We start a new feature here today, The World's Greatest Travelers™ tip of the day.
The idea is to impart on travelers everywhere a little unconventional wisdom, tips and
quotes that will hopfully increase your Travel IQ--or just have more fun traveling!
Occasionally they will be peppered with Top Ten lists. Comments welcome.
So here goes...
Day 55 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Myth #2 - I’m too old to travel. Oh really, who said? If your kids don’t
need you around and you have the inclination, time and money--why not? It’s
not like you need anyone’s permission, right? That old cliché rings true for travelers
too: it doesn’t matter how old you are, it only matters how old you feel. Think about
it; you followed the rules, did the requisite things in life that responsible citizens do:
high school (check), maybe college (check), a job for 40+ years (check),
husband/wife/mate/friends (check), maybe kids (check)--you paid your taxes and
your dues! Sure you won't have the same energy as a 21 year old and may not
want to deal with some of the discomforts of travel, but there are always ways around
that—and you have the acquired wisdom to figure it out. Life is short...and growing
shorter...it is a simple case of now or never. Enjoy!
Day 54 Travel Tip of the Day:
The Seven Deadly Sins of Travelers:
(Although envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth and wrath still apply!)
1. Always looking for cheap;
2. Packing high expectations;
3. Putting off till tomorrow what you could do today;
4. Being a guest in a country and behaving badly…
5. Not doing enough prior research…
6. Being silly or drunk…or both!
7. Bad luck… wrong place at the wrong time not using your situational awareness!
Day 53 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Mindset #15 - Did you know that 85% of trips are taken to places that the travelers
have already been to—sometimes, over and over again. A curious, adventurous traveler
might consider trying someplace exciting and novel in order to expand their comfort zones.
You never feel more alive than when you challenge yourself.
"Once a year go someplace you have never been before." - Dalai Lama
Day 52 Travel Tip of the Day"
Travel Tip #380 – Your money is important--to you and in the places you spend it.
When traveling, especially in struggling destinations, make a small effort to
understand where your money spent is actually going. Is it staying in the country
or being exported? Is it going in a corporate brands coffers or recirculating in the
hands of locals? Try to leave as much as you can in-country--that makes the
tourism equation a virtuous cycle and more rewarding for all.
Day 51 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Advisory Tip #101 – I know it is your dream destination—Cork, Ireland—that
you saved and planned for years to visit. But do not, under any circumstances,
kiss the Cork institution known as the Blarney Stone (aka Stone of Eloquence)—unless
you want to kiss any of the other 1,000 or so other daily visitors who do. Yuck! It has
been affectionately called the Bacteria Stone by local guides; and it will only give you the
gift of herpes--not the Irish gift of gab. Be forewarned…
Day 50 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #389 – Just a word to the wise when purchasing items in markets:
Never, ever, take currency/bills from a fish monger or off a fishing boat sales
person--it will stink up your pocket/wallet for days. Trust me on this one!
Day 49 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #876 - Having the proper mindset when traveling is key; so don't expect
anything from the first and last days of your trip, vacation or adventure...they are to
and fro days, travel days...and are by design are usually NO FUN!
Get over it….don't complain, be happy you are traveling!
Day 48 Travel Tip of the Day:
"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the
people, you might better stay at home." - James Michener
Day 47 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #444 – One of the biggest issues most travelers will suffer from is
“money illusion”--that causes you to overspend. Three things play into this illusion:
1) you think prices are the same as where you live (called purchasing power parity)—and
they usually are not!; 2) you don’t know the real value of you money because you don’t
know the “real” exchange rate—sometimes the street rate is a lot different from the
official bank rate; and 3) travelers forget all the fees associated with accessing their
money and making non-cash purchases: exchange fees, conversion fees, international
services and bank fees. The simple Rx: Check you card fees before you go, carry cash
and a calculator, or, better yet, a currency-conversion app.
Day 46 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #954 – A great way to keep your recent travel memories alive
is to try recreating a memorable dish or meal that you had while traveling.
Food stores today sell all manner of specialty spices, exotic sauces and
global vegetables; so there’s really no excuse why you can’t try it at home.
You’d be surprised to—it might become a staple. (I think of Pho, Cuban
chicken, ceviche, pesto linguini, wiener schnitzel, beef Penang…) Make a
theme night of it and invite good friends for some future travel conversation.
Show them a few photos…but not all of them please!
