Is Easter Island Open to the Public? [2023]

For over two years, Easter Island remained closed off to tourists due to the threats ongoing from the pandemic. But after a long wait, things changed and the island made some major modifications in order to re-open to the public.

Check out the article below for the latest on whether or not Easter Island is open to the public!

Is Easter Island open to the public?

Yes, Easter Island opened up to the public in August 2022. This opening came after the island had been shut off to the public for over two years since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

While the island is now open to tourists, there are certain things that you need to know before deciding to plan a trip there. I’ll break these important things down in detail below.

There are still a limited number of flights

Starting in the fall of 2023, the flights may be closer to full speed in terms of volume but right now there are still only about three flights a week to Easter Island aboard LATAM’s 787 Dreamliner.

So while the island is open, it is not as easy to plan and book a flight as it was before the pandemic shut things down due to more limited flight inventory. Booking in advance is pretty important.

Related: How to get to Easter Island: Everything You Need to Know

Filling out your paperwork

Your first priority when getting to Easter Island is to make sure that your paperwork is in order.

You’ll want to fill out your Rapa Nui Entry Form before you ever arrive at Santiago de Chile Airport (SCL). You can fill out the form online here. Don’t worry, it’s not that complicated.

Initially when the island reopened they required visitors to be fully vaccinated and present a negative PCR test taken no more than 24 hours before boarding a domestic flight to the island. Also, tourists aboard international flights to the island had to take an antigen test once they arrived.

However, they eventually relaxed the requirements so that if you had proof of vaccination you did not have to show a negative PCR test. (This was the policy when we visited.)

It’s possible that as more time goes by, the coronavirus requirements for vaccinations and testing may become more lax.

Unfortunately, it’s somewhat difficult to get real time information about these things from Easter Island because there is often little to no literature produced when a change is made.

Try to get into contact with a lodge owner or business owner and see if they can provide you with the latest details that you can later confirm (hopefully on a government website).

Related: Guide for getting through Santiago de Chile Airport (SCL) to Rapa Nui/Easter Island

Sites are only open if you have a guide

Whenever Easter Island opened back up, they changed the way that you explore the island.

Virtually every site on the island now requires you to have a guide or local host with you in order to get access. The price for a tour guide can very dramatically from $50-$200 a day depending on the guide and how long you will be exploring.

While the new rules will help keep unruly tourists under control, it makes it much more difficult and expensive to visit Easter Island now.

It is not possible to visit (and appreciate) all of the sites in one day.

This means that you will need a guide for at least two days and some people may even need three days to see it all. (When I say “see it all” I mean all of the spots that require guides and some spots inbetween — not the entire island which would take much more time.)

So you have to factor in the additional expense of hiring a guide which is on top of the $80 you will spend for your 10 day park pass (per person). As you can see, you may end up spending several hundred dollars just to get access to the basic archaeological sites.

Also, most of the Easter Island sites are not open 24 hours a day, so you’ll want to plan out an itinerary that allows you to see the sites within open hours.

Related: Complete Guide to Exploring Easter Island’s Rapa Nui National Park

Get familiar with the island

Easter Island is a special place but there are some things that will stand out that you want to know about.

Be sure to read our guide 21 Things You Need to Know About Easter Island Before Visiting. It will help you anticipate a lot of the big and small things that may catch you by surprise when you visit.

Final word

Easter Island is officially open to tourists after a very long wait.

While that is exciting news, it’s important to remember that some things have changed since the reopening and those changes don’t necessarily make your life easier as a tourist.

So stay up-to-date and be ready to take the extra steps for your planning and you should be able to enjoy your time on Easter Island if you choose to visit.

Buc-ee’s Ultimate Guide (Locations & Facts) [2023]

If you’ve ever been on a road trip in Texas chances are you or someone in your car has wanted to stop at Buc-ee’s. Over the years, Buc-ee’s has established itself as a distinctly Texan establishment.

But what exactly does Buc-ee’s have to offer that makes it so special?

In this article, I’ll give you the ultimate guide to Buc-ee’s.

You’ll see what exactly is so special about this oversized convenient store and what you can expect when you visit different locations.

What is Buc-ee’s?

Buc-ee’s is a chain of travel centers (convenience stores) that can be found throughout Texas and the South.

The stores are known for their enormous gas station facilities, wide range of food and snack offerings, and most of all: ultra-clean bathrooms.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Things to know about Buc-ee’s

The store that never sleeps (open 24 hours)

All Buc-ee’s locations are open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. So even on major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas you can still experience a good ole Buc-ee’s visit.

What’s more, the stores are often well lit and with all of the security cameras (see below), they generally feel like pretty safe places to stop at.

Related: How Long Does It Take to Drive Across Texas?

Crowds can be an issue

Even though some Buc-ee’s locations are absolutely huge and can cater to throngs of customers, crowds and traffic can still be an issue.

If traveling on a weekend, especially around the holidays, you might have to wait or get aggressive to find an open gas pump.

And when venturing inside, you could run into a madhouse as soon as you pass that little buck-tooth beaver statue outside.

These stores are designed to cater to massive amounts of people so big crowds are not always a problem. Hordes of people seem to move in and out without a lot of issues.

But if you’re expecting a quiet and peaceful visit to a gas station bathroom, you won’t always get that at Buc-ee’s.

For some, the chaos just isn’t worth it.

40+ locations (not only in TX)

To the dismay of many Texans, Buc-ee’s is no longer an exclusively Texan establishment.

In 2019, Buc-ee’s opened their first convenience store/gas station outside of Texas in Alabama.

And now you can now find 40+ locations in states all over the south including Georgia.

More states are being added to the Buc-ee’s roster and you’ll soon be able to find locations in states like Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi.

Related: How Many Miles Do You Cover When Driving Across the US?

The eyes of Buc-ee’s are upon you

Some Buc-ee’s locations are known to have high levels of surveillance. For example, the Bastrop location has about 200 high-tech cameras.

These are those movie-like cameras that can zoom in and reveal fine details like the type of bill you used to pay for your purchase.

You could be tracked from the time you enter the parking lot to the time that you leave so you don’t want to test the beaver.

Hopefully you don’t ever have to worry about this but if something ever goes down you will need to file a police report and then request for the police to request the surveillance footage from the store.

There’s a Buc-ee’s credit card

The Buc-ee’s credit card, issued by TDECU (Texas Dow Employees Credit Union), will get you $.10 off every gallon and comes with no annual fee.

In terms of rewards, this is not the most rewarding travel credit card but for a true Buc-ee’s fan, it might be worth picking up. You can find out more details about the credit card here.

Not every one wants Buc-ee’s

Believe it or not, not every place on the globe is eager to add a Buc-ee’s.

 Efland, North Carolina did not want one.

Why not?

They worried it would “would worsen traffic congestion, pollute a protected watershed, and offend aesthetic sensitivities.” 

Those seem like some pretty legit concerns so you can’t knock the town but it all probably just comes down to the fact that not everyone outside of Texas will “get” Buc-ee’s.

Where the name came from

Buc-ee’s was founded in 1982 which means that it will turn 40 years old in 2022.

The owner and co-founder, a Texas A&M graduate (whoop!), went by the name of Arch “Beaver” Aplin III and he apparently always had a liking for the Ipana toothpaste mascot known as “Bucky the Beaver.”

One look at that logo and you can see where the inspiration came from for Buc-ee’s.

Not every Buc-ee’s is bigger in Texas

To give you a sense of how big the Buc-ee’s stores can be, consider that the New Braunfels, TX, location boasts:

  • 120 fueling positions
  • 1,000 parking spots
  • 64 ice freezers
  • 83 toilets
  • 31 cash registers
  • four Icee machines
  • and 80 fountain dispensers

The entire New Braunfels store is 66,335 square feet, which is more square feet than a football field.

Seriously, a gas station bigger than a football field.

Only in Texas.

But this may come as a surprise: not every Buc-ee’s location is the size of a small airport or shopping mall.

Several locations are actually quite compact and closer to the size of your regular convenience store.

Many of these smaller locations are in Texas so if you see an out-of-state Buc-ee’s, there’s a good chance that will be on the bigger side.

Bathrooms are NOT overrated

You’ve probably heard about the award-winning bathrooms at Buc-ee’s.

While some gas stations look like a scene from the movie Saw, Buc-ee’s stores are famous for being the cleanest bathrooms you’ll find on the road and in my experience it’s always true.

In fact, the pristine bathrooms found at Buc-ee’s are probably the number one reason why people stop at Buc-ee’s.

But they aren’t just spotless — the bathrooms also are usually huge and spacious.

I’ve never seen a wait for a urinal and only on a couple of occasions have I seen a real line for the stalls.

In the men’s room, you can find walls of urinals with deep floor to ceiling partitions that actually give you real privacy.

For people traveling with families, the consistently clean and private bathrooms are even more attractive.

Bottom line: if you ever need to go on the road, Buc-ee’s is definitely where you want to be.

And just in case you were wondering, you don’t actually have to buy anything to use the bathroom there.

Inside Buc-ee's

You’ll have plenty of food and drink options at Buc-ee’s

Buc-ee’s will have just about every type of snack item you could possibly be craving, including their famous “Beaver Nuggets” which are a sweet combination of caramel, sugar, and butter coated corn puffs.

Prices sometimes feel a little high but some popular items to pick up at the store include:

  • Jerky
  • Fudge
  • Kolaches
  • Dippin dots
  • Sandwiches
  • Tacos
  • Icees (lots of flavors)

If you’re looking for specific suggestions consider these:

  • Hill Country turkey jerky
  • Bohemian garlic jerky
  • Salted caramel covered pretzels
  • Rhino breakfast taco
  • Texas BLT
  • Mediterranean salad wrap

Some locations have a barbecue stand called the Texas Round Up where you can buy pre-made chopped brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, turkey, sausage, etc.

