Travel can be one of the most rewarding experiences that you ever grant yourself. There is so much to see out there and so much to learn. However, it’s smart to be prepared before you embark on any kind of travel adventure. Having the correct documents ready is just the first step.
To really get a feel for where you are vacationing, follow the locals. Many top vacation spots start to feel very generic and touristy. By asking around and finding where the people who live there hang out, you will get a more authentic feel for the area, and as a bonus, avoid the price markups that plague tourist hot spots.
If you are traveling with children, a backpack or other bag packed with new and interesting toys and activities is a good idea. Make sure that these are things they are not normally allowed to play with, or special things for trips only. It will give them something to look forward to and they will be entertained longer.
If you are traveling and planning to wash laundry in your hotel room, set up your drying line somewhere with a good breeze, preferably in front of a fan. In areas with extremely high humidity, your laundry will not dry quickly enough to avoid developing a smell unless there is also air movement.
When traveling, don’t forget that you can travel by bus to many areas in North and South America. It can be much less expensive than flying and is generally lower-stress for the travelers. Traveling by bus has lost much of its stigma in recent years, with many companies purchasing new vehicles and even hiring security guards to ride along.
Sometimes long flights can cause you to sit and sit and sit. Don’t be afraid to get up and walk down the aisles every once in a while. Exercise is great for you and when the plane reaches its’ destination, you won’t feel so lousy and you will avoid the stiff feeling in your legs.
When you arrive at your hotel location, check out the local brochures. A lot of brochures offer fun and affordable activities within the area. Some travel pamphlets even offer coupons for more than one person and have little maps to guide you in the right direction. Local brochures can be a fun way to explore a new area.
If you’re planning on taking a cell phone with you on your trip, make sure to call your cell phone provider to ask them about roaming charges. The familiarity of your cell phone may make you feel better, but it may cost you a lot more to use it on foreign soil. A good alternative is buying a local SIM card and using it while you’re there.
Confirm your reservations. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination, only to find out that there isn’t a reservation in your name. As a simple precaution, 24 hours before your scheduled arrival, verify your reservations online or over the phone. This will allow time to make alternate plans if your reservation was missed.
Try and get as much knowledge of the destination you’re going to travel to before you arrive there. You want to have an idea of the things you want to do rather than finally getting to the hotel and feeling lost and bored. You can also ask hotel employees and locals where good places to check out are.
In addition to making a photocopy of your passport before you leave on an international vacation, write down your passport number and place of issue. Store this information in your money belt or wallet, separate from you passport. The more copies of this information you have, the easier it can be to recover lost or stolen passports.
One of my favorite ways to visit new places is to travel by cruise ship. I board the ship and settle into my cabin, leaving most of my stress and worries behind on dry land. On board a cruise ship you will have 24 hour access to some of the finest food you will ever taste. There are nightly shows and many shore excursions to choose from. If simple rest and relaxation is what you’re looking for, you can opt to spend your day laying by the pool, sipping on your favorite drink, and reading.
Eliminate the middle man when purchasing travel tickets. When you book direct with an airline or train line, 90% of the time you will get a better deal than if you use a booking agency. Many booking agencies are now reducing their fees, but if you have time to book direct, nine times out of ten you will save money.
If you are traveling in a car, bring a roadside geology book with you. They have a variety of maps, mileage logs and geologic primers that will make your trip a little more interesting. They also contain beautiful collections of photographs that will make the scenery around you come to life.
Find out if your destination is kid friendly beforehand. If you have little ones that will be traveling with you, it’s helpful to know if there are things that will hold their interest so you don’t end up spending the majority of your time trying to amuse them.
Before you fly anywhere in the world, check both the weather forecast for your the airports of departure and arrival. If you see some lousy weather in the forecast, check the airport websites too and make sure they haven’t already made an announcement. Weather delays are no fun and they’re made even worse if you don’t prepare for them.
Renting a car for that trip? Try renting the smallest model of car you find. You can always upgrade when you are at the counter at a smaller amount, than if you do it in advance. They also get rented out quicker than the luxury models, which could mean that you might be able to get a free upgrade regardless.
In conclusion, make certain you are armed with the proper information for your trip and your destinations. Travel will be so much more rewarding if you avoid any negative incidents that could crop up along the way. Preparation and knowledge are key ingredients to having a wonderful travel experience.
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