How to Never Check Luggage Again

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Travel has many joys. Luggage is not one of them.

Travel has many joys. Luggage is not one of them.

NOTE: If you signed up for my email list, please see this post in your email (perhaps on Saturday afternoon PT) for the Monday night Q&A info.

This post will explore three options for never checking luggage again. Some of them are extreme; all of them are effective.

In my next post, I’ll detail what I (and some friends) pack in carry-on. Some are surprising and hilarious.

Given that I spend 100+ days of the year traveling, and that I’ve been to 40+ countries, I’ve tested just about everything.

Hauling a five-piece Samsonite set around the planet is hell on earth. I watched a friend do this up and down dozens of subway and hotel staircases in Europe for three weeks, and — while I laughed a lot, especially when he resorted to just dragging or throwing his bags down stairs — I’d like to save you the breakdown. Trip enjoyment is inversely proportionate to the amount of crap (re: distractions) you bring with you.

So, how to avoid checked luggage altogether?

We’ll cover three different options, in descending order of craziness. I promise that something in this post will work for every one of you, even if partially:

– Using “urban caching” for travel purposes
– Mailing instead of checking (and some Steve Jobs-ian quirks)
– Ultralight packing

Many of these suggestions have been given to me by readers over the years, so thank you!

I try and bring such gifts full circle by collecting hundreds of tips, testing them, and publishing the winners.

So here we go… Read More

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The Tim Ferriss Book Club Launches — Book #1: Vagabonding

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The book Vagabonding traveled with me around the globe for 18 months.

This post is a dream come true.

Starting in college, I’ve fantasized about somehow driving fantastic but under-appreciated books into the limelight. I have a soft spot for out-of-print tomes and niche publications.

Flash forward, nearly 15 years later…

After three #1 bestsellers, I’ve finally pulled the trigger. For the last several months, I’ve been quietly buying audiobook and e-book rights to books that have changed my life, and producing audiobooks in professional studios.

Fun!

This post launches the Tim Ferriss Book Club, and the first book is incredible: Vagabonding.

Why a Book Club?

There are several reasons… Read More

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An Ideal Day (or Weekend) in San Francisco – 16 Fun and Weird Activities

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InsideHook SF Launch

San Francisco is my favorite city in the world, bar none.

I love NYC, I love Bali, and I love Buenos Aires, but SF is the place for me. And since I’ve been here for 10+ years, I get asked a lot: what should I do when I visit?

This post will highlight some of my favorite things.

Recently, I joined forces with InsideHook – the “essential lifestyle guide for adventurous and discerning men.” I’ll be their SF curator (and advisor), helping them find and share hidden gems in gadgets, food, outdoor adventure, and more. Subscribers get one hand-picked item per day via email. That’s it.

I encourage you to check it out here. At the very least, you’ll get an education in headlines, as their copywriters are amazing.

Now — onward!

Below is one of my ideal days in SF, planned out so everything is within close walking distance.

A Damn Fine Day

Wellness FX Blood Analysis
Activity: Blood-drawing and high-end diagnostics
Description: Visit one of Wellness FX’s labs for a blood drawing to produce an in-depth analysis of your state of health. Results offer a wide range of information, from cholesterol and hormone levels the to an analysis of your body’s electrolytes and vitamins.
Pricing: $29-$529+

SideWalk Juice
Activity: Smoothies, juice blends and more at 21st/Valencia.
Description: SideWalk provides made-to-order juices, smoothies & kombucha juice blends that are as delicious as they are beneficial to your physical and mental health.  My favorites?  The “Green Machine” and the “Jake Shields,” named after the local UFC fighter (“The strongest kale drink in existence!”).
Pricing: $4.25-$7.00

Street Art Tour
Activity: Walking tour of two alleyways with notable graffiti artwork with Dan Pan. We focused on the Mission district.
Description: Guided walking tour with Dan Pan, founder of 1AM Gallery’s new street-art app.  The app allows you to find nearby street art, as well as take pics and have users tell you the artist (very cool).  Try Clarion Alley as a starting point, which is run by an artists’ collective.
Pricing: The 1AM app is free.

