Sometimes, the world’s best food hides in plain sight. These hidden areas boast fresh ingredients, delicious street food, and unique restaurant concepts — and often at low price points. So, if you’re wondering where you can feast like a king (for cheap) across the globe, look no further! Here are a few unexpected cities worth visiting solely for the food.
SAN SEBASTIÁN, SPAIN
Ever heard of San Sebastián? For most travelers, it’s not a spot that readily comes to mind when planning a trip to Spain. Believe it or not, though, this Basque city on the northern coast recently won the distinction of being the world’s best food destination.
San Sebastián is home to 10 Michelin-starred restaurants, but also offers affordable options for foodies on a budget. There, you’ll find plenty of fresh seafood — including bacalao pil pil (cod cooked in olive oil), kokotxas (cod and hake jaws), and percebes(goose barnacles) — on many restaurants’ menus. But meat lovers might be more interested in txuletas (Basque steaks) and txistorra (pork-and-beef sausage) than in these fishy entrées.
The city is also known for its pintxos, or appetizers stacked on top of morsels of bread and held together with toothpicks. This Basque version of tapas is served at bars throughout the Old Town, each one offering its own specialty, so you could easily spend an afternoon pintxo-bar-hopping your way through the city. Just be sure to keep your toothpicks after finishing each pintxo, since the waitstaff might calculate your bill by counting the toothpicks on your plate!
If you can somehow score an invitation to a gastronomic society, take it! These are essentially clubs where locals use a communal kitchen to cook for their friends and family. There, everyone eats together and splits the tab (which includes the cost of admission, a fee for using the kitchen, and the price of the ingredients). You can’t visit a gastronomic society unless a member invites you, so you might want to befriend a few locals if you’ve got your heart set on eating at one.
Even the most ardent foodie might struggle to come up with the name of a Senegalese dish. Be that as it may, Senegal’s capital city is a top foodie destination, and its restaurants and markets sell some of the tastiest food in West Africa. Last year, Dakar even caught the attention of Anthony Bourdain.
Given its location on a peninsula, it’s no wonder that Dakar serves up deliciously fresh seafood. At the Soumbédione market, which is only open in the evening, hundreds of fishers return from the ocean and bring the day’s haul with them. If you’d prefer to purchase a meal, rather than raw fish, you can find dibiteries (kiosks offering grilled fish and meat) elsewhere in the market. For a more upscale seafood experience, try restaurants like Le Ngor and La Calebasse.
The city fuses several culinary influences from Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, so there’s more to Dakar than just fish. At Le Lagon I, a restaurant built on the wharf, customers enjoy seaside views while chowing down on chicken, beef, lamb, and duck (and, of course, seafood). Noflaye Beach offers savory and sweet crepes, and Chez Loutcha is a local favorite specializing in regional cuisine. Thiéboudienne (grilled fish served with rice, tomato sauce, cassava, and carrots) is more or less the national dish in Senegal, but poulet yassa (chicken marinated in peanut oil, onions, lemon juice, and chile peppers) is almost equally popular. So why not try it all?
COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
The capital of Sri Lanka is — first and foremost — street food heaven. Colombo’s specialties include tasty curries and spicy samosas, but you’re bound to discover new foods during your visit. Make sure to try the isso wadey (lentil cakes served with shrimp) and kottu roti (a smorgasbord of flatbread, vegetables, spices, eggs, and meat), as well as string hoppers (steamed rice noodles pressed into patties) and egg hoppers (eggs fried inside crêpes). When you’re ready for dessert, saravita (colored, shredded coconut strings bundled in a leaf) is a sweet option.
So, where should you go to find all this food? Galle Face Green is a great starting point. This oceanfront park is a beloved site among travelers and locals alike and, if you’re lucky, you might spot a few colorful kites in the air during your visit. There are plenty of stalls lining the beach, so take your pick and dig in!
As far as kottu roti goes, the Hotel de Pilawoos (usually just shortened to Pilawoos) is the place to be. The open-fronted locale is a favorite for those in search of this particular dish. If you’re in the mood for samosas, try visiting Bombay Sweet Mahal, another small open-faced restaurant. Meanwhile, Ministry of Crab is a reservations-required, prestigious restaurant. It’s famous for two reasons — partly because it was founded by famous Sri Lankan athletes, and partly because it’s committed to serving the country’s best crab. No matter what brings you to the restaurant, you’ll love this dining experience!
