My Travel Tips 3

Bring some medication

The worst holiday nightmare is getting sick while you are on vacation. It’s easier to get sick when you’re in a new place because your body hasn’t had a chance to adjust to the new environment. Three of the most common health problems that you may experience when traveling are jet lag, altitude sickness, and diarrhea.

The best prevention for altitude sickness is to gradually increase your altitude every day to get used to it. If that isn’t possible, a drug known as acetazolamide can help relieve and even prevent symptoms of altitude sickness. The best way to prevent diarrhea is to be very careful of the food you eat and the water you drink on the road.

When you’re packing, you’ll want to include any medications and other medical supplies you use on a daily basis because they may be hard to find in another country and medical cost is expensive.I spent a USD80, for a short consultantcy in the states recently when i can get the medicines here for not more that RM30.00. So, bring some Panadol/Aspirin, some ointment, inhaler (if you are asthmatic) etc.

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t drink the water in some countries overseas. Water supplies in many developing countries are not treated in the same way as water supplies in developed countries; various bacteria, viruses, and parasites are commonly found in the water. Many experts suggest you drink only bottled water when traveling. That what I did and I was save from diarrhea in India.

IMPORTANT TIP: When scheduling your leave, do include a day or two for you to rest and get over the jet lag. Normally, it will hit only the second day after you arrived from your travel

Bring some dry food

It’s good to have some dry food or snack for you to eat while waiting for your bus or while resting before you go out to the city. But, always check if the country you are visiting allow food to be brought in. From my experience, it’s safe NOT TO BRING any food to Australia. They are very strict especially on dairy food. To be safe, do not bring in anything if you don’t want to be checked. After all, you are there to sample their food. Pack things if you are going to stay there for a month or more and if you are really on a tight budget. With the current exchange rate, food is more expensive in Australia compared to three years back. In the United States (USA), they allow dried food. So, pack your Maggie Mee and biscuits if you like. For a long holidays and if you are on a budget, Maggie mee will help to save some cost.

IMPORTANT TIP: Food will be a great help along the journey to snack while waiting to find a proper food joint. In case of delayed transportation or flight, you can always grab a bite of your biscuits or buns

Bring your credit card or call to activate your card

Always bring your credit card even when you don’t plan to use it. Save it for emergency and NEVER FORGET TO ACTIVATE IT FOR OVERSEA USE BY CALLING THE CUSTOMER SUPPORT.

Create a temporary will

This is optional but before I have my own will (yes, I already have a permanent will), I will create one before I leave. I’ll let my sister or my trusted friend know where I kept my things and I will let my trusted office friend know where I kept important documents in my office. I just don’t want to create chaos if something happened to me.

IMPORTANT  TIP : If you have not have any  travel  insurance, get one. Travel insurance will only cover you during the period while you are away, therefore it cheap.

Photocopy all important travel documents

Nobody wants trouble while they are on vacation but as the saying goes “Trust God but lock your car”, be prepared for anything. So, whether you are traveling alone or with friends, always have copies of all your travel documents- your tickets and your passport and your itinerary. If you know the address and contact number of the places where you are going to stay, include that too. Give one copy to your travel partner and give another copy to your family member and keep the original with you.

Incredible Money-Saving Travel Tips

If you love  travel  but you don’t want your vacation to break the bank, here are some helpful  tips  to keep the costs way down.

1. Join airline frequent flier programs and, if you like, sign up for credit cards that offer free miles. It’s awfully nice to kick off your vacation with a free flight to your vacation destination. But make sure to sign up for the free flight months in advance if possible. You want to make sure there are open seats on your flight. Also, if a flight is overbooked and you’re on vacation, why not give up your seat for a later flight and get a free ticket for your next trip?

2. If possible, find out the off-season for your destination and travel then. There’s a world of difference between season and off-season rates. Also, why travel to the most expensive international destinations? Some of the least expensive locations include Iceland, Hungary, Panama, Mexico, Argentina, Belize, Nicaragua, Brazil, and South Africa. You might be surprised what these nations have to offer tourists.

