Best Free iPhone Apps for Travel

We pay a lot for our iPhone’s so why should we pay for expensive travel apps? These five apps have helped My Buddy Abroad members abroad and saved them tons of money.  Get your iPhone handy and download away!

1. U Packing List

1. uPackingListFree – Figure out what you need beforehand 

There’s no way you can forget anything with this app- it covers all your grounds.  Download this before you leave and you won’t be spending money on pricey necessities while you’re trying to enjoy your trip.

2. HearPlanet

2.Hearplanet – Learn about where you are

Sometimes finding time for a tour that also fits your budget can be hard, so use HearPlanet on any of your major landmarks and learn everything you need to know.

3. Tripit

3. Tripit – Organize your trip

Between flights and other travel plans things can get muddled up quickly.  Tripit centralizes  and makes the travel experience that much smoother by doing things such as sending flight confirmations and syncing up with your calendar.  A must have!

4. Road Trip Lite

4.  Road Trip LT – Calculate gas, MPG, and more.

When driving it can get pricey and frustrating.  RoadTrip is awesome tool to calculate how much you’re paying for gas and the mileage.  We learned that our car got us 39 MPG on a 1000 mile trip to Los Angeles.

5. Yelp

5. Yelp – Find the best locations 

Finally, you’ve got to find the best foods and fun and Yelp knows it all.  Whether you want it to use your location or find what you like by search, reading reviews and looking at photos will help pick the best places during your trip.

Travel smart, my friends.

Travel Fitness

Staying in Shape while Traveling:

For anyone who exercises regularly and is cautious of what they eat, it is a constant struggle to maintain this routine while traveling.  Obviously, you want to indulge in the local specialties which I encourage you to try, but you also don’t want to pack on the pounds either.  So, here are three short workouts of varying difficulty that can be completed anywhere, anytime, in very little space.  Repeat each set  2-3 times and mix and match any of the moves below.

Beginner:

  • 30 Jumping Jacks
  • 8 Lunges on each leg
  • 15 Push-ups against the wall
  • 30 Crunches
  • 20 Second wall sit
  • 30 Butt kicks
  • 30 Seconds of arm circles
  • 30 Jumping jacks

Intermediate:

  • 40 High knees
  • 15 Forward lunges
  • 15 Backward lunges
  • 20 Push-ups
  • 20 Squats
  • 15 Wide leg squats
  • 30 Toe touch crunches
  • 12 Tricep dips (off a coffee table height object)

Advanced:

  • Alternating squats (Start at 7: First do 7 full squats then go into the squat position and pulse 7 times*. Next do 6 full squats then pulse 6 times. Continue all the way down to 1)
  • 15 Jump Squats
  • 10 clock Lunges (left leg forward, squat to the left side, left leg back squat, right leg forward, to the right side, right leg back, start again at left leg forward)
  • 20 Burpees
  • 15 Declined push-ups (put your feet on a chair or other raised surface)
  • 15 Tricep dips
  • 30 Reverse crunches
  • 45 Second plank

*[a pulse is only coming out of a squat position a tiny bit instead of coming all the way back to standing]

Here are some additional links for more ideas:

Hotel Room Workout: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJDnjxb9qmk

Hotel Room Crossfit: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/crossfit-workout

Moves to do anywhere: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=629

 

9 Things You Are Probably Forgetting to Pack in Your Carry-on

Packing for a trip can be a daunting task.  There are probably a number of things that you will wish you had packed once you take off, here is a list of some of the most common things you’ll wish you had remembered to pack in your carry-on.

1)      Eye Drops– The air in planes is very dry.  Especially if you plan to sleep on the flight, you will want to pack some eye drops to put the moisture back in your eyes when you wake up.

2)      Socks– I like to be as comfortable as possible when I fly.  Often I want to take my shoes off, but don’t want to freak other passengers out by sitting in my seat barefoot.  If you pack a pair of neutral socks no one will notice you getting comfortable and your toes will stay warm.

3)      Layers of clothing– Never underestimate how cold airplanes will be.  If you are going to a tropical location, you will probably want to wear shorts and a tank top.  Even if you are not, bring multiple layers to accommodate to the cabin temperature.

4)      Billow– Okay, so you can take a little pillow and blanket, but a billow (a blanket that is stored as a pillow) is more fun.  If it is cold on your flight or you just want to snuggle up, you are going to want to bring a pillow and blanket.

5)      Water and Snacks– Relying on the plane food is a terrible choice.  When you get bored, you typically get hungry, so even if you don’t think you will use it make sure to pack drinks and a snack to tide you over.

6)      Tylenol or other painkillers– Whether you experience muscle pain, back problems, headaches from the cabin pressure, or any other issue, you will be glad you packed a painkiller for a flight.

7)      Immune System Booster- Planes are known as breeding grounds for sicknesses, take Airborne or some form of vitamin C to protect yourself as much as possible from getting sick.