In my experience, the food is not always phenomenal but a solid notch or two above your standard gas station food.

It’s perfect when you’re looking for something quick and hearty on the road.

In terms of barbecue quality, you could certainly do better in Texas by hunting out a BBQ joint.

But the beauty of Buc-ee’s is that it’s highly convenient to pick up a hot BBQ sandwich while also filling up your tank and not having to gamble on the bathroom situation.

The shopping at Buc-ee’s goes well beyond food and drink, though.

You can find all kinds of apparel, souvenirs, and random items.

If your location is near a tourist hotspot with a particular type of attraction then you’ll find gear for your visit such as fishing rods, beach supplies, river tubes/shoes, hunting gear, etc.

Buc-ee's bbq

Buc-ee’s is NOT a truck stop

Buc-ee’s are not truck stops and so you are not going to find any showers or a lot of 18 wheelers hanging around.

In fact, you can often find “no 18 wheelers” signs posted at the entrances.

The reason for this is to keep Buc-ee’s like it is, a family friendly environment without some of the “hassles” that come with truckstops.

Many truckers are unhappy with being denied access to Buc-ee’s — after all, without massive shipments coming in from truckers how else could Buc-ee’s exist?

But one thing is clear, Buc-ee’s is serious about keeping out 18 wheelers and will even escort drivers out of the store who try to make their way in.

They pay great

Working at Buc-ee’s can be a lucrative job opportunity because their employees are well paid.

According to GlassDoor, “The average Bucee’s hourly pay ranges from approximately $16 per hour for a Cashier to $18 per hour for a Team Lead.”

That’s some really good money.

Meanwhile, the typical Circle K Cashier salary is earning $10 per hour and many convenient stores will be closer to $9 per hour.

These mega-convenience stores can get incredibly busy so it helps tremendously to have employees getting sufficiently compensated so that they can help keep things moving at a quick pace.

You may not have windshield cleaners

If there is one major weakness of some Buc-ee’s locations, it’s that they don’t have windshield cleaners or squeegees located at the pumps.

This means that your bug splattered windshield will have to remain dirty on your long journey to you next destination, unless you have some way to clean it yourself.

They have car washes

While you may not find windshield cleaners, some locations have car washes.

As you would expect some of these car washes are going to be quite large just like the one in Katy, Texas, which is the largest car wash in the world.

Gas may or may not be cheaper

I’ve seen gas at Bucee’s priced both a little bit lower and a little bit higher when compared to nearby gas stations.

Buc-ee’s locations



  • 2328 Lindsay Lane South, Athens, AL 35613


  • 6900 Buc-ee’s Blvd., Leeds, AL 35094


  • 20403 County Rd. 68, Robertsdale, AL 36567


Daytona Beach

  • 2330 Gateway North Drive, Daytona Beach, FL 32117

Saint Augustine

  • 200 World Commerce Pkwy, Saint Augustine, FL 32092



  • 601 Union Grove Rd. SE, Adairsville, GA 30103

Warner Robins

  • 7001 Russell Parkway, Fort Valley, GA 31030



  • 1013 Buc-ee’s Boulevard, Richmond, KY 40475

South Carolina


  • 3390 North Williston Road, Florence, SC 29506



  • 2045 Genesis Road, Crossville, TN 38555



  • 780 Hwy-35 N Byp, Alvin, TX 77511


  • 2299 E Mulberry St, Angleton, TX 77515
  • 931 Loop 274, Angleton, TX 77515
  • 2304 W Mulberry St, Angleton, TX 77515


  • 1700 Highway 71 East, Bastrop, TX 78602


  • 4080 East Freeway, Baytown, TX 77521


  • 801 N Brooks, Brazoria, TX 77422
  • 1101 S Brooks St, Brazoria, TX 77422 (Closed)


  • 27106 US-290, Cypress, TX 77433


  • 2800 S Interstate 35 E, Denton, TX 76210

Eagle Lake

  • 505 E Main St, Eagle Lake, TX 77434


  • 1402 South IH- 45, Ennis, TX 75119

Fort Worth

  • 15901 N Freeway, Fort Worth, TX 76177


  • 4231 E. Hwy 332, Freeport, TX 77541
  • 1002 N Brazosport Blvd., Freeport, TX 77541


  • 2375 E Austin St, Giddings, TX 78942


  • 27700 Katy Fwy, Katy, TX 77494

Lake Jackson

  • 899 Oyster Creek Drive, Lake Jackson, TX 77566
  • 101 N Hwy 2004, Lake Jackson, TX 77566
  • 598 Hwy 332, Lake Jackson, TX 77566

League City

  • 1702 League City Pkwy, League City, TX 77573


  • 10070 West IH 10, Luling, TX 78658


  • 205 IH-45 South, Madisonville, TX 77864


  • 1550 Central Texas Expressway, Melissa, TX 75454

New Braunfels

  • 2760 IH 35 North, New Braunfels, TX 78130


  • 2541 S Main St, Pearland, TX 77584
  • 11151 Shadow Creek Pky, Pearland, TX 77584

Port Lavaca

  • 2318 W Main, Port Lavaca, TX 77979


  • 1243 Crabb River Rd, Richmond, TX 77469

Royse City

  • 5005 E Interstate 30, Royse City, TX 75189


  • 4155 N General Bruce Dr., Temple, TX 76501


  • 506 W. IH 20, Terrell, TX 75160

Texas City

  • 6201 Gulf Fwy (IH 45), Texas City, TX 77591


  • 40900 US Hwy 290 Bypass, Waller, TX 77484


  • 10484 US 59 Road, Wharton, TX 77488

Find locations here.

Final word

Buc-ee’s is a must stop for millions of people every year when traveling through Texas and now through the South.

Beyond the broad food selection, spotless bathrooms, and absurd number of gas pumps, there’s just something special about the store that gets a lot of people excited.

Can You Change the Name on a Plane Ticket? [2023]

Did you make a typo or error when inputting your name in your airline ticket reservation? Or are you trying to completely change the name on the ticket that you purchased to someone else? In either case, you’d likely need to request a name correction or name change.

This can be a slightly confusing process because there are very different restrictions for each but in this article I will break it all down and explain how this can be done, sometimes even for free.

Can you change the name on a plane ticket?

Yes, assuming there is sufficient time before departure you may be able to make a name correction or name change.

Name corrections involve simple changes such as fixing one letter and are generally free.

However, for major name changes many airlines will force you pay a pretty hefty fee. Keep reading below to find out how this process works and for some helpful tips on how to deal with the situation!

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Why can’t you change your name on a plane ticket?

There are two major reasons why you are not allowed to freely change your name on a plane ticket without approval or fees from the airline.

Security reasons

Changing your name on a plane ticket can present major security issues.

When you purchase a plane ticket, you can expect your name to be ran through a database to make sure you are not on a no-fly list.

This could be a no-fly list ran by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) or the individual airline. Either way, airlines need to know that when you board the plane your background has been checked.

If you could change your name at will this could make it much more difficult for the background checks to be done properly, since they would be continually getting updated.

Aftermarket concerns

If passengers could freely change the name on a boarding pass they would essentially become transferrable and you could imagine a secondary market emerging for airline tickets.

People could buy airline tickets far in advance for holidays or peak seasons for routes heading to tourist hotspots like Orlando.

They could then sell those tickets for sky-high prices similar to the way people do it for concerts, sporting events, etc.

This could make it more difficult to find tickets and introduce uncertainty when dealing with shady aftermarket vendors. It also removes a lot of price control power from the airlines.

Airlines don’t let you transfer your boarding pass to just anybody.

How to change the name on a plane ticket

There are basically three different types of name changes that take place and the process for each is different.

Minor name corrections

When a change is being made to fix a spelling mistake or typo and ensure that the name matches a government-issued ID, this is typically considered a “name correction” or “minor name correction” and NOT a name change.

Examples of minor name corrections could include:

  • First names (Jon to Jonathon)
  • Last names (3 letters or fewer)
  • Adding/removing middle name
  • Changing initial to full name
  • Nickname to legal name (“Bob” to “Robert”)
  • Adding an additional last name (hyphenated last name)
  • Inverted first and last name
  • Suffix and prefix changes

If you find yourself needing to correct the name, contact the customer service phone number for your airline as soon as you can and let them know that you need to make a minor correction to the name (not a change).

Some airlines request that you make this known to the airline at least one week prior to your trip.

If you have a travel agent simply let them know and they may be able to make the change for you and without any penalty.

But if you don’t realize the error until you arrive at the airport, some airlines will still allow you to make the change there.

Sometimes a minor name correction may have a limit on the characters that can be changed such as three letters.

This is especially true if you are correcting the last name (shorter last names may be limited to changes of only two characters).

It depends on the airline and perhaps even the discretion of the agent you are dealing with but you can pretty much rest assured that if you need to simply correct one or two letters of a misspelled name, it will be considered a minor name correction.

Most airlines should allow you to make minor name corrections for free.

This is the case even for some budget airlines as Spirit states: “Reservations with slight misspellings or legal name changes are eligible for a free name change.”

Here are a few more things to keep in mind about minor name corrections:

  • If you need to make multiple minor name corrections, airlines will usually consider that a major change and begin charging you to process the change.
  • If you need to make changes to the gender and/or date of birth as well as the name, that will also often be considered a major name change.
  • If your itinerary involves flights on codeshares or partner airlines, making a minor name correction could be more difficult

And finally, sometimes for whatever reason the airline cannot make a change to the error on your boarding pass.

This recently happened to us when flying through Alaska when Brad’s middle initial was displayed as the last letter on his first name. “BradleyK.”

We contacted the airline and they told us that his name was showing up properly in the system that TSA uses so it would not be a problem.

However, his boarding pass still had the typo “BradleyK” when printed.

So in some cases you may not be able to fix the error on your boarding pass but it apparently doesn’t matter because as long as it is correct in the airline’s system, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Indeed, we got through TSA just fine.

