes are always so cold so I use it as a blanket. While I’m traveling it’s also an easy accessory to jazz up simple outfits.

    • Lisa says...

      Agree on the pashmina! I bought a big cashmere one about ten years ago, and it has been used on so many flights. Much warmer and nicer than the blankets they give you on planes, and you can use it when you land. It has also been used as a baby blanket in forgetful mother moments

    • Audrey says...

      I also pack little blankies and an extra sweater in kiddos’ backpacks for when they nap on the plane too! (In addition to books, snacks, hand sanitizer, etc.)

  68. That looks like a very handy app to have on trips! Lately, I have been using CityMapper which has come in very handy when going to cities like London, Melbourne and Sydney. Where I would have usually stuck to the main transport system, underground or tram, I found myself using buses as well as it feels easier with the app. I also use Evernote to store ideas of cafes and restaurants to try in various cities (that I am about to visit or plan to).
    And also antibacterial little wipes for the plane. It may look a bit weird to my fellow travelers but I give a quick wipe to the touch screen, remote and tablet on a long flight (I caught a stomach bug because of a badly cleaned touch screen before and I have learned that lesson…).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes wipes!! a lifesaver on trips.

  69. Sarah King says...

    OMG I use this app! I don’t even LIKE apps, but I like this one so much. It makes traveling feel less all about the logistics. Thanks, Megan!