The Frequent Flyers Guide to Jet Lag

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Jet lag – the stuff nightmares are made of (or would be, if you could just get to sleep). The restless nights and jaded days that are part of our lives as frequent flyers can almost make travel seem like a chore. If there were a cure, we’d be lining the streets to get our hands on it. But for now, the best way to avoid, or at least reduce, the effects of long haul travel are to be as informed and prepared as possible.

Let’s start with the most important thing – what jet lag actually is. There’s an incredible amount of science behind why high-speed, long distance travel has such an uncomfortable effect on the circadian rhythms of the human body. Simply put, it’s when our biological clocks that tell our bodies when to sleep or wake up have trouble adjusting to the dramatic changes that come from travelling across time zones. Your body will try to remain on the schedule it’s used to, and is slow to accept the change. So, while your mind is ready to explore the world outside your hotel room, your body’s not so eager. That being said, there’s more than one thing you can do to tell your body to stop sleeping through all the good stuff.

Pre-Flight Prep

It’s almost impossible to plan the direction your plane will be travelling on your next trip. However, be aware that travelling east, rather than west, is easier on the body than vice versa because you’ll be gaining time rather than losing it. But regardless of the direction your flight is heading, choosing one that arrives in the early evening and staying up till 10pm local time gives you a better chance of having a positive experience the next day.

You’ve probably all experienced sitting on a flight and immediately regretting your seat choice. By now you’ll have figured out what suits you, but don’t forget:

  • emergency row seating has extra leg room, though it may cost you more
  • aisle seats are better for those of us who frequently visit the bathroom
  • the front rows are usually ‘family zones’, which means more noise and less sleep
  • if you ever have the opportunity to upgrade, don’t hesitate to do so

Your On-Board Action

Tired, stressed, over-excited or hungover? Imagine feeling like that while walking through the Sahara. The cabin of a plane at 30,000 ft is actually drier than the desert, so you know to expect headaches, dry skin and swelling – unless you keep hydrated. Your body will be craving water and a nice glass of Pinot Noir is tempting, but it’s not worth it in the long run. A flight drink, like 1Above, with electrolytes and vitamins could be just the ticket to feel fresher when you touch down.

Insider tip: Being polite to your flight attendant can be the smartest thing you do throughout the whole flight, but you already know that, right?

Post-Flight Plan

As soon as you touch the tarmac, make sure you’re on local time. Change your watch, phone time and mindset as early as possible. Also, get some sun. Sunlight is the best thing to get you feeling human again. It stimulates your body to get back into rhythm, so instead of napping in the afternoon or staying inside, take a stroll. Light exercise won’t hurt either.

At the end of the day, taking in the culture and experiences of places unknown to you is why we go through the pain for 12+ hour flights. Don’t waste time dealing with the headache of jet lag, when the world is waiting for you to explore.

Author Bio:  Brought to you by TBEX Sponsor 1Above. Find out how 1Above reduces dehydration and helps you arrive ready at your destination.

 

Enter to Win a Free Blogger Pass to TBEX North America

 

Do you have a good “Been There. Done That.” story? You could enter to win one of seven blogger passes to TBEX North America, courtesy of RoamRight. RoamRight provides travel insurance – including emergency medical and evacuation coverage – to US citizens traveling throughout the world.

Whether your tale is full of delights or woes, RoamRight wants to know! Entering is easy: Tell your story on your blog, tweet about it (#RoamRightTBEX), or post it on Facebook, then complete this form to share that link with RoamRight.

Click here to enter the contest

Entries will be collected through May 31, 2015. At that time, RoamRight will randomly select seven lucky winners to receive free blogger passes to TBEX in Ft. Lauderdale in October. Will it be you?

By entering, you agree to the Official Rules and consent to the Privacy Policy, and have read the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Notice and Policy.