Major name change

Now let’s say that you need to change the name on your boarding pass from John Doe to Sarah Sally.

This is referred to as a “major name change” and is often possible but it can be a very expensive endeavor. The reason?

This type of change will involve fees which could include:

  • Name change fee
  • Difference in fare from the time you booked to the current date
  • Possible change fee

In some cases the fees can total up to several hundred dollars pretty easily.

So your best bet is to try to avoid this approach as much as possible or be prepared to shell out a lot of cash.

Tip: If you realize your mistake within 24 hours of booking your ticket you should be able to cancel the ticket without any penalty.

If you are not allowed to make a major name change then your only real option is to purchase a new airline ticket (assuming that you can find availability).

Assuming your ticket was nonrefundable, you may be able to get a flight credit for your original ticket.

Make sure you take note of the expiration time for it because these flight credits/travel funds usually expire within one year.

Sometimes you can change the name on the flight credit but other times you cannot.

If you need to change your name because your legal name changed due to things like marriage, divorce, adoption, etc. every airline should be willing to work with you so long as there is enough time before takeoff.

Airlines may allow you to make a name change based on a legal name change for free provided that you submit the necessary documentation.

Possible documentation needed could include:

  • Marriage License
  • Court Order
  • Divorce Decree
  • Or Legal Name Change Document

Some airlines will have a dedicated webpage for you to submit this information and attach copies of your documents and in other cases you may just need to email them at a specific email address.

As you can imagine this process will take a little bit of time so it is best to make your submission as soon as possible.

However, based on the DOT Fly Rights it seems you could show up at the airport with your documentation and be fine as is states:

If your name has recently changed and the name on your ticket and your I.D. are different (or will be different by the time of your trip), bring documentation of the change (e.g., a marriage certificate or court order).

Just be sure to give yourself extra time for the verification process.

Name matching issues

Middle names

Sometimes (as shown above) middle names can be a problem.

In some cases, due to glitches your middle name might appear as part of your first name or simply an initial in front of your first name.

If an airline is familiar with this glitch they should be able to recognize it and allow you to proceed with a minor name correction.

In other cases there are issues were a middle initial is used in one case but the full middle name is used in another.

This should be okay in a lot of instances but my advice is to always be consistent with the use of your middle name. This is especially true for international travel.

Non-ascii characters

If your name has non-ascii characters, and you are trying to make sure that it matches with your passport you can check the name on the bottom of the main passport page and go with that.

This will be located in the red rectangle found in this image here.


Sometimes you might encounter routes where name changes are not permitted.

For example, as of the summer of 2021 Delta does not allow changes on international flights between the US and China.

Other times, there may be special policies in place to deal with name changes on certain routes.

In these cases you may have to call a special phone number and speak with an agent and the name change process may not be as smooth, even for minor name corrections.


If you run into an issue where your name is not accepted and you need to modify or change the name there’s a good chance you will not be issued a refund.

Why can’t you get your money back?

Typically, a refund is only granted by the airline if they were at fault. For example, if they have staff shortages that lead to a significant delay in your flight, it’s possible that you could receive a refund.

In the case of needing a name correction or name change, you are the party who filled out the identification information and therefore you are the party at fault.

When you proceed through the booking process, airlines usually make it very clear that your name you fill out needs to match exactly what your government issued ID shows.

For example, here is the warning from United Airlines.

This is key because it means that if you input a name during the booking process that does not match your ID, the mistake is on you and not the airline.

That doesn’t mean that you will never get a refund but it is just going to be more of the exception and not the norm.

This is one reason why it helps to fill out your frequent flyer profile and save your account information.

This will prevent you from needing to input your name each time you book a flight with that airline and thus decrease the odds of an error happening.

Getting through TSA security checkpoint

Whenever you head through the TSA security checkpoint a TSA agent will be screening your ID to make sure that it matches your boarding pass.

This is why you need to handle your name change request as soon as you can.

Contrary to what a lot of people think, TSA agents usually do not scan your ID which is one reason why people with outstanding warrants are often allowed to get through security.

On one occasion I was actually allowed to get through security with a boarding pass that did not match my name!

I made it through the TSA Pre-Check line and realized that I had a boarding pass with Brad’s name on it. I told the agent that my husband had my boarding pass and the agent allowed me to get through security.

It turns out that actually Brad somehow had a duplicate of his own boarding pass so I actually made it through TSA security without having any boarding pass with my name on it.

But you don’t want to rely on blind luck like that and instead you should just take care of your name change needs.

Related: Can You Get Through TSA and Fly with No ID?

Final word

Changing your name for a plane reservation can be a simple process if you are only fixing a typo, have the necessary documentation needed, and you give yourself plenty of time before departure.

Things get pricey when you need to make a major name change and everything can get a lot more complicated if you are trying to sort this out just before departure. So do your best to take care of everything in advance.

Sky Costanera Review (Santiago, Chile): Worth It?

Sky Costanera, found atop the 62-story skyscraper known as Gran Torre Santiago, is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city.

But is it really worth it to visit this observation deck?

In this article, I will break down the experience and tell you everything you need to know!

Sky Costanera background

Gran Torre Santiago is second tallest building in Latin America and the fifth tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere as of early 2023.

At 62 stories, this observation deck is high but still a pretty far cry from some of the tallest buildings in the world like the Burj Khalifa that has an observation deck at levels 124 and 125.

Still, ever since the observation deck opened up in 2015 it’s been a popular destination since it still is one of the highest decks in the Southern Hemisphere and Santiago is surrounded by beautiful mountains, which are perfect to admire from a building like this.

Getting there

The biggest thing to know about visiting Sky Costanera is that you don’t enter through the main lobby of the high-rise.

Instead, you need to find the entrance to Sky Costanera down in the mall area. It’s the largest shopping mall in Latin America, so the mall is impossible to miss!

The observation deck is open basically every day so you can pretty much always assume that it’s going to be open when you visit — don’t be turned off by the locked doors of the actual skyscraper if you encounter them.

Once you enter the mall, you may need to head down an escalator and you should see signs for Sky Costanera. If you don’t know where to go, just ask someone working at the mall and they will point you in the right direction.

You can purchase your tickets online or you can purchase them in person.

The tickets I saw online were associated with some type of additional tour and so I decided to just wait until we arrived in person to purchase our tickets.

Unfortunately, they did not have an option for entering twice in one day which would’ve been fantastic because I would’ve loved to have come back close to sunset.

But the tickets were only about US$15 per person which was a pretty reasonable price in my opinion.

Right next to the ticketing counter is security.

The agent “helping” us through security did not look like he cared too much for his job but we got through soon enough. They allowed me to bring my camera with a 300mm zoom lens which was nice because sometimes those big zoom lenses can be a problem.

Then it was just a matter of waiting for the elevator. One of the elevators was out of service so we had to wait for only one to be available.

I don’t think they send it down until they have enough people to fill it up so we had to wait about 12 minutes to enter the elevator which was the only drawback of the experience.

Once the elevator arrived and we loaded up, a staff member accompanied us up to the observation deck and he gave an intro in Spanish that I only partially understood.

Then, we had arrived to do observation deck!

It was a super clear morning which was perfect for checking out a place like this.

You’ll find binocular stations located throughout the observation deck so make sure you bring some change if you want to use them.

For me, the whole reason of coming up here was to check out the mountains and I did not leave disappointed.

I’ve never seen mountains this tall before and Sky Costanera was the perfect place to get a good view of them! If only I could’ve been hiking up there!

Sky Costanera mountain view

You’ll be relieved to know that there are bathrooms up there in case you need to go.

You can find informational panels all around the indoor observation deck which can help you get a sense of what you’re looking at. I’d recommend taking a look at a few of them because otherwise you might miss out on some details!

Once you check out the indoor observation deck then you should head up to the open sky area upstairs. Just look for the sign to the Open Sky escalator.

At the top of the escalator, you’ll notice a photo booth where you can get some cool souvenir photos. That’s not really our thing so we just made our way to the deck.

It felt a lot cooler with the ceiling open which was really nice.

I thought the buildings top façade was pretty interesting looking and I have not seen many skyscrapers quite like this one, although the exterior does somewhat resemble Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, California

Since you’re only going up one floor, the views are more or less the same but it’s still nice to take another circle around the deck.

If you’re visiting around a holiday, they may have special decorations set up. In our case, Valentine’s Day had just passed.

It is hard to get the glare out of a lot of the photos so you may be dealing with a lot of that depending on the time of day.

For that reason, photos farther away from the glass tend to come out better.

I believe that companies can pay for special events up here which I think would be an awesome venue.

After we made our round, it was time to head back down and check out some of the stuff that we missed like this awesome model skyscraper.

They also have a café known as Sky 300 Bar & Coffee that you can settle into if you work up an appetite or need a pick me up.

Sky 300 Bar & Coffee

They also had a couple of souvenir stands set up with one selling some pretty cool leather goods and wooden objects.

When you are ready to head back down, just find the exit line and wait around until the next elevator goes down which could be several minutes.

The elevator is going to spit you out on the upper floor of the mall so that in order for you to leave you’ll have to walk past as many shops as possible!

Final word

Sky Costanera in Santiago, Chile, is not even close to one of the tallest observation decks in the world. But as far as Latin America goes, it’s way up there.

For me, visiting the observation deck wasn’t so much about the height and it was more about just getting great views of the huge mountains that surround Santiago.

I wish that they allowed you to come back during a later time in the day but I did enjoy my visit and thought that it was worth the time and money at only about $15 USD per adult.

Can You Bring Books on a Plane? TSA’s Rules Explained

Lots of travelers like to bring books with them when they fly.

The question is: will you run into any problems with TSA if you bring books with you in your carry-on or checked bag?

