World travel can be both exhilarating and daunting. Here are our best travel tips on safety, etiquette and how to make your adventure one that keeps a smile on your face.
TOP TRAVEL TIPS
1) Dress appropriately for local customs, traditions and beliefs. Leave flashy jewelry at home. Avoid clothing with religious or military symbols. If in doubt dress modestly and look at what the locals are wearing. Blending in helps you stay safe. At the very least avoid standing out.
Grand Bazaar – Istanbul,Turkey
2) Stay hydrated. Many popular travel spots will be far warmer than you might be accustomed to. If you are feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated. Stop frequently for fluids or carry water with you.
Bottled water is typically safe as long as the seal has not been tampered with. Usually tea, coffee, canned soda, juice beer and alcoholic drinks are all right. Forget the ice. You can never be too cautious.
3) Embrace the local food however following colonial explorers advice: “Cook it, peel it, wash it or forget it.” Tell yourself you may never be in this part of the world again, or possibly you may never be allowed in this part of the world again.
4) Ensure all vaccinations are up to date prior to traveling out of the country. Local wildlife should be handled with caution. Patting stray cats and dogs at home might be fine. You may lose a finger to a hungry fur ball elsewhere. If possible carry a snake venom kit.
5) Ensure your health insurance covers all expenses in the country you are visiting. Even minor injuries can costs tens of thousands of dollars. Work on developing balance and coordination prior to departure.
6) Rest frequently and understand your limits of physical exertion. Collapsing from exhaustion puts a damper on your holiday. Getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging while on the road. Use ear plugs, turn off your phone, darken the room and do your best to get on the same sleep schedule you would be at home.
7) Take local public transport whenever possible. Often this can save you a great deal of money. Be sure to research reliability and departure and arrival times. In crowded bus and train stations be aware of your belongings and never walk away from your bags.
Grand Canyon – Arizona, USA
8) Kindness and lending a helping hand goes a long way in any country. Do your bit to assist whether it be giving directions or solving an architectural nightmare. However be wary of pulling out your wallet to give money to beggars. Offer food or make a donation to a local charity for the homeless.
9) Ensure you understand and heed all safety regulations of the airline you are traveling on. Getting tossed off a flight for unruly behavior or smoking in a lavatory puts a big damper on a holiday.
10) Watch your body language. The thumbs up sign might be an ‘all is great’ sign in North America, but flashing that thumb in some parts of the Middle East, South America and Nigeria you may be flipping the bird without knowing it. Do your research and practice what you preach.
11) Above all else do not carry your wallet or purse in your back pocket. You might as well ring a bell announcing to pickpockets that you have arrived and are ripe for the picking. A money belt worn under clothing, either your shirt or pants, gives you great peace of mind. Slip the contents into a baggie to keep them sweat free and dry before zipping them into the belt.
If you are mugged, and this has never happened to us, give over your money. Walk away uninjured.
Enjoy your journey wherever your path leads and travel safely.
San Jose, California
Any travel tips to add dear readers?