 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. CONTEST ONLY OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE FIFTY (50) U.S. OR D.C., AGE OF MAJORITY OR OLDER. ENTRY PERIOD BEGINS: 12:00 ET ON MAY 1, 2015; ENDS AT 11:59 P.M. ET ON MAY 31, 2015. TRAVEL STORIES WILL BE JUDGED BY THE ROAMRIGHT JUDGING COMMITTEE ON THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA: A) ENTERTAINMENT VALUE, B) UNIQUENESS OF STORY, AND C) QUALITY OF WRITING. TWO WINNERS WILL BE CHOSEN EACH WEEK FOR THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF THE COMPETITION AND THREE WINNERS WILL BE CHOSEN THE THIRD WEEK OF THE SUBMISSION PERIOD. FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, ALL PERSONALLY IDENTIFYING INFORMATION SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM ENTRIES, AND USE OF FICTITIOUS NAMES IS PERMITTED. ARV OF EACH PRIZE: $97.00. ESTIMATED ODDS OF WINNING ARE BASED ON THE TOTAL NUMBER OF ENTRIES. SUBJECT TO FULL OFFICIAL RULES. SPONSOR: ARCH INSURANCE COMPANY, EXECUTIVE PLAZA IV, 11350 MCCORMICK ROAD, SUITE 102, HUNT VALLEY, MD 21031.

 

Author Bio:  TBEX sponsor RoamRight offers travel insurance plans for leisure, business, student, and group travelers traveling within the U.S. or internationally. Our insurance is underwritten by Arch Insurance Company, a market-leading specialty insurer with an A.M. Best financial strength rating of A+ (superior). Our staff and customer service representatives are travel insurance specialists who offer customers expert information about trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage options.

Friends Forever

Jaume toasting

Alice: How long is forever?

White Rabbit: Sometimes, just a second

Well, it looks it’s all over, more than three days of sharing knowlege, networking and meeting new people.

The Catalan Tourist Board, Lloret de Mar tourism and Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board has worked hard as a team. We hope you enjoyed your tme here as much as we did preparing everything for you.

It’s very emotional to see that our dream, to welcome you at TBEX Costa Brava Catalunya, has come to an end…. but once again, we are wrong. This is not the end. This is the beginning of a long lasting relationship with you.

Sometimes, it’s not all about audiences, numbers, ROI, and not even about the different tourist atractions in a destination,. Sometimes it’s about people. We have met new people, we have shared some smiles and laughter (normally over food and wines from our region), and the most important thing — we have new friends.

Thank you for letting us show you the best of us, not only our land but ourselves.

Please, as our friends, keep in touch with us. We really hope that you’ll come back soon to our area, with your friends and family. We ll be here, waiting for to welcome you with a smile and a glass of cava in our hand.

Gracies amics!

Jaume

I Want to Go There: How To Use Findery as a Tool for Travel Blogging

Get a jump on your research using Findery

As soon as you’ve decided where you’re jetting off to next, you probably take a preliminary, virtual trip online to scout out the lay of the land. Notes on Findery have been left by both locals and travelers, and both can give you a sense of the place.

Did you know? Findery users have already left over 100,000 notes around the world, and have notes in every single country. If you’re going somewhere, odds are high we have some notes there for you to explore.

Barcelona map

 Image: Map of Barcelona on Findery

Plan your visit

Where will you eat? What will you see? What should you be sure not to miss? Start working on your plan of attack long before you even pack your bags. Create a Findery Notemap to plan your trip, adding notes to the places you want to go. A map will be created to help you, and on your mobile app you can get directions of how to get there.

Did you know? Following a contributor on Findery sends you a notification on your phone whenever you pass by one of their notes. Find a local expert in the area you’re visiting and you’ll get a ping as you wander through their part of the world!

Findery - Places I Want To Visit In Spain (1)

Image: Notemap by @JessicaJ

Record your visit while it’s happening

When you arrive is when the real fun begins. So many new discoveries, so many things to take note of. Most of the time you just want to jot down a thought or two for a blog post later. Snap a picture, place it on the map, write a few words, and presto, you’ll never forget where you had that amazing pizza or saw that beautiful mural.

Did you know? It takes less than a minute to leave a note! We have Android, iOS, and Apple Watch apps to keep you always connected on the go.

Share more in-depth stories when you get home

When you’re home, on the couch, flipping through photos, is when some of the longer, more in depth stories come out. Findery is a fantastic place to put those stories. Think of it as creating a map and a photo album of your trip. A place where the stories and the photos cohabitate in perfect harmony.

Did you know? Bloggers are always welcome to add a link to blog posts about their travels to their notes!

Decide where you’re going next

Where to next? Doesn’t take long for wanderlust to strike again. Findery features notes from all around the world, even Antarctica! It’s just enough to get your exploration juices bubbling all over again. So, where’s your next destination? Spin the map, see where it stops, then hop on down the Findery rabbit hole and discover the next place you want to explore in person.

Did you know? Findery has a passionate network of users. Need suggestions for where to go? They can help you decide!

