|The following are
tips we have
found to be invaluable to consider when
planning a trip:
- Laminate a copy of your passport along with that of your
traveling companion, and keep both copies with each member of the
party. The laminated copy won't be damaged by water, and will
facilitate replacement of the original should it disappear. Try
to keep the original in a safe place, perhaps a hotel safe. The
original can also be scanned into your home computer to be accessed by
someone at home or remotely by you should the need arise.
- Check with your health insurance company to verify coverage
to travel, and find out what the procedure is for filing a claim for
reimbursement of medical expenses once you return. You might need
written receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses. Also, inquire
about "evacuation insurance" which may be necessary should you require
transportation out of an area quickly due to natural disaster, serious
injury or political conflict. Without insurance, this
can be very expensive.
- Always visit the State Department website and the World
Organization website before traveling to an unfamiliar area. Here
you can obtain current travel alerts relating to health concerns and
crime statistics. These alerts can change frequently, and
therefore should be looked at even if you have traveled to your
destination before. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is
also a helpful site. These links are on the "links" page.
- Inquire with your insurance agent about a "floater" policy
cover lost/stolen camera equipment, electronics and jewelry that you
might bring with you on your travels. These policies are
surprisingly inexpensive. (I recommend leaving jewelry at
home. This discourages robbery and makes negotiations for
- Consider visiting a travel clinic that specializes in
vaccinations and health related travel advice prior to your trip.
Realize these clinics make their income off vaccinations and
medications, so read about the diseases found at your destination and
make an informed decision as to what you feel is necessary. Do
this early, as some vaccinations can require months to be effective.
- Look into telephone calling cards for long distance
calling. This is usually the least expensive way to keep in touch
while away, other than via the Internet. Avoid cards with
connection fees which can make a low price per minute not as good as
it sounds. MCI has an excellent calling card. Find out
country access code is for your calling card from your destination
prior to travel.
- Know the location and phone number for your country's
your destination prior to travel, and keep this information handy.
- Bring your prescription medications with you, and know what
are called in the language of your destination should you run
short. Some medications are packaged differently in other
countries, and misidentification can obviously be disastrous.
Also, some prescription medications are over-the-counter in foreign
- Especially when visiting cultures with limited resources,
clothing and school supplies to give away. These things are
usually greatly appreciated. Avoid giving things directly to
children, but give them to the adults. Avoid the temptation to
give candy to children. Giving cash to individuals just
- Pack light, making use of quick-dry clothing that can be
in a sink at night and dry by the next day. Generally, the less
you have to carry around, the better time you will have. There are
links on the "links" page for clothing/equipment companies that carry
these items. (If you view
travel as an opportunity to make a fashion statement, disregard this
- If you are going to an environment where a flashlight is
consider an inexpensive and light-weight headlamp instead.
Plastic bags of all sizes can be very handy for keeping things dry and
separating dry and wet items. A diver's wallet which floats is
a great way to carry valuables in a watery environment. See
"packing list" page for
suggestions, and customize the list for your own needs.
- Be open minded and flexible with regard to unforeseen
changes and view travel as an adventure. Also, as an unofficial
ambassador of your country, be polite and humble. People often
judge your country of origin by your actions.
- If the currency in your country is weak against that of
destination, paying for your trip through a domestic tour company prior
to leaving may save you money.
- Consider backpack-style baggage which can make active
vacations easier. Inexpensive TSA locks which can be opened by
security personnel allow you to lock checked baggage.
- Bring along meal bars, which are essentially well-balanced
meals in a snack form. If good food is not readily available,
these will get you by.