InsideHook SF Launch
Mission Cliffs Climbing
Activity: Indoor rock climbing
Description: Indoor rock climbing at Mission Cliffs, a sprawling gym located at 2295 Harrison St.
Pricing: $20-$160

InsideHook SF Launch

Lunch at Salumeria
Activity: Lunch at Salumeria
Description: Salumeria is a 20th St. deli and larder that marries the culinary traditions of Old World Italy with the trend-hopping foodie culture of contemporary San Francisco.
Pricing: $6-$17

InsideHook SF Launch

Drinking!
Activity: Adult beverages with friends
Description: Enjoying social lubrication with new or old friends. A fine tradition as old as time. Some of my favorite spots include:
St. Vincent (Mission)
Hotel Biron (Downtown-ish, Hayes Valley)
Trick Dog (Mission; Disclosure: I’m an investor)
Bourbon and Branch (Tenderloin)
Pricing: Varies.

4 More Free Activities

Hawk Hill: where you can take a bike ride into our Cold War past.
Once upon a time, Fortress America dotted San Francisco’s hilltops with Nike missiles and radar outposts. Of course, those missiles were never fired — but you can still visit the rusted remnants of their vigilance if you bike up to the SF-87C radar outpost, the best-kept secret of the Marin Headlands coastline.

The Lands End Trail, where you’ll find the best maze in the Bay.
Truck up the Great Highway to stretch legs and strut your knowledge of the Sutro Baths. Hike up the Land’s End Trail from the ruins to the labyrinth at Eagle’s Point. It’s only a couple miles round trip, and damn fine panoramic views’ll be in serious supply.

California Cheese Trail: pairs well with Mission Cheese (below) or your vineyard of choice.
As an adult, your knowledge on cheese should surpass the realms of Lunchables and Easy Mac. Showing you the whey: the California Cheese Trail app from the folks at the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, available now for iPhone and Android. If you’re up for spending a few bucks on cheesy delights, visit Mission Cheese on Valencia.

The Bay Bridge’s long-awaited East Span.
The opening of the Bay Bridge’s new East Span has been years in the making, and now it’s officially open, welcoming pedestrians and cyclists of all stripes and offering exclusive access to Yerba Buena Island.

6 More Paid Activities

Vantigo: Tour beer breweries in a cherry-red VW Bus.
Indulge your nostalgia for simpler days with Vantigo, now offering tours of some of the Bay Area’s best microbreweries via a pristine ’71 VW Vanagon.
Pricing: $85 per person

Trumaker and Co.: Shirtmakers who come to you.
Restock your shirt library with Trumaker and Co., a custom shirtmaker with a highly mobile fleet of outfitters. It’s simple: you make an appointment, they send a tailor your way.
Pricing: from $98, free outfitter appointment

BoatboundBecause every man should own a boat…if only for a day.
Herein: your guide to using BoatBound, a new AirBnB-style boat rental service. SF Bay or Half Moon Bay?
Pricing: from $250 per day

Big Sur Roadhouse. The Big Sur getaway you’ve been looking for.
There’s a sprawling new Cajun restaurant in Big Sur. There are also some skinny-dip-friendly hot springs down the road. That gives you at least two good excuses to visit.
Pricing: from $50 per person

Mikkeller. It’s like a beer tour of Europe in a single bar.
The legend of Danish brewery Mikkeller has been growing across the pond for some time; they just opened their first North American alehouse in San Francisco.
Pricing: varies

Shelter Co.: Romantic private camping service with tent butlers.
Shelter Co. offers completely customized luxury camping experiences. You want tent butlers? They got tent butlers. You want a private island? They will rent you a private island.
Pricing: from $2000

Let’s Talk About This…

Want more activities, rare finds, and goodies? Sign up for InsideHook and let me know what you think. I’ll also choose one person who signs up for a 30-minute phone call with me.

Then what? How about you try my Pacific Northwest roadtrip from SF to Whistler? Damn, I love the Bay Area.

What’s your favorite city in the world, and what are your favorite 2-4 activities?

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If you’ve ever fantasized about taking time off to globe-trot, I would highly recommend Rolf Pott’s Vagabonding. It is one of only two books I took with me when I traveled the world for 18 months. Outside Magazine founding editor Tim Cahill calls Vagabonding “the most sensible book of travel related advice ever written.”