Findery Bali  (1)

Image: Exotic Bali by @Skimbaco

 

 

 

MSC Welcomes Travel Bloggers Onboard

MSC DIVINA

MSC Cruises is pleased to welcome aboard travel bloggers for a one-day experience on the MSC Fantasia or the MSC Divina. If your readers are itnerested in cruising, this is an opportunity to learn about the ships and about the cruise experience.

The ships will be in port in Barcelona, so if you live in the area, or traveling there, here are the opportunities for your consideration. European based bloggers, this is an opportunity for you!

May 8th – MSC Fantasia Itinerary

  • 17.30 – Embarkation – Muelle adosado Terminal A o B
  • 18.00 -19.00 – MSC Aurea Spa: 10 minutes of massage for each blogguer
  • 19.00 – 21.00 – Dinner at restaurant
  • 21.00 – Show on board at Teatro L’Avanguardia
  • 22.00 – Disembarkation

May 13th – MSC Divina Itinerary

  • 12:30 Embarkation – Muelle adosado Terminal A o B
  • 13:00 – Lunch on board – cod 101
  • 14:30 – Visit and Coffe at MSC Yacht Club
  • 15:00 – MSC Aurea Spa 10 minutes of massage
  • 16:00 – Session of Cinema 4D and formula 1 at Virtual World follow by disembarkation

To sign up for these ship visits go here.

Deadlines are specified for each ship visit and will be strictly enforced. You will need to provide information and pass a security check with the Port Police and the Security Staff onboard the ship. No extension of sign up times can be permitted.

MSC LOGO

 

TripIt’s Top 5 International Travel Tips

SA CALETA 2 Lloret de Mar (Costa Brava)

International travel is pretty amazing, but it does bring up some unique challenges compared to domestic travel. To help you get ready for your big trip abroad (hopefully to Costa Brava for TBEX Europe 2015), we put together a list of our top 5 international travel tips.

1. Pack Light

There’s no need to lug around a huge suitcase on your trip abroad! It’s not only possible to limit yourself to a carry-on, but highly recommended – even if you’re setting out for a month long adventure. More stuff, means more things to keep track of, which means more stress. Take some time to plan before you pack your final bag. Pick a color scheme so mixing and matching is possible. Roll your clothing or invest in packing cubes to create maximum space for your essentials. We also recommend leaving behind what you can buy there; don’t waste your precious space on toothpaste. Your hotel or a near by general store will have you covered.

There are plenty of resources online to help you pack light. We especially love this article from the Stylebook: “Fit 30 Outfits in Your Carry-On.”

2. Stay Connected

There’s definitely something to be said about disconnecting while traveling, but it’s always good to have some form of connection in case of emergency.

For frequent international travelers, consider selecting T-Mobile as your mobile provider. Their Simple Choice Plan offers unlimited talk, text and data within the U.S., plus unlimited text and data in over 120 countries for no extra charge.

For those committed to other carriers, we recommend using an iPhone. This way you can connect with loved one back home via iMessage or FaceTime when connected to Wi-Fi.

3. Manage Money

Most often, credit cards will be your best bet when traveling internationally. They usually offer lower exchange rates than cash. And, although we recommend always having at least the $20 equivalent of the foreign currency on you, many banks charge large fees for using an ATM abroad.

Note that most credit cards have foreign exchange rate fees. If you travel abroad often, consider getting a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, that doesn’t charge this fee. The most important thing to remember is to call and inform your credit card company’s fraud department before you go. If you don’t, they may cut off your card. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a foreign country with no money.

4. Organize Your Important Information

From plans to important documents, you want to make sure you have it all. Download TripIt before you go to help you with this one. Forward all your confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com and all your plans will automatically be in one place. This will help keep you on track, so you don’t miss any flights or trains – which will end up costing you extra money you don’t need to spend.

It’s also smart to have all the contact information you might need readily available. In TripIt, you can find maps, emails and phone numbers for your hotels. The new Traveler Profile feature also gives you a secure place to store emergency contact information and important travel documents, such as your passport number.

5. Don’t Over Plan

When you’re going somewhere new and exciting, it’s natural to want to plan every step of the way to ensure you don’t miss a thing – but don’t! Prioritize your must-sees, but make sure you leave a little room for spontaneity. Some of the best experiences come from chatting with locals and doing what they recommend. So, wander around town and see what happens!

