Washington DC Travel Tips

Washington DC is a cultural mecca for those who love art, architecture, history and a classy environment. Being the capital of our great country this place has a lot to offer so it is important to properly organize your schedule before visiting such an inviting place.

To quickly mention just a few of the places which are “a must see” we will quote the following:

The Lincoln Memorial which is located at the west end of the National Mall (also a must see), this great landmark offers several view points of the city and it is highly regarded due to its profound historic value.

The Vietnam veterans memorial which is also an important landmark which is meant to engrave in our memories the 58 thousand Americans which died or went missing during the tragic events of the Vietnam war.

Washington’s National Cathedral which is open to worshipers of all denominations is the sixth largest cathedral in the world and due to its unique gothic architecture is quite an attraction which also offers great views of the surroundings.

The National Air and Space Museum where all kinds of aircraft designs as well as the finished planes can be found, this is ‘a must’ if you have children who are big fans of planes. For those who are big fans of Star Trek, the original model of the “Enterprise” space ship can be explored.

There are literally dozens of places which deserve to be quoted but since there are so many places to go to, you will definitively need a way to get around in style without having to rely on taxi cabs every time you want to see a different attraction, not to even mention that in the long run it will be expensive.

For those who are planning to visit our nations capital, the best way to get around is by limousine. If you live in a place where limousine transportation is not that common don’t worry, Washington D.C. is an extremely classy place to be and it’s also the place where the White House is found, so it is not rare to see many people using Washington DC limo transportation to ride comfortably and in style, and if you think about it there are several advantages such as having a courteous and knowledgeable driver who knows his way around the city as well as the safety it represents not having to drive after a few drinks.

Whether you are going for pleasure or if you were invited to a Wedding, are assisting a Convention or are traveling due to business you owe it to yourself to stop by some of the most beautiful and meaningful attractions Washington DC has, as well as enjoying of stylish transportation. Also, remember that when hiring a Washington DC limo service it is important to know whether these services will cover Multi-city transportation since not only Washington DC has great attractions but neighboring cities are also quite picturesque.

African Travel Tips When Visiting Kenya

Kenya is the land that has given birth to the most popular African activity for tourists, namely the safari, and its easy to see why. Blessed with tremendous topographical diversity stretching over four climatic zones and featuring coral reefs, desert landscapes, volcanoes and snow-capped mountains, Kenya has it all in one.

Inhabiting these diverse landscapes and wilderness areas are Kenya’s world-famous wildlife, which can be viewed from horseback, 4×4 vehicle, verandah or on foot. There are over 1000 species of birds and huge colonies of colourful butterflies. Also attractive is the rich history, which dates back to the Stone Age, and the various cultures expressed through the sought-after arts and crafts.

So, if you are lazing on the white sand beaches of exotic Mombasa or gazing at the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle, the annual wildebeest migration, you are sure to enjoy a world-class experience.

CAPITAL:

Nairobi

CLIMATE:

Four climatic zones exist: tropical, equatorial, semi-desert and desert. Only two seasons are identified, namely dry and rainy. Due to altitude and topographical differences of the various regions, these seasons and temperatures are not uniform and vary greatly. However, in general the climate is warm and humid at the coast, cool and humid in the central highlands, and hot and dry in the north and east.

CURRENCY:

The official currency is the Kenya Shilling. Traveller’s cheques are widely accepted and many hotels, travel agencies, safari companies and restaurants accept credit cards. Foreign currency such as US dollars, British pounds and Deutschmarks can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and authorized hotels. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya, but taking out more than 500,000 Kenya Shillings requires written authorization from the Central Bank. Before departure, travellers are advised to convert any excess Kenya Shillings into foreign currency at a bank or bureau de change. Departure taxes can be paid in local or foreign currency.

ELECTRICITY:

220/240 volts, 50Hz. Plugs are 3-pin square.

HEALTH:

A yellow fever vaccination is recommended if the traveller comes from an infected country or area. Visitors are also advised to take pre-arrival precautions against typhoid, hepatis A, polio, malaria and meningitis depending on the area visited and time of year. Other health concerns include cholera, rabies, the Nairobi beetle (don’t touch, threaten or kill), dysentery and diarrhoea.

LANGUAGE:

English is the official language, but Kiswahili is the national language.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS:

New Year’s Day (1 Jan); Good Friday (09 Apr); Easter Monday (12 Apr); Labour Day (1 May); Madaraka Day (01 Jun); Moi Day (10 Oct); Kenyatta’s Day (20 Oct); End of Ramadan (14 Nov); Independance Day (12 Dec); Christmas Day (25 Dec); Boxing Day (26 Dec)

SHOPPING:

Traditional artefacts, beaded jewellery and decorative items, animal wood and soapstone carvings, furniture, coffee, precious stones, furniture, Khanga and Kikoy cloths, musicical instruments, modern art, basket work e.g. Kiondoo/Chondo sisal baskets, Maasai Shukka blankets, ‘Thousand Miler’ sandals, ‘elephant hair’ bracelets.

SOCIAL CONVENTIONS:

Culture here is a mix of the modern and the traditional, with European habits prevailing throughout the country. Kenyans are a very friendly nation and you can dress informally for most occasions.