I recently partnered with Rolf to release the exclusive audiobook for Vagabonding. For more on this incredible book, click here

Related Posts:
How to Live Like a Rock Star in Buenos Aires
How to Hack Tokyo for Less Than NYC
How to Travel Through 20+ Countries with Free Room and Board
How to Travel to Exotic, Expensive Cities on $50 a Day (e.g. Paris, Hong Kong)

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How to Travel to Exotic, Expensive Cities on $50 a Day

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(Photo: Marc P. Demoz)

OK, I’ve had a few short posts recently.

Now it’s time for my favorite: a post you will want to print out, refer to often, and take with you on adventures. In this case, we’ll explore budget travel that is luxury travel.

But what does that mean? It means that traveling inexpensively is a decision for creativity, not simply a decision against excessive spending. Throwing money at a trip means you are ordering from the normal, plain-vanilla menu (e.g. Marriott or Four Seasons hotels). This often means physically changing locations without changing your perspective or worldview at all.

In contrast, looking at how locals live — and find hidden gems — ensures you have amazing experiences that no guidebook can capture. This post is written by Matt Kepnes, better known as “Nomadic Matt.” He didn’t have his first overseas trip until age 23, and now he’s traveled to more than 70 countries.

His specialty is engineering first-class trips from economy-class budgets… Read More

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How to Travel: 21 Contrarian Rules

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(Photo credit: Moyan Brenn)

This is a tactical post on travel from Ryan Holiday, who’s written on this blog before about the pragmatism of Stoicism and lessons learned as Director of Marketing for American Apparel.

To his 21 rules, I’ve added a few of my own tricks. Please share your own rules and tips in the comments!

Enter Ryan Holiday

Why are you traveling?

Because, you know, you don’t magically get a prize at the end of your life for having been to the most places. There is nothing inherently valuable in travel, no matter how hard the true believers try to convince us.

Seneca, the stoic philosopher, has a great line about the restlessness of those who seem compelled to travel. They go from resort to resort and climate to climate, he says, and continues:

“They make one journey after another and change spectacle for spectacle. As Lucretius says ‘Thus each man flees himself.’ But to what end if he does not escape himself? He pursues and dogs himself as his own most tedious companion. And so we must realize that our difficulty is not the fault of the places but of ourselves.”

It’s hard for me see anything to envy in most people who travel. Because deep down that is what they are doing. Fleeing themselves and the lives they’ve created. Or worse, they’re telling themselves that they’re after self-discovery, exploration or new perspectives when really they are running towards distraction and self-indulgence.

Is that why you’re packing up your things and hitting the road?

Not that I don’t travel myself–I did my fair share this year alone. Both coasts of Australia. I was in Amsterdam for a speaking gig (and I found myself at a tulip farm with Tim where he caught a chicken with his bare hands). I researched for my next book in Rome. I went down to Brazil. I went to Copenhagen. I spent enough time in New York that it felt like I lived there. I road tripped across the United States more times than I can count–New Orleans to New York; New York to Miami; Miami to Austin… The list goes on. If there was a chance to go somewhere I’d never been, I tried to take it, especially if it was historic.

But are you, as Emerson once put it, “bringing ruins to the ruins?”… Read More

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4HWW Readers' Libraries in Nepal, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka Open Their Doors!

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The Vang Lam preschool we built in Vietnam. So cute a lumberjack would cry! Now we have three more locations.

You all should be *very* proud.

I’m thrilled to share completion reports for the three libraries you supported and made possible. The funds were raised for my birthday campaign in 2011.

They’re finally done!

This post include photos of the dedication plaques for each library, as well as information about the impact that each library has had on the local community.

In a nutshell:

- The K-to-6 library in Cambodia will help 500 students per year become literate. 500 per year = 2,500 over the next 5 years.
- The Grades 1-5 library in Sri Lanka will help 2,000 students per year become literate. 2,000 per year = 10,000 over the next 5 years.
- The K-10 library in Nepal will help 550 students per year become literate. 550 per year = 2,750 over the next 5 years.

In the next 5 years, you all will have helped change the lives of more than 15,000 students. Not only that, but you will have helped add critical thinkers to the world who can perpetuate a virtuous cycle of solving problems. Cool, right?

Here are the dedication plaques for each school. Click to enlarge:

Now, the completion reports (and pics) for those interested… Read More

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