In this article, we will take a look at some of the policies that were tested out (and luckily abandoned) and what the current TSA policy for bringing books on a plane looks like today.

Can you bring books on a plane?

Yes, you can bring books through TSA in your carry-on or in your checked bags.

When traveling with stacks of books or other literature, it might be better to bring books in your carry-on so that you can avoid having your literature damaged or bag delayed when it goes through checked baggage security inspections.

However, be prepared to potentially deal with enhanced screening when bringing books in your carry-on bag as we will explain below!

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

What does TSA say about traveling with books?

TSA began a pilot program in 2017 that required passengers to remove books and other paper products along with other items like food and place them in individual security bins for screening.

This caused a lot of uproar among those travelers who carry around lots of books, such as academics, students, and others. In addition to just being a burden to getting through security, this program introduced privacy concerns.

For example, people were worried that if they had a book in a particular language, such as Arabic, they could be deemed more likely to be a terroristic threat.

And then there were concerns that if people had books representing a particular type of political view, they would could be subjected to unjustified targeting.

Perhaps due in part to these concerns (and for other reasons), the program didn’t last long and it was eventually abandoned with no plan to “restore the pilot or to expand it.”

This means that you should not always be required to remove books from your carry-on baggage.

However, you could still be forced to deal with additional screening when bringing books in your carry-on.

TSA states:

“Books often require additional screening. The TSA officer may ask you to remove them from your carrying case to conduct a physical inspection.”

This physical inspection could mean having to take your books out your bag and allowing a TSA agent to flip through them.

Sometimes it could also involve getting swabbed depending on the circumstances.

That means agents will be looking for traces of explosives on your books. This swab testing usually only takes a few minutes (unless they detect something on your books).

Because of the risk pf physical inspection, having easy access to your books will generally be helpful, so keep that in mind when packing your bag.

Also, carrying around huge stacks of books (or ultra large books) may increase the odds of you getting additional screening so keep that in mind.

Carry on or checked bags?

For some people, it might be better to put books in your carry-on baggage. This is particularly true if you have delicate literature. For example, you could have a lot of precious comics or old books that could easily be damages.

In the past, there was confusion about whether or not TSA was requiring books, such as comic books to go into your checked bag or carry-on bag. This was based on a prior TSA blog post. As documented by the NYT, this post stated:

 “Pack items such as stacks of brochures and assorted comic books in your carry-on bag… Packing these items in checked bags often causes alarms leading to bag searches which can cause a significant slowdown in the screening process leading to delays and bags possibly missing their flights.”

This led airlines like United to erroneously claim that comic books had to transported in carry on bags but they later clarified, “While T.S.A. is recommending that customers keep their comic books in their carry-on bags, there are no restrictions on packing them in checked luggage. We misunderstood T.S.A.’s instructions and regret any inconvenience this may have caused our customers.”

So while you are NOT required to place books, comic books, or stacks of pamphlets in your carry-on, it might be best to avoid placing them in checked baggage.

Not only can it slow down the screening process but agents rummaging through your bag could cause damage to your more “delicate” literature.

Why does TSA care about books?

TSA cares about books for potentially a few reasons.

They want to make sure that people are not hiding dangerous objects inside of books.

One thing that TSA is looking out for with books is hidden compartments. Books with hidden compartments aren’t banned by TSA but it could be a problem if TSA finds a prohibited items inside them. For example, if you were trying to transport a firearm hidden inside a book you could be subjected to higher fines.

Some say that a book could resemble an explosive such as C4 when viewed through a scanner machine. (This is similar to why fudge is sometimes flagged.)

In other situations, it could just be that the books block the view of the agents trying to monitor the scanners. Essentially, books just make it harder for the agents to view all of the contents in your luggage.

As TSA introduces more advanced screening machines you would hope that books won’t present the security issues that they have in the past.

Does TSA care about what you’re reading?

Some travelers might worry that TSA agents are concerned about the content of their books.

For example, they might determine that you’re reading something too “edgy” or “controversial” and therefore require you to go through more screening.

Perhaps you were doing research on “extremist” groups or Mexican cartels for school and that makes you look suspicious.

I personally haven’t seen any evidence of this.

In the past, TSA was instructed to “fan through” the pages of your book and so they were not necessarily instructed to pay attention to the content, although just a book title could be a give-a-way to the book’s content or message.

It’s not unfathomable that an agent could take a book title into consideration when making judgment calls about the “danger level” of your other items or your need for more screening.

I think that this could also potentially be a concern if you were caught with something that led to a secondary investigation.

For example, if you got caught traveling with lots of unexplained cash and you had a book potentially related to criminal activity that could be associated with that cash. In that case, that could be used as evidence against you.

Final word

It’s very possible to bring your favorite books with you when you travel. In some cases, you might have to deal with enhanced screening so you should be ready for that. Typically, that screening should not take very long, so it’s usually not a very big deal.

Can You Make A Phone Call From A Plane? [2023]

Did you know that it is possible to make a phone call from 30,000+ feet up in the sky? I know this is the case because I recently attended a conference call while on a plane.

Placing a phone call from the plane can be tricky though because you have certain legal obstacles to avoid and also airline policies to consider.

In this article, I’ll break down how exactly it works and I’ll give you some helpful tips on how to make a phone call on your next plane ride.

Can you make a phone call from a plane?

Yes, it is possible to make a phone call from a plane via Wi-Fi but you need to consider that some airlines prohibit voice calls and such calls can be annoying to other passengers. If you’d like to make a phone call from a plane, keep reading below to find out how.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Is it okay to make a call on a plane?

Just because you can technically make a phone call from a plane does not mean that you should. Here are a few things to consider.

The law

According to 47 CFR § 22.925, the FCC does not allow you to operate a cell phone while airborne.

Cellular telephones installed in or carried aboard airplanes, balloons or any other type of aircraft must not be operated while such aircraft are airborne (not touching the ground). When any aircraft leaves the ground, all cellular telephones on board that aircraft must be turned off.

This makes it sound like your cell phone would have to be completely powered off but further guidance from the FAA makes it clear that when in the air, “airplane mode” is an acceptable option for your personal electronic device (PED) aka cell phone.

While airborne, operators should instruct passengers to turn off cellular telephones, disable a PED’s cellular transmitting functions, or place PEDs in airplane mode that have cellular or mobile telephony capabilities

So it’s super important to remember: by law you can’t use your phone to make a phone call via cellular data when flying on a plane because your cell phone can only remain in airplane mode (which disables cellular data).

Why exactly do you have to put your phone in airplane mode?

This is required for two reasons.

  • Signals from your cell phone could interfere with flight communication equipment (there is very mixed opinions on this)
  • The cell signals from hundreds of passengers could disrupt service on cell phone towers down on the ground

Having your phone in airplane mode means you can’t use cellular data but you CAN still utilize Wi-Fi.

As explained below, Wi-Fi is all that you may need to make a phone call from a plane but there are still some additional considerations to think about before doing so.

Using phone on airplane

Airline policies

In the US it’s likely that the airline you’re flying on has a policy that prohibits you from making a voice phone call.

For example, back in 2013 Delta made it clear that they do not want passengers making phone calls. United Airlines and American Airlines are also on record stating they don’t allow voice calls, along with JetBlue.

But note: some airlines like JSX may allow you to make these calls in the future.

One of the biggest reasons why you typically would not want to make a phone call is because it could annoy other passengers.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who don’t realize how loud they are on the phone or simply don’t care how loud they are.

There is nothing worse than being stuck by someone who is just going on and on during a phone call with no regard for the annoyance he or she is causing other passengers.

If you are able to talk quietly or whisper, this might not be an issue but it is not an easy task for a lot of people.

And once again, if the airline outlaws phone calls it doesn’t matter how quiet your phone voice is, you’d be violating their policy by talking on the phone.

Airplane passenger talking on phone

The future of phone calls

The FCC has thought about allowing passengers to make phone calls above 10,000 feet in the past but that hasn’t gained traction.

Considering how instances of unruly passengers have increased dramatically since the outbreak of coronavirus, I doubt airlines are going to be more open to introducing things that could lead to even more confrontations and Royal Rumbles.

So while the FCC has had discussions about whether or not to allow passengers to make calls on planes, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.

Conference calls

If you simply need to attend a conference via a wifi phone call that may not be an issue for an airline.

That’s because airlines are primarily concerned about passengers getting annoyed by you talking on the phone. But if you were simply listening in on a phone call, you’re not presenting any disturbances to other passengers.

If you have enabled text messaging you can always sit in on a call and simply text someone at the meeting in order to silently communicate from the cabin which is something that I have also done before.

Sure, it’s not the most ideal way to participate in a meeting but at least you will be able to be a part of the meeting (yipee, I know).

Related: Can You Text On A Plane? (Wifi vs Cell Phone Data)

Many major airlines don’t allow voice phone calls when in the air.

How to make a phone call from a plane

The first thing you need to do is connect to the planes Wi-Fi.

Some airlines allow you to connect to the Wi-Fi in order to send out text messages and other types of messages for free but if you plan on making a phone call, you probably will have to pay for the Wi-Fi session.

After you are connected to the Wi-Fi, you need to activate Wi-Fi calling on your phone if you haven’t already. This can be done from your settings on your phone in just a couple of seconds.

On an iPhone, go to Settings -> Cellular -> Wi-Fi Calling. Next toggle the button for “Wi-Fi calling on this iPhone.”

There are additional settings for things like roaming but you do not need to toggle these on in order to make a phone call from the aircraft.

Depending on your service provider and mobile device you may have to deal with a couple of pop-up screens to turn Wi-Fi calling on.

But once you do that, your phone should be capable of making a phone call from the plane.

Nowadays you don’t have to do anything extra to add Wi-Fi calling to your cell phone services — it is probably already there.

When you make a call over Wi-Fi with your cell phone company, you should be billed the same way but you may want to check with your phone company first.