Day 45 Travel Tip of the Day:
The Ten Commandments of The World’s Greatest Travelers:
1) Thou shall leave thy expectations at home;
2) If thy cannot carry it—thy shalt not take it;
3) Be it that every destination be worth at least one visit—if only to know that
thy shall never wish to return to it;
4) Thee most interesting people you shall meet will be those trying to get at your
money, but remember that most of them are not trying to rip you off;
5) Thou shall seek out the transition zones, the places in between: borders,
sunrise/sunset, weather changes, nature, juxtapositions of old versus new,
morning and end of day routines, rituals, festivals, shore lines, etc., etc.;
6) Thou shall try new things all the time...even if only once;
7) Thou shall slow down and smell the divinity of the roses;
8) Thou shalt be curious, ask questions, listen, be humble and learn;
9) Thou shalt walk whenever thy can, mingle with the masses by taking public
10) Thou shall not pack thy fear and cynicism about your brothers and sisters of the world…be open and be gracious.
Day 44 Travel Tip of the Day:
Contrarian Traveler Tip #48 - When traveling the in-country, use guidebooks
as a good indicator of where not to go (too busy or touristy) and think about
stopping off at the nearest destination before or after the recommended hotspot.
Forget Malaga, Spain—try Ronda. Stay away from Kuta, Bali—try Ubud. The
same goes for countries too. Instead of Costa Rica--try Panama. Instead of
Hungary—try Romania. Instead of Vietnam—try Laos. Just think like a contrarian
and you will be great shape and get better value too; besides the hotspot is not too far away.
Day 43 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Paradox #14 – When you spend less you can travel longer--mileage may vary!
Day 42 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #611 – Word to the wise: Never, ever ride an elephant in shorts….just
trust me on this one. Their cute, wrinkled skin is like sand paper. BTW: Little known
fact, that if want an elephant to remember you forever—just breathe into their
trunk…they now have your scent. Forever!
Day 41 Travel Tip of the Day:
"Better to ask twice than lose your way once." - Danish Proverb
Day 40 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #210 - Choose your traveling friends slowly. Good things take time,
bad things happen quickly!
Day 39 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #894 – A simple trick on how to avoid bringing a biological disaster home
when you buy a wooden object overseas is to place it in the freezer for a few of days.
Freezing kills whatever larvae that may be lurking within.
Day 38 Travel Tip of the Day:
"The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people
who should be friends." - Shirley MacLaine
Day 37 Travel Tip of the Day:
Contrarian Travel Tip #119 - Sleep outside whenever you can. Some of my most
memorable travels were had because I not scared of sleeping outside: in the desert,
on a longhouse balcony, on a beach, on a ship deck, on the balcony of your hotel
room, on a poolside deck chair, wherever…you will remember it forever!
Day 36 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #821 - Want a good deal on an urban hotel for the weekend—Friday
and Saturday night? Find a large business hotel in the financial district of any
major town—they are usually somewhat empty on the weekends. Make a deal.
Day 35 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #490 – Two things always make me feel like a million bucks when
I have inevitably succumbed to a dreaded Weary Traveler Flare-up: brushing
my teeth and changing my socks. Maybe it’s just me, but others seem to
agree. Try it, you’ll like it…
Day 34 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #289 - Your mother was right of course--if you’re not early, you’re late!
Don’t miss your flight. It can be costly both financially and time-wise in the long-run.
FYI: Nobel Prize-winning economist George Stigler has figured out the perfect time
to arrive at the airport to make a domestic fight--one and a half hours before your
flight (with a 5% margin of error that you will actually miss your flight). I will take that chance!
I say two hours for an international flight is plenty of time. Besides, if you never miss a
flight—you are spending way too much time in airports!
Day 33 Travel Tip of the Day:
The Four Essential Travel Truths:
There are four essential travel truths when preparing for a great trip, a new adventure
or just a quick fun vacation away, are: One) prior research; Two) adequate supplies
(the right stuff you’ll actually need); Three) proper preparation; and Four) commonsense
(that comes from knowledge and experience). Any fool can travel, but a serious traveler knows
well these four essential travel truths.
Day 32 Travel Tip of the Day:
“Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times.” - Asian proverb
Day 31 Travel Tip if the Day:
Travel Myth #13 - You can fly for free as a Courier Service traveler. Not anymore, but
there was a day when seat-of-the pants air couriers accompanying time-sensitive
business cargo was a reality and it was cheap—but not free. Due to rapid globalization
of the air freight industry over the past two decades and with the growth of next-day
delivery companies like FedEx, UPS and Emory, the courier service angle is all but
non-existent nowadays. I hear that a few Colombia and Mexican drug lords are still
looking for mules though!