Author Bio:  TripIt makes it easy for travelers to know where to go by organizing all your travel plans in one place, for you. No more scrambling to find your confirmation number when you check in for your flight, or searching for your hotel when you land—just the peace of mind you need when you’re en route to TBEX. TripIt is a long time sponsor of TBEX.

 

Twitter Contest from TBEX Europe 2015 Sponsor Renfe-SNCF

TBEX Europe 2015 sponsor Renfe-SNCF wants you to  experience a little more European culture and hospitality. And to help you do it, they’re holding a Twitter contest. Winners – 20 of them in all – receive a First Class round trip ticket to any of the destinations that have Renfe- SNCF en Coopération (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Valence, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Nîmes, Montpellier, Sète, Agde, Béziers, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Perpignan, Figueres, Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona, Zaragoza and Madrid).  ​

Here’s how to enter and win:

Between April 16-19, 2015, answer a question by submitting an answer on Twitter and including the Renfe_SNCF​ ​Twitter account and using the hashtag #TBEXRenfeSncf on your tweet.

Here’s the question:

How many cities between France and Spain are connected through Renfe-SNCF en Coopération high speed trains ?

The 20 winners will be notified via a twitter mention in each of their profiles. The winners will then have 3 working days to confirm their acceptance of the prize – one round-trip journey in First Class to any destination operated by the international trains of Renfe-SNCF en Coopération. The ticked is valid for use for up to on year. You must be registered for TBEX Europe 2015 to be eligible to win.

You can view the full terms and conditions to the contest here.  Information about the contents and the terms and conditions are also available in French and Spanish.

Go do you research and enter to win!

Context Travel Launches TBEX Contest

Deep Travel is about going farther, asking better questions, and opening your eyes to the nuance and detail of place.  At Context we believe that deeper travels enhance our cherished global citizenship.

context travel

 

We’ll be at all three TBEX events in 2015: Europe, Asia, and North America, and as part of our sponsorship participation, we’re running a blogger contest with some exciting rewards. To kick things off, our first competition is linked to TBEX Europe, which takes place in Lloret De Mar on April 29 to May 2. (Check out our PRE- and POST-BEX selection of walks in Barcelona).

What’s involved?

All you need to do is submit a blog post, written by you and published on your own blog, on the topic of Encounters that enriched your travel experience.” 

It could have been a fleeting moment of insight into a new culture you didn’t expect, or days spent finding a new side of yourself within someone else’s definition of a comfort zone.  Or, maybe it was the time that you found that perfect source, the local expert who made the place come alive in new, unexpected ways.

The blog post need not be freshly written for this contest; if you have something relevant in your archive, feel free to enter with that. As long as it has not been published elsewhere other than your own blog, we’ll accept it as a valid submission.

Winners will be judged by our panel of Deep Travelers, including selected members of our staff and docents, as well as sustainable tourism expert Richard Edwards and Audrey Scott of Uncornered Market. Our judges are looking for blog posts that tell a compelling story, feature a unique idea, take an original angle, and express depth of experience.

Once you’ve published your article on your blog, share it on Twitter, tag us @contexttravel and include the hashtag #TBEXContext, or simply submit your article via our Facebook entry form.

What you’ll win

We’ll select two winners and announce them during TBEX. As a winner, you’ll be named a Deep Traveler, receive an Unlimited Context Pass for one year (free spaces on any confirmed group walks in any city where we operate), plus a Travel Blogger Comfort Kit that includes $500 worth of handy, portable travel accessories, including:

  • Handpresso kit
  • Memory foam pillow
  • Steripen Adventurer
  • Olloclip
  • Artisan business card holder, Made in Florence
  • Mobile power pack
  • Rucksack

Author Bio:  Context is a network of Ph.D-level scholars and other experts living in cultural capitals around the world who are passionate teachers and guide visitors on an experiential journey of these amazing cities. We operate in 25 cities around the world and offer more than 500 tours in Europe, Asia, North and South America. 

How to Land a Partnership at TBEX: Insights from a Company’s Perspective

Athens registration sign

Finding a business partnership at the conference is most likely on all of your “making the most of TBEX” lists. TBEX is a fantastic event to meet like-minded professionals, exchange ideas and get inspired. However, getting a job, and therefore a return of the investment you made when buying the tickets, is probably your top goal. Right?

I have attended last year’s TBEX Europe in Athens as a company representative for DISCAVO and am also a travel blogger myself. I want to combine my experience from last year´s TBEX with what I know about being a travel blogger to provide you with the ultimate list of how to make the most out of TBEX.