You can also potentially make phone calls from apps such as WhatsApp that allow you to send calls over Wi-Fi. And of course there are other options like FaceTime.

Note: Some airlines may not have quality Wi-Fi which means that you will be able to connect to the Wi-Fi and maybe complete a call but you will struggle to have a quality, non-disrupted conversation.

wifi icon on plane

Air-to-ground telephones

There’s also something called “air to ground” telephones.

You may have heard of Airfone or Air One which were more common to find on planes in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. Each block of three economy seats would have one phone while first class seats would have an individual phone per seat back.

These services allowed passengers to make calls from the plane when at cruising altitude at expensive rates such as $4.99 per minute. In fact, during the 9/11 attacks this is how a lot of the phone calls were made, including on United Airlines Flight 93.

The services eventually proved to have limited popularity with only a couple of passengers per flight using it.

In 2002, Air One was discontinued and after a series of auctions and acquisitions Airfone essentially no longer existed as of 2013.

Today, you will likely be hard-pressed to find an aircraft with an air to ground telephone available to passengers. So your best bet for completing a phone call will probably be via Wi-Fi.

Final word

While you cannot use cellular data to make a phone call while in a plane, it’s often possible to make a phone call from an airplane via Wi-Fi. But you need to be aware that some airlines prohibit these calls and a lot of passengers can find it extremely annoying when someone is chatting on the phone.

Tricks for Converting KM to Miles When Traveling

One thing that can drive you a little bit crazy when traveling internationally is trying to constantly convert measurements.

This is especially true if you are from the US and need to constantly convert kilometers to miles.

Knowing a few quick tricks to convert kilometers to miles can make your life a lot easier so keep reading below if you’d like to find out a few tricks to use when traveling.

Metric or imperial system?

When you’re going back-and-forth between kilometers and miles you are going between the metric and imperial system.

The metric system is what most of the world uses and it includes kilometers as a form of measurement for distance. Meanwhile, only a very small number of countries like the US use the imperial system which relies on miles as a unit for distance.

Occasionally, you will encounter a country that utilizes a mixture of both. Or, in some instances you might find that both miles and kilometers are posted near airports where lots of international travelers may be.

If you’re coming from the US, don’t count on other countries to cater to the imperial system, though. You’ll be much better off being proactive about converting kilometers to miles on your own.

Related: How Many Ounces Is 100ML? A Special Guide for TSA-Weary Travelers

1 km to miles

For your reference, one 1 kilometer = 0.62 miles.

Ways to convert kilometers to miles

I should acknowledge from the beginning that using an app would be the preferred way to convert from kilometers to miles and vice versa. There are many different FREE apps that can accomplish this for you.

The problem is sometimes you don’t have service or you just need to quickly do the conversion in your head. So as a traveler, it really helps to have a grasp on the way to estimate miles whenever you hear or see a number in kilometers.

Divide in half and add 10% of the kilometers number

This is my number one method for converting kilometers to miles.

For the first step, you simply divide the kilometers in half. The second step requires you to take 10% of the kilometers number and then add that on top.

So for example, if you see that the distance is 60 km you simply divided it in half and get 30 km. Then you take 10% of 60 km which is six and add that on top of 30. This means that your conversion comes out to 60 km = 36 miles.

In reality, 60 km equals 37.3 miles but if you’re just trying to get a close approximation, you pretty much nailed it.

If using 10% throws you off then you can simply add the first digit and get the same outcome when dealing with two digit numbers.

For example, going back to the example of 60 km.

Instead of trying to figure out 10% of 60, you would simply divide 60 in half and then add the first digit of 60 which is six. You would then come out with 36 miles, so it’s really just a preference of what what puts the least amount of strain on your brain.

Below are some measurements that this method can provide you with and the comparison to the real measurements so that you can see just how close this method will get you. As you can tell, it’s pretty accurate for the smaller amounts.

So let’s say that you were planning a 10 km hike. This method could get you a very close approximation of how far you will be trekking with a margin of error of only about .2 miles. Also, if for some reason you needed to know the speed limit in miles per hour you could convert 100 kmh to 60 mph and be pretty close.

KilometersActual MilesEstimated

Divide by 1.609

If you are really good at doing division in your head or you have quick access to a calculator then you can also just divide the number of kilometers by 1.609.

As you can tell from the examples below, this is a very accurate way to get a conversion, as the estimates are just slightly off in most cases. For maximum precision, this is the way to go.

(An alternative to this is to multiply the number of kilometers by .62).

KilometersActual MilesEstimated

The clock trick

I came across this on Reddit, and it’s pretty nifty. You reference a clock to help you convert miles and kms.

  • Kms = Percent of clock
  • Miles = Minutes on a clock

For example, a quarter (25%) of an hour is 15 minutes. So 25 kms = 15 miles. You can extend this to:

  • 50 km = 30 mi
  • 75 km = 45 mi
  • 100 km = 60 mi

Print out a chart

Another thing you can do is to print out a conversion chart when traveling. This could be a tiny chart that you print out and stick in your wallet, purse, or even passport. The chart could look just like what are shown above except it would only show the actual conversions like the chart below.

KilometersActual Miles

It’s really helpful to bring these things along when going on things like a guided tours where your tour guide might be referencing kilometers over and over again.

As you begin to verify the distances in miles, eventually the figures will probably start to stick with you and it will become second nature.

When I first moved to the UK back in 2014, I had a small conversion chart that was inside of my notebook. It also included a conversion of pounds to dollars.

I would regularly reference it until I got a good feel for kilometers and currency and it honestly did not take very long to catch onto the systems.

Converting miles to kilometers

Now let’s say you’re in a situation where you need to convert miles to kilometers.

As a traveler from the US going abroad, the situation does not come about very often but it could definitely happen. For example, if you are familiar with a distance and you need to convey that to foreigners, it will be helpful if you can come up with a quick conversion.

You can do this in a very similar way as the conversions above except backwards.

Basically you take a number in miles and then you add 50% and then add 10% and that will get you a very close approximate number for kilometers.

Let’s say that you need to convert 10 miles to kilometers. 50% of 10 is five and 10% of 10 is one. So you would take the original number of 10 and then add five, and then add one (10+5+1=16).

10 miles equals 16.1 kilometers so that’s a very close estimation.

You can also just multiply miles by 1.6 for a close estimate.

Final word

Converting between kilometers and miles is actually pretty easy and there are many ways to do it. I’d suggest finding the one that makes the most sense to you and then sticking with it.

For me, I like to divide kilometers by two and then add 10% to get to miles and simply multiply miles by 1.6 to get kilometers. But it all comes down to what works best for you!

What Is An Extended Stay Hotel? [2023]

There are a lot of different types of lodging options out there. You’ve got luxury hotels, lodges, resorts, motels, and everything in between. One type of property that a lot of people ask about is an extended stay hotel. But what exactly makes an extended stay hotel different from a normal hotel?

In this article, I will break down everything you need to know about extended stay hotels and provide you some insight into what you can expect to experience when you stay at one.

What is an extended stay hotel?

An extended stay hotel is a type of hotel that caters to guests who plan on staying at the hotel for a long duration. In some cases this “long duration” is a week but others may stay weeks or even months at an extended stay hotel. Regardless of the length of stay, the guest does not have to enter into a lease and simply makes a reservation in the same way he or she would when staying at a normal hotel.

Hotel chains have specific brands that offer extended stay experiences. For example, Marriott offers the Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites, Hilton offers Home2 Suites and Homewood Suites, Hyatt offers Hyatt House, etc.

In some cities it’s not uncommon to find extended-stay brands located near each other in clusters, especially if the surrounding area has a lot to offer extended stay guests in terms of dining or entertainment.

Some examples of extended stay hotel brands include:

  • MainStay Suites (Choice Hotels)
  • WoodSpring Suites (Choice Hotels)
  • Extended Stay America
  • Hilton Home2 Suites
  • Hilton Homewood Suites
  • Hyatt House
  • IHG Candlewood Suites
  • IHG Staybridge Suites
  • Marriott Residence Inn
  • Marriott TownePlace Suites
  • Marriott Element
  • Motel 6 Studio Six 
  • Wyndham Hawthorn Suites

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Who are extended stay hotels for?

Extended stay hotels can be for anyone who might be in the same location for a week or longer. Common guests who use these properties are business travelers, digital nomads, people relocating to a different area, and perhaps those affected by things like natural disasters.

There are some brands such as Studio Six that are geared towards those looking for the cheapest type of extended-stay properties and then there are brands offered by major chains that offer a more premium experience.

You should note that the quality of an extended stay property can vary a lot based on the specific location, even when we are talking about the same type of hotel brand. For example, a Residence Inn in one city may be vastly superior to another in a different city. This is why it is really important to do property-specific research before booking an extended stay.

Related: Sharing Hotel Rooms: Do’s and Don’ts for Business & Couples

extended stay hotel kitchen
A fully equipped kitchen at an extended stay property.

Extended stay hotel characteristics

You are probably wondering what distinguishes an extended stay hotel from a normal hotel. Below is a breakdown of the type of hotel characteristics you can expect during an extended stay.


When it comes to booking and staying in your room, you can expect a few things from an extended stay experience.


Extended-stay properties are known to offer discounts on the room rate for longer stays. This is why people tend to stay at these properties for a minimum of five nights or so.

Sometimes your stay might need to be at least one week long to unlock the discount but you can also get discounts for much longer stays such as those over one month.

Sometimes these discounts are published in the online search results but other times you have to call the hotel and inquire about them (usually only the case for the extra long discounts).

You can always play around with your booking dates online to see when the extended-stay discount applies. In some instances there may be multiple stay thresholds for different discount levels. So if you are staying seven nights you might activate the first discount level but if you are staying ten nights you might activate an even cheaper rate.

Related: Are Last Minute Hotel Bookings Cheaper?