Day 30 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #311 - Survey's vary, but 50% of travelers use four or more main
information sources when researching destinations: destination specific websites
lead the way (57% of sites visited), travel content sites second (55%), followed
by traveler review websites. I hear tell that the average person visits 21 sites during
nine sessions while preparing for a trip. Research is good, but don't get information
overload…and know that too much often contradictory information can lead to
paralysis—a symptom of decision fatigue. Manage your intake and stay with information
sources you have a good history with. BTW: before you actually book delete all your
cookies for the best possible deal—they know where you have been and what you
have been quoted!
Day 29 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #128 - If you really must go to a theme park; Fridays are good days
to visit according to attendance records. And January and February may be the
best times to go—cool weather and the least crowded. Avoid them at all costs
between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as you are only setting yourself up for
bad times to come. Humorist Dave Barry may have set it best when he said,
"The best time to go to Disneyworld, if you want to avoid huge crowds, is 1962." Indeed.
Day 28 Travel Tip of the Day:
Traveler Paradox #1 - You either have all the time you need to travel but no money, or you have all the money you need to travel but no time. Go figure. Make time and be resourcesful...just go!
Day 27 Travel Tip of the Day:
A Few Things I Love about Traveling:
• lack of daily routine and being on a come-what-may travel schedule;
• out of comfort zone and default operating position;
• variety: new sights, new food, new cultures, new people;
• constant learning & always questioning your assumptions;
• feeling alive and in the moment and re-introducing yourself
to your five best friends—your senses!
• feeling the breeze on a boat traveling some exotic river;
• hearing my footsteps echo in a medieval cathedral;
• smelling the exotic spices walking through an ancient souk;
• hearing the clink of cocktail glasses and silverware in Venice;
• arriving with anticipation in a new destination;
• willingly getting up to watch the sunrise...in Bagan, among other begiling destinations.
Every momemt traveling is a present...and speaking of presents. Merry Christmas to all!
Day 26 Travel Tip of the Day:
"An adventure is like love - anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort
and remembered with nostalgia." - Author Unknown
Day 25 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #427 - Try having at least one progressive dinner whenever you are
in a different country. Start with drinks at one spot, then move on to appies at another
eatery, then try a main course someplace else, followed by dessert elsewhere. Okay,
then a night cap someplace fun. Make an evening out of it and explore…you will have a ton of fun.
Day 24 Travel Tip of the Day:
Terrible Travel Advice #88 - Don’t talk to strangers. WTF? I know, your mom
taught you that when you were a preyed upon innocent in Fear Inc. (aka USA).
But now that you are a mature, smart, sophisticated and savvy traveler—please do
talk to strangers. Despite the evening news programs, you will find that humans around
the world are inherently kind...you can trust strangers in strange lands. In fact, ever
person you meet along the way is a potential friend and knowledgeable travel advisor.
(Just keep your talk/listen ratio in check.)
Day 23 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #267 - Expert savvy travelers know that that admission price of
New York City museums is totally flexible and based on your willingness
to pay. Forget that suggested posted price...just name your price and they
will let you in. I promise. Yes, even for a buck!
Day 22 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #688 – If you really must take a cruise, book the shore excursions
yourself (DIY) without the help of the cruiselines. It is really easy to do and book
them when you arrive with locals and you will save a ton of money, as well as
escape from all your cruise buddies for a day too! Shore excursions are huge
revenue streams for cruise lines and the markup is obscene. One friend told
me he booked a day to Angkor Wat for two for $3,500…in 15 minutes I had it
priced at $364--cars, guides, flighs, grand hotel. Nuff said, DIY!
Day 21 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #233 - NEVER ever stick your thumb in the popular weeping column hole in
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) located in Istanbul, Turkey. There is no glory in the hole
as your finger will smell for days and you might consider cutting it off! Yucky.
Day 20 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #401 - Always, repeat after me: always check your hotel and restaurant
bills...believe it or not, people have been known to pad the bills of customers they will
never see ever again! An extra side order here, a movie you didn’t order there, an
extra beer…it all adds up! For some places--no names on the advice of
counsel--it seems that it is a business model.
Day 19 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #873 – Whenever possible, always return home one full day before
you are required to jump back into action after a lengthy adventure. It gives you a short
breather and time to decompress, get reacquainted with loved ones, unload your bags,
open mail, get some familiar groceries, reflect a little, do laundry, and maybe get (or at
east try to get) a good night sleep too.
