Travel offers you not only the experience of seeing new places, it’s also fun and educational. You’ll meet new friends and make lifetime memories. Of course, you want your adventures to go smoothly to make the most of your trips. Here are some ideas to help keep everything enjoyable and stress-free.
If you are a woman traveling overnight on business, be sure that the blouses and underthings you wear and bring can be washed in the sink and hung up or blow-dried. Missed luggage and/or connections can mean you arrive at a hotel late at night, with only the clothes on your back to wear the next day. Lightweight, wrinkle-free polyester or microfiber blouses and tops can be washed and hung up, and will be dry in the morning, as will all your lingerie.
Many out of the way destinations are often overlooked for vacations. For example, while St. Thomas in the Caribbean is incredibly popular, with very little extra effort one can make a trip to Vieques off of Puerto Rico instead. It has many of the same amenities, is much less crowded, and will make your vacation seem much more special!
Study up on the language of the area you are planning to travel to before you leave. Language barriers can be tricky. Obviously, you can manage in a foreign country without speaking the language. Even so, it is always a good idea to brush-up on important words like “police” or “hospital.”
Keeping a business card from your hotel in your wallet may keep you out of trouble. Immediately upon check-in make sure you grab a card and have it with you wherever you may go. Most especially in a foreign country or unfamiliar place, if you get lost you can simply call them for help or if you happen to over indulge in spirits the card will identify your rightful place in the neighborhood.
If you are concerned about theft in the countries you’ll be visiting, set up your wardrobe in advance to ward them off. You can sew passport-sized pockets into the top of your pants; this option might be more comfortable when walking than a moneybelt. Also consider lining the bottom of a cloth bag with chicken wire to deter theives with razor blades.
If you are arriving in a new city and don’t yet feel comfortable there, consider asking if your hotel provides an airport pickup service. This will allow you to avoid the pitfalls of baggage porters and taxi lines which trap many first time travelers. It also ensures you don’t get lost in the city and go straight to your hotel.
Peruse the blogosphere. Bloggers are everywhere, and there is most likely one, if not many, bloggers blogging about your destination. Their blogs are a great resource for finding information about hidden gems of the city–restaurants, hotels, attractions, and more. Don’t be shy. If you contact them, many will be happy to answer your specific questions as well.
When traveling by airplane, look for shops in the airport that have swap shelves. These shelves are for travelers to brings books and exchange them for other books. So if your flight is delayed and you finished your book already, head over to a swap shelf and exchange it for one you’ve been wanting to read!
If you are traveling overseas, be prepared for anything. Cultures are very different once you leave the western world. Don’t expect to see anything resembling your normal life until you disembark in the United States again. Planning ahead for this will help you reduce the effects of culture shock during your travels.
If you need to travel across the country but are on a limited budget, consider traveling by bus. In the past, bus travel was viewed somewhat unfavorably, but today major players like Greyhound, have made major improvements to attract the growing number of travelers who can’t afford plane tickets. Today bus lines are a more civil experience. Cleaner, newer buses are the norm and most stations offer free wireless internet access and sundries.
Be aware of the potential for bedbugs while traveling and always check the bedding as soon as you get into your room. Do not put your luggage on the bed. Bedbugs are more likely to come home with travelers that allow their bags to touch bedspreads or mattresses. Instead, place your bag on a chair or other piece of furniture that is not upholstered.
If you need a rental car while on vacation consider renting an eco-friendly car. Zipcar and Flexcar are both “green” car-sharing programs which offer travelers low fees and convenient drop off and pick up. You will be able to reduce car emissions by renting the smallest car you can or a hybrid car.
When visiting America’s National Parks, don’t just drive around the park. Get out and explore by foot. It is a great experience to visit the park, and see all that it has to offer. The only way to do that is to find a hiking trail and explore the area.
If you are a frequent National Parks visitor, it might be worth purchasing an annual pass. These passes only need to be renewed annually and are fifty dollars total.
Take advantage of the hotel’s ice machines when you are traveling. Many people enjoy having a cup of coffee in the morning, but they often dislike the way hotel coffee tastes. The ice machines use filtered water, so try putting ice in the machine the night before and allowing it to melt. The difference in taste between coffee made with filtered water instead of tap water is amazing.
With ideas like these, you should be more eager than ever to get out and explore the globe. You’ll broaden your mind and increase understanding of the great big world around us. Make some plans using these tips to make your next trip better than ever. Have fun and take great pictures!