How to Pack for a Destination Marathon

The post below was originally published on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on March 18, 2016 by TheHipmunk.

Traveling for a marathon? Great! Not only is training for and running a marathon its own reward, but choosing to attend a destination race is a great excuse to travel to new places.

There’s just one caveat: It can be easy to let pre-race jitters cause you to lose focus and forget critical gear. If you want to avoid feeling unprepared at the starting line, simply refer to this handy checklist whenever you’re preparing for a non-local race.

In addition to your usual running staples—including (but certainly not limited to) running shoes, a fuel belt, a GPS watch, hair ties or a headband, and so on—here’s what to keep in mind when packing for a destination marathon.

Squeeze it All in a Carry-On

You know the panic that sets in upon arriving at baggage claim and realizing your bag has been lost? Imagine how much worse it is when said bag contained your running shoes and marathon gear. Avoid this agony by packing everything into a carry-on. If you must check a bag with extra clothing and accessories, at the very least make sure that your race-day essentials stay with you at all times.

Pack Layers

No matter where you’re going, it’s smart to pack for all kinds of weather. Temperatures can swing wildly between the start of a race and its end, particularly when you’re starting out early in the morning or running at high elevations. And then, of course, there’s the ever-present risk of rain, wind, intense sun, and freak weather events. Prepare for it all by bringing along a variety of layers, a running hat, gloves, sunglasses, a racing jacket and tights, and so on. This is particularly important if you’re traveling to a climate that’s different from the one in which you’ve trained (say, from New York to Colorado or from Australia to NYC). Since your body won’t be adjusted to that climate, weather changes may feel more extreme. It’s important to have the right apparel on hand so you can be as comfortable as possible. While you’re at it, go ahead and pack a back-up base outfit for race day—that way you’ll be covered in case anything gets wet or ripped.

Dress to Compress

Regardless of whether you’re traveling via air or car, it’s a smart idea to wear compression socks during the trip. Doing so will help reduce swelling and prevent blood from pooling in your lower legs while you sit for extended time periods. (For the same reason, it’s also a good idea to stand up and walk around at least once every hour.) Helping your blood circulate properly in transit will ensure that your legs don’t feel like deadweights on race day.

Pack Healthy Snacks

Rest stops and airplanes aren’t exactly known for their healthy fare. If you’re concerned about pre-race nutrition (and you probably should be), it’s a good idea tobring along your own healthy snacks to consume in transit. Also pack your own energy gels and other snacks if you’re wedded to particular brands—if you’re traveling across state or country lines, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to find your favorite brand(s) once you reach your destination. And remember to bring along a water bottle—staying hydrated is critical if you want to feel energized on race day.

Be Kind to Your Skin

Marathons require runners to physically exert themselves outside for multiple hours—so it’s important to pack some sunscreen. Not only will it keep your skin healthier, but it will also spare you from having to add “sunburn” to your list of aches and pains the day after the race. Many runners also swear by Body Glide as a means of reducing skin friction during the race and minimizing pain and discomfort after it.

Stock a Post-Race Recovery Kit

While it’s most critical to pack essentials for the actual marathon, it’s also important to think about what you’ll need once the race is done. Put together a post-race kit that includes flip flops (or other comfy shoes), clean socks, an extra outfit, warm layers, snacks, face wipes and/or a towel, and a first aid kit.

Consider Entertainment

Before traveling, put together a playlist(s) that you can listen to both during your travels and before or during your race. Listening to music or podcasts is a great way to pass the time while you’re traveling and soothe any jitters leading up to the race.

Utilize Plastic Bags

Given all the gels and fluids that most marathoners are wont to carry with them, it’s a good idea to make plastic bags your new best friend for the duration of your trip. Store your cell phone in a sandwich bag, and bring along a few extras in case that one is the victim of exploding energy gels. It’s also a good idea to pack your post-race clothes in gallon-size Ziplocs—then, come race day, you can look forward to changing into a dry pair of clothes no matter the weather.

Plan to Recharge

These days, many runners choose to use a Garmin, GPS watch, iPod, smartphone, or other technological accoutrement while running. If you’re in this camp, then it’s important to remember to pack the respective chargers for all of this gear. If you’re traveling abroad, keep in mind that power sources and plugs will probably be different than in the US—stock up on adaptors prior to leaving the country.

Bring the Right Paperwork

If you’ve been issued a race form, waiver, bib, and/or chip in advance of the race, remember to stash these in your carry-on. You may also want to bring along proof of time (if you’re hoping to move up in the corrals), pace charts, and your travel itinerary. If you’re traveling internationally, don’t forget your passport and any necessary visas.

Once you’ve accounted for everything on this list, it’s time to sit back, breathe, and rest easy. You’ll have everything you need for your race. Now all you need to focus on is getting across the finish line.

