Travel can be an amazing source of inspiration, but if things go wrong, it can take on a nightmarish quality, instead. No one wants to go on a vacation that’s more aggravating than relaxing. Fortunately, you can protect yourself against some common travel mistakes and stresses, by following a few easy tips.
Try to avoid calling attention to the fact that you are a tourist. There are many people who earn their living by preying on unsuspecting vacationers. To avoid looking like a potential target, consult your maps and itinerary before you leave, avoid conspicuous jewelry and clothing and keep your camera in your bag when you are not using it – not dangling around your neck.
When traveling, always be prepared to have things stolen. Make advance photocopies of all of your important papers. You can even upload electronic scans of these documents for easy access while traveling. The local American embassy can assist you in contacting those at home who can wire you emergency funds or help in replacing your passport, but not much else.
Shop around for the best deal. Often, a shift in a day or two from your departure or return can amount to a significant savings of several hundred dollars in your transportation cost. Many websites can check this automatically for you. As a general rule, if you can avoid travelling on Fridays or Sundays, you will save a pile of money.
If you’re worried about travelling alone, especially if you’re a female, you should consider taking some self-defense classes before you go. This way you can learn basic ways to get away from a mugger or rapist in the event that you need to. Most areas have a few schools that teach self-defense at reasonable rates.
For some the road trip is the only way to travel. If you’re going to be taking a road trip do this simple things before hand so you don’t end up stranded half way across the country. Number one, be sure to get an oil change! Number two, have your mechanic give your car a once over before you depart. The last thing you need in the middle of no where are easily preventable mechanical failures.
If you travel a great deal for work, the constant change of venue and planes can be exhausting. Make it a bit easier on yourself by always requesting the same seat when you book a flight (“9A, please, or right over the wing.”) Actually, over the wing is a good spot because the plane tends to be most solidly anchored and less susceptible to vibration. That way, you will feel as though you’re sitting in “your” seat on the same plane back and forth, and you’ll also be accustomed to working in that particular position (window at your left, etc.)
If you are traveling with children, it is best is they can have a suitcase with wheels. This way, they can really help with the luggage and it’s super easy to pull. They will also feel a sense of independence and will be happy to help out with the luggage.
Sometimes it’s better to pick places to travel where you have family and friends in the area. You can save money on hotels by staying with a close friend or family member when you travel, you can just make it up to them by taking them out to dinner. They can also show you all the cool sites to check out since they should be very familiar with the area.
Avoid the gate until it is actually time to board the plane. Many passengers will crowd the gate, hoping to be the first to be allowed on. To avoid the major hustle and bustle, hang back until you hear it is your turn. Then you can calmly walk up and get on the plane.
Locate ethnic travel agencies in various cities in the U.S. These agents could be considered experts since they are from the region you’ve chosen to travel. They are basically a wealth of knowledge ranging from what to do and see to how to save money. Enrich yourself and have a great trip by experiencing the charm and culture of the region that could only be known by a true native of the land.
Do not take your medications out of their labeled bottles. You may find yourself in trouble at security if you do not have the correct medication in the correctly labeled bottles. There are strict laws concerning drug trafficking and pills out of the correct bottles may raise unwanted suspicion.
Keep prescription medicine in their original bottles. While space is often at a premium when packing, it is important to keep your medications in their properly labeled containers, especially when traveling internationally. Each country’s drug laws can vary, and if you are prescribed a narcotic (which are more closely regulated), get a letter from your doctor to avoid potential legal troubles.
When booking flights you should make sure to give yourself enough time between flights in case the first flight is delayed or arrives late. Typically, an hour or two is the perfect amount of time for a layover. This gives you some room to breath in case a flight is delayed. It will take a lot of the stress out of travelling.
Volunteer to travel. Many charities now offer volunteers the chance to travel abroad for free in-exchange for time and work at the destination. These trips can last from a few weeks to a year or longer, and the work could involve, building local schools, constructing water wells, working in orphanages, fundraisering and much more.
Be sure you speak with your bank and let them know you will be traveling. With recent concerns on identity theft your bank will often shut down your card if they see charges being made in a different area or more charges than you normally make on a every day basis.
With this array of tips in your arsenal, traveling will be a breeze, not a pain. These are simple ideas, but simple acts can be an extremely effective preventative. Simple sense is all you need to keep a travel experience positive and fun, even when you’re venturing way off the beaten track.