And, if you’d like to shop for produce, meat, or seafood during your time in Colombo, add Pettah Market to your itinerary. Heads up, though — the crowded thoroughfares can feel a little overwhelming, so you might want to schedule some relaxing beach time after you’re finished!
Melbourne doesn’t enjoy the fame that Sydney does, but it’s an excellent vacation spot for foodies. Thanks to its substantial immigrant population, Melbourne is a multicultural city, making it possible to find almost any type of international cuisine in any of its many neighborhoods. In fact, the city map is littered with various ethnic food offerings.
In general, Melbourne’s tastiest foods include Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Malaysian, but areas like the Greek Precinct and Little Italy are also worth exploring. You can even try fusion foods (which unite multiple culinary influences in a single dish) at restaurants like Rice Paper Scissors, Supernormal, and Hochi Mama (known for its pho dumplings, or “phoplings”).
At JFK Discount Parking, we are always interested in where are travelers are going. One of the top destinations is Paris, and we can totally understand why. If you need some convincing however, keep scrolling to see the most darling illustrations of how to travel Pari by foot.
Jessie Kanelos Weiner’s humble Paris beginnings started 10 years ago when she moved to the French capital as an au pair. She had a fine arts background, but arrived clueless about how to launch a creative career in a bureaucratically impossible country like France. But little by little, she used her outsider eye to develop a distinct perspective on an eternally mythologized city—and eventually, successfully made a career out of writing, illustrating, and food styling.
Recently, Weiner teamed up with Franco-American culture writer Sarah Moroz to release Paris In Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide to Paris. Together, the pair takes readers through seven walking tours from the culture hubs (Eiffel Tower, Musée de l’Orangerie, etc.) to parks on the city’s edges, and plenty of wine and cheese shops in between. Here, Weiner shares some of her wisdom cultivated after a decade spent in the City of Light.
Author of Paris in Stride, Jessie Kanelos Weiner. Photo by Christian Andre Strand.
How long have you been in Paris? Why did you first move there?
Nearly 10 years. Just after graduating from college, I knew it was my last moment of no-strings-attached-travel before my college loans kicked in. I found an au pair gig online and was on my merry way two weeks later. I was fulfilling an Audrey Hepburn Paris fantasy. Then I never left.
What do you do for work? How do you find the creative scene in Paris inspiring?
I am an illustrator (for Vogue, WSJ., and T Magazine, among others), author and food stylist. Parisians really are cultural connoisseurs. You can talk to just about anyone about the latest exhibition, movie, or book.
What’s your favorite arrondissement in Paris?
I love the 1st arrondissement, around Palais Royale. There’s a regal, timeless charm about the area with some calm pockets that feel completely untouched by tourists and hipster aesthetics.
Let’s say I only have one weekend to spend in Paris—what are the highlights I shouldn’t miss for a quintessential Parisian experience?
Give yourself time for pleasure and meandering—Paris is surprisingly tiny and remarkably walkable. Shameless plug, but my book is broken down into seven curated walking tours with an interesting mix of cultural highlights, cool cafés, architectural marvels, and plenty of surprises along the way. It’s the perfect way to jump start a weekend of exploration.
Best place for French pastries?
Du Pain et des Idées.
Best place for fresh baguettes?
Proximity is key for everyday pleasure. I’ve spent a lot of hard-earned centimes to get on a first name at my neighborhood boulangerie-pâtisserie, Grégory Desfoux, in Vincennes.
Best place for an apero?
Grab a bottle at Le Verre Volé and find a prime people-watching spot on the Canal Saint-Martin.
Where to go for a glass of natural wine?
Le Garde Robe, the perfect place to remedy post-Louvre fatigue.
When you want to escape the city, where do you go?
The Loire Valley.
Best date night spot?
Restaurant Kunitoraya for fancier occasions or Miznon for a post-art opening quick bite.
Describe your ideal night out in Paris.
A sunset aperitif on the Seine, a stroll through Bastille, a late dinner at Au Passage, and a beer at my favorite dive bar, Le Pop In.
Where in Paris do you go when you want to be inspired?
Le Bois de Vincennes, my neighborhood park on the eastern edge of Paris.
In a city full of museums, which is your favorite and why?
Palais Galliera for its keen eye on fashion, peaceful gardens, and breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower.
