Prepare For Travel And High Adventure
Crusader City Of Acco On The Mediterranean Sea
Nothing is more exciting than deciding to take a trip to an exotic land. Investigating thoroughly your destination carefully will increase your enjoyment of the trip and assure a safe and pleasurable adventure.
People who travel regularly to exotic places usually plan trips carefully.
My nephew spent last June traveling South America. His wife was thrilled when he finally made a reservation in a hostel the first night of their trip. He appeared not to have a plan. He has lived all over the world and is fluent in English, French and Spanish. His attitude of, just go, lets see where we end up, is never as casual as it seems. He knows in great detail what his options. The wise traveler plans a trip well. The plans should remain flexible, in case plans fail.
The wise traveler also knows a bit of the culture to avoid serious cultural mistakes.
For instance in Africa don't cross your legs in public. In places like the Pacific islands a person may answer your question with a raise of an eyebrow. (Yes) As a teacher, I always think investigating where you are going makes the adventure more exciting.(especially for children) Local people are delighted you know something about them and are more sociable.
Being gracious and having a sense of humor helps greatly when traveling.
When Plans Go Awry
On another trip my nephew was traveling to India on business with his then colleague/girlfriend. Thinking a marriage proposal under the Eiffel Tower would be romantic, John planned their return trip through Europe. The couples best friends would meet them in Paris. John contracted Malaria near the end of the trip and was in poor condition when they headed toward Paris through the Middle East. To their dismay a volcano in Iceland delayed them. They thought they would just sleep in the airport. At eight p.m. they found the airport closed for the night. Emma managed to find a hostel,then prepared to change travel plans, and head home over the pacific, In a malaria stupor, John went loopy insisting on waiting. He clutched his backpack with a death grip. Emma was really concerned he had gone off the deep end and was maybe even close to death. The world traveler had malaria medication with him and when he felt better he still had a death grip on the backpack. The diamond engagement ring was in the backpack.
They did eventually get to Paris, where they met friends, and the whole proposal was filmed and posted on Face Book. Emma is a seasoned traveler, but this was early in their relationship.
Be sure you trust the people you travel with. Your life may depend on them.
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Know Who Your Friends Are
- Knowledge of Money equivalents Credit cards? Many small countries the general populace doesn't use credit or debit cards. Cash only. Euro's are frequently easier to convert, in Africa, than dollars. Know what kind of money is used in your destination and how to change to it. Hotels usually they take credit cards, but some very small countries. Credit Cards in Europe have gone to the chip and pin technology. The US has just started adding pins to their credit cards. When I say a pin with a credit card I am not referring to ATM cards. If you are traveling abroad know your credit card pin number. Many places took credit cards without pins the last time I checked, so be the savvy traveler and know your credit pin number.
- Language? If you go to France learn at least a greeting. If you try to speak French, frequently they cringe and admit they speak English. Pointing and gesturing works well too. I always learn how to work the money system as soon as I get to my location. It speed everything up, and keep some shop keepers honest.
- Know what you can take photos of. It is common to have cameras confiscated and sometimes the owner arrested for taking pictures of government buildings, police,soldiers etc. This information can be found through the country's embassy.
- Don't leave home without the correct shots and inoculations. Your doctor's office should be able to help you with this. Start early, some shots like yellow fever require more than one shot over a period of time.
- Know if your cell phone will work? What will it cost? Discover this from your carrier. Frequently text messages can be sent internationally for a minimal fee. Some carriers will rent international phone equipment. If you do have a plan, but don't want to keep your phone roaming, be sure to put it on airplane mode while you are using internet or the camera option on the phone.
- Do not assume all airplanes are set up to allow you to use your phone or other electronics in airplane mode. This can be the case even within large airlines. Check if your Alaskan Airlines flight has airplane mode available on the plane, especially ,when going into remote areas.
Don't Leave Home Without these
Here is a list of questions and items that are vitally important for travel.
- Passport with at least six months, past the your date of return, until expiration date. I keep mine in an R.F.ID sleeve to protect the Radio Frequency IDentification chip embedded within the passport. This keeps people from stealing my information using random scanners. This is a new form of pickpocket activity.
- Knowledge of visa requirements into every country you will be visiting? Sometimes visa have to be acquired from an embassy before you go. Preparing for a trip to to Africa we discovered the closest embassy was in Washington DC. Our passports were sent off two weeks before the trip in a round trip prepaid certified FEDEX envelope. Cultural differences required a phone call from my husband, despite daily calls from me, to get the passports back. We stopped at FEDEX on the way to the airport to get the passports. Frequently, you buy visas upon arrival at your destination country. Some counties require visas be purchased in the countries currency. Oanda has a currency converter.
- Knowledge of acceptable clothing? Going without on the Riviera is acceptable, but even skimpy is offensive in other places. Leave extravagant jewelry at home it makes you a target for pick-pockets and bandits.
- Knowledge of social roles of men and women in your destination countries can save you a lot of trouble.
- Knowledge of local food. What kind of food can you eat, or will you eat. My son survived on pineapple, little crackers, and peanuts that came in whiskey bottles. Airlines cater to all kinds of tastes, but sometimes the food on a plane tastes different. Rice is always a safe bet if you can get it. Always have food of some kind with you.
- Knowledge of the local weather. Live in Chicago? If you are going to Australia in July and bring shorts and swim suites expect to purchase a new wardrobe. It is winter in July down under.
- Knowledge of drivers license requirements if you will be driving? International drivers licenses
Always keep vigilant when you are traveling. Notice your surroundings. Never assume people who are friendly have your best interests in mind. Study maps, have a plan and get a feel for where in the world you are.The confident traveler is less likely to be snookered.
Have a plan B. When plan A goes awry know the closest location of one of your countries embassies. In this constantly fluctuating world a plan C might be necessary. John and Emma's plan B was sleep in the airport. Plane C was the least expensive place to stay they could find. This is often a hostel. It wasn't a lovely place.
September 11,2001 found me in Ireland. The plan B was never developed for the closing of the United States. We were safe so we stayed where we were.
Learning about countries before you go enhances the adventure and heightens the anticipation. The facts you learn will smooth the road as you travel. Especially if you are traveling with children.
Remember to be flexible and have a sense of humor.
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