One of the main features of an extended stay hotel is that they have some sort of kitchen. The size and layout of the kitchen could vary a lot but typically you can expect to find the following:

  • Sink
  • Garbage disposal
  • Refrigerator
  • Microwave or microwave oven
  • Dishwasher
  • Stove top
  • Oven (can be hit or miss)
  • Toaster

The appliances such as the refrigerator are typically going to be much larger than a mini fridge but may not be the same size as a standard refrigerator. (This can be a little deceiving because extended stay hotels publish photos that don’t always accurately portray the size of the appliances to an untrained eye.)

Sometimes you may have to do a bit of shopping around to find an extended stay with an oven since a lot of them only provide you with a stove top. The same thing sometimes applies to dishwashers.

Related: What Hotels Have Kitchens?

Extended stay hotels may also supply you with basic supplies like paper towels, dish washer soap, cutlery, bowls, plates, cups, mugs, and basic cookware.

However, you don’t always get all of these items so you should be prepared to head to the store like Walmart to pick up some of these items or to bring them with you in some cases. My advice would be to call ahead and inquire with the hotel before you arrive.

Extended stay stovetop and microwave at the Residence Inn
A lesser-equipped kitchen at an extended stay hotel.


A lot of your standard extended-stay properties are relatively compact. You don’t usually see a huge high-rise extended-stay property like you would at a luxury resort, for example.

There may not be a lot of room options either. For example, you may have to choose from a studio or a one bedroom or two bedroom suite.

Every room should come equipped with a workstation and often a little seating area and a small dining table (usually for two). If you have a suite you should have a television in both the seating area and in the bedroom.

Your TV should come equipped with cable and may even have a few movie channels. Also, your Wi-Fi is typically included in your room rates and you may have the ability to upgrade to a more premium Wi-Fi speed.

Related: Do You Have to Check Out of Your Hotel?

Extended stay suite Residence Inn
Extended stay suite at the Residence Inn


A good extended-stay property should offer you amenities suitable for an extended stay.

Laundry room

One of the most common amenities you should find is a self-service laundry room. These laundry rooms should take quarters but now you can also often utilize an app and purchase credits to use for the washer and dryer. Some of the more premium brands may offer a service to take care of your laundry.

Related: Where & How to Get Quarters


I have seen a few extended-stay properties that have a library.

These are little areas where you can get some work done and perhaps hop on a computer or check out some random book collections. Sometimes you can also rent these out for meetings or events. (Some extended-stay properties will also have traditional conference rooms available.)

Theater room

Sometimes an extended stay property might even have a special room such as a theater room.

Typically, you would need to pay to rent out these rooms but if you get management on your good side you might be able to utilize amenities like these for free.

And that is yet another distinguishing factor for extended stays. You often can develop a good relationship with the staff since you are seeing them every day for so long.

That relationship can sometimes come in handy when you have special requests. So my advice would be to go out of your way to be extra friendly with all the staff when on an extended stay.


Extended-stay properties will often have a pool area. In some cases you’ll be dealing with a very basic motel style outdoor pool but others may have a bit of an upgraded pool area with grills, fire pits, and outdoor lounging areas. The hotel may or may not have a hot tub.

They should have a pretty equipped fitness center with cardio machines and weights, and I’ve also seen quite a few with half-court basketball courts. Some properties might even have special activities to offer like tennis.

You don’t typically see certain types of amenities offered that you find at other standard hotels. For example, you may not have any on-site restaurants, room service, or concierge services.

Extended stay laundry room
Laundry room at an extended stay hotel.


A good extended stay hotel should offer you a free breakfast even if you do not have elite status with that program. The breakfast could just be a continental breakfast that offers things like cereal, yogurt, bagels, etc.

But you might be surprised that other properties will offer a decent breakfast with hot items like eggs, sausage/bacon, waffles, etc. At your basic extended stay hotel I’ve found the breakfast to be underwhelming most of the time (powdery eggs, bland sausage, etc.) but there are a few occasions where it’s not so bad.

Related: What Hotels Have Free Breakfast?


It’s not always the case but I often find extended-stay properties located near a lot of restaurants or shopping centers. In the suburbs of big cities, it’s not very hard to find a cluster of hotels located within short walking distance of many of your standard chain restaurants.

Some extended-stay properties may provide a shuttle or some other form of transportation to help you get from the airport to the hotel. If there are a lot of attractions nearby, the shuttle might even take you to some of those nearby locations.

Extended stay hotel cost (monthly rates)

A lot of people wonder how much it will cost to stay at an extended stay hotel for a while. We did research on a lot of different hotel chains and brands and we found the average cost for a 30 day monthly rate to be about: $2,700

However, there is a wide range in prices and quality when it comes to extended stays. You could be paying as little as $1,300 for an entire month at a lower end motel or you could be paying much more for a luxury extended stay.

Living in one

It’s very possible to live in a hotel and extended-stay properties are probably the easiest type of hotels to live in. That is because they offer the most “home like” experience with a kitchen and amenities like a laundry room. As long as you are paying your hotel bill, you should be able to stay in your hotel room as long as you would like.

Related: Can You Live in a Hotel? Or Better Yet, Should You?


A lot of extended-stay properties are pet friendly and some might even have a small dog park on site.

Typically, you will have to pay some sort of pet fee which could be up to $100 for your stay. Some properties might charge you a fee per night but that is usually pretty rare.

Like other hotels, don’t be surprised if you are put in a specific wing of the hotel or on a specific floor because of your pet.

And finally, some brands may actually allow your pet to stay for free although I find these to be the properties on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

Final word

And extended-stay property can help make your steak feel a little bit more like home by offering amenities like a kitchen and laundry rooms. The price and quality of these type of properties can vary dramatically so they serve a pretty wide target demographic. So make sure that you research on the specific property — and not just the brand — you plan on staying out to make sure it offers all of the amenities that you will need.

TSA Liquid Rules Ultimate Guide (3-1-1 Explained) [2023]

Bringing your liquids through airport security is not always as straightforward as you might think.

There are several rules that apply when bringing your liquids through airport security checkpoints and, yes, many are obvious to those of us blessed with a shred of common sense.

But in some cases there are some less obvious restrictions that could apply to your liquids.

And when you start talking about things like baby essentials, medications, and liquids like alcohol, there are many lesser-known rules and exceptions that come into play.

Violating these rules can sometimes mean slowing down the flow of the screening checkpoint (something we all should want to avoid) but in other cases it could mean violating the law and you basically becoming an airport criminal.

And nobody wants that.

So it’s a good idea to get acquainted with how these rules work and in this article, I’ll give you a detailed breakdown of the 3-1-1 rule and also talk about the many different types of exceptions and additional rules that apply to different types of liquids such as medications and alcohol.

What is the TSA Liquids “3-1-1 Rule?”

The TSA Liquids 3-1-1 Rule states that you can only bring liquids in containers no larger than 3.4 liquid ounces (100 milliliters) and that all of your liquid containers must fit “comfortably” into one clear, quart-size bag.

Where does the 3-1-1 come from?

It’s just an easy way to memorize the different requirements that make up the rule and I’ll hit on those below.

3.4 fluid ounces or (100 mL)

The “three” indicates that your liquids must be contained within a container no larger than 3.4 fluid ounces or (100 ml).

(TSA uses 3.4 ounces because it’s easier to remember but really 100 ml comes out to 3.3814 fluid ounces.)

One of the biggest things that people get confused about is that the 3.4 ounce requirement applies to the size of the container and not the liquid within the container.

So let’s say that you have a 6 ounce container with only 2 ounces of fluid inside.

You may think that because you have under 3.4 fluid ounces of liquid, you are good to go but because your container is larger than 3.4 ounces, you cannot bring that through TSA.

The other big thing to know is that this refers to fluid ounces which relates to volume and is very different from ounces used for weight.

Some products like honey could weigh 4 ounces but still fit inside of a 3.4 fluid ounce container. It helps to know how to convert ounces/grams to fluid ounces.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

1 quart-sized resealable bag

The first “one” means that your liquids must fit within 1 quart-sized resealable bag. Typically, this will be a clear Ziploc bag which just makes things easy for everybody.

The key thing to note here is that the containers must fit “comfortably” inside this resealable bag.

What does “comfortably” mean?

It basically just means that the bag is not bursting at the seams. (Think about how a pair of jeans should fit when you’re being honest with yourself about your waist size.)

If you are not able to easily reseal your bag, then your contents may not be fitting comfortably inside.

In such a scenario, it’s possible that a TSA agent could ask you to throw something out in order to allow your bag to comply with the rules.

In my personal experience, I have not seen a lot of TSA agents enforce the “comfortable” requirement very strictly but if you have bottles poking out of your liquids bag, I could see that being an issue.

1 quart size bag per person

The last requirement is that you are allowed 1 quart size bag per person.

The easiest way to comply with this is to simply separate your liquids bag from your carry-on and have one liquids bag in your bin when going through security.

Otherwise, it could look like you are trying to bring through two bags of liquids.

The best packing tip I have for this is to keep your liquids bag at the top of your carry-on so that you can easily retrieve it.

There’s nothing worse than scrambling to find that liquids bag while trying to get ready to go through a screening checkpoint.

TSA Pre-Check liquids rule

TSA Pre-Check allows you to bypass the main security line and pass through a screening line that is usually much shorter and quicker. This also means avoiding the full body scanner in many cases. It basically makes you a VIP when it comes to airport security checkpoints.

If you have TSA Pre-Check, you can take advantage of several benefits including things like:

  • Shoes can stay on
  • Belt can stay on
  • Light jackets can stay on
  • Laptops allowed to stay in bag
  • Liquids (3-1-1) can stay in bag

That last perk is the most relevant to the liquids rule as you will not have to remove your liquids bag and place them in one of the bins when going through security. You can simply leave them in your carry-on and pass through the metal detector without any issue.