3. There are more and more all-inclusive vacation packages available at cut-rate prices. It can save a great deal of money to have tours/attractions, lodging, meals, and other amenities included in your package price. Paying for each of these things individually can easily double or triple your vacation costs. Sometimes you can get multi-day passes to various amusements or special rates if you go later in the day. Luxury cruises in particular offer some amazingly economical all-inclusive packages.

4. Ask your travel agent if there are apartments, condos, or even home rentals available at your destination. There are lots of desperate owners out there now who will rent a condo or fine home for significantly less than you’d pay in a nice hotel. Or check out Bed & Breakfasts: off season, you may pay less for extravagant lodging and gourmet breakfasts than you’d pay for a ho-hum hotel. If you have no choice, at least sign up for hotel loyalty programs that give you a free night after so many stays at their chain.

5. There are tons of ways to save on food. Many lodgings now offer free breakfast. If not, it’s usually less expensive to find a restaurant down the street for breakfast instead of eating in the hotel restaurant. Avoid room service or your hotel room mini-bar. Instead, bring soup or oatmeal packets and use the heated water in your coffee maker. If you want to splurge on a meal, lunches are usually less expensive in restaurants than dinners. Also you can save up for fabulous meals by eating nutrition bars during the day (Balance or Power bars), nuts, sandwiches, fruit, protein drinks, etc. In some places, restaurants which locals frequent can be much less expensive than the tourist traps. (Just make yourself aware of the countries where this can be hard on your digestive tract).

6. Speaking of food—what about coffee, local candies, gourmet delights. Instead of buying items like these in souvenir or touristy shops, check out local grocery stores or farmer’s markets for much lower prices. (just a head’s up: if you buy produce from a farmer’s market, make sure you wash it carefully with soap before consuming). You can buy a gourmet feast or great beverages for next to nothing in some countries. For example, in Costa Rica, superb coffee costs $8-12.00 in tourist shops but in grocery stores it is $.75-1.00 per pound. You can almost always find bottled water at cheaper prices than in your hotel or the airport. Do a little searching. And carry around a giant thermos with your favorite beverage. You’ll be surprised how much you can save on drinks.

7. Transportation can be a huge expense, so check out your options carefully. When you factor travel time to airports, arriving at an airport early, baggage claim, flight delays, etc, it may be both cheaper and faster to use the bus or train. Also, figure out whether it would be cheaper and more convenient to rent a car than to pay for shuttles, taxis, or trains (Streetwise and Michelin’s spiral bound maps are great). Of course, in places like Europe, euro-rail passes can’t be beat when bought for several weeks or months at a time. And trains in many places are getting faster and faster.

8. For those with kids, just a few friendly hints. Bring your collapsible stroller for the tots. This can save you frustration as well as stroller rent. Also for tots, if you’re going to stay at a hotel for a week or two, why not buy things like diapers, wipes, sippy cups, snacks, and other baby items at and have them delivered in advance to the hotel? If you spend at least $25, delivery is free, and most hotels will accept deliveries as long as you already have a confirmed reservation. Give your kids a pre-set spending limit for arcades, souvenirs, etc. Knowing their limit may save a lot of whining and begging. If your lodging has a nice pool, Jacuzzi, workout room, etc., why not spend a day with the kids at the pool? They’ll have fun and it will save you that extra day in amusement park costs.

Yes, you can enjoy the vacation of a lifetime without putting your home in hock. Just follow these tips and plan ahead. Get ready for a lot of fun!

5 Travel Tips For Travel to Fiji

Fiji offers a unique blend of culture and natural beauty and travelling to this friendly country always promises a magical vacation. Most people go to Fiji for the gorgeous beaches and relaxing sun and none are disappointed.

Whether you’re looking to dive amongst spectacular coral and fish, laze on the beach under the sun, or explore rich cultural and historical sites, Fiji offers the diversity to please any traveller. As you plan your trip, consider these 5 travel tips:

#1 Choose the Right Island

Think about what you hope to get out of your trip as you start to plan. If you are looking to swim, snorkel, surf and kayak, try the Yasawa Group. If you and your family are seeking a fun time in the sun, look into the Mamanuca Group. If you want to experience awesome diving, consider Taveuni, Beqa Lagoon, to name a few. If you want to tuck away in a romantic secluded spot, escape to the remote beaches of Kadavu, or the Northern Islands of Fiji.

