High quality, budget-friendly suitcase

April 16, 2014 - 2 Responses

What is a good brand of luggage that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? A reader wrote:Ogio 21 inch

I know you have done a lot of articles on what is the best piece of luggage for frequent travelers out there, but I have a different kind of question about luggage. I’m shopping for my mother for Mother’s Day/her Birthday, and she really doesn’t need one of those high-durability, high-end pieces. She just needs a new piece of luggage that is light so she can fit it into an over-head bin.  It would also be great if it could expand so she could do longer trips with it. She doesn’t travel much, but her luggage right now just makes me cry when I see it. I was hoping to stay under $150? Have you ever come across a piece that would be good for this?

That’s a great question! I have spent a lot of time focusing on high quality bags because, let’s face it, frequent travelers abuse their Tommy hilfiger suitcaseluggage. (If you’re looking for a higher end bag, check out my Top 5 Quality Travel Bags post from a while back.) However, not everyone is going to be on the road two weeks per month. What if you only travel a few times a year?

My two cents: even if you’re flying infrequently, it’s still a good idea to buy a quality bag. Many moons ago when I lived in Barcelona for a semester, I took an enormous suitcase full of every clothing item I owned. While I had lots of fabulous stuff to wear, when I wanted to hop a train to Madrid or Seville for the weekend I had a bit of a struggle. Halfway through my trip I purchased a super cheap small suitcase. Halfway through my first weekend excursion the zipper bust. Worthless, and a waste of money I couldn’t afford on a college budget. For future trips I taped it closed. Not classy or very functional!

But I digress. I still recommend a solid brand with a good warranty. One way to find expensive bags on a budget is to try stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. I got a really great Tommy Hilfiger suitcase at Marshall’s five or six years ago which has held up great through a number of vacations, including lugging my maternity pillow around Texas and Mexico (very similar to this navy one for $168, but bright pink)(pictured, bottom right). Another option is to wait until companies come out with their new colors for the season, as they will often sell the outgoing color at a steep discount. I have an eight-year-old black version of this 21″ Ogio bag for $109 (pictured, top right). It sounds exactly like what you want—good price, lightweight, expandable, with plenty of pockets. And I can vouch for the durability!

Readers, what do you recommend for budget-friendly quality suitcases?

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Business travel news roundup

April 15, 2014 - Leave a Response

Here are the news stories that caught my eye over the last week or so…. (And this time the links should work!!)

Readers, see any other interesting stories this week?

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Review: Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad Air

April 15, 2014 - One Response

Late last year I bought an iPad Air. The goal was to gradually transition to my travel computer and eventually start leaving my Logitech ultrathin keyboard folioDell 14 inch laptop at home. For the first month I didn’t have a keyboard, and it baffled me how anyone used tablets as work computers. Typing on a screen is fine for short emails or web addresses, but there is no practical way to use a laptop for an entire blog post. Nonetheless I was sure that it was something I just had to get used to. Finally the Home Warrior saw me struggle for the last time, took pity on me and insisted I go buy a keyboard.

Going to Best Buy to find a keyboard the week after Christmas was probably a bad idea. The shelves were basically cleaned out! I played with the various floor models, and finally decided on my favorite. When I found the place on the shelf where it was supposed to be…the shelf was empty (cue sad music). However, a super nice person from Best Buy found one that had been set in the wrong place, and the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad Air was mine! Read more of this article »

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Beauty Monday: Tinted moisturizer

April 14, 2014 - One Response

Starting today, every week Road Warriorette will feature a beauty product that makes traveling easier. Do you have a favorite?Aveda Send it to RoadWarriorette @ gmail.com.

Toiletries can be some of the hardest items to pack for a new frequent traveler. You’ve spent years building up your beauty routine—how can you possibly be asked to squish into a couple small bags? That’s where multi-taskers come in. Anything that helps you bring fewer items is good in my book!

For people who don’t need heavy coverage, tinted moisturizer can be a godsend. It will hydrate, even out your skin tone, and provide minimal coverage without weight. Almost all of them also have SPF so you’re protected from the sun’s more harmful rays. That’s basically three products in one! I have used the Aveda Inner Light Tinted Moisture for years, and love how it feels so light and smells great. There are also lower priced options (like this one from Cover Girl) and organic options (like this one from Physicians Formula). Tip: While each of these is small enough to put in your liquids bag to carry-on, you could also squeeze a small amount into a contact lens case to save space.

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Packing extras for spring time travel

April 14, 2014 - Leave a Response

You probably know I’m not one to advocate arbitrarily adding stuff to your packing list. But man, the weather is so nice out right now! Spending just a little bit of time outside gives your mind a break and will make your business trip feel more like a vacation. One or two (small) items could make the difference.  So the next time you have to hit the road, consider taking something extra along.

spring packing extras

To work outside, bring an anti-glare notebook screen and sunglasses. Maybe add some bug spray too, just in case.