8)      Everything you will need if your luggage gets lost- many people only pack the things they foresee needing on the actual flight, but if your bag gets lost you are going to want things that cannot easily be obtained at your location.  Make sure you carry-on your prescriptions, phone charger, a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and anything else you wouldn’t be able to make it two days without.

9)      Hotel and transit directions in paper form- On a trip to Spain, I made the mistake of saving the address and phone number of the people I was staying with on my Iphone and Laptop.  When I arrived, both devices had died and I was without any way of locating where I needed to go.  Make sure you have exactly what you need to get to your final destination on a piece of paper or something that cannot go out of power.

If you think there is anything we are forgetting, let us know below!

Travel smarter, not harder friends.

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Ways to Save Money While Traveling

Prices for flights and hotels can be daunting in themselves, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank on every other expense.  Here are four ways to help you save money on your next vacation abroad!

-Budget airlines and travel websites

When I most recently traveled from Oklahoma City to Paris (France, not Texas), I didn’t want to pay $1000 so I found a website called studentuniverse.com – a website that caters to ANYONE (student, teacher, employee, etc) with a college e-mail.  I ended up paying $624 for a round-trip airfare.  Pretty amazing, right? Generally speaking, the longer you go, the cheaper it is, so keep that in mind. But if you want to take a short trip within your trip, check out budget airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet.  Some flights can cost as little as TEN AMERICAN DOLLARS, such as the one I took from Nice, France to Marrakesh, Morocco.  Not even their asinine baggage policies can put a damper on that price.

Better get in line at the airport early – budget airlines lines are notoriously long!

-Unconventional lodging

There are so many different ways around pricey conventional hotels.  For the daring traveler, try couchsurfing.com , a website that pairs you up with a local who hosts people from different parts of the world (normally these people are also globetrotters who love to meet people from different cultures . The idea is that this is a reciprocal exchange, meaning you need to host some people too and tell them the best spots in your hometown, so keep that in mind beforehand.  Also, if you’re traveling in a large group, look into renting out someone’s apartment.  In Amsterdam, seven of us rented a chic little apartment in a great location with more than enough space that ended up costing everyone less that $30 Euros a night.  We had free reign to do what we wanted, when we wanted, and in style.

This apartment in Amsterdam was a steal for the price.

-Internet booking

This might sound like a given, but when you add up the amount of attractions paid for during a trip, each dollar makes a difference.  Almost all attractions have discounts for booking online, such as the London Eye.  If you do this enough, you will definitely see a difference in your bank account.  Also, look for deals online such as Livingsocial- most people don’t think about it, but these deals are offered abroad too!

Booking online can save you money on everything from attractions to trains.

-Free Tours

Finally, the culmination of the of free – free tours!  Most people have the misconceived notion that these are not of the same quality as paid tours, but that’s entirely not true.  These guides make their living off tips and it shows in their presentation.  With the best historical anecdotes, the funniest personal accounts, and lots of information, free tours are among the favorite for most travelers. Plus, you can tip based on how you think they did.  It’s  a win-win situation for all.

You’ll always meet a very diverse group of people in your tour groups.

Travel smart my friends.

7 Tips to make the most of your carry-on

With stringent luggage rules, you aren’t left with much room to pack clothing and other goods in your carry-on.  Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of that space.

  1. Wear layers of clothing on the flight.  A great way to get some extra outfits in for your trip is to wear layers of clothing.  Throw an extra plastic bag or reusable shopping bag in your suitcase to put the extra clothes in later.  Always wear your bulkiest shoes and fluffiest sweater or jacket since they won’t condense well.
  2. Pack small objects such as socks and underwear in your shoes. If it is small enough to fit in something, put it there.
  3. Pack your biggest and least moldable objects first, then squeeze softer objects around those items. Pack shoes, bags of toiletries, and anything else that cannot be forced into an odd shape first, then bend your t-shirts and pajamas around them.
  4. If you don’t need it, leave it.  Europeans are known for wearing the same outfit for days in a row, no one is going to notice if you are wearing the same pair of jeans.  Trust me.
  5. Pack dark clothes and plain clothing. If you pack dark jeans and plain clothing, your friends are much less likely to notice you wearing the same shirt in all 300 photos you upload.
  6. Pack accessories. A great way to trick people in to thinking you are wearing a different outfit is by changing something simple like a scarf.  Especially in winter months, focus on packing more of what people will actually see than shirts that will end up hidden under your coat.
  7. Spacebags are a lie, and piss all fellow travelers off. One girl I have traveled with a few times carries the travel version of spacebags with her for short trips.  I guarantee I fit 3x more clothing in my backpack than she did, the hard plastic bags do not optimize space in any way.  Plus they are loud and take way longer to pack in than just rolling your clothing. The only thing spacebags are truly useful for is pillows or other incredibly fluffy items with tons of excess air in them.

