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The Best Travel Tips, From People Who Do it For a Living

From finding the best flight playlists to keeping track of lost luggage, our most experienced travelers share their tired and true advice.

We spend all year talking to travel experts who have everything down to a science. They know where to get the best noodles in Paris, how to beat jet lag, and the quickest ways to become a “local” while you’re on the road. We gathered the best travel tips we got from 10 hoteliers, designers, and CEOs who together logged more than 1,290,992 (aerial and nautical) miles in the last year.

“Before I get on a plane, I always download a Spotify playlist that fits the mood of the trip I’m going on. Recently I needed something really mellow, so I went with Future Islands, and Angus & Julia Stone.” – Kinjil Mathur, CMO of Foursquare (79,500 miles logged)

“My go to room service order is nothing! If I want to eat in, I’ll pick up the phone and call a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant for delivery. I spent a month in Southeast Asia 15 years ago and have been hooked on the food ever since. You still can’t get a decent bowl of noodles in Portugal, so that’s what I want on the road – even in places like Paris or Vienna.” – Pedro Gadanho, Director of Lisbon’s new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (94,421 miles logged)

“I’ve lost enough luggage that I now take a photo of my bags as they’re being loaded onto the belt. If they do go missing, I can show the airline rep a photo instead of describing them.” – Tara Bernard, interior designer and author (105,400 miles logged)

“Hotel rooms can be measured by their bathrooms. It’s not just about marble sinks; it’s about comfortable touches. Chateau Marmont’s are the originals from the 1920s. They relate to the history of the building, and a good hotel should have a sense of place.” – Andrew Zobler, hotelier (400,000 miles logged)

“I’m always happy aboard Emirates. I just flew them to Sydney, in the absolutely phenomenal first-class suite. The service is whatever you want, whenever you want, and while the onboard shower seems so ridiculously opulent, I loved it”—David Bowd, founder and CEO of Salt Hotels and principal of West Elm Hotels (106,766 miles logged)

“I never fly without my reusable Hydro Flask water bottle, so I can avoid those single-use plastic ones. It even has a filter, which comes in handy in remote places where the water might not be safe to drink.”—Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of the Ocean Futures Society and son of Jacques (85,000 miles logged)

“No matter how much I travel, I have a sort of personal contract with my family that says I’ll always be home for dinner on Friday night.”—Mike DeFrino, CEO of Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants (148,000 miles logged)

“No matter where I go I do one thing, the same thing, every single day. So if you’re going to the Amalfi Coast, go to that one corner café in Positano for an espresso every morning. Or maybe it’s the little bar you go to every night for a glass of wine. Become a regular, and you’ll start talking to the locals.”—Samantha Brown, veteran TV traveler and host of ‘Samantha Brown’s Places to Love’ (175,000 miles logged)

“The best way to beat jet lag is to get some sunlight the moment you land and take a hot shower before bed.”—Gordon Ho, head of marketing for Princess Cruises (20,000 nautical miles logged)