TIME DIFFERENCE:

GMT +3

TIPPING:

Not mandatory. Guides, drivers, waiters and hotel staff can be tipped at your discretion.

TOP TEN ATTRACTIONS DESCRIPTION:

Maasai Mara:

National Reserve The world’s most famous Game Reserve due to the annual wildebeest, zebra and gazelle migration over this vast plain offering breathtaking views; home to a profusion of wildlife and birds; activities include excellent game viewing year round, balloon rides and bird watching.

Tsavo East and West:

The twin national parks of Tsavo, totalling 10 million acres of wilderness, form Kenya’s largest National Park, which make it ideal for those who enjoy solitude; of the two Tsavo West is visited more; apart from the wildlife and birds, visit Lugard Falls, the volcanic Mzima springs and a unique underwater observatory.

Mombasa:

One of the world’s most exotic tropical ports with a turbulent history. Visit the magnificent Fort Jesus and harbour, see the Arab architecture in Old Town and smell the scent of spices. Many fine temples and mosques can be explored such as the Shiva Temple, the Baluchi mosque and the Dawoodi Bohra Mosque. Also don’t miss the Mombasa Marine National Park, the Moi Avenue gateway arch, dhow cruises and the beaches.

Amboseli National Park:

One of the most popular national parks in Kenya with a wide range of accommodation; the landscape is dominated by Mount Kilimanjaro and the park is famous for its big game and scenic beauty; bird life is abundant.

Lake Nakuru National Park:

Famous for its flamingoes and so popular with bird watchers and other nature lovers. Make full use of the view point and visit the Euphobia forest.

Mount Kenya National Park:

The country is named after Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa. For mountain climbers and hikers, it offers easy and challenging ascents with superb scenic beauty. The local tribes believe it is the home of Ngai (God). A number of unique, rare and endangered species can be found here and there is abundant bird life.

Lamu:

A peaceful tropical island with a fascinating history, which can be explored in the winding streets of its medieval stone town, a World Heritage Site partly due to it being the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa.

Lake Turkana National Parks:

The three national parks serve as a stopover for migrant waterfowl and are major breeding grounds for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus and a variety of venomous snakes. Turkana is outstanding for the study of plant and animal communities and the Koobi Fora fossil deposits have contributed more to the understanding of paleo-environments than any other site in Africa, it is also the most saline of Africa’s large lakes and a World Heritage Site.

Aberdare National Park:

A must for landscape lovers, where one can view spectacular mountains, waterfalls, rainforest, trout streams, moorlands, thickets of giant heath, caves, abundant bird life, duikers, the black rhino and the elusive, rare Bongo – a forest antelope. This area is ideal for walks, picnics, trout fishing, camping and night game viewing.

Mount Elgon National Park:

One of Kenya’s most beautiful and pristine areas where you can find giant trees, about 400 animals, over 240 bird species and ‘cave elephants’ that venture deep into the four caves at night to feed on the salt rich deposits. Mount Elgon is also a famous botanical locality with a great wealth of Afro alpine flowers. Hot springs occur and sport fishing is popular on the Suam river.

Best Holiday Travel Tips

With the number of people traveling for the holidays, it is important to take some safety precautions to ensure that everyone is comfortable and secure.

In light of that, here are some of the best  tips  from people who have experienced  traveling  during the holiday rush:

· Home Safety

The first thing that you need to keep safe is your home. Make sure that it will be safe during the entire time that you will be gone. Double check the locks on all your windows and doors. Unplug unnecessary appliances and check your faucets. Turn your security alarm on and put it in timer mode. Inform your neighbor that you will be gone and ask them if they can keep an eye on your home. Do not leave messages on your answering machine regarding the vacation.

· Pack Wisely

If you are going to be away for just a few days, try to pack as light as you can. As much as possible, just take a carry on bag to avoid having to pay for check in luggage. Do not bring items that are highly prohibited at the airport. If you are traveling by car, put all your luggage in the compartment in order to have more room inside of the car.

· Traveling by Plane

Before going to the airport make sure to call the airline and confirm your flight; this is important to make sure that you can be accommodated on the flight, or if there are any possibilities of a cancelled flight.

Leave at least 4 hours early if you are flying international and 3 hours for domestic flights. It is better to wait at the airport than to be left behind by the plane.

Secure all your documents and have them handy when you are in line at the airport security checkpoints.

· Traveling by Car

Have your vehicle checked by your mechanics a week before you leave. This is very important especially during the winter season. It would be a total disaster if you will be stranded on the road in the middle of nowhere because your car suddenly refused to budge.

· Managing your Gifts

Wrapped gifts are not allowed at the airport, so do not waste your efforts on wrapping your presents. It would be a good idea to just bring the items and then wrap them up when you reach your destination. Another good idea is to have them shipped to the destination.

· Traveling with Kids

 Travelling  with your kids can be tiresome, but with a few  tips  and a lot of patience a whole lot of inconveniences can be avoided. If you are bringing an infant, you need to make sure that all the baby essentials are in one bag. Do not forget to bring some toys and make sure that the baby formulas are always ready.

For older kids, try to keep them busy to avoid tantrums and frequent whining. Children have the tendency to get easily bored if they have to stay in one place for a long time, so try to keep them entertained.

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 Amazon.com 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!