Travelers often swap theories on the right—and wrong—time to book a flight. We’ve heard it all: The lowest fares are on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. Eastern. (No, Wednesday at 1 a.m. is the best time to buy!) You need to book at least two months before you fly. (No, you should look for a deal and fly at the last minute!) Websites like Kayak suggest when you should buy, or if you should wait—like we’re all trading stocks—but there’s no guarantee. And according to George Hobica of AirfareWatchdog, “There is no secret time. You need to look four times a day—minimum—every day of the week, as far in advance as you can.”
But a study by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation says that based on billions (yes, billions) of passenger flights from January 1, 2016, through October 24, 2016, the best day to buy airline tickets is Sunday, especially if you’re booking more than 21 days in advance. Weekends are generally a good time to buy, but not Fridays, since there’s an uptick then in business travel bookings. Do this and you “can save more than 30 percent to Europe and 17 percent on travel domestically,” says the study. It’s also worth noting that no matter when you book your spot at JFK Discount Parking, there is never a right or wrong time and you will always find amazing savings when you park with the pros.
“For today’s traveler, this confluence of circumstances—more planes, lower prices, more destinations—is exceptional,” Greg Schulze, senior VP of Expedia’s commercial strategy and services, said in the 2017 Global Air Travel Outlook report. “It means that the barriers to booking a dream trip are lowered. It also means that everyday travel—flights to see the family, work trips—are likely to be easier to book at a lower price.”
Here’s what else you should know about buying airline tickets.
If you’re going to Europe…
As previously reported by Traveler‘s Katherine LaGrave, the optimal lead time for pulling the trigger on that trip to Europe is 99 days, according to CheapAir.com’s Annual Airfare Study, which crunched the numbers on 921 million airfares. Given that summer is the busiest travel season, and rates will be typically higher than they are for winter travel, the difference between the best and worst-priced days is 0.
If you know what season you want to fly…
Adjusting when you buy based on the season matters, too. According to the same CheapAir study, the best time to buy winter flights, other than the peak holiday travel dates around Christmas and New Years, is 54 days in advance; for spring flights, you should book 75 days in advance. Summer? 76. Fall: 47, though the one exception is the week of Thanksgiving (more on that later). On average, these were the days in advance that yielded the lowest fares to destinations during each season.
If you’re buying for the holidays…
Prices usually spike around the holidays, but data from Skyscanner shows that there are still deals to be had: According to the global travel search engine, savings for U.S. holiday travel are available no more than four weeks prior to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
If you’re looking for the cheapest days to fly…
Generally speaking, Tuesdays and Wednesdays have the best fares for domestic flights, due to the fact that there’s less competition between business travelers and other fliers.
THERE’S A REASON every single stand-up comedian has a bit about flying: everyone hates doing it. The food on the planes is bad. The food in the airports is bad. The seats on the plane are crammed. The seats in the airport are impossible to get comfortable in. Security is a nightmare. You get sick every damn time you get on board. Babies cry the whole flight. Kids kick your seat the whole flight. A passenger with an annoying voice gets hammered and talks too loud.
Flying, in short, is a nightmare. Here are some travel hacks to make it less terrible.
1. Exercise before going to the airport.
This isn’t always possible, but if you can, get in a good workout before leaving for the airport. It boosts your endorphins (making you less grumpy), boosts your immune system (so you don’t get sick), and also makes it easier for you to fall asleep once onboard.
2. Morning flights have less turbulence.
If you get motion sickness, it’s better to travel in the morning. As the earth heats throughout the day, the hot air rises, causing storms and winds. While storms canhappen at any time, they are more likely to happen in the afternoon. So you’ll reduce your chances of getting a bumpy flight if you fly early.
3. You’ll feel the turbulence the least over the wings.
Turbulence is felt most in the back of the plane, and least over the wings.
4. If you don’t mind turbulence, then sit up front.
The air is fresher and cooler up front and warmer towards the back.
5. Be cool to the flight attendants.
This is just common sense. The people who don’t suck get taken better care of.
6. You can’t bring liquids through security. You can bring empty mugs with tea bags.
If you don’t want to spend on Starbucks or drink watery airplane coffee, just bring an empty travel mug with tea bags inside. The flight attendants will be able to fill it with hot water on the plane. If you prefer coffee to tea, you can just put your coffee grounds in a tea infuser.
7. Frozen liquids are allowed through security.
In a pinch, you can bring a bottle of frozen water (or tea or coffee) through security. This is only really practical if you’re going on a long enough flight for it to defrost, though — the liquids have to be frozen solid while you’re going through security. They can’t be half melted.