Start Planning Your Marathon Travel

 

Generation Gap: What Your Age Says About How You Travel

The post below was originally published on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on March 9, 2016.

By Hipmunk Staff

For the third year in a row, we polled US travelers of all ages to find out more about the travel habits and trends of the coveted millennials as well as gen Xers and boomers. Last year, we reported that millennial travelers were “cheap, plugged in and always looking for pleasure“. Guess what, not much has changed.

Always-connected, highly-mobile millennials are forging new norms for leisure and business travel, making technology, in-the-know experiences, and adrenaline-rush adventures—not cookie-cutter vacation packages—some of the most striking hallmarks of the way they explore and enjoy their world.

When they do hit the road, millennials see themselves as explorers, not tourists. They disproportionately favor vacation rentals over hotels, cities over beaches, and grab travel opportunities whenever they can, such as topping off business trips with leisure travel.

Hipmunk is built by and for younger travelers, and we understand their travel patterns better than anyone else.  Our site and app attract people who are younger, on average, than other big online travel brands. Here are five key takeaways from this year’s study.

1) Mix Business With Pleasure, Please!

Millennials do more business travel than any other age group, and they take advantage while they can:

  • They work on the road. 38% of millennials travel for business, while just 23% of Gen Xers and 8% of boomers say they do.
  • And will do so even more. 80% are going to travel more for work in 2016 than 2015 (compared to 60% and 45% of Gen Xers and boomers respectively)
  • They stay in vacation rentals. Seventy-four percent of millennials have stayed at a vacation rental (such as those available through Airbnb) on a business trip, an experience shared by just 38% of Gen Xers and 20% of boomers.
  • They perfected bleisure. 81% will probably add extra time to a business trip (compared to 56% and 46% of Gen Xers and boomers respectively).

Millennials already dominate business travel, and they’re doing it in a different way than the previous generation. ‘Bleisure’ may sound like a contagious disease, but it’s a real phenomenon, and millennials are making vacation rentals a viable option for their business trips.

2) Cut the Cord, But Not the Tube

Millennials’ astute use of the Internet and social connectivity informs their travel preparation, and how they live when they’re on the road. They edge out other generations in their desire to be connected. This generation is connected 24-7, and that’s clear in the way they treat every stage of their travel.

  • They’re savvy with travel tricks and tools. One-half of millennials say they’re “travel hackers”, meaning they know all of the best sites and methods to get the best travel deals, while just 26% of Gen Xers and 12% of boomers share that sentiment.
  • They stay connected always, in all ways: Whether flying for business or pleasure, Wi-Fi is the coveted in-flight amenity (41% and 46% of millennials says it’s the most important amenity for leisure and business travel respectively, topping entertainment systems or premium economy). Fast, free Wi-Fi is the favorite hotel perk for leisure travel (cited by 28% of millennial respondents). And fully one in ten say Wi-Fi trouble is their worst travel nightmare, topping extreme turbulence, lost luggage or an emergency landing.
  • They get travel ideas from social media. Forty-four percent of millennials get travel inspiration from YouTube videos and 28% from Instagram.  While just 18% of Gen Xers and 6% of boomers turn to YouTube, and 7% and 1% of Gen Xers and boomers to Instagram respectively.
3) Skip the Agony (and the security line)

Millennials will go the extra mile – or pay a little more – to remove friction points that make travel frustrating.

  • They’re more likely to use pre-check services like TSA/Clear: 31% of millennials say they’ll do so this year, vs. 24% of Gen Xers and 23% of boomers.
  • They’d like to avoid the agony of a crying baby in flight. Half say they’d be willing to pay more for a child-free flight.
4) Bye-Bye Beach, Hello Bucket List!

The younger the traveler, the more likely he or she eschews the label of “tourist” when on the road, suggesting younger generations want to experience different cultures authentically, not just to observe them.  The study found that 38% of millennials surveyed consider themselves to be explorers rather than tourists, compared to 30% of Gen Xers and 24% of boomers.

And this year, millennials say they are planning monumental, remember-it-forever travel.

  • They’re ready for a big adventure. 65% of millennials claim they are checking something off their bucket list this year, compared to just 35% and 21% of Gen Xers and boomers respectively.
  • They crave nature. While beach vacations and theme parks remain popular destinations across generations (37% of all respondents say they’ll head to the shore this year and 23% to Disneyland and its ilk), millennials seek out outdoor and activity-based trips more frequently.
    • Thirty-four percent of millennials will enjoy Mother Nature’s company (e.g. camping or hiking), while only 27% and 16% of Gen Xers and boomers respectively will join them. And nearly one-in-five millennials (18%) will indulge in adventure sports like skydiving or snowboarding, a risk just 6% of Gen Xers and 1% of boomers plan to take.
  • They’re ready to go anywhere, anytime. 75% have a valid passport from the United States and/or another country vs. 49% of Gen Xers and 40% of boomers.
  • They cross the border. Sixty percent of millennials will take a vacation outside the United States this year, while just 33% of Gen Xers and 17% of boomers will go to another country.
5) 2016 Year of the Travel Optimist (and Airbnb)

This may well be the year of the travel optimist as more people report they plan to take their vacation days. Fifty-four percent of all generations say they are planning on traveling more this year than in 2015.  That percent hits a whopping 72 percent among just the millennial respondents, compared to 59% of Gen Xers and 40% of boomers.

