Travel Tips

Travel Photos
Packing List
Photo Tips

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 prior 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 Health 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 to 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 trinkets easier.)
  • 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 what the country access code is for your calling card from your destination prior to travel.
  • Know the location and phone number for your country's embassy at your destination prior to travel, and keep this information handy.
  • Bring your prescription medications with you, and know what they 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 countries.
  • Especially when visiting cultures with limited resources, bring items of 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 reinforces dependency.
  • Pack light, making use of quick-dry clothing that can be washed 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 tip.)
  • If you are going to an environment where a flashlight is needed, 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 schedule 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 your 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.
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