8. Stay hydrated — avoid alcohol.
If you can avoid the temptation, stick to water on the plane. Alcohol dehydrates you and makes it harder to get REM sleep, so while it might calm the nerves short term, it’s going to make you that much more exhausted and groggy when you arrive.
9. Don’t get ice with your drink.
Aside from giving you less drink, airplane ice cubes usually come from the water tank, which is often not clean and might be the thing that makes you sick.
10. Wipe down your tray table.
You’re more likely to get sick from what you touch than from just breathing the same air as someone who’s sick, and attendants don’t clean the tray tables and handles before every flight. If you’ve got space, pack disinfectant wipes and wipe down both the tray table and the armrest before touching them.
11. Keep the air on.
If you’re cold, just put on a sweater — the air blows germs away and also keeps your skin from getting too dry.
12. The blankets are basically biological weapons.
Unless you’re getting it out of a sealed plastic bag (which isn’t great for the environment), that blanket has probably been used and probably hasn’t been washed. Either shell out for your own blanket or just wear warm clothes.
13. Skip carbonated drinks.
If you have a soda at the airport, you might later experience gastric distress — the air can expand in your intestines, causing gas. This can happen if you have it on the plane, too, if the pilots need to change altitude.
14. Get out of that middle seat.
If you get stuck with a middle seat assignment, go to ExpertFlyer.com and set up a seat alert. If someone changes, they’ll send you a message and you can swoop in and take the new assignment.
15. If you’re traveling as a couple, book a window and an aisle.
This is a crapshoot, but if the plane is underbooked, no one’s going to sign up for a middle seat between two strangers, so there’s an okay chance you’ll get three seats for the two of you. If the flight is full, you can always ask to switch — most people will happily do so to get out of a middle seat.
16. Bring a comfy coat with lots of pockets.
Coats with lots of pockets can serve as a supplemental carry-on, and soft, comfy ones can double as a pillow.
17. At security, turn left.
People prefer to turn towards their dominant hand, so if you come to a fork in the security line, go to the left — more people will instinctively go in the other direction.
18. Use Spotify Premium while offline.
Airplane wifi is usually both expensive and patchy, so if you need music for the flight, it’s best to have it downloaded on your phone. The best option for this is Spotify Premium, as it allows you to put specific playlists or albums in “offline mode.” Once you select this, it downloads the entire playlist. Then, when you’re at the next airport, if there isn’t a ton of space on your phone, deselect the old playlist and select a new one. No syncing to computers, it allows you to avoid being hit with roaming charges, and you can listen in Airplane mode.
19. Rebook canceled flights through the customer service line.
If your flight has been canceled while you’re at the airport, you’re probably not going to be the first one to the counter to rebook. To avoid missing the next flight — and the next — just call the airport’s customer service line from your cell. They can rebook from there, and you can skip the line.
20. You can buy day passes at many airport executive lounges.
It won’t necessarily be cheap (-75), but if you want to have a slightly more luxurious airport experience, a lot of lounges offer day passes.
21. Get free wifi by sitting outside the lounge.
If you don’t want to pay to get in the lounge, you can still sit near it and poach the free wifi.
22. The quietest place in the airport is the chapel.
If you need a space away from the crowds, this is usually the quietest (free) spot in the airport.
23. If you need a charge, there’s usually a USB port on the back of TVs.
Don’t break any laws (or any TVs) obviously, but airports are usually chock full of TVs, so if you can’t find a charging station, see if you can find an accessible TV and plug your phone into the USB port at the back of it.
24. Sign up for TSA Pre-Check to avoid long security lines.
Finding JFK Airport Parking can sometimes be more challenging then finding the right flight to board. When you Google, “Long Term JFK Parking” or even “Parking near JFK,” hundreds of establishments pop up. So how do you know which one is the right one for your needs and your vehicle? When it comes to choosing parking at JFK, you should take distance between the lot and airport into consideration. For example, JFK Discount Parking is 3 miles away from the airport. Our main hub is off of Rockaway Blvd, which means that you avoid the hustle and bustle that our competitors on Belt Parkway offer.
Our second tip for finding the best JFK International Airport parking is to look at the rates and understand your budget. At JFK Discount Parking, we’re constantly running promotions and offering 30% off deals exclusively for our customers. Other lots will hit you with hidden fees or some sort of fine print. When you park with us, you know exactly what you’re paying for.
