The Travel Authority: Essential Tips for Hassle-Free Travel
Did you ever wish there was a newspaper column dedicated to travel tips that you could soak in a few at a time? Or, a best friend who’s a seasoned traveler, to drop some knowledge on you? Luckily, one of our fellow travel bloggers, Jeanine Barone, has done just that.
Her new ebook, The Travel Authority: Essential Tips for Hassle-Free Travel, is packed FULL of excellent tips from someone who knows. I am sure you remember our interview with her a few years ago – her site, J the Travel Authority, shares advice on what she calls hidden treasure travel!
I was sent a review copy of Jeanine’s book, and I have to concur with the title – these ARE essential tips, for hassle-free travel. The tips are quite impressive, and kept me reading. Not only did I think, “Oh, that would have saved me a GREAT deal of time and money that time…,” but I also filed away a plethora of tips for the future. And, I’m thinking I can salt these great tips into any travel conversations, to share the goodness.
We caught up with Jeanine, to ask about her new book, find the backstory, and get her top three tips for travel. Here’s what she had to say…
Please tell us about your book, The Travel Authority: Essential Tips for Hassle-Free Travel?
You know how unpleasant surprises have a way of infiltrating even the best planned travels? The Travel Authority: Essential Tips for Hassle-Free Travel is an e-book that provides more than 200 tips to take the worries out of any trip, whether you're on business or in the backcountry. And, all sorts of travelers will find tips they never knew, whether they are novice travelers or road warriors. You'll find what you need to know to avoid illness, delayed flights, lost luggage, jet lag, hotel break-ins…you name it.
I've organized it into seven useful sections – each is introduced by a comical image – that are based on all the major travel topics: savvy packing, accommodations, health and safety, airports and planes, other transportation, recommended gear, and insurance/money issues.
It's available for the Kindle, Nook, iPad and a downloadable PDF from my blog: http://www.jthetravelauthority.com
What inspired you to write this book?
I've been on so many trips where friends or colleagues overpacked and were forced to pay outrageous baggage fees, rolled their luggage over cobblestone lanes only to have one wheel break off, were injured on a mountain biking trail and had to wait for me because I'm the only one who carried first-aid supplies, or had become stranded in a small town despite having a hotel reservation. So I decided to write a book that would hopefully prevent all these and many other on-the-road incidents, no matter what kind of trip you were on. Also, I know that I'm a big worrier – and I'm sure there are many others like me – and if I could do something to take the worry out of travel, that would be amazing.
What might readers be surprised to find in your book?
I'm all about both low tech and high tech gear that easily pack in your carry-on luggage. For example, four low-tech items can repair just about anything that breaks on your travels: duct tape, dental floss, Krazy Glue-type adhesives and safety pins. Then there's the high-tech SteriPEN, a device that sterilizes water in seconds using UV light. It’s perfect for when you're traveling to developing countries or camping in the backcountry in the U.S.
What were the challenges and joys of writing this book?
My favorite part is always doing all the research and reporting. I'm a scientist by training, so I enjoy doing all that leg work as well as doing gear testing. The most difficult thing was finding a graphic designer who would convert my word document into an e-book that was readable on the Kindle, Nook, and iPad. I used Craigslist and found that a lot of unskilled and unprofessional people applied for this very skillful job. But, after conducting numerous phone interviews, I finally found the woman who did my book and I was very happy working with her. She was young, smart, personable, easy going, and very flexible. But the worst part of the entire process was something that I thought would be the easiest: submitting the book to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. Amazon was the easiest, and Apple by far was the worst. They made you jump through unbelievable hoops, the support was nonexistent, and it took 4+ weeks before it went on sale. (With Amazon, it went on sale within 24 hours.)
How did you research all of these amazing tips? How many years and miles went into it?
I've traveled to 55+ countries and every U.S state but two (I'll be hitting both of those in 2013). And, you can imagine that I've been hit with all manner of unpleasant surprises, including the faux bird poop scam in Madrid where the thieves ran off with everything (including my passport) in my backpack after squirting fake bird poop on my shoulder; contracting the dreaded Giardia parasite in Morocco; getting altitude sickness at 13,000 feet in Colorado; having my hiking boot soles completely fall off while trekking in Italy's Dolomites; and being attacked by wild dogs while bicycling in rural Costa Rica. Most of my tips come from these kinds of personal experiences. Other tips come from me reviewing gear – I'm a gear head, of sorts – and doing lots of research and reporting, as I mentioned.
What are your top three tips for hassle-free travel?
• Always carry clothing and other items that do double, triple, or even quadruple duty. That's one way I'm able to never check luggage, even when I'm traveling for 6+ weeks. One example is the Versalette, a very cool item of clothing for women that becomes 20 (yes, 20) different things, including a dress, skirt, tunic, and shawl.
• Never check luggage. When I get off the plane, I hit the road running rather than waiting for my luggage to arrive on the carousel. That is, if it does arrive. And, even if it does, the bag might be damaged or valuable items (which you shouldn't have packed in checked luggage anyway) might be missing. There's really no good reason to check luggage.
• Carry a well-organized and complete first-aid kit. No matter whether you're traveling for a weekend, a week, or a month, you should have a first-aid kit that contains more than band-aids. Yet, when I ask my friends and colleagues what they carry, it's usually Aleve or Motrin, band-aids, and maybe hydrogen peroxide, which I don't recommend anyway. In my travel tips e-book, I provide a list of what a complete first-aid kit should contain.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
Several of the companies I recommend in the book are on board, offering discounts on their products to anyone who buys my book. (I've got the discount codes which I'll provide anyone who buys the book.) So, for example, there's a 20% discount on pick-pocket proof pants by Clothing Arts; SteriPEN is taking $5 off any product they sell; and Adventure Cycling will give you a free issue of their magazine that's packed with bicycle-travel news, gear reviews, technical advice columns, touring bike road tests, and much more.