Monday, July 11, 2011

Travel Tips!

Here's some of what I learned traveling around the world that didn't seem to fit in any of the other articles on this page yet....

-The Customs Line: when you get off the plane, don't be rude, but walk fast! You forget this up until it's too late, you don't wanna get stuck behind that guy that's just made his drug run, it's gonna waste your time!

-Souvenirs: Don't buy something you can buy at home, unless it's dirt cheaper! I always found it strange when I lived in NYC how people came there to shop at chain stores that are all over the world. Buy things that are unique, that you can't buy at home.

Can't buy this wooden elephant anywhere else, he's making it now!
-Back up your pictures! Take 5 minutes hit an internet cafe and back up your pictures, remember it is an internet cafe so don't put anything up on there you don't want the world to see.

-Should you book flight or hotel first? Depends... Click here for that discussion.

-Use the library to plan your trip. Yeah remember that place you went to as a kid? They have great travel sections that will save you a ton instead of buying the books.

-Visas!!! If you really plan on traveling often when you get your passport/Visa pics taken, take multiple ones, maybe 20 or so, it will be cheaper than getting a Visa picture every time you need a new Visa. If you live in or travel to a big city with Consular offices take advantage and get your Visa's then so you don't have to pay a service fee later (especially for countries where the Visa is good for 10 years). On New Years in LA I doubled down by stopping at the Paraguay consulate and getting my Visa there for no service fee, Ill do the same for an Indian Visa next time I visit my family in NYC.

-Currency, know how much you are spending, some idiot I know was in China the first day and forgot to pack a belt, he ended up going to a mall and spent ¥500 Yuan on a belt! It was like $70 and it didn't even fit me... oops.... yeah know the currency. And know if your credit card charges you for currency change as well.

How much does that cost again?

-You will not remember the food as much as the experience. Now I'm a health nut not a dining nut, so my opinion is biased, but don't spend too much time looking for the best restaurant everyday if that time can be spent doing something in the city you can't do at home. I splurge sometimes for an expensive meal, but for the most part eating is a small part of my trips, and I try to eat healthy which is not always an option. However!!!!

-If it's different, eat it. But be careful! I've had a great time trying things I would have never tried at home, diversify your taste buds a bit! Worst comes to worst you can always find a supermarket somewhere, and if you can't you better diversify instead of starve!

Bamboo! Who would have known wood could be so good!?
-Learn the language, or at least some of it. If you are visiting somewhere that no one speaks English hit the library shortly before your trip and pick up some audio discs, you can learn while driving so it doesn't take free time, simply learning formalities, hello, goodbye, please, thank you, and sorry I don't speak your language, can go a long way!

-Don't watch TV. Unless you are waiting for your other traveler to get ready, minimize TV as much as possible, if you go to Japan, you will remember Tokyo much more than your favorite cartoon character speaking Japanese, although that was kind of funny ;-D

-Go when you can go, not when you have 3 months off to go. Most of the people viewing this web page are American according to my stats, so am I. The typical American may only have 2 weeks vacation a year and holidays, after family visits, stay-cations, and whatever else you needed to take off for, if you only have 5 or 6 days to go somewhere, go. People will wait till they have a month off to backpack across Europe and end up blowing $2,000 at a casino in Vegas over a weekend, but never seeing Europe. It sucks we don't have much vacation, but use what you got, it also sucks that you lose a day flying, but I promise I've had amazing short trips, from 1 day to 5 days in other countries that blow all my domestic holidays away.

-Keep a travel journal, on your lap top, or in your own writing, it will seem silly a week or two down the line when you get home, but will make you smile a lot when you read it after a few years.

-Make a friend, at least one. Meet people, either fellow travelers or a native to that country, when I first began travel I thought I'd never see some of these people again, yet we've remained friends, they've helped me travel, and have become not only great resources, but great all around friends.

Having some fun with new people New Years Eve in China

Choose the continent!!!!


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