At this point, I’m sure you get the point – JFK Discount Parking should be your go-to long-term lot. If I haven’t convinced you yet, let’s continue! JFK Discount Parking is more than just a parking lot. We work in the travel business because we understand the travel business. For instance, New York has experienced some crazy weather throughout this winter which has affected many of our customers. To reduce stress, we take it upon ourselves to shovel every vehicle out of the snow. When a nor’easter hits and there are 20 mph winds and rain, we still get our customers to their terminals, and when it’s a beautiful sunny day, we hope that their flights land earlier than expected and that they’re in great moods.
There’s also another reason why we’re the best at what we do. That reason is this blog. Some people may find it odd that we write blog posts, but we think that since there’s so much travel information out there, why not aggregate the best tips for you? Like I said, we work in this industry because we know it inside and out. Being able to serve our customers in multiple ways is what we think sets us apart from everyone else, and what also makes us a good source of information. So, now that I’ve glossed over the reasons why you should park at JFK Discount Parking, let’s get some travel suggestions rolling below!
5 Things You Should Always Pack
While going to a new place is always exciting, the actual transit and unexpected problems can be stressful and overwhelming – especially if you’re trying to orient yourself in a country with a different language and distinct customs.
Luckily, a little bit of planning can go a long way in making sure these things don’t take away from your adventure. Here are 5 things you should always pack when you travel abroad:
PASSPORT & PEN
The first may seem obvious – but you’d be surprised the number of people who arrive at the airport and realize they left their passport at home. Always double check your passport is in your carry on where it’s easy to access. And having a pen is always a good idea so you can complete any entry or customs forms (which will either be handed out on the plane before landing or made available in the arrivals terminal) – this way you’re not scrambling to try and find a pen as the rush of people are pushing through Customs Control.
… of your passport, visa(s) or entry documents, and itinerary. Thanks to smartphones and mobile apps, its easy to have everything from your plane ticket to your email confirmations saved on your mobile device. But what happens when you arrive at your destination and you need to explain to the taxi driver where to go but he doesn’t speak any English? You try to pull up your email confirmation from the hotel but it won’t load. This is where printed copies save the day! It’s always good to have your flight and accommodation information on hard copy so you can refer to it even in situations where you can’t get online. Plus, in the event that you run into any problems at the local Customs and Boarder Protection agency, you’ll have proper documentation of your stay that you can provide them. And a photocopy of your passport and entry documents (e.g. tourist visa) will save you a world of hurt if you lose your passport while abroad!
While going to get your currency exchanged ahead of time may seem like a hassle, it can also make life a lot easier upon arriving to your destination. Though most cities now accept credit cards or have ATMs/currency exchange businesses available in the arrivals terminal of the airport, keep in mind that this varies from country to country – and even depends on the time of day you arrive. Once on a trip to Costa Rica my flight arrived at 11:30pm on a Sunday night. I had planned to take a taxi straight to the hotel only to realize that the taxis in San Juan didn’t accept credit card (unlike most taxis in the States do). Because it was late all the currency exchange kiosks were closed and there were no bank machines in my terminal. I was stranded with no way to pay for anything. Luckily, I was able to contact the hotel and they were kind enough to pick me up – but I learned my lesson and always carry at least enough cash to get me where I need to go. Even if you don’t use it right away, you inevitably will spend it on food or souvenirs later on.
PHONE + PHONE CHARGER + ADAPTER
Though you shouldn’t rely on your mobile device to access your itinerary information, it’s always a good idea to have a way to communicate while in country. Because you never know where or when you’ll need it, try and keep it adequately charged. Be sure to pack any adapters/converters you may need in your carry-on. This ensures that if your checked bags get lost, or you have an extended layover/delayed flight, you’ll be able to charge no matter where you are.
TRAVEL HEALTH KIT
This is the one thing you will want to pack with the hope that you will never need to use. Nothing can ruin a trip faster than a bout of the runs or an itchy rash that won’t seem to go away – especially when they happen at the beginning of the trip or when you’re about to go on a much-anticipated expedition. In addition to any prescription medication you take, it’s a good idea to pack a few extra medications that might help save the day – like antidiarrheal medication, antihistamines, anti-motion sickness meds, acetaminophine/asprin/ibuprofen and hydrocortisone cream. It may seem like these are things you’d be able to pick up in any big cities – but again, you never know where or when you’ll need it so it’s best to be prepared. On the same trip in Costa Rica, my travel partner at the time woke up at 3:00am with violent Montezuma’s revenge (the irony was we were actually in Montezuma, Costa Rica). We were staying in a beach house that was a 20 minutes walk from town and we had no choice but to wait until morning to go to the local store. Luckily they did carry medicine and we knew enough Spanish to make sure we got the right ones – but he spent the entire night in extreme discomfort. Now I never go abroad without my health kit!