Travel smarter, not harder friends.

How to Fly Successfully on Budget Airlines

How to Successfully Fly on Budget Airlines

Taking a budget airline flight can be very cost effective, but only if you can successfully avoid all the hidden fees and traps.  Navigating the regulations of budget airlines, such as Ryanair, Wizzair, and EasyJet, is similar to trying to understand the rules of the Federal Tax Code.  Here are a few tips to help you travel with ease and maximize the little space you have.

1)      Location, Location, Location.  Budget airlines can offer the crazy low prices they do for multiple reasons; one of these is by offering flights out of tiny airports that don’t get the traffic of the mainstream ones.  One example of this is The Paris/Beauvais airport which Ryanair regularly flies out of.  This airport is not really located in Paris, but in the neighboring city of Beauvais over an hour’s drive away from the heart of the city. Airports outside main cities require special travel arrangements and take more time.  In the Paris example, you should arrive at a bus stop to the airport over 3 hours before your flight at a cost of 15 Euro.  Don’t rule out these tiny airports right away, but remember to factor in the added cost of getting to them and the extra travel time to make sure the plane ticket is still a steal.

Map of the Paris/Beauvais airport in relation to Paris

2)      Always pre-print your boarding pass.  Some budget airlines may charge up to 60 Euro to print your boarding pass at the airport if you do not print it before hand.  Even worse, the ticket may not be available to print more than 24 hours before your flight and 4 hours or less before the flight.   Be sure to check the time restrictions to print off your ticket and research a place to print the ticket within that timeframe to avoid paying an extremely hefty fee.

3)      Choose your suitcase wisely. Budget airlines love to pick out travelers with baggage that is outside of the specified size to make them pay for breaking the luggage guidelines. Pack in a backpack or some form of bag that you carry on your person instead of a rolling bag.  Every time I witnessed someone get stopped by the “baggage police” (which happens very often), it was someone using a rolling suitcase.  They love to make everyone with a wheeling carry on try to fit it in the little metal cage that is the measurements of the restrictions.  Can’t get it in? Pay a large fee.  Our backpacks were usually larger than these rolling bags, but never got questioned.

Carrying a wheely bag is like carrying a giant target, just avoid it.

Top 5 Tips to Avoid Being an Annoying Tourist Abroad

Ever had something negative to say about a group of tourists in your hometown? Chances are the answer is yes.  Just because you’re in a foreign environment doesn’t mean everyone has to know it.  Here are some tips to help you avoid being that “pesky tourist”.

  • 5. Stop traveling in giant cliques – We get it, you’re just getting off a sardine-packed tour bus or your entire group of study abroad students wanted to see Geneva together, or maybe your 15 other sorority sisters all want to look “hot” together on the way to the discotheque. Just because you all want to be together doesn’t mean you have to travel in packs of 20. Split up and tackle a city in smaller groups. I can tell you from experience  if you’re traveling in a large group, there’s going to be some decision-making issues anyway.
  • 4. Make an effort to know a few words –  How do you feel when someone asks you for directions in Spanish? Most people I know lament about how this is ‘Murica’, and therefore people should learn English or leave. Just because it’s a popular global language doesn’t mean everyone abroad speaks it. In the tourist sector, knowing 10 simple phrases will win you enormous bonus points with the locals and some might even reveal a secret; they knew English all along (so watch what you say)!
  • 3. You miss home, get over it –  Asking for ice at every restaurant in Europe, whining about the lack of Dr. Pepper, bee lining it to the nearest McDonalds for free Wi-Fi so you can post your 12th consecutive photo of the Eiffel Tower on Facebook (this is a great way to slim down your friends list, by the way) – all these hardships are not permanent. You will be back home soon, stop complaining about it to every living soul, foreign or otherwise, because guess what? Nothing you say is going change things.
  • 2. Pack the attire of a squire – Needless to say, you don’t have to wear a tuxedo and ball gown to hike the Great Wall of China, but that doesn’t mean wear your sweats and college football snuggie. There is a happy medium.  Generally speaking, people in other countries take more pride in their appearance than the average Wal-Mart shopper.  They also don’t want to see your, “I Heart NY” shirt, flip flops, “norts” (aka Nike shorts), fishing shirts or whatever. Could you identify a lederhosen-ladden group of men leaving a German beer house? Because if you’re wearing anything I mentioned above, they can probably identify you too.
  • 1. Stop YELLING –  Americans are loud. We get it, we’ve been there too. The volume in which Americans speak is much higher than other countries, so tone it down or risk being the loud obnoxious cliche tourist. The most common and deadly of the traveling sins, many have a hard time grasping the concept of intercultural communication, thinking their message isn’t getting across because either a) Their hearing is bad or, b)They must not be speaking loudly enough and/or enunciating.  Sadly, it is neither of these. They truthfully just don’t have a damn clue how to speak English.
Travel smart my friends.