Climate is crucial! Bad weather can wreck your trip.

“High season” is not always the best weather. In December and January, tourists are shocked to discover they arrived in Rio's rainy season with 60% odds of rain every day.

Click below to check the odds of good weather using the historical climate by month:
This unique web site lets you compare monthly climates of destinations! For example, my link here compares places in Brazil:
The cute GIF below was generated from a remarkable interactive map showing optimal times to visit for each of 52 weeks.

Group and Independent Tours

Iraqi Kurdistan, 2013
You can DIY, but you’ll often find advantages taking small group and independent tours. For my suggestions, click here:
If you only want a city tour or short excursion, Viator has extensive options from local tour companies. I've used these often and so far all have been good.

Airline Flights

Scanned card of St. Martin's beach
flight path. Jet exhaust had tossed
me in the water and ruined my camera.
To find the best flights, I rely most on
For difficult routings, I am sometimes surprised to find connections I don't see Google or Kayak at:
Want to explore destination opportunities from a specific airport? You can always just go to Google Flights and leave the destination option empty! (Then filter for nonstop or one-stop flights.)

But even better for seeing an airport's nonstops is:
Boarding a flight from Haiti in 2008

For your many hours on board, be sure to reserve the best possible seat:

Long layovers can be an opportunity for a bonus city tour, sometimes free!


Don't forget about trains!

Americans often forget that trains are great for travel around Europe. And trains can offer great adventures elsewhere as well. An amazing site for trains around the world is
For booking train and bus seats, also check out

If you are not already familiar with Rome2Rio, be sure to explore this outstanding site that let's you compare trains, planes, buses, and even ferries between two points:


For picking hotels, I’m hooked on:
For booking hotels, the best way to save a lot of money is often to gamble and take the prepaid rate.

I’ve saved thousands of dollars by taking that risk, and reckon I’m now way ahead even if I miss a future stay.

I’ve not yet found an aggregator site (even Kayak,Expedia, or TripAdvisor) that has a definitive list of best prices every time.

    Things to See & Do

    TripAdvisor has a valuable "Things To Do” sections that let you skim numerous traveler verdicts about the merits of sights and activities. Sadly, the site is increasingly cluttered with its Viator sales efforts, but the key info is still there. 

    But I recommend supplementing it with other sites and always doing a web search for "top things to see and do in [wherever]" which will often reveal outstanding blogs and sites with brilliant local tips.

    Also, consider investing in a travel guidebook ― to have a convenient summary of information about the sights on your route. As a HuffPost piece points out, such guidebooks do not require wi-fi or batteries, allow quick flipping around, include good maps, and are not theft magnets like tablets.

    Destination Safety

    To check security in your destination countries, I recommend the clear, concise, and practical travel advice offered by the British Foreign Office. Sad to say but the U.S. State Department's (CYA) travel advisories are usually verbose, rambling, vague, and embarrassingly timorous.


    Packing light is important ― only carry-on if possible. Here are two helpful sites for constructing your minimal checklist:


    When your jet-lagged brain refuses to do math — and you do not want to keep pulling out your phone — bringing along a pocket currency “cheat sheets” is an easy solution. Go here so you can a copy the grid for each destination country:

    If you need a converter now, here it is:

    Destination Inspiration

    Brainstorming about where to go next?
    Click here to look over some of the big handsome books filled with creative travel ideas from National Geographic and others.