#2 Learn Some Language

English is the official language in Fiji, but the native language is well persevered and widely spoken. There are many terms that you might hear incorporated into everyday language. Before you go, make an effort to learn a bit of the language for the full cultural experience of Fiji.

#3 Book a cheap flight online

Australians and New Zealanders should rejoice in the fact that the flight to Fiji is not only short (3 hours from Sydney to Nadi) but that there is a good range of cheap flight deals and packages to Fiji. There are several international and regional airlines that operate flights to and from Fiji as well as affordable domestic flights to whisk you comfortably from island to island.

#4 Pack Smart

Unless you are planning to take a trek high up into the mountains, don’t worry about packing clothes for cold weather. Fiji is almost always warm, even in the evening and night. Pack plenty of light clothes including bathing suits and cotton shirts, shorts and dresses. Even formal evening events won’t dip below the ‘crisp casual’ range of clothing, so don’t worry about packing formalwear. Prepare yourself for the occasional tropical rain and with a waterproof jacket. As with any beach outing, protect yourself from the elements with hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellent.

#5 Know the Customs

While beachwear is perfectly acceptable at the resorts, scanty clothing is inappropriate in villages. When shopping, remember that bargaining is encouraged at small local shops and stalls, but not at all in major department and grocery stores. Tipping in Fiji is not customary. Visit any village or private home, especially on a weekend, and you will undoubtedly be offered a coconut shell filled with kava, a traditional drink with mildly intoxicating properties. Enjoy!

10 Great Travel Tips

I have been to 80 cities in 30 countries. I’m not a travel expert by any means, but I do have some travel advice for the next guy. The biggest tip I can give is to do your research. Most of the tips I’m going to provide fall in this category and will be explained in greater detail.

Check travel Warnings and Alerts.

Make sure it is safe to travel where you’re heading. Travel Warnings and Alerts are available at any of the regional passport agencies and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. The information is also available online at the Department of State homepage. All information about travel warnings and alerts are updated constantly.

Register your trip. It is a free service provided by the State Department.

I don’t want to deter you from traveling, but there is a good number of tourists that disappear each year. By registering your trip, they will at least have a starting place to look if you go missing.

When traveling abroad, make sure you have the address and phone number of your local U.S. Embassy.

In an emergency you want to have this information readily available.

Before traveling, find out if your health insurance company will cover you in an emergency abroad.

In the event of an emergency, cost is not your first concern, I know. It is however, a third or fourth concern. I had a friend who traveled to Thailand and had to have an emergency appendectomy. He spent four days in a hospital in Bangkok and when he got home he had a bill for $20,000 that wasn’t covered by his U.S. provider. A travel insurance policy would have cut that cost to almost nothing.

Notify your credit card companies when traveling to unusual places or for long periods of time. The last thing you want to happen is to have your cards canceled by your credit card company because they believed the card had been stolen.

When checking your backpack at an airport, use a pack cover to prevent pockets opening and straps catching on conveyor belts. Now I can tell you from experience you don’t want to be the person at the airport collecting their pack that is open and ripped to shreds. To add insult to injury, my journal was missing and everyone in baggage claim saw what type of boxers I wear.

Keep 20 bucks in your shoe. In an emergency, $20 can get you a ride, meal, and a phone call. It hasn’t happened to me but I have met people with horror stories about being robbed abroad. With no money and no ID, they had to beg for a few bucks for a cab ride to the U.S. Embassy.

If your unsure about drinking the water where you’re going, use a water bottle with a filter. You can get one at any camping store. When I was in Egypt and I was kicking myself for not having one of these. Remember different countries have different organisms in the water that the locals’ bodies are used to. Forgieners might not have that same luck in drinking the water. When in doubt, drink bottled water with a name that you trust.

