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Travel Tips

Ok.. I know there are columns on travel tips out there in the general internet world. And most of us already know the biggies. Like hydrate well before and during any flights as airplane cabins are usually very dry. Wear easy to slip on/off shoes through the airport, (Ever been behind a woman with shoes with wraps half-way up her legs? Or hiker types with boots laced up to mid-calf?). Have your laptop ready to pull out before you get to the screening tables. These are tips you'll find at almost any travel blog.

But I know that SAP consultants are some of the most traveled folks in the world. I'm looking for some of the more unusual or unique tips that some of the traveling consultants have incorporated into their routines. I KNOW there must be some good ones out there. Some that maybe other SAP traveling consultants haven't thought of. Maybe how they save space in packing? What makes their trip go smoother? Items that are must-have's or that do double-duty.

I'll start with a few. When I was flying out weekly, I had my blue, black, green, and gray weeks. This made it easy to pack each week as I would only need one pair of shoes and belt. With two pairs/styles of slacks of each color it was easy to grab the two pants, and the matching shirts that went with them for the week. No thought to gee.. what was I going to wear. Plus when they were washed when I got home, the whole complement of colors were washed together and ready to go for another full week.. Ok.. yes boring... maybe predictable, but I'm a guy.. boring is what we do. Packing was literally done in about ten minutes. Now the ladies might have more trouble with that. But I don't want to stereotype so I'll leave it at that!

Another tip, and hopefully many of you do this. I designate one exterior, zippered pocket of my carry-on for airport security items. While in line I drop everything into that pocket. Coins, watch, belt, cell phone, wallet or billfold (mine had metal clips in them). These all get scanned in the machine while secured in my bag and I'm not standing at the conveyer belt after going through, taking all my stuff out of the little trays. When I get to the waiting area, I can take my time to empty the pocket and put everything back on.

And lastly, I never keep all my credit cards and cash together. A few cards and some cash in my wallet. Backup cards and backup cash located elsewhere. Sometimes in my laptop case or in the carry-on. If I'm in an area really prone to pick pockets I make sure items are in front pockets and/or zippered pockets and its not all in one place. When in public, (outside of actual travel), I only carry one credit card on me with an intentionally limited credit limit. I don't need a card with any more than a $500 credit limit most of the time when I'm out. I also split my $$ up when I'm carrying it. Some in the wallet, some of it elsewhere. Another pocket sometimes. I've even carried money and credit cards in my shoes sometimes. It's easy to tuck in a couple of 20's into your shoe or even your sock as a back-up. (Did that often when biking). The point is to split them up so if you are a victim of a pick pocket or robbery, your losses are limited and you're not stranded some where with no cash or credit. Along these lines, leave a list back home with a spouse or trusted relative of all the credit cards you took along, along with contact info and credit card numbers. That way, if you are a victim, you can get the info to cancel everything. It doesn't help if the list is stored electronically in your STOLEN computer or cell phone! And it shouldn't be there anyway because if they steal those, they have your credit card info!

Looking forward to hearing some really good tips!!


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15 Answers

  • Best Answer
    Posted on Oct 02, 2013 at 05:54 AM

    As an Australian, my two airport ones are:

    • airport scanner point (less invasing than USA) - don't wear bangles/jewellery or belt that will set of scanner. Use excuse to wear thongs (aka flip flops or jandles or whatever else) so I don't have to take shoes off.
    • International flight and I'm not business class to take express queue - always buy a wooden trinket so I have something to declare to customs. I jump the random queue. The customs office asks what I'm declaring and then just directs me through the line without getting everything else scanned.

    Hotels/Places - always be nice to the waiters/room keeping and they'll look after you (I realise not unique). I've had the head chef in a hotel in India write give me a recipe as I loved the dish so much and the rest of the staff prepared a care package as a farewell gift to tide me over at the airport.

    Long term in city/area - get the taxi driver's personal number and skip any queue or haggling over fare prices and you message them whilst the plane is taxing to the terminal.

    Finally, train your partner to have a drink awaiting your return when you get home late Friday night (that one, I'm still working on but I'm not commuting any more so I doubt he'll master it).

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  • Posted on Oct 07, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Awesome stuff 😎
    A few things that suited me well:
    - I hate sorting black socks. Particularly, if it occurs to me Sunday night that they are all on the washing line mixed up. There are small feet-shaped devices to hold pairs together during washing, which makes it much easier. But the really lean solution is to buy 50 pairs of identical socks, so you don't have to worry any more (don't forget to negotiate a discount 😉)

    - Unless your brain is structured fundamentally different than mine, you'll never manage to pack all the cables and connections you need. So, it pays to by laptop charger, iPhone cable, ear phones etc twice (if you are a heavy user, they'll wear off over time anyway, and you need another pair earlier, if you only have one) and leave one set in your bag.

