Category: Travel IQ

10 Ways to Make Coming Home From a Trip More Pleasant

You drag in your suitcases and other assorted paraphernalia (especially if you have been on a car trip), drop it all in the middle of the floor, and collapse onto the couch. Your trip was amazing in every way but now you are home, and you are exhausted. After several years of travel, here’s what I have learned that makes that coming home part of the trip a little less painful.

Before you leave on

Tips for the solo woman traveler: Keeping safe on the road

There’s no excuse for a woman traveler not to hit the road solo. Solo travel can be extremely rewarding, as well as liberating. This is a great time for introspection and reconnecting with yourself. When you’re traveling on your own, there’s no need to make compromises on travel schedules and itineraries or even restaurant choices, as you get to make all the decisions. It’s also easier to make new friends, as a solo traveler is …

How Not to Look Like A Tourist When Traveling in Europe

Dear Travel IQ: My husband and I are making our lifelong dream a reality: this summer, we’re going to Italy! And not just Italy – we’ll be making our way through Germany, France, Belgium and England! Unlike my husband, though, I’m pretty worried about “fitting in”: I don’t want someone taking advantage of us because they know we’re tourists. On top of that, I sometimes have social anxieties about standing out in a crowd. …

Making the Most of Your Luggage

Dear Travel IQ: Packing is the bane of my life. I can never fit everything I need into my bags and I never have everything I need when I arrive. I feel like I should go without any luggage and just buy what I need when I get to my destination. Help!

Signed: Equipaje in Charlotte, NC

Dear Equipaje:

It’s the night before your plane departs for some wonderful and exotic vacation locale. …

Have Your Cake and Eat it too: Work and Travel Abroad

Dear Travel IQ: I’ve decided I would like to live abroad for a year. I’m not flush with cash, just nerve. What are my pennyless options?

Signed: Expat to be in Charleston, SC

Dear Expat:

We’ve all felt it: that longing sadness that sinks to the bottom of your stomach as you realize your dream vacation is coming to an end. Just as you thought you were getting a feel for the place, …

Is Travel Insurance Really Worth It?

 Dear Travel IQ: When is travel insurance absolutely necessary? I hate the additional expense tacked onto every trip and never, ever, have I had to use the policies I buy. I am thinking about not buying it next time and trusting to the gods of travel to get me there and back without a problem. My boyfriend says I am wrong and the one trip we don’t insure will be the one we …

Cameras…Do They Belong on Vacation?

Dear Travel IQ: I love taking my camera on vacation. My hubby, however, thinks they are more of a bother and something of a nuisance. I want to share the memories when I return home. I’ve read, however, that many people have strong opinions about not taking their cameras along. I don’t have an elaborate set of gear…just a point and shoot. What do you think?

Signed: Camera shy

Dear Camera shy:

Eight Ways to Save Big on Hotel Bills

Dear Travel IQ: I loved the ideas last week about house swapping. What if I want to stay in hotels, though? Do you have some good ways to save on my hotel bills that doesn’t involve camping out in a hostle?

Signed: Cheap, cheap, really, really cheap

Dear Cheap: These days, when every penny counts, no one wants to overspend on vacation accommodations. Some folks figure the only alternative is to crash on …

Holiday for free – swap houses!

I hear that house swapping is a viable vacation option, but I’m scared! What’s the best way to go about the entire process without winding up either in a house where I would rather not be or having some other unfortunate experience that will make me stay home for life! Signed, Homebody in Seattle.


Dear Homebody: With the emergence of low cost airlines and local airports mushrooming up across the continent, inexpensive …

Using A Concierge

Dear Travel IQ: Can you explain the how to properly use a concierge?  Many of the nicer hotels I visit have a concierge, but I'm not sure what is an appropriate question outside of a restaurant suggestion or directions.  What can a concierge do for me (and should I then do something for them)?

Signed: Confused and Lost in Vancouver


Dear Confused: All large hotels and resorts (and sometimes even smaller …

How to haggle without being a jerk

Dear Travel IQ: I will be going to Turkey soon and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to bargain hunt for a really nice rug.  However, I don’t want to be a jerk when negotiating with the shop owners in the marketplace. What is the best way to haggle without being a jerk?

Signed: Too Nice?


Dear Too Nice: It’s surprising how many travellers can’t come to grips with the art of …

How can I safely eat street food?

Dear Travel IQ: I love to watch shows like Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and I enjoy eating new foods when I travel.  I’ve always been afraid to try street food, however.  It’s tempting, but I’m worried about sanitation and catching some type of bug that will ruin my trip.  How can I safely join Andrew and the others who seem to eat with impunity?

Signed: Hungry in Chiang Mai

Dear Hungry in Chiang