It’s been widely reported that Americans don’t take enough vacation, and the Hipmunk survey confirmed that 30% of all people say they took no leisure trips last year. Nevertheless, 82% of millennials took time off for fun. Some seemed to have nothing but fun: 7% of millennials took 10+ leisure trips last year, compared to just 3% of the general population.

Millennials also lead the way in preferring vacation rentals over hotels. Forty-four percent of that generation would rather bunk down Airbnb-style on their leisure trips than drop anchor at a hotel; only 23% of Gen Xers and 11% of boomers agree. This preference extends to business travel.

These trends suggest that vacation rentals could eventually surpass hotel bookings amongst this age group, for both business and pleasure.

Survey Methodology: The survey was conducted on Hipmunk’s behalf by Market Cube between February 5 and 9, among 1650 adults (22% of respondents were aged 18 to 34)

The Best Apps for Productivity Across Time Zones

For many folks, travel is a way to escape from the daily grind, relax, and gain some much-needed rejuvenation. But for the world’s more than 480 million business travelers, travel too often involves worrying about missed emails, dropped expense reports, or scheduling meetings or keeping a project on track from across different time zones.

It can be tough to get work done far away from the office, but that’s where each of these apps comes in. Every entry on this list meets a specific need of the modern business traveler. Taken together, they offer business travelers a maximum-productivity package that will help ensure you’re able to get work done pretty much anywhere.

Asana

Asana is perfect for anyone who needs to tackle collaborative projects with a remote team. It’s developed by one of the co-founders of Facebook, and it’s just as on-trend as the behemoth social media platform. The app lets you lay out the steps necessary to complete a project, assign each task to a collaborator, track the project’s progress, and communicate with other team members—all without being in the same room or worrying about scheduling a phone call across time zones.

CamCard

Perfect for trips on which you anticipate doing lots of networking, CamCard allows you to digitally store business cards and contact information for new prospects or collaborators. So there’ll be no more panicking when you get home and realize you lost that potential new client’s contact info en route.

Docusign

For the executive on the go: Docusign makes it easy to digitally execute contracts, manage transactions, and issue legally binding electronic signatures across mobile devices. The service prides itself on being usable from virtually anywhere in the world (it’s already in use in 43 languages and 188 countries), and it’s secure as it is functional.

Dropbox

No matter where you are in the world, you can access all of your files from Dropbox. If you know you’ll need access to certain documents while traveling, simply upload them to the service ahead of your trip. Then you’ll be able to access them from any device, at any time. (It sure beats having to wait several hours until a coworker wakes up and can email you the documents you need.) You can also easily share files with simple links.

Expensify

Never worry about processing expense reports on the go again. Expensify allows users to quickly import card transactions, add cash expenses, record billable expenses, auto-categorize expenses, create custom invoices, ditch paper receipts, issue reimbursements, and more—and it will do it all while supporting more than 160 currencies and international taxes.

HipChat

For those times when you need to communicate with your team in real-time (but you’re in, say, Bangkok while the rest of your team is in NYC), turn to HipChat. The app offers a group chat service that’s available on desktops, tablets, or smartphones. The app will also deliver messages to your phone even when you’re signed off, so that you and your teammates will be able to reach each other at any time should a pressing issue arise.

Hipmunk

Sure, we’re shamelessly self-promoting. But it’s only because we think we’ve made the best travel app on the market. Hipmunk’s app eliminates wasted time in the planning stages of a trip by finding the best hotel and flight deals, providing free flight fare alerts, and offering instant booking. Business travelers can also use the app to coordinate group travel. Leave the trip planning to us so you can get back to work.

World Time Buddy

World Time Buddy is a world clock, time zone converter, and online meeting scheduler all in one convenient app. Need to plan a conference call with someone inSan Francisco while you’re in Dublin? Skip the math and simply plug in what time zone you’re in, what time zone they’re in, and bada boom: The app will provide you with a selection of compatible meeting times. The app also tracks market hours.

XE Currency

If your business travels take you to multiple countries in one go and you need to calculate currencies in a hurry, then XE Currency has you covered. The app allows users to view historical charts and current exchange rates and calculate prices from a mobile device. You can also create customized comparison charts for prices anywhere in the world.

The only downside to these apps? They’ll limit your excuses for not getting work done during your travels. Welcome to the great big mobile world!

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on February 18, 2016.