I highly recommend that you look into getting Pre-Check in order to expedite your security screening. It will only cost $78 for five years and all you have to do is pass a background check. You can also get it if you are approved for Global Entry (read how to get approved here).

New hand sanitizer liquids rule

Due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus and the potential threat of spreading germs throughout airports and aircraft, TSA recently implemented a change with respect to hand sanitizer.

Passengers will now be allowed to bring one hand sanitizer bottle up to 12 ounces. These larger bottles will be screened separately so just be aware that it could add some extra time.

What exactly is a “liquid?”

In some cases, what constitutes a liquid will be very clear.

For example, it’s pretty much common sense that water inside of a water bottle is a liquid. The same applies for cologne, mouthwash, etc.

But liquids also can include less-obvious forms like aerosols, gels, creams, or pastes.

This means that several common items you would be bringing along for your trip could be considered a liquid like: toothpaste, lotion, sunscreen, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, and others.

You can find travel-sized products for most of these so it’s usually pretty easy to bring along items that comply with the TSA liquids rule.

Other items

You need to be mindful of other items that could be considered liquids like deodorant. For example, the following types of deodorants will be subject to the 3-1-1 rule:

  • Spray
  • Gel
  • Liquid
  • Cream
  • Pastes
  • and Roll-On deodorants

Prohibited items

Just because you have something like an aerosol and it is in a container no larger than 3.4 ounces, that does not mean that you can bring it as a carry-on.

There are quite a few prohibited items like aerosol insecticide, bear spray, etc. that are not allowed as carry-ons. In fact, some of those items may not even be allowed on the plane at all. This is a good place to search if you are in doubt about whether or not you can bring a particular item.

Be aware that some items like hairspray may even have size restrictions when packed in your checked baggage.

Picture of shaving cream going into hand
Liquids can come in many different forms.

Foods can also be liquids

One aspect of the TSA liquids rule that throws a lot of people off is that they forget many foods also qualify as liquids.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of food items that will fall under the liquids rule:

  • Liquid chocolate
  • Creamy dips and spreads
  • Mashed fruits such as applesauce
  • Gravy
  • Honey
  • Jam and jelly
  • Maple syrup
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Peanut butter
  • Wet pet food
  • Salad dressing
  • Salsa and sauces
  • Soups
  • Yogurt

Basically anything that is usually poured, scooped, squeezed, slurped, or mashed will be considered a liquid for TSA purposes.

If your food is solid on the other hand, chances are you can bring it through.

Picture of a bowl of hummus
Hummus is a liquid in the eyes of TSA.

TSA rules for liquid medications

The liquids rule provides exceptions for medical supplies and medications.

TSA allows larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols in “reasonable quantities” than your 3-1-1 allowance.

You do not have to have a prescription for these items but keep in mind that you need to comply with state laws regarding prescriptions and controlled substances.

This leaves two questions often to be asked and answered.

The first is what is considered “medically necessary?”

For example, is contact lens solution medically necessary?

It seems the answer to that is probably yes given the TSA states, they allow “larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols in reasonable quantities for your trip” on the page regarding contact lenses.

So if in doubt check the website and then inquire with AskTSA if you still don’t know.

The second question is what is considered a “reasonable quantity?”

What is deemed as a reasonable quantity is a subjective determination.

According to the TSA, you should bring what’s necessary for the duration of your trip (e.g., seven days) plus a day or two just in case things get delayed or canceled.

If you stick to what you think will be necessary for the duration of your trip, I don’t think you will often run into trouble. But if you’re bringing a six month supply of medication on a four day getaway, that’s when you might start to run into trouble if questioned.

TSA states that you must declare them to TSA officers at the checkpoint for inspection.

You also want to remove these from your carry-on so that they can be screened separately from your belongings. (You do not have to put your liquid medication in a plastic Ziploc bag.)

Just be aware that if one of your liquid items declared as medically necessary sets off the alarm, it may require additional screening and may not be allowed.

Baby essentials

You are allowed to bring formula, breastmilk, and juice for infants or toddlers in “reasonable quantities” through airport security. According to the TSA, reasonable quantities for baby essentials typically means the duration of the flight.

When bringing these items through security, be sure to separate these from your carry-on bag so that they can be screened separately from the rest of your items.

If you are carrying liquids in excess of 3.4 ounces, you are advised to inform the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process that you have excess liquids. You can do this when you are unloading your items into the bin.

In many cases, excess liquids will be screened by x-ray.

It’s also possible that an officer may ask you to open up the container and potentially even transfer a small quantity of the liquid for testing.

If you are worried about the effects of an x-ray machine on your liquids, The Food and Drug Administration states that there are no known adverse effects from eating food, drinking beverages and using medicine screened by X-ray.

If that is not good enough assurance for you, you can ask to avoid the x-ray machine.

Additional steps may be able to be taken to clear the liquid but the traveler will likely have to undergo additional screening procedures which could include a pat down and a thorough screening of all of your carry-on property.

You will also be allowed to bring along ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice.

If these are in a partially frozen state or perhaps appear like a slushy they will be subject to the same screening as described above.

Other permitted baby items include gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred and processed baby food.

Just always be aware that these items may have to undergo additional screening.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

TSA liquid rules for alcohol

Bringing alcohol through TSA presents a number of different challenges.

First, your alcohol in most cases will have to comply with the liquids 3-1-1 rule. This means that you won’t be able to bring in regular bottles of liquor or beer.

It is possible to find small bottles that are under 3.4 ounces (mini-liquor bottles are often around 1.7 ounces, so this means that they are small enough to be brought on the plane as a liquid).

But contrary to what many people think, it’s also permitted to bring your own alcohol in one of your own containers.

The catch is that there are specific restrictions about what type of alcohol is allowed on board and that can be allowed as a carry-on. You really need to make sure that you are abiding by these rules because you could be violating federal law otherwise.

The first regulation to know is that alcohol beverages with an alcoholic percentage above 70% (140 proof) is never allowed on the plane. In fact, alcohol with such a high alcohol percentage is considered a hazardous material.

If the alcohol content is above 24% but not above 70% then the alcoholic beverage must be in its retail packaging. A lot of popular alcoholic beverages for within this range. Here are some ranges for the alcoholic content of some common beverages:

Alcohol Percentage Content

  • Vodka | ABV: 40-95%
  • Gin | ABV: 36-50%
  • Rum | ABV: 36-50%
  • Whiskey | ABV: 36-50%
  • Tequila | ABV: 50-51%
  • Liqueurs | ABV: 15%
  • Fortified Wine | ABV: 16-24%
  • Unfortified Wine | ABV: 14-16%
  • Beer | ABV: 4-8%
  • Malt Beverage | ABV: 15%

And finally, one of the most important things to remember is that you are not allowed to serve yourself your own alcohol when flying.

Instead, you must request a flight attendant to serve you the alcohol or else you will be violating FAA regulations. Some flight attendants will happily serve you your own beverage but others will not be so inclined.

If you purchased alcohol at duty free store, different rules apply in that scenario. Basically, you can bring your duty free alcohol through TSA security but you have to comply with three separate requirements:

  • The duty free liquids were purchased internationally and you are traveling to the United States with a connecting flight.
  • The liquids are packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the retailer and do not show signs of tampering when presented to TSA for screening.
  • The original receipt for the liquids is present and the purchase was made within 48 hours.

Read more about this rule here.

bottles of mini alcohol

Checked baggage liquid rules

Many times, you can simply place your liquids in your checked baggage and not have to worry about that pesky 3-1-1 rule.

This is usually the way to go on longer trips when you might be bringing large quantities of things like shampoo or shaving cream.

But as mentioned above, you still need to make sure that the type of liquid is allowed on a plane. Certain materials may be considered hazardous and you could be violating the law by bringing those on board.

If you are loading up your checked baggage with a bunch of liquids, make sure that you double bag if there is potential for the liquids to spill!

TSA Liquid Rules FAQ

Does the TSA liquid rule apply to checked baggage?

The TSA 3-1-1 rule does not apply to checked baggage. However, there are some restrictions on what liquids can be transported in your checked baggage. There may also be limitations on the quantity of liquids when it comes to importing large quantities of things like alcohol. At some point, you might have to obtain a license for certain goods.

Does TSA enforce the liquid rule?

TSA definitely enforces the liquids rule and I would recommend not trying to circumvent the rule. It’s possible that an agent may be more lenient than another in certain circumstances but I would always assume that an agent will be enforcing strictly so that I don’t run into any unexpected issues.

Why does TSA have liquid rules?

TSA has the rules in order to detect potential explosives and other harmful materials that exist in liquid state.

Does TSA have special liquid rules for international travel?

The same liquid rules apply for both domestic flights and international flights.

One difference that you might encounter is when you purchase duty free goods before an international flight. See the duty-free section above for more details.

Also, when flying internationally it is recommended that you get to the airport extra early. It is possible that you could get hit with SSSS and be forced to undergo a heightened security screening, so always plan out extra time.

What are the TSA liquid rules for makeup?

While you might view your makeup as special, there are no special rules for your makeup when it comes to TSA. They must abide by the same 3-1-1 rule explained above. Read more about makeup rules here.

Do you have to remove liquids for TSA Pre-Check?

No, you do not have to take out your liquids if you have TSA Pre-Check.

Do airlines have different rules for liquids?

The same TSA liquids rule will apply to all airlines. So if you’re flying American or Delta, the rules will be the same as if you were flying Southwest or United.

With that said, some airlines do have some differences in how they handle acceptable baggage so you should make sure to read up on the latest baggage policies for the airlines.

What rules apply to powders?

If you are traveling from an “international last-point-of-departure” to the U.S., powder-based substances in carry-on baggage greater than 350mL or 12 oz. may require additional screening. If your substance is over 12 ounces and cannot be cleared it will not be allowed onto the aircraft cabin.
TSA recommends that you transport powders in your checked baggage.