Hit the hotel pool with your swimsuit and sunscreen. Also bring an extra plastic bag for your wet suit. If relaxing while dry is more your speed, bring an eReader and read a few chapters poolside.

While workout clothes and shoes aren’t necessarily space-saving, it will do you good to get some outdoor activity. Maybe even bring your travel yoga mat and do some poses in a grassy area. And don’t forget your water bottle!

On a less fun note, bring an umbrella and use The Weather Channel app to send alerts to you about crazy weather. Allergy medicine probably wouldn’t hurt either.

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Poll: Will you (or would you) dump American?

April 11, 2014 - 12 Responses

Last month after the Delta Skymiles changes I ran a poll asking if the changes would make anyone stop flying Delta. The answer was a resounding, overwhelming YES. 63% of respondents said they would leave, compared to 14% who said they wouldn’t and 19% who were still making up their mind.

Now that American has made huge changes on the redemption side, I have the same question. Would the changes to the Aadvantage program be enough to make you quit using American? Folks on Twitter sure seem like it. (My favorite hashtag is definitely #AadvantageMAAsacre. Hah!) For myself, I am considering it more seriously than ever before. I just don’t see the use—I haven’t gotten an upgrade in months (I think last count I had 20 available) and redeeming awards lower tier rewards is now next to impossible. As much as I want a European holiday, we have no plans to travel internationally for leisure in the next two years. At this point, the only reason I want status is so that my twice-yearly travel to Manila is less sucky. I am considering switching all of my travel to Southwest, as right now we primarily fly domestically to see family, and all of our credit card spend to a cash back card or a hotel card.

But that’s me. What about you?

Will you (would you) quit flying American over the changes to the Aadvantage program?

View Results

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5 tips for getting through the airport smoothly

April 11, 2014 - 3 Responses

Remember my cousin who is on a two month business trip? He left about a week ago. As I drove him to the airport I tried to Victorinox spinnerremember all of my best tips for him. “Have your stuff ready when you get to the security line.” “Wait until they call your group number before going to board.” “The best breakfast is definitely across from gate 7.” Etc. Eventually I realized that he was never going to remember all of it, so I boiled it down to these main points.

  1. Check on your flight. Before you ever get to the airport, check to make sure your flight is on time. And remember: gates change on a regular basis, so the gate when you arrive may be different from the one listed while you’re still at home. Read more of this article »

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Cool travel app: App in the Air

April 10, 2014 - 3 Responses

Apps are great. They help us check the weather, keep in touch with friends, organize our lives, and of course, manage our travel. I app in the air 2have several travel apps on my phone that help me stay on top of the one million details frequent travel requires, but am always on the lookout for more.

Besides its oh-so-clever name, what I like about App in the Air is that it keeps everything in one place. Packing lists, flight reminders, airport information, and advice from fellow travelers, all at the click of button! You can also receive notifications for every stage of the flight, including check in, boarding, and landing. One of my favorite features is that it tracks all of the miles and cities you have been to, and will share them on Facebook or Twitter if you want. It’s free for Android, iPhone, and will soon be available for Windows phone.

Readers, seen any cool apps lately, travel or otherwise? Please share!!

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Posts from the past

April 10, 2014 - Leave a Response

Here’s what was going on this week in years past…

2013:

2012:

2011:

2010:

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Room Key and Road Warriorette

April 10, 2014 - 5 Responses

I am thrilled to announce that starting this month I will be a contributing writer to the Room Key blog ‘Beyond the Front Desk.’SU2C_Campaign_Pillow_black Room Key is a hotel search engine created by six of the world’s leading hotel companies. It enables travelers to quickly and easily compare value for their stay – based on specific preferences– and book directly with more than 100 leading hotel brands in 159 countries around the world. Room Key has asked me to contribute monthly posts on the things I love to write about: packing, etiquette, and making travel easier.

One of the reasons why this partnership is so exciting to me is because Room Key is working with Stand Up To Cancer to help accelerate ground-breaking cancer research. This is an issue near and dear to my heart, as I have had many family members and friends affected by cancer. The statistics are staggering: one out of three women and one out of two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. With the Stay the Night, Join the Fight promotion, Room Key will donate a portion of every booking to Stand Up To Cancer: $5 in April and $1. The goal is to raise $1 million per year between now and 2017, for a total of $3 million, but there is no cap so if they go over they will donate more! To help, all you have to do is book your next hotel room through Room Key.

Again, I am delighted to be a part of the Room Key family. Check out the post introducing me and the other contributor, Leah Travels.

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