Welcome to our new how to guide where we will cover a wide range of topics that we’ve seen our travelers experience. For the first installment of this blog series, we’r going to be talking about arriving to our lot at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) early. We are a budget lot and always want to pass our savings onto our travelers. We have 4 shuttles that go to and from JFK and although we are a parking near JFK, as many of you know, traffic works in mysterious ways.
There’s a new trend in spring break travel, and it’s a far cry from the usual week-long trip down south, sunscreen and beach read in tow.
This spring, college students, families, and baby boomers will still be migrating to perennial favorites Cancún and Panama City for plenty of sunshine and lazy days at the beach; however, a significant number of travelers are planning to escape the dreary winter weather and crowds by venturing to more unique destinations in Europe and Asia, according to a new report by the Associated Press.
Rather than any one country or city rising in popularity, the American Society of Travel Agents says travelers are seeking a particular type of spring break experience. Spring breakers, they have noticed, are ditching the traditional “fly-and-flop” vacations in favor of international trips that promise cultural immersion, activity, and adventure.
From escaping to Japan to see the cherry blossoms, trekking to Peru to hike Machu Picchu, or chasing hidden gems in the outskirts of Paris or Florence, travelers want to engage with the local culture and partake in authentic experiences they cannot have anywhere else.
This uptick in global excursions parallels another trend in spring break travel: Tiffany Harrison, the U.S. marketing manager at STA Travel, shares that, in addition to growing interest in Europe – particularly London, Madrid, and Dublin – STA is also seeing more demand for “adventure-focused, off-the-beaten path destinations,” where travelers can go mountain climbing, sailing, or island-hopping
For those who want to join this adventure travel movement but cannot imagine spring break without ocean views, a blend of relaxation and exploration can be found in tropical locales like Belize and Costa Rica. Such destinations are gaining attraction as they give travelers “culturally enriching experiences” along with “the opportunity to scuba dive/snorkel, take yoga classes and spa treatments,” says TravelStore’sDana Storr. “Disconnecting is of utmost importance.”
So wherever you go this March and April, whether it’s abroad or to your favorite Florida beach, remember to turn off your phone for a few hours and relish in the sunshine and fresh air.
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)
Know the difference between “direct” and “nonstop” flights, and always opt for the latter. Unlike nonstops, direct flights can touch down at other airports on the way to their ultimate destinations. And while stops are built into the total travel time, the potential delays they can cause aren’t.
Opt for long term parking rather than calling a cab. Catching a flight is a lot more work than catching a bus or train, so why risk the chance of running late when you can simply drive yourself? When you use a long-term parking lot like JFK Discount Parking, you travel knowing that your car is safely parked and you also don’t have to waste your time hailing a taxi when there are hundreds of people doing the same thing.
Make sure you buy your ticket under the exact name that appears on your ID. It might seem obvious to you that Betsy is a nickname for Elizabeth, but it may not to a skycap, a desk agent, or a security officer―any of whom could ask you to show ID with that name before boarding, says Delta Air Lines public-relations rep Katie Connell.
Select your seats ASAP. “If you have a disability and need a premium seat in the bulkhead, tell the agent when you make your reservation rather than at the airport,” says David Martin, a Delta passenger-service specialist who creates the airlines policies for customers with disabilities. Other passengers might be able to nab those seats 24 hours before the flight, when they’re made available to everyone through the airline’s website.
Get to your gateway city as early as you can. “Since delays stack up as the day progresses, it’s smart to book the first flight you can into a hub [if you have a connecting flight],” says Dunnagan.
Double-check foreign document requirements. Some countries―like Chile, Kenya, and India―require a visa for entry; others, like South Africa, won’t allow entrance unless a traveler’s passport contains at least two blank, unstamped pages. You need to be aware of such requirements before you make your flight reservations or you could get stuck Stateside, according to a source at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. For a complete list of entrance regulations, visit travel.state.gov/.
Set your luggage apart from the pack. “When passengers use ribbons and bows, they can be torn off in the transporting process,” says Chris Gossner, a customer-service supervisor with US Airways for more than 20 years. Your best move: Buy a suitcase in an unusual color, such as bright blue.