Final word

TSA has several rules you need to follow when it comes to drinking liquids through airport security. The most well-known is the 3-1-1 rule but there are other considerations you need to think about like foods that might trigger the rule and exceptions for medical and baby essentials. In the end, try to be as reasonable as possible with what you are bringing through and you will run into few problems.

tsa liquids rule 3-1-1 infographic

21 Things You Need to Know About Easter Island Before Visiting

Anytime you head to a far-flung, bucket-list destination like Easter Island, you want to do your research to make sure that you have a smooth and enjoyable experience.

In the case of Easter Island, there are quite a few things you will want to know before you visit.

Below, I’ll highlight everything that you need to know about this amazing place so that you’ll be fully prepared on your first visit to make the most of your time!

For information on the documents needed and getting through the airport, check out this guide right here.

It feels very safe

One thing about this little island in the middle of the Pacific is that if you commit a crime, there’s nowhere for you to run. I mean, you could always live the rest of your life inside a lava tube I guess but that doesn’t necessarily sound ideal. 

As far as humans went, the island felt very safe. We didn’t feel the need to constantly watch our back or anything of the sort.

Obviously, you don’t want to let your guard completely down but the experience is very different from visiting some islands in other places of the world such as the Caribbean where you still have to remain vigilant.

Easter island lava tube

Seat belts are entirely optional

Wearing seatbelts is not really “a thing” in Easter Island. And we never even heard a seatbelt alarm/reminder during our entire time, so I’m not even sure the vehicles have those built-in.

Because it’s rare for anybody to drive with any real speed they’re probably not really needed in most cases. But this is something that takes getting used to.

You can always strap in if it makes you feel better, but I enjoyed going without a seatbelt just because it felt so different (and a little liberating).

Animals roam free

Animals, including dogs, cats, chickens, horses, and cattle have free reign on the island. You’ll find dogs hanging out at seemingly every corner and majestic horses trotting along the coast.

If you’re a dog lover (or just animal lover in general) you’ll really enjoy seeing so many of them. According to locals, most of these animals do have owners but they are just allowed to roam where they wish.

This means you need to be extra careful when you’re driving. Lots of the dogs like to sleep in the street and other times the animals just sort of come out of nowhere, especially at night.

On a couple of occasions we did encounter a couple of dogs that made us a little bit nervous but they were mostly just aggressive watch dogs being territorial.

I don’t think they would do non-intruders any harm but when a large dog jumps up on top of a fence post and lets you know that you are not welcome, it makes you a little uneasy.

Easter Island horse

You have to have a guide for most sites

To see the vast majority of the sites on Easter Island, you will have to accompanied by a guide or local host. This can get expensive over the spans of a few days and really limit your exploring abilities.

A private guide for two people for a full day will run you about $200 USD. If you want to see all of the sites, you will need at least two days so be prepared to spend some cash on guides.

Related: Complete Guide to Exploring Easter Island’s Rapa Nui National Park

Easter Island, tour guide

It’s expensive 

Related to the above point, Easter Island can be pretty expensive.

Just getting there can be pricey because of all of the connecting flights and the hotel prices aren’t exactly the cheapest.

But when you throw your park pass and guides on top of everything, you’ll quickly be spending a nice chunk of change.

Related: How to get to Easter Island: Everything You Need to Know

Easter Island cave

You can easily find markets

On Easter Island, it’s not very difficult to find markets and mini markets where you can buy produce, snacks, essentials, etc.

To help ease the cost mentioned above, we made our way to the markets quite often. For about half the time we spent there, we just ate sandwiches and soups which helped us get by.

If you need anything medical related, such as sunscreen, you can get that at the pharmacy.

Internet is iffy but can be quite good

Starlink recently made its way to Easter island and some lodging places and businesses now have high speed internet. It’s been a game changer according to many locals.

We tested out Starlink for a few days and it was awesome out there. I was even able to conduct video conference calls without any type of issues.

However, a lot of places still do NOT have Starlink. For those places that don’t, the internet connection is seriously lacking. It makes it very difficult to be productive. Don’t even think about streaming anything.

So my suggestion would be to be prepared to embrace being largely off the grid or if you need to get some work done doing your trip, find a place with Starlink.

Starlink sign

Cell phone service or data is really hard/impossible to get

Depending on your provider, you might be able to get cell phone service but if you’re hoping to use your data on your phone to help you get around just know that there’s a good chance you won’t have access to it. We have Verizon and were never able to access our data. 

To make it easier to navigate around the island just download the Google Maps offline version for Easter Island. You probably won’t be able to pull up directions but you can still pretty easily navigate by following your little blue dot on the map. 

Just be aware that Google Maps is not fully updated with the latest business locations on Easter Island. On a number of occasions, we ventured to a location shown on Google Maps that was no longer there!

As things kick back up after the closure from the pandemic, I imagine the maps will get cleaned up.

Power and AC limitations

If you are accustomed to keeping your house ice cold like us, you might want to start turning up the temperature in your house in the weeks leading up to your trip.

That’s because some hotels and lodges don’t have AC and some don’t even have the power capacity to run fans all the time. This means that you could be running very warm and humid during your stay.

The temperature will cool down in the evening and with a breeze, it can feel heavenly outside or an a patio but inside of your room, it can be a real challenge to remain comfortable.

Little tree cover

Although the island was once home to huge palm trees, it no longer boasts thick forest canopies. You’ll find some pockets of thick eucalyptus forest, but the vast majority of the island is barren.

It’s still a beautiful site with green volcanic slopes rising and falling along the horizon but you’ll be hard-pressed to find shade in most spots (unless you’re standing next to a giant moai!). 

Don’t be surprised by insects or other critters

Lots of the lodging and other buildings are very open to the environment on Easter Island.

This means that you can expect to find bugs and other little creatures making their way into your hotel. We saw lizards, roaches, and other little bugs in our hotels.

We never had an issue with mosquitoes although the flies did come out pretty hard on a couple of occasions when dinner was served.

So just adjust your expectations accordingly and try not to be shocked if you wake up to find a roach in your bathtub!

You’ll want to rent a car

I strongly recommend renting a vehicle while in an Easter Island.

For us, this was vital to getting to sunset and sunrise locations and enjoying our early morning stargazing sessions. While you are still limited in what you could see due to the guide restrictions, it’s still a fun place to drive around in.

Another option could be to rent an ATV or scooter but we went with a four-door vehicle because we knew we would be riding around with a tour guide and we wanted to be comfortable.

A lot of the vehicles are manual but you might be able to find an automatic which is what we were given (even though we ordered manual).  

Credit cards are widely excepted

Most of the places we went to accepted credit cards, including American Express. You’ll just need to let the place know that you are using a credit card and not a debit that requires a pin.

A couple of places did not accept cards but they made it clear that they only accepted cash from the beginning. If you need cash, there is an ATM machine in the middle of town.

The sun sets late

The sun sets really late in Easter Island. 

In December, sunset will be around 9 PM, while in the winter it is still around 7 PM.

This gives you a lot of time to explore and then relax around sunset time.

But if you are coming from North America, the shift in daylight can be more dramatic than what you may have expected. You might even need an eye mask if you plan on getting to sleep at your usual time.

They have cool souvenirs

I really love the souvenirs at Easter Island!

It’s going be almost impossible for you to leave that island without some type of moai-inspired souvenir.

You’ll find them in all different types of shapes and sizes. Take your time and check out several different shops to see what you like the most.

The skies are ridiculously dark

If you’ve never experienced truly dark skies, Easter Island is the place to do it. 

Even better, if you’re coming from the US or an equivalent latitude in the northern hemisphere, you’ll be able to see the Southern night sky!

My biggest regret was not doing a stargazing tour with a telescope but our plans just didn’t align with the open dates for that. But even if you don’t book a proper stargazing tour, you can just go out to any area on the island and appreciate the beautiful night sky.

Watching shooting stars blaze through the night sky over towering moai is a true bucket-list worthy experience.

Roads are not the best

The roads are not the best and mostly consist of what looked like set stone roads but they are still very doable and not as bad as I thought it would be.

Some of the dirt roads are pretty bumpy and quickly get filled with large puddles — the potholes can be a little treacherous so watch out for those!

But unless you are traveling around during or after heavy downpour, you won’t have issues getting around, even without having a 4×4.

There’s great seafood

If you like seafood, Easter Island will impress. We had some fantastic ceviche, tuna, lobster, and shrimp and there are plenty of other tasty food options out there.

Spanish is the way to go but you can get by with English

If you can speak Spanish, or just broken Spanish like me, that can get your pretty far on Easter island.

Some people do speak the “Chilean style” of Spanish which is pretty fast and that can be difficult to communicate with for people like myself.

But a lot of the locals also know a bit of broken English so you can generally work out transactions without much of a problem.

The only issue is that because you probably won’t have access to data on your phone, it can be hard to translate things whenever there is a problem.

Beaches are few but beautiful!

Easter Island does not have a lot of beaches.

It’s mostly jagged volcanic cliffs along the coastline, which are quite stunning. However, there are a couple of beaches that I thought were pretty beautiful and they are right next to each other. You want to check out: Ovahe and Anakena.

You might also find come across a couple of hidden cove with beautiful mini beaches, so be on the lookout for those!

The annual festival is in early February

Easter Island puts on an annual festival in early February called Tapati Rapa Nui that celebrates their history and culture.

It looks like an enjoyable time filled with nighttime festivities and daytime competitions, but it can be hard to find flights during this time so if you plan on visiting the island during the first couple of weeks of February you need to make operations well in advance!

Final word

As you would probably expect, Easter Island is a very different place. I’d suggest really thinking about all of the factors above and how you can best prepare for them.

If you do that, I can guarantee you that you will have a smoother stay as you’ll be much more prepared than the average tourist!

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