“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”
If you didn’t read my post last week, I’m participating in the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge by Winta from Wandering Outside the Box. Julie (who just nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award-thank you, my dear) and Vikki are also contributing to this along with many others so follow them to read their travel stories!
Week 2: Little known travel tips
Inform your credit card companies of what dates you will be out of town and where you will be going. This allows you to use that fancy piece of plastic abroad without fear of being declined and reported for fraud. Also, you can withdraw money at the ATMs whenever you need it.
Wear what the locals wear. Fanny packs? You might as well write ‘American’ on your forehead in red lipstick. This makes you a target for theft because everyone will know you’re a tourist. (Sometimes you can’t help it because simply the way you look makes it clear you’re not a native, but do your best anyway.)
Drink a ton of water. Dehydration is a top reason why travelers get sick on vacation. Think about it-you’re in a new place doing new things every day and your routine is completely thrown out of wack. That ‘5 bottles of water a day’ mentality has to stay in tact even when you’re not sitting at your desk in the office.
If you’re listening to music for any reason in public, always keep one earbud out. Hiking a mountain without any sense of what’s around you except for what you can see is very dangerous. No matter what your mom told you as a child, no one has eyes in the back of their head. You could be missing sirens or a possible thief coming up behind you.
Buy a postcard from each place you visit. They’re usually less than a dollar and make for very inexpensive souvenirs. I put mine in a scrapbook, where I also place all the other photos from the trip. It’ll be cool to look through all your scrapbooks in ten years and see all the places you’ve been.
Do your best to disconnect. iPad? Leave it in the safe in the hotel. Laptop? Leave it in the safe with the iPad. I do recommend bringing your phone everywhere and keeping it on in the case of an emergency, but other than that leave it in your bag. In a world where technology is taking over, we’re becoming addicted to these things (I say as I type on my MacBook). For real though, enjoy your surroundings and take everything in. You can go back to texting when you get home.
Support local business. For a lot of places, tourists are their main income. Contribute to keeping these businesses afloat so they’re still standing when future travelers pass through, and they will be able to enjoy the stores like you did and pay it forward. Also, souvenirs are usually half the price at these local stands/shops than they are at a chain.
Keep extra copies of all your travel documents. Your passport, ID, boarding passes, train tickets, itinerary, any confirmations you have from booking-this includes hotels, car rentals, tours, etc. You never know when you’ll need them. Keep them in the safe with your iPad and laptop once you arrive at your destination.
Always, always, always give someone from home your itinerary. This includes exact addresses of wherever you’re staying, exactly what you’ll be doing, times of what you’re doing and where you’ll be if you’ve planned that far ahead, flight numbers, pictures of all the travel documents in that holy safe in your hotel, etc. Keep that person informed the best you can all the way through your trip. It’s helpful to even have more than one of those people, if possible. This is the most important tip. In the case you should go missing or something took a wrong turn, that contact should be able to give emergency personnel as much detail as possible to keep you safe.
I feel like this post turned a little scary, but I didn’t mean for it to! The #1 rule to traveling is always to be safe. I think everything else works itself out and falls into place.
Check out Week 1 of my Travel Blogging Challenge if you haven’t already, and I’d love to hear other tips from my followers that I haven’t thought of and that you would add to this post!