Go with the flow. Traveling, especially aboard is one of the best experiences you could possibly have. You’ll meet tons of travelers who just want to see the world and have a good time doing it. Be respectful of others and their beliefs when abroad because they might be different from your own. Be open minded and friendly and I guarantee you’ll have a great time.

Until my next article, cheers!

Women’s Travel Safety Tips

Women are traveling around the world more than ever before and even alone either for business or on a pleasure trip. However, this is also resulting into criminal incidences with women while on travel. It has become necessary to take safety precautions for a successful travel. Use the following  travel  safety  tips  to be as safe and secure as you feel in your town:

o  Travel  safety  tips  while in a culturally conservative country. Please make yourself familiar with the laws and customs of the places where you wish to go. Here are examples of two situations you may encounter with. It is illegal in few countries to invite persons of opposite sex to your hotel room. Police in Saudi Arabia can arrest foreigners for wearing “improper dress”. Avoid any obscene postures while on travel to an unknown place. Few countries have a public code of conduct and police at most tourist places discourage kissing in public.

o Women’s  travel  safety  tips  for clothes. There is no doubt that fashion makes a statement. However not everyone perceives fashion the way you do. People from different cultures consider the clothing, which you consider casual, as provocative or inappropriate. Jeans and t-shirt covering most of your bodies are a better option for travel clothing. Jeans is safer than a skirt or mini if you need to run or defend yourself.

o Blending yourself with public is the best safety measure during travel. Try to purchase a local dress and wear it sometimes to give an impression of being native or being familiar with the place. Always wear one or two local accessories such as hat, chains, and scarves.

o Safety devices  travel   tips  for women. Many safety devices available in market work as good self-defense arms. Pepper spray is a high-pressure extract of pepper. Its spray on assailant’s face would disable him for 5-6 minutes. There is stun gun with electrostatic high voltage charge. It will provide heavy shock to assailant and weaken his muscles.

o Use common sense and be alert and aware of your surroundings. If you are unsure in general about the local situation, feel free to check with the American Citizens Services section of the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate for the latest security information.

o Show confidence while talking to strangers. Criminals often look for weak women, who submit easily. Do not ignore any instance of eve teasing. If caught in a difficult situation, show bravery and boldness. Scream, fight and run as hard as possible.

Travel Tips – Money

By now you know where you’re going, when you’re off and where you’re going to be heading to and maybe even booked your accommodation. But you will still need access to more money while you’re away – there are souvenirs, entrance fees, local transport, meals,  tips , coffee’s, tea and scones, etc., etc. that you will need to pay for as you  travel  to all these incredible places you’re planning to visit.

Ensure you have at least two different sources of funds with you on your travels – it can be very frustrating if you lose your one and only credit card. So make sure you have two cards kept in two different places, backup cash, Travellers Cheques (see comment below re: travellers cheques) or a source of funds that can be sent to you at short notice from back home (we prefer the 2 card approach – mind you we use debit cards with an overdraft option rather than credit cards – travelling on credit means you can’t afford to travel). Make sure your card/s are Cirrus or Maestro affiliated and you will be able to draw out funds in any ATM anywhere in the world.

Always have some emergency cash money with you in US dollars, Japanese Yen or Euros – about US$500 should be sufficient to see you through if necessary.

Forget about Travellers cheques – they are an expensive way to carry and exchange money, many businesses today will NOT redeem them and too often the banks are closed when you need to cash some of them. But they are a very secure way of carrying money but are really not worth it.

ALWAYS use a money belt to secure your money and passport and make sure you wear it under your clothes – or buy a pouch that you can hang around your neck and under your shirt – keep it out of sight. They can be purchased at travel shops. It may be a bit difficult to get at your money but it is well worth the security they offer. DO NOT USE A BUM BAG! They can be taken from you in less than a second.

Some money saving ideas if on a budget Never change one currency for another in a third country. You will be slugged for the exchange fees twice over. Change US dollars for Indian Rupees in Singapore and they first; exchange your US Dollars into Singaporeans Dollars and slug you an exchange fee. Then they take those same Singaporean Dollars and exchange them into Indian Rupees and slug you another exchange fee – it ends up being very expensive for large exchange amounts. It is generally best to change currencies in your destination country (ie change your Australian Dollars into Japanese Yen in Japan).