Day 18 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #342 - Once home from your adventure, study your photos well,
especially your worst pictures—they are your best teachers of what to do and
what not to do. Learn from your mistakes. (Also, please, never show
all your photos to friends and family--keep the reject pile to yourself.)
Day 17 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Paradox #23 - Countries where people have smaller cars have much bigger
vacations than people in countries with bigger cars. Hmmm...you might be wrong Cadallic Man!
Day 16 Travel Tip of the Day:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any
direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are
the one who'll decide where you'll go. Oh the places you'll go.” - Dr. Seuss
Day 15 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #101 – Remember that the bargains you obtain are only possible because of
low wages paid to the producers of goods and services in poorer places. Happily pay the
Gringo Tax cheerfully. Don’t quibble over a few cents! Never try to cheat poor, ignorant
and desperate people. It is still a bargain for us. Karma...
Day 14 Travel Tip of the Day:
A few Travel Truisms:
-whenever you finally book, the price goes down the next day!
-planes are usually late departing—except when your flight is arriving a few minutes late...than
your connecting flights will be on time!
-you will always forget something that you should have remembered to bring on the way to the airport!
-your luggage always arrives last!
-housekeeping will always knock when you are napping or in the middle of, well, you know…
-despite weather forecast, you will experience bad weather on arrival!
-your camera will run out of batteries at the wrong time!
-your wakeup call will be late!
-you will arrive home before your postcards do!
-the more expensive the cost, the longer the TripAdvisor review!
Day 13 Travel Tip of theDay
Travel Tip #341– Yapta.com is a wonderfully subversive site for travelers in the market
to by airline tickets but want to hold off buying them until they are as cheap as possible.
And after you do purchase them, Yapta will notify you if the price drops and help you
get a refund too! (Yapta.com made the 101 Best Travel Websites for 2014!)
Day 12 (Happy Thanksgiving Day) Travel Tip of the Day
Travel Tip #45 - When your get the urge to go, start looking at a calendar and find a chuck of time.
Be flexible. To save money and avoid busy travel periods, be flexible. Here are few things to
consider: 1) The best time to travel is the so-called shoulder seasons (spring and fall before and
after the traditional summer vacation period) and between US thanksgiving and
Christmastime (aka Dead Week). 2) Conversely, unless you like crowds and over-paying, avoid
at all costs the Travel Bottleneck Periods, including: statutory long weekends (Easter weekend,
Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas holidays) and the busy and expensive
summer holiday season (between Memorial and Labor Day weekends). 3) Remember important
family occasions like weddings, reunions, graduations and potential births. Find your sweet spot, circle the
calendar, commit to it and inform the boss.
Day 11 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #444 - Avoid China’s twin semi-annual Golden Weeks: Chinese Lunar New Year
in late January, and National Day usually early October. Again, everyone is off and moving...and
you have not seen a traffic jam until you see 1.3 billion people moving here and there. It is a
cluster fuck like you have never seen on par with India's every 12-year Kumbh Mela.
You have been warned.
Day 10 Travel Tip of the Day:
"I don’t know what’s worse: suffering homesickness when traveling or
wanderlust when not?" - William D. Chalmers
Day 9 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #318 - Do you occasionally have a senior moment and forget your
hotel and/or room number--they all look alike, right? If you have a smartphone/digital
camera, take a photo of the front of your hotel...you will never have a problem explaining
to taxi drivers where you are staying again! Ditto your room.
Day 8 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Trip #564 - When in transit or just basically traveling, take to heart these three (okay four)
basic rules: never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, and never pass up a
chance to use the bathroom…and mostly never be without toilet paper in your daypack!
Day 7 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #210 - Word to the wise: I always make sure that I leave my loved ones on the right terms.
Have great sex the night before you fly. Leave some fun notes for the kids. It will help everyone and
you will sleep better too. And just in case, their final memories of you are good.
Day 6 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #345 – When booking anything, remember that everything is
always negotiable! Always ask, is that the best price today? Should I come back
tomorrow for a better price? They might offer you a "deal," seeing if you'll snatch
it while knowing it's not the lowest price they can offer. Always express hesitance
and wait for them to sell you. If you think you can do better, walk away saying you’ll
have to think about it. Bottom line: Don’t ever be afraid to ask; because as I tell my kids,
if you don’t ask--you don’t get! This works buying flights, booking hotel rooms, on rental
cars and markest the world over...don't be shy!
Day 5 