Lili's Travel Tips

For long-haul flights

  • Noise cancelling headphones. We bought these ones for about $70 online, and they are AMAZING. They use phase cancellation, which means they emit (very quiet) sound at exactly the same frequency as is going in - which basically cancels out the original sound. In short, they work with magic. Apparently low-frequency noises cause anxiety in humans (I guess instinct says LION! EARTHQUAKE! RUN!) and the loudness of planes causes extra fatigue - particularly as you have to turn up the sound on your little telly all the way (our headphones came with an airline adaptor!). These cut out most of the aircraft rumble, making the whole flight feel more serene.
  • Change into trackies. Either as soon as you board, or just before. Trackies, a comfy top, and a comfy (or no) bra. This way you are comfortable for the flight, more likely to sleep, AND you'll have almost-clean clothes to get into when you arrive at your destination.
  • Drink as much water as possible.
  • If you're on an Asian airline, always choose the Asian meal.

For the US

  • Get some Metamucil and multivitamins. In the big cities there is great food, but once you hit the middle, there is A LOT of fried, and not much green.
  • Got an iPhone? Get an AT&T sim from eBay before you leave. Register it online with any US address (but don't try and put credit on it). Call your service provider and ask them to unlock your phone. In the US, pop your new sim in, and find a wifi network. Go to unlockit.co.nz and follow the instructions there to change your APN. Then go to the AT&T website and put credit and data on your phone (where it wants you to pick a state for your credit card, there's an option that says something like Outside US). Done!
  • Priceline.com is an excellent way to book posh hotels on the cheap. Only once did we feel like we'd been given the "Priceline room".
  • Having said that, the posher the hotel, the pricier the wifi...
  • ...and the less stuff you get - no coffee-maker or kettle, no iron, no fridge - but you get all that in a cheap motel.
  • But the posh hotels have very comfortable king-size beds, great pillows, and ace showers.
  • The tipping system is ridiculously complicated. Get an app to help you out.
  • Wholefoods is an organic supermarket with a wonderful salad bar. There's one in most cities. You will need it in the middle.
  • If you're driving a lot, pop into a Best Buy and grab a GPS. Our car hire company wanted to charge us $10 a day to hire one (which would have ended up being $280), so we bought one for $105, which Best Buy replaced for free when I accidentally spilt Vitamin Water all over it, and now we are updating with Oz maps to use here.
  • When they say Entree, they mean Main. And when they say Marinara Sauce, they mean Neapolitan sauce.
  • Tripadvisor is the best way to find good food that you never would have found otherwise. The Lonely Planet's food recommendations were sadly not as reliable.
  • We also grabbed the Zagat app to help us find decent food, which was useful in the big cities.
  • Avoid Dairy Queen - worst burger ever.
  • When ordering a Navajo taco, and asked if you would like Large or Small - say Small.
  • In fact, that's a pretty good rule for all food-ordering. Get the Small.
  • Root beer is just disgusting.