Alcohol can be very expensive in some countries (like $12 for a glass of beer in some Scandanavian countries – not that cheap in the USofA either). Buy drinks in a supermarket or bottle shop and you can save a lot on money.

Wash clothes in the shower, wash basin or bath at your hotel and hang them up in the bedroom to dry. Using hotel or public laudromats can become expensive – if you can even find them.

Often places worth a visit can be free or have cut price days – check them out and get there when it’s cheapest.

Some restaurants don’t diplay their prices which can lead to gasps of dismay if you’re not careful. Either go and find a place to eat that advertises the price or ask.

Some restaurants will charge you for sitting down (common in Italy and France) so check it out before you sit or be safe and stand and eat/drink at the bar.

Always use phone cards when using phones, especially when phoning overseas. Costs can be cut by upwards of 80% by using these cards. Find the cheapest for the country you will be calling the most – home?

Things are always cheaper in the countryside so don’t hang about citys all the time. There are also wonderful places to go that are not Rome, LA, London, Tokyo or Berlin.

Buy food and clothes in markets as they are cheaper places to buy food than restaurants or even try a supermarket. Make up your own meals – try sitting on the bank of the Seine with a hunk of cheese and a French loaf you just bought at the local food market – blissful and cheap!

In poor countries it is safe to eat the local food! But make sure that it is either peelable fruit that YOU peal, fresh fruit (non-peelable) and vegetables that you have washed with bottled water or that the food is streaming hot – make sure you see it steaming as the heat will kill the germs that will cause you the most problems.

Travel Tips For the Business Traveler

Most business travelers already know the basics. You pack fairly light so you only have carry-on baggage. Not only does this save time, it can save dollars as well since most airlines are charging for luggage now. Another given is to eliminate airport lay-overs where possible. This eliminates much of the possibility of being stranded or missing a connection. If you do need to connect a flight, most business people schedule the departing flight as closely as possible to arrival in order to save time. Lastly, you can participate in the new ‘frequent travelers’ pre-cleared security program and avoid long security lines. Unfortunately, the world of travel today means you must make additional decisions beyond these basics.

With the airlines reduced scheduling making connections and layovers more necessary now, it means you may not want or be able to try to schedule that 1 hour layover any more. Especially if you are traveling in the winter from any Eastern airport or overseas where a missed connection may mean you cannot travel for a couple more days. So what is a good strategy for travel today?

Firstly, join an airline club or lounge program where it includes free WI-FI access. This enables you to safely build in time in your itinerary so you can relax and still work if you have a 3 hour layover. The added benefit is if your inbound flight is late, you still have a 2 hour cushion to catch your connecting flight. Again, booking non-stop is preferable but sometimes meetings require a quick stop somewhere and a non-stop flight is not possible. The double advantage of the reserved lounge is that you can spread out your work and conduct business from your laptop and cell phone.

Never use the airlines baggage system. Just one time that they lose (even temporarily) your bags and your trip is ruined. And if you have to run from one concourse to another, there is nothing worse that waiting for your checked bag to appear. But, if you MUST check a bag, use the curbside check in wherever possible. This will speed you through check in and allow you to go straight to security. Ideally, you have an e-ticket and will check in at the gate, so carry ons are preferable to checked bags here too.

If you have to go through security, plan ahead. Put your phone, change, comb and any small items in your carry on. Don’t waste time scooping up 38 cents in change plus paper clips, keys, notes, candy, medicines etc from the conveyor belt. Wear pants that don’t fall to your feet when you have to take your belt off and wear slip on shoes instead of laced ones.

Make sure you mobile phone and laptop are fully charged. If you have a layover, use this time to re-charge them while you eat. These simple  tips  followed each time you  travel  will result in HOURS or saved time for you and as a businessperson, you know time is money!

Travel – Family Air Travel Tips

Air travel with young children could be a source of stress for travelling parents. The following tips are aimed at helping parents and children have an easier travel. Arriving at the airport two or one hours before the scheduled time is very important. Your kids will have enough time to familiarize with the area and you will have all the time to buy snacks. You should always remember to carry passports for your travel, including Identification Cards for adults. Remember to pack all the important documents for your family members such as emergency telephone numbers and medical records.