    - always have a multi-adaptor in your luggage. Most hotels can provide them, but not all - and the UK one in particular can be in short supply. Note: European plug <> European plug. In theory they are harmonised, but some German "safety" plugs have thicker pins than others and I ended up in Italy as well as Chile with a German plug not fitting in. However, it worked with the multi-Adaptor set on "German in" and "German out" - weird, but the "in" always allows for max thickness and "out" is the thin version (some adaptors need to be forced into this combination, a sthe "think" it doesn't make sense). There are also some weird Italian plugs with a 3rd pin in the middle, thouigh this never bothered me, as I have only ever had British and German plugs.

    - I used to travel with second mobiles covering e.g Germany when going there a lot. But it's a nuissance and peopel will usually not call you on a second number anyway. I now found that many providers, e.g. Vodafone UK, offer a contract, where you pay a flatrate per country per day (2.50 in the EU) and then it's your home rates and data allowance. Not too cheap, but a convenient and safe solution. (you may want to switch roaming of, while on trains, with such a contract. I once went from London through France and Belgium to Luxembourg and on to Germany, so it annoyingly added up to 10 quid by synching emails, although I would have needed it in only one country)

    - have a good smartPhone App for translations. There are multi-language ones translating criss-cross, but they are usually lower quality. Better to have one with your language translating from and to all other relevant languages.

    - if you are an EEA citizen and your country issues ID cards, make sure your ID card expires at least a year before or after your passport. So, if one of the two expires, you've gote still one left to allow at least for European travel. That beats the convenience of having them both done on the same day only to find them both expired at the airport one day.

    Same trick works with two passports for peopel with dual citizenship.

    Note to German expats: you can now get an ID card from the German embassy in your host country as well - it's no longer passport only as it used to be until early this year (at least it works in London, but I guess it's the same everywhere)

    - make sure your partner knows where to find you in case of an emergency and don't assume they'll always remember your week's itinerary you mumble on departure. I'm lucky to have a setup, where I can share my outlook calendar with her. And I copy and paste my hotel and flight bookings into my appointments anyway, so I have them easily accessible on my phone calendar as well. So she can see this as well.

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  • Posted on Oct 01, 2013 at 03:26 PM
    • Shower Caps - you can never have enough of them. After I polish my shoes I wrap each one in a shower cap to protect the rest of my clothes!
    • Always fill the car with enough petrol/diesel to get you home when you arrive back on a Friday night - nothing worse than knowing you wont make it home and have to stop.
    • I always have a drink and some fruit/nuts left in the car for snacking on on the drive home.
    • And if you are Irish ... a pack of Tayto (it always says - you are home now).
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  • Posted on Nov 06, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    I don't travel much, but my experience is that the less I pack, the less tired I get. And of course, I choose rolling bags over everything else!

    In terms of packing efficiency, I lay all my clothes flat, never fold them - in order to gain space. The issue is that if you don't unpack your whole bag it can be difficult to find one item. I separate each shoe in a different plastic bag, you can use space better than with both shoes together. I reuse all my plastic bags and yes try to use fabric bags as much as I can when I'm not traveling. But the tip with the shower caps is awesome!

    Also, to gain space I transfer all my cosmetics into little containers that I once got for free from major brands. I'm French so I'm picky, I won't use the stuff they give at hotels ;-)
    I like Craig's idea of grey week, green week, etc. How organized! But it would never work with me. What if I feel like wearing blue today and it's a grey week? Horrible thought.

    And I agree. Taxi drivers are precious! I still have the business card of a driver I had in Amsterdam at TechEd 2007. Unfortunately I am not in Amsterdam this week so I can't check if he's still in business. But he saved me one night when I was to meet colleagues at a spa. I didn't have the address, you can imagine the challenge. And yeah, we had a good time at the spa despite the cultural differences (no separation of men and women :-s)

    I put everything in my calendar: confirmation numbers, assistance phone numbers, any little thing that I do such as car transfer or something I need to remember. It's all in my calendar so I have the reminder and don't need to print out stuff.


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  • author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Posted on Mar 06, 2014 at 08:02 AM

    Hi Craig i can use web check in with the self service check in I do not stand in line at airports.😊


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  • Posted on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Nice tips, but kind of "American" focussed. I don't do as much travelling as before (lived in the US for a while and in that period I spent quite a lot of time "in the air"). Anyways, for Europeans, you probable only have 1 (or 2) credit cards, so you have to protect that one (or two) very well!

