Planning an Amsterdam Layover

Amsterdam is a great city for a  layover tour.

Although I've often considered it, this was the first time I scheduled a layover long enough to have a fun, no-stress day in the layover city. When considering a layover city visit, the most important question is do you have enough time to get into the city, enjoy yourself, and return to the airport with 2 hours to spare to go through security. The answer depends primarily on transportation from the airport into city, and your tolerance for stress! How close are you willing to cut it when calculating a time to return to the airport? What makes Amsterdam a perfect layover city is the … [Read more...]

Best ATM and Credit Cards for International Travel

ATMs are the cheapest and most convenient way to get cash overseas.

I've been asked this question so many times, I had to finally answer it publicly. First of all, back in the day, savvy travelers would stock up on traveler's checks before hitting the friendly skies. Traveler checks had the advantage of being replaceable if they were lost, and could be converted to local currency at a bank or a hotel (hotels never give the best rate, but they sure are convenient.) But today you get the best exchange rates (and convenience) from ATMs, as long as you know a few tricks. So here are the tricks. There are several kinds of fees you may encounter when … [Read more...]

Post-Trip Packing Lessons

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Having just returned from a 28-day trip (San Diego --> Paris --> Amsterdam --> Tel Aviv --> Jerusalem --> Tiberias --> San Diego) my mind is buzzing with all sorts of post-trip excitement. I thought I would share a few of my loosely-related thoughts on packing. Luggage: I'd give myself a solid B on packing. Although I had the smallest suitcase of anyone else in my family, I think I could have shed 10 pounds off its 39 pounds. My approach was to pack for 7 days, and I hit this mark pretty closely. Still, with 2 dresses, 1 skirt and 4 pairs of pants, I could have pared that down to 1 … [Read more...]

Keeping Track of Reward Points and Miles


With my upcoming trip to Europe and Israel, I learned a few new tricks about reward programs, and wanted to pass them on. The Experts First of all, it really pays to listen to the experts, and I am now following the blogs of The Points Guy Brian Kelly and The Frugal Travel Guy Rick Ingersoll. In addition to following these blogs (and reading their BEGINNER GUIDES), I now use a handful of sites and phone apps to keep me organized. Today I want to introduce two of them: Award Wallet and WorldMate. Award Wallet AwardWallet is a free website and phone app that keeps track of all … [Read more...]