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A Nerd's Holiday Travel Tips

Okay, I figured with all the travel this time of year, I should recap my Travel Tips, Inspired by Misadventures. Lots of you already know the travel options and conveniences, like Airbnb and TripAdvisor, and you're likely already saving all the places you want to go and where you want to stay. While that's a good start, it doesn't cover the other stuff. Here are some suggestions for effective holiday traveling, inspired partly by my own misadventures over the years.


While I don't travel much during the holidays myself (the Bay Area's temperature is a lot more reasonable than the rest of the country around this time, and there's no sense in leaving), I do lots of traveling for public service and philanthropy. (I hear that people travel for "pleasure" or on "vacation," which I understand are mythological concepts, though I no longer travel for craigslist since I haven't been in management since 2000.)

Store everything online. Anything that has to be local, encrypt. Act as if you could lose your laptop anytime.

As for forgetting the laptop, that's expensive, but I keep very little data locally (anything sensitive is elsewhere). Worst that could happen is that someone would learn my terrible taste in music and books…

Make sure your passwords aren't the same. Use a variety of passwords across websites to ensure your privacy. This way, if one thing gets hacked, your other stuff will be fairly safe. One option is to use LastPass, which remembers your passwords, but doesn't store 'em on your computer. This will come in handy if you lose your laptop - just make sure that you don't store your LastPass password on your computer, then it's pretty pointless.

Check your flight or train status. You can even setup notifications that you can receive via text. Now and then, I get a flight canceled with little notice. Sometimes that happens when I'm in flight, and my connecting flight is the problem. I use FlightStats, which also seems to have the most current ETA. Even if you're at the airport, and they ask you to line up for customer service to get a flight, get on the phone while you're in the line.

Do good while traveling. If you come across something that's not working properly wherever you're staying, even if you'll only be there a day, let the hotel or Airbnb host know. Not only will it keep the problem from potentially being exacerbated, you'll save the next person the trouble. While you're at it, bring an extra charger and cable, and loan it or give it away to someone who forgot theirs. One woman at the Women Startup Challenge in NYC had a whole bag of chargers and cables, and even lent one to a judge whose phone was dying. For male humans, if the pocket thing doesn't work for you, learn to love the "murse." (Note: Seinfeld…)

What would you suggest to make traveling less hectic?


Photo Credit: Shena Tschofen