Travel Tips From An Expert

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Brenna LaBine – Chances are, each person has their individual preferences for how they travel–there are things that work better for some people than for others.

But today we are taking advice from a master traveler—President and CEO at Marriot International, Arne Sorenson.

Arne spends a majority of his time traveling to their nearly 4,000 worldwide hotels located in just less than 100 countries and territories. Arne serves on several boards, including the Corporation for Travel Promotion.

It’s safe to say, this guy knows travel.

Here are Arne’s top ten tips to keep in mind when travelling. Whether you are jetting across the globe or staying closer to home, these key pieces of advice are sure to come in handy along the way.

In the words of Mr. Sorenson himself:

1. Pack light. Using a carry-on can save you time and money. Just be prepared to follow TSA rules on what you can take. I try not to check my baggage, even on a round-the-world trip.

2. Skip the Lines. Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check are great tools for frequent travelers to and from the United States. You move quicker through customs and airport security.

3. Learn how to say “thank you” in every language. Whether it’s “gracias,” “danke” or “xièxiè,” it’s unbelievable how much those simple words can open up doors.

4. Keep it real. Ever try to fly “under the radar?” Not literally, of course, but I do think it’s best to keep a low profile. Immerse yourself in the true local flavor of any city you visit. Ask the people who live there what to go see… what isn’t in the typical tourist guide.

5. Fight jet lag. Seems obvious, but it’s hard to do. Don’t go to sleep as soon as you get to your hotel room. Catch your zzz’s when the locals are catching theirs. To make that easier, I take the typical overnight flight to Europe, and sleep on the flight (you get better sleep than you think if you force yourself to keep your eyes closed), and I stay awake when I land. To Asia, I stay awake all the way there for those flights arriving at the end of Asia’s day. That way I get a good night’s sleep the first night on a local schedule.

6. Be loyal. When you can, try to consolidate your travel with just a few providers. You’ll be rewarded with upgrades or amenities.

7. Get out of your hotel. Even if you are traveling for business, squeeze in a quick city tour or a performance that’s unique to the city you’re visiting.

8. Keep up your fitness routine. I combine this with Tip #7 by going for a run. If at all possible, get exercise on arrival for any flights longer than a few hours.

9. Collect moments, not stuff. The best memories are made with the ones you love. Souvenirs can be great, but learning and experiencing something new (or laughing about the time you got lost together in a new place) is even better. I’d rather take a walk or have coffee or tea with a colleague or a friend than jam a shopping trip into the few free hours available.

10. Tip the housekeeper. I get this question a lot, so I’m going to answer it here! Housekeepers are a hardworking bunch, so I say, “Yes, please tip.” It’s best to tip a small amount every day rather than a larger lump sum at the end to make sure you reward the housekeeper who worked each day, rather than the one who worked the last day of your stay. (It goes on the nightstand or the pillow.)

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