via: Alfie Japanorama
image - Italian Vogue via: The Littlest Polly* I came to these conclusions after carting a guitar, bass, keyboard, effects pedals, cables, laptops and clothes around the UK and USA while playing with my band. And the time the lady at a check-in counter, whose airline shall remain nameless, had the following facts presented:
1. Three people, each with 20 pounds checked baggage
2. Bag #1 weighs 14 pounds
3. Bag #2 weighs 18 pounds
4. Bag #3 weighs 22 pounds
5. That will be $80 excess baggage fee.
Me: "Can we transfer 2 pounds into one of the other bags?"
Friendly Check-In Lady: "No. They have already gone down the conveyor belt."
Me: "Can you 'theoretically' transfer the 2 pounds into one of the other bags?"
Friendly Check-In Lady: "No."
Me: "Give me a moment."
Cue me putting on top of what I was already wearing 2 more leather jackets and a hoodie. Not cool. Hot, actually. Excess baggage fee averted.
via: NeoretroOf course, if you are going somewhere that nobody you know has been, there is a wealth of information on the internet. Aside from Trip Advisor (which is very USA tourist-centric) I have used Japan Guide extensively for this trip, the articles and forums have been invaluable. One example would be that I had planned a one night stay in Takayama. It happened to be on a Tuesday. While I was reading about places to visit there, someone in a forum mentioned that the stores are closed on Tuesdays. I was able to change my itinerary accordingly, and I'm so glad I spotted that little nugget of wisdom before I arrived to an empty town! Depending on your own plans, I suggest looking for blogs, websites like Roadside America (or the Weird America books) if you're after something fun/quirky, and travel forums dedicated to the area where you are headed.
TripIt. I LOVE TripIt. Basically, you forward any flight itinerary emails, hotel bookings and the like to your TripIt account, and it autofills your itinerary, with estimated arrival times, average weather for the dates you are visiting certain locations, even maps on how to get there. It keeps addresses, contact names and numbers, websites, costs of items, confirmation numbers and more in one easy place. As long as you have a WiFi device, and WiFi, or access to an internet connection while you're travelling, it's all good. Perhaps a paper planner/diary would be handy if you're heading to somewhere more isolated, though I imagine that would be one of those 'plan-as-you-go' kind of trips. One other good thing about TripIt is that you can share your itinerary with people, so wave goodbye to panicked mothers calling every five minutes to find out where you are. (I don't have this problem, but it's nice for the folks to know where I am anyway!)
via: Freckles & IvoryI think that might be enough advice for one day! Feel free to ask me any travel related questions in the comments, or share your experiences with Friendly Check-In Ladies.