Before the conference

Know yourself – Get ready to pitch your blog and yourself in one minute: Who are you and what is your background ? What is your blog about and how do you differentiate from other travel blogs?

From a company’s perspective, key performance indicators (KPI´s) are very important. Know your numbers by heart:  your page views/visitors per month and your Social Media numbers. A printed Media Kit is a must-have to hand out to the company’s representative, including your contact details of course.

Know the company – Do research about the companies that will attend the conference and in- depth research about the companies you have scheduled a meeting with. You should know what they do and ideally have some ideas about how you could work with them. Your 8 minute speed networking appointment can be short, made even shorter if the company’s representative has to explain what the company is about from scratch.

Last year, I met some bloggers who had done their research very well. We managed to end the appointment with a handshake confirming a partnership that we discussed in only eight minutes. That´s what I call a successful meeting!

At the conference

How to excel at meetings – Good preparation and research is the basis of a successful meeting, then it´s all about how you sell yourself! When you arrive at the conference, check out where the various sponsor tables are located. The speed network schedule is tight, and you don’t want to lose time by getting lost and being late to a meeting. Also, stop by and say hi before your meeting! Why not introduce yourself beforehand and tell the company you are looking forward to the meeting? That will leave a good impression, for sure. During the meeting, listen to what the company’s representative says and try to find out what you can do for them and pitch some preliminary ideas. Closing the meeting by quickly figuring out how to proceed  – maybe a Skype call the following week?

How to excel at networking with companies – You didn’t get the appointment you wanted very badly? You can still make use of the at networking events happening around TBEX. Address the company’s employee by telling them what you like about the company (you have your research done) and briefly telling them why you would love to get to knowmore about them (showing you are interested in a partnership, but also that you don’t sell yourself under value). Addressing someone at a networking event compared to at a meeting is different. It is not so much about numbers and facts, more about finding out if you have the same vision.

After the conference

Get in touch – Follow up with the company´s representative you met with a personal email. Point out something you talked about/ something you laughed about so that the s/he remembers you. Last year a blogger forgot her notebook after our meeting. I ran after her to give it back. She emailed me “thank you so much for returning my notebook! It was great meeting you”. I immediately remembered her.

Quickly summarize what you talked about and how you decided to proceed. An example:  “we discussed the opportunity of me writing an article about travelling with kids in Spain for your corporate blog. To discuss further, we decided to set a Skype call. How does Tuesday next week sound to you?” Take actions!

I am looking forward to meeting lots of you at TBEX and having great and productive meetings. Hopefully this small guideline will help you to make your way around TBEX successfully. I am excited to talk to you about how this article helped you and especially what you would recommend to us company representatives in exchange. Let´s all make the most of TBEX, network, exchange ideas and have fun!

Author Bio:  Felicitas is the Content Manager of DISCAVO, a Berlin-based hotel price comparison. The company´s content strategy is the City Guide; presenting cities around the world “through the eyes of locals”. Every month one City Guide is added. DISCAVO works closely together with travel bloggers. Follow them on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and YouTube. DISCAVO is a sponsor of TBEX Europe 2015 in Lloret de Mar.

New Expedia Viewfinder Image Library: Uses for Your Blog

Acropolis, Athens
Image courtesy of Tourism Media

As travel bloggers, you share photos from your latest trip in a way that allows you to connect with your readers.  Images are often a large part of the story-telling process because they help share your experiences with your readers as if they were right there with you. However, sometimes, it’s nice to simply enjoy the moment without having to worry about capturing the perfect photograph to publish later. Or, sometimes, you may not have the best equipment, opportunity, or time for photographing your travels, yet you want to give your location justice.

Announced at the Expedia TBEX party in Athens, the new Expedia® Viewfinder Image Library could provide you with the images you need to go along with the content you’d like to share with your readers. Launched as the next evolution of its Expedia Viewfinder blog, the Viewfinder Image Library is easy to navigate and provides the travel community with access to free high-quality travel visuals. The images are sorted by destinations starting with the world, then narrowing to country, specific cities, and then landmarks within those cities.  You can also search by the type of experiences, for example, history, nature, and food.

There are more than 40,000 high-resolution travel images offering, each one tagged digitally with a caption along with links to additional information about its location. It’s a great way to search for travel images for your next blog post or travel project, or to get inspiration for your next travel adventure!