Stockpile samples. Freida Burton, a US Airways flight attendant for almost 31 years, carries samples of cosmetics and prescription creams, which she requests from her doctor. Go to walmart.triaddigital.com or freesamplesblog.com for a variety of freebie offers. Or take advantage of Sephora’s and Kiehls’s policies of giving three free samples with any online order.
BYO blanket (and disinfecting wipes, too). “I hate to say it, but tray tables are rarely cleaned, so wipe them off before you use them,” says Sarah Scott, a former US Airways flight attendant. “And steer clear of the blankets and pillows. They’re only washed when they look dirty.”
Pack your electronics in a single layer. “When things are tossed in haphazardly or jumbled together, we spend more time determining what they are [from the X-ray] and have to manually check bags,” says Sterling Payne, a spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Do your own bag check before you leave. Keep from getting stalled in security and losing innocent (but sharp) items you forgot were in your bag―hello, nail scissors! “If you think through the screening process as you’re packing, you’ll be fine,” says Stephanie Carter Naar, a transportation security officer based in Washington, D.C.
Know your airport’s code. It’s easy for luggage-destination tags to get mixed up at a curbside check-in. Learn the three-letter airport code for your destination and make sure your skycap labels the bag properly. The codes aren’t always intuitive (for example, New Orleans’s Louis Armstrong Airport is MSY), so check the list at airport-technology.com, especially if your destination has more than one airport. “Cities with multiple airports can cause problems if passengers don’t know which they’re flying into,” says Tim Wagner, a spokesperson for American Airlines.
Ask about your options. Stuck with your children at Boston’s Logan Airport? An airport employee can direct you to terminal C, where a baggage carousel–style slide anchors a play area. Tired of the same old food-court choices? In the Austin, Texas, airport, make a beeline for Salt Lick―it serves up some of the state’s best barbecue. You can even get through security faster by seeking out additional lines: “Airports will often open another line during peak times, so it pays to ask,” TSA spokesperson Sterling Payne says.
Exercise caution in duty-free shops. “Not everything in duty-free is a bargain,” says Janice Mosher, director of the Customer Service Center for U.S. Customs. “If you really want that bottle of perfume, find out what it costs in your local department store first.” And consider the three-ounce rule when stocking up on things like alcohol and olive oil. “If you are transferring to another domestic flight after clearing customs in the U.S., you’ll have to put your liquid duty-free purchases in a checked bag,” Mosher says.
Spring for an afternoon in the lounge. For a fee―usually about a day, which you can pay on the spot―you can take advantage of the snacks, uncrowded bathrooms, and comfy chairs at most airline club lounges, plus you can get help from the club’s dedicated ticket agents. “Several times when it’s looked like I would be stuck somewhere for another day, a club agent has pulled a rabbit out of his hat,” says Bill Coffield, an attorney who flies between 50,000 and 100,000 miles a year.
Bring a car seat for your child. “Car seats aren’t just safer for children,” notes Veda Shook, a flight attendant who has been with Alaska Airlines for 16 years. “They also help kids stay calmer, since they’re used to being in them.” Shook suggests investing in a car seat-stroller combination. “The seat slides right out of the stroller part, which you can check at the gate,” she says.
Corral your in-flight necessities. Blocking the aisle during boarding while you dig for gum, a book, or a snack can delay the entire plane. Dezirae Bridges, a Delta flight attendant for 11 years, suggests packing small must-haves in a resealable gallon-size bag that you can toss onto the seat while you put away everything else.
Stow your bag near your seat. “It’s tempting to toss your suitcase into the first empty space you see, but that slows down deplaning, as passengers who had to stow their bags near the back move downstream to collect their belongings,” says Beth Jones (not her real name), a US Airways flight attendant with 34 years under her (safety) belt.
Call for help. If you’ve missed a connection, don’t stand in line to rebook with a gate agent. Instead, use your cell phone to call the airline’s customer-service number (tuck it in your wallet before leaving). You may speak to someone faster, giving you a better shot at a seat on the next flight.
Utilize cell-phone lots. Free-parking areas where drivers can wait for the “I’m here” call for 30 minutes or longer have sprung up at more than 50 airports in the last few years. For a complete list of these lots, visit the Airports Council International website at aci-na.org.
