I often get comments like “you do a lot of traveling” or “it’s hard to keep track of where you are in the world.” So, as many of you may be flying to distant lands this summer, I thought some traveling tips would come in useful.
Being a fearless traveler starts before you’ve left home.
Packing my suitcase is a giant ordeal I’d rather do without. Yet, a recent small investment has been a great help—packing cubes organizer bags. They reduce a monstrous task into a manageable mission. Now I have control over my underwear, socks, and T-shirts, instead of them mastering me.
Security is our next present-day nightmare. Why do I always get randomly selected for a body search? In general, to avoid setting off alarms and to sail smoothly to your gate, wear shoes you can easily slip off. Don’t forget to put on socks. Pack your carry-on bag so your laptop, tablet, toiletries are easily accessible. Keep that favorite pair of jeans with the numerous zippers for wearing once you reach your destination
Worried that you’ve forgotten something? My husband told me many years ago the essentials for travel are your passport and a credit card. That’s it!
However, don’t get caught out with foreign transaction fees. Make sure your credit card has no fees. When you make purchases, always choose to pay in local currency, not your home currency. The exchange rate of a store is never as good as the one you will get from your credit card company.
Today, I would also add a smart phone to those essential items needed when traveling.
You need to take out an international plan or, if this is not a reasonable option, buy a local SIM when you arrive at your destination. Do not rely on wi-fi – it’s not reliable.
Then, you can download the Citymapper app. We recently used this app when in Hong Kong and London. It will help you travel around a city like a pro.
Of course, always be on the look out for what’s happening around you. If you feel unsafe in a crowded area, move away.
To stay safe, don’t wear a lot of jewelry. Take a large light scarf for throwing over your shoulders and head when it’s hot, or for when you’re in religiously conservative locations.
Get a business card from the hotel you’re staying at to show to taxi drivers when trying to find your way back.
Even if you’re not booked into a hotel, it’s a great place to get advice or find a taxi. Doormen, on large chain hotels in particular, are more likely to be trustworthy and knowledgeable.
If the city you are visiting has a subway, it’s the best way to get around. Don’t be intimidated. It’s cheaper, faster, and you’ll feel like a local.
Do your research about the subway system before you arrive. Look at maps of airports where you will be arriving and other transport options online.
My husband and I have been ripped off by taxi drivers on too many occasions, especially when arriving at airports or train stations. Go to the official information desk and ask the best method of travel and the price to get to your destination.
Overall, explore the world with an open mind and a willingness to learn. People in other countries may have different customs and traditions from our own, but underneath they are the same. Their children still whine and have tantrums just like your own children. They find things funny, just like you do. They get tired and stressed. They have families—brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. They need to work and earn a living. They are curious, kind and, well, just human like you and me.
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