    I like the tip about the "airport security items"... I usually have one of those "hip bags" (I know, not very fashionable, but quite practical actually) where I put in my Phone, cash, wallet, ...) before going into the security checkpoint.

    If you do travel a lot (like you seem to do), it might be interesting to keep at least one extra pair of underwear and a clean shirt in your carry on (in case your luggage gets lost - happened to me a couple of times). I used to keep a deodorant handy as well, but that seems to be "dangerous".

    I also kept some "wipes" in my carryon in case I had to go to an airport restroom... they're usually not that clean.

    Also, for about a year, they never "found" my "hand gel" in my carry on (I was always glad to have that on me).

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    • I've noticed that many of the pens in some of the US hotel chains have very little ink in them. I understand that the chains buy them cheaper that way. They only have about 1/10 of the ink that a normal retail pen has. Even the note pads usually are only about 5-10 sheets thick. No thanks on the gun smuggling! Even if I was interested, I wouldn't express it here. My government is probably scanning this as I type! FF
  • Posted on Nov 09, 2013 at 05:44 AM

    Hi Craig,

    Really liked the idea of keeping info about the cards back home. That's very useful.

    I also would to share something though it is not a travel tip but something I would recommend while travelling to new places.

    Try the local food. I really do not know about America but here in India, we have got several varieties of food at different place. They are all popular. Somewhere Madras chicken was mentioned which belongs to South India, like wise Butter chicken is another delicious and popular dish of North India. List is endless. We believe way to heart goes from stomach and food is a medium for that.

    I'm sure this fact does not apply to India only but to all other countries also. So definitely try it out in your next trip 😉



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  • Posted on Nov 19, 2013 at 09:15 PM

    Just returned from SAP TechEd Amsterdam where biking has always been "the thing" but in traveling to the Middle East and Spain these last few years I see that they too have added bike lanes and "City Bikes" as has NYC. A city bike is a great way to really see a city and also meet with locals. You can get to places that are less accessible to really traverse by foot or car and it saves time Tel Aviv I went along the beach and park drives which were wonderful. Did the same in Barcelona plus went up the mountain to Park Guell. In Amsterdam saw the museums by pedalling through to them plus went through some cool markets. In New York it's fun to cross some of the bridges to other bouroughs that allow bikes (George Washington Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge). In Germany went from the SAP offices in Walldorf to Heidelburg and did that through some forests and villages.

    I'm going to do another bike exploration in New Zealand this winter..... lots of places have rail trails where you can bike (tried that in Bermuda too and that was super fun). So here's my biggest tip for those who like to bike. Bring a soft bike seat pad. It really helps cushion the ride and doesn't take up much space. also ensures that you think about renting a bike wherever you are :-).(I forgot mine in Amsterdam but rode anyway). Also good idea (even for men) to bring some hair-ties. They are great for preventing trousers or jeans from getting caught in the wheels. They are also helpful as an addition to the showercap idea.

    I love the way the community has added tips. You've mentioned so many I would have shared. I also carry a very small first aid with antiseptic pads, small bandages, minor meds like aspirin and over the counter stomach stuff. I've almost never used it myself, but I can't tell you all how many times I've shared with others who needed.

    Also, I love having a moleskin (a small journal) not just for diary like purposes but for travel notes and info that I come upon along the way. I know it can be PDA but I like the paper kind.

    And I don't know how many of you need this but I've gotten a passport with extra pages ....And I also make sure that someone has a scanned copy of my documents at home.

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  • Posted on Nov 20, 2013 at 06:39 AM

    Ok, here's one more. With all of us, almost completely, relying on our smartphones for remembering all our contact numbers, it can be a real pain if you're stuck in a problem situation in a foreign territory and your phone (which, most likely, has superior battery draining powers) is out of charge. Yeah, backing them up in your laptop or email etc. is a good option and mus tbe done, it's always best (actually second best to memorizing them) to note the most important numbers for a trip on a small piece of paper which you can carry with you at all times (maybe in your wallet). And, as someone mentioned above about leaving copies of your important documents at home, you could also leave a copy of your trip's most important numbers at home.

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  • author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Posted on Dec 24, 2013 at 05:00 PM

    I usually carry clothes that are nearing their shelf-life so that I can dispose them on the return journey in exchange for souvenirs and other shopping items to stay within the free baggage check-in limit.


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