Get fed fast. To have dinner waiting in your hotel room when you arrive, call and order room service from the road. “It can save a hungry half hour,” says Barbara Talbott, an executive with Four Seasons Hotels in Toronto who flies about 20 times a year.
By March, spring is stirring across the northern hemisphere, thawing a number of high-profile destinations from their chilly, off-peak periods – with the added bonus that the crowds have yet to arrive. Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere the mercury is starting to slide in the opposite direction, attracting thrill-seekers and bargain hunters for low-season adventures. So what are you waiting for? Book your spot at JFK Discount Parking, head to the airport and saddle up for your upcoming adventure!
Whether you’re looking to bask on mesmeric beaches, sail to little visited atolls or bounce around on an underground trampoline, March is a rewarding time to hit the road.
… for relaxation
They say Antigua has so many beaches that you can sample a different one every day of the year, but come in March – pre-peak season – and you’ll be rewarded with balmy temperatures and a deserted patch of sand to sprawl out on. Serene white sands are also on offer in San Diego; the cool Californian city attracts less tourists than its star studded neighbors and during March also sees migrating grey whales dramatically lurching skywards from beneath its coastal waters.
Those who found solace through more active avocations, should head to Sri Lanka’s ancient city of Anuradhapura; here visitors can cycle between humbling ancient monuments peeking from their serene forest settings – the spiritual atmosphere is intoxicating. A more literal form of inebriation draws people of the rolling hills of South Adelaide in March, with the start of grape harvest season. The lesser-visited wineries of the Fleurieu Peninsula offer a diverse repertoire of fine vinyards, as well as artsy towns to explore such as Willunga and Kitsch Victor Harbor.
Voyage through uncharted waters – for the tourism industry at least – off the southeast coast of Myanmar, which are home to the long isolated Myeik (or Mergui) Archipelago. Here 800 or so islets hide undisturbed sands, forests reputedly prowled by tigers and elephants and the stilted fishing villages of the Moken, Myanmar’s nomadic ‘sea gypsies’. An equally beautiful and intriguing island escapade awaits off the coast of Chile, with March being a perfect time to ponder the secrets of Easter Island, with its iconic Moai stone figures and mysterious ancient traditions.
Those set on keeping their feet firmly on dry land should try saddling up in Bright, Australia’s premier biking destination with 240km of safe off-road routes in optimum temperatures. Test your mettle on Victoria’s High Country alpine trails, or cycle leisurely between historic gold-mining towns. For equally spirited outdoor soirees, March marks a great time to trek to the hill tribe villages around Sapa in northern Vietnam, which can be paired with a traditional junk boat journey around the emerald waters of Halong Bay.
A tour into the heartland of China’s sundry Sichuan province is at its best in early Spring, with blooming flowers and blossoming pear trees. It’s also a great time to meet the province’s treasured icon: the giant panda. Get an introduction in the Giant Panda Breeding Research Basenear Chengdu, or try your luck at spotting these captivating creatures in the wild at the Jiǔzhàigōu National Park. Equally as iconic, and far more ferocious, March is a good time to spot Shere Khan in the forest reserves of Madhya Pradesh – the reported inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Though sightings of Bengal tigers are rare, March provides your best chance, with good visibility and thinning flora.
March also sees the fruition of some striking natural displays, Brazil’s Iguazú Falls – which divides the country from a slender finger of Argentina – is still in full thunderous flow, with fewer crowds condensing the surrounding rainforest trails. Across the equator, the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago are swathed in sunshine, reefs are ripe for snorkelling and Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve is bustling with birdlife.
Ah, the traditional sights of springtime in North Wales: gambolling lambs, sprigs of daffodils on hillsides and grown adults screeching overhead as they hurtle along zip lines. A visit to Wales in March offers the chance to mix placating nature walks with some of the region’s high-octane activities, from white-water rafting to trampolines in underground caverns. More exotic eco-adventures abound in Costa Rica, which, by March, is into its dry(er) season and offers an array of adrenaline-fuelled fun: think volcano hikes, forest canopy climbs and superb surf breaks.
March may signal the start of spring in the northern hemisphere but that doesn’t spell the end of ski season in the high resorts of the Austrian Tyrol, where glaciers and north-facing slopes provide runs through to April, with fewer crowds. For those who prefer the spray of the sea to a spritzing of snow, March is an ideal month to roam the coves and inlets of New Zealand’s Bay of Islands aboard a sailboat. Those suffering from cabin fever can go overboard to take a dip with the resident pod of bottlenose dolphins.