Returning from vacation with 1,000s of digital photos is the new normal. But too often, I end up with a bunch of awkward selfies of my partner and me unless we bother a local or fellow tourist to snap a couple quick pics. Of course, they often turn out not much better than our own selfies. But it's the thought that counts, right?
Well, we've used Flytograhpher on a few different occasions to capture fun, sometimes candid photos of friends and family (that's us above in New Orleans' French Quarter with a group of our guys). The service matches you with a professional photographer who will meet you for a shoot at one or more sites in your destination, ensuring that you get final pictures that truly represent the destination while capturing the personalities of everyone in the photo. Several packages are available with options for number of locations and the number of edited photos a couple weeks after the photo shoot.
After all, when's the last time you said Cheese! and didn't end up with something cheesy?
Forget ridiculous baggage fees, lack of leg room and surly flight attendants. The biggest problem with airlines today? The complete lack of an onboard craft cocktail experience. Even in first class on most airlines, booze options are limited to simple mixed drinks. But all that changed with the launch of The Carry on Cocktail Kit. Over the past few years, they've expanded their line of in-air cocktail kits to a dozen options, ranging from Old Fashioneds and Hot Toddies to Bloody Marys and Moscow Mules.
You still have to buy your own booze onboard (or smuggle some alongside your 3-ounce carry-on lotions and potions). Then get to mixing. Everything you need from bar tools to bitters comes in each tiny tin with enough ingredients to create two intoxicating masterpieces. Order direct from the creators at W&P Design where kits run $24 apiece, or pop over to Amazon.com where kits can be snagged for as little as $14 each. Savings and better drinking at 30,000 feet? I'll toast to that!
Membership has its privileges. Not only was that one of the most popular slogans for American Express, it's also the truest advertising ever when it comes to actually enjoying time in an airport. Available in a select but growing number of international airports across the United States and Hong Kong, these oases amidst the chaos of busy airports actually make me want to get to the airport a few hours early to decompress, perhaps taking in a spa treatment or two. Not to mention enjoy freshly prepared cuisine developed in partnership with a local chef. And maybe a few cocktails, too. (Helps make turbulence and surly flight attendants more bearable.) - Steven Lindsey
Free for American Express Platinum & Centurion Card Holders
We love nearly everything about travel—except those ridiculous baggage fees. As if they're not bad enough, if you go overweight you face a stiff penalty for the excess baggage bloat or even worse, the humiliation of repacking at the ticket counter to get your suitcase in a lower weight class. Well, this handy scale ensures that you don't leave home with a super-stuffed Samsonite. There are many of these on the market and some are way overpriced, but this one's great and a lot cheaper than a first-class ticket. The comfortable grip makes it easy to lift your bag to compute the poundage to eliminate at least one point of stress at the airport. - Steven Lindsey
$12.99 at amazon.com (Available with free two-day shipping for Prime members)
Just like our travel reviews, every product or service you'll find here has been personally tested and included only because of its excellence.