Carry non-perishable snacks for the kids since most airlines have no snacks. Most airline recommend snacks like; dried fruits, puffed wheat and sliced cheese. Carry powdered milk and treated water for mixing, avoid using tap water from the plane since you are not sure if the water is treated. In order to allow good comfort for your child, carry a light blanket, jacket or a sweater which is easy to wear or remove depending on the temperature on the plane. Small kids get bored quickly therefore, pack a small bag with favorite toys and story books within your bag. If you have an entertaining book or magazine for you and the kids, this will be very interesting especially if you assist them in answering some of the questions in the magazines.

While passing through various check points, one parent can queue the line while the other looks after the children on the open spaces of the lounge. All the members of the family should however stay close in case the travel agents need to see all the passengers. Parents travelling with their baby in a carrier car seat should keep the car seat with them till they reach their destination. Make sure your trolley has a tag will all the necessary information such as address, name and your contacts and if possible, pack the trolley in your bag.

If your flight has delayed after boarding, ask the flight staff whether the kids can play on the plane to avoid boredom and try to engage them on a quiet play. To reduce the ear pressure when the plane is taking off, give chewing gum to big children and milk to small babies. You can also tell stories, sing quietly or sooth them to sleep. Give the children toys only when they ask for them. Give them one item at a time to keep them busy.

Travel Tips: Travel Safety

Travel Safety

When you travel the odds are you will have a safe and incident-free trip. However, if you are not aware of basic travel safety you can become a victim of crime or violence. If you exercise discretion, aren’t overly trusting, and don’t put yourself into risky situations, your travels should be safe and worry free. Don’t travel afraid – travel carefully.

Following are some of my suggestions to help you travel safely.

1. Luggage tags – never put your home address and phone number as this advertises the fact that you will be out of the country. I put my business address and phone number and I use a tag that has a cover.

2. Never leave your luggage unattended.

3. Travel light. Limit your luggage to 1 checked bag and a small carry.I find this allows me to move quickly, to have a free hand and avoid injury due to heavy lifting.

4. Dress down. Don’t wear expensive jewelry as this only attracts attention. I leave my valuables at home and take costume jewelry.

5. Never wear name tags in public.

6. Only take taxis clearly identified with official markings. Beware of unmarked cabs.

7. If taking a taxi, sit behind the driver so that you can see him, but he can’t see you.

8. If driving, park in well-lit and well-traveled areas

9. Don’t use short cuts, narrow alleys or poorly lit streets.

10. Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.

11. Do not give your room number or any other personal information in public. When giving my room number to travel companions I say it quietly away from others or write it on a piece of paper and hand it to them privately.

12. If staying alone in a hotel room, request a lower floor, near the elevator. If my room is at the far end of the hallway I insist on having it moved closer to the elevator for personal safety.

13. Keep door locked at all times and use safety chains. I place an item in front of the door at night as the noise of it being moved will arouse me if someone tries to enter my room.

14. Read the fire safety instructions in your hotel room. Know how to report a fire, and be sure you know where the nearest fire exits and alternate exits are located.Count the doors between your room and the nearest exit; this could be a lifesaver if you have to crawl through a smoke-filled corridor.

15. If you are alone, do not get on an elevator if there is a suspicious-looking person inside.

16. Take note of the hotel name, address and telephone number. If you become disoriented you can go into a shop or ask a local authority for directions back to your hotel. I pick up a card from the front desk or have the hotel clerk write the information on a piece of paper for me.

17. Never flash your money in public, when paying for items remove it discreetly from your wallet or purse.. I always wear a fanny pack and keep a small amount of cash in here to pay for incidentals.

18. Wear a money belt to keep your valuables safe. I keep my passport, credit cards, insurance information and cash in my money belt and use my fanny pack for small bits of cash.

19. Let the bag go. If some grabs your bag let it go. If you fight back you risk being injured.

20. Don’t carry a purse over your shoulder or hang it over the back of a chair. If I am carrying a purse I keep it in the front of my body and turn the zippered part inwards, when dining I keep it on my lap.

21. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and watch for pick pockets. They usually work in pairs and distract you. They will ask directions or play the bump and grab routine, one person bumps you while the other grabs your purse or picks you pocket.

22. Never accept food or drink from a stranger. Keep an eye on your drink at all times.

23. Learn the local laws and customs. When traveling you’re subject to the laws of the country you are visiting. Before you go, learn as much as you can about the local laws and customs of the places you plan to visit.

24. Leave all unnecessary pieces of identification at home. I only take my passport, insurance information and 1 credit card and 1 debit card. Leave your driver’s license (if not renting a car), social insurance, health card and credit cards not being used at home.

25. Leave a copy of your travel itinerary and hotel contact information with a family member or close friend.If anything should they know where you are and have a better chance of getting a hold of you.

26. Copy your passport, insurance information, credit and debit card numbers and emergency contact numbers.Take one copy with you and keep it separate from the originals.Leave a copy with a family member or close friend. If you lose any of these items this makes it much easier to cancel the cards or have your passport replaced.

27. In case of an accident, make sure you have completed the information page on the inside of your passport. Include the name, address and telephone number of someone to be contacted in an emergency.

28. Register with your government. The Canadian Government offers this services that they can contact and assist you in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform you of a family emergency at home. Click on the following link to register.

Travel Tips

When you  travel  a lot like I do, you come to depend on habits and  tips  to keep everything going smoothly. Recently while I was at 30,000 feet I started thinking about my very best practices that make the biggest difference in my travel experiences.

1. Ritualize your travel – While going to new places can be one of life’s biggest joys, it is also filled with the unfamiliar, which can create stress. Rituals and routines provide a sense of comfort and control that can be very helpful. The fewer decisions you have to make, the more energy you have. That’s why I have all sorts of travel rituals. I always park in the same general area at the airport. I try to fly on the same airline and I purchase the same snacks at the same airport shops. I even try to fly through the same connector cities with airports I prefer. Once in my hotel room I immediately unpack my things before heading out. And even though I never order from room service, I always read the menu. Cumulatively, these rituals help to offset the stress of travel and put me in the right frame of mind to explore. They’re an important part of my process.

2. Bond with people over places – As a visitor you have instant intrigue. You are the novelty. By letting it be known you’re “not from around here,” you open doors to conversations that allow you to meet others, connect and uncover hidden gems about your destination. When you travel, people always want to know where you’re from, which can lead to all sorts of interesting conversations, including where they’re originally from and all the things you might have in common. Geography is something we all share and it’s a great way to break the ice in any new situation.

3. Numerate your pleasure – The ultimate gift of travel is that it expands you as a person and leads to greater self-awareness. I’ve noticed that sometimes the amount of fun I expected to have is different from the reality, so I started using a simple numbered approach to help me learn what I most enjoy. How? I simply pick a number between one and 10 that reflects how much I expect to enjoy an activity, and then, after it’s done, I pick a number between one and 10 to reflect how much I truly did enjoy it. This simple habit has helped me learn that I derive a lot of joy from wandering around cities solo, something I had no idea I even liked. I also discovered that I love sitting in cafes or restaurants for hours people-watching and writing. Before I picked up the numeration habit I never scheduled time for that. But now I always do.

4. Talk to everyone – As a travel writer, I couldn’t write a good story without getting the inside scoop from those in the know. And quite often those in the know are your waiter, your concierge, the person who checks you into your hotel or the guy driving your cab. You don’t have to be a travel writer to take a moment to chat them up about their towns. Ask what is new and cool, what people are talking about, what experiences are not-to-be-missed. People generally welcome a genuine interest in their area of expertise and you gain so much by reaching out.

5. Keep some open time – Once you find out about the fantastic new restaurant you’ll want to make sure to visit. But that can’t happen if you’re already committed to other restaurants every night of your stay. By leaving yourself some free time you can take advantage of sudden opportunities. Even if you spend your free time napping in your room, you’ll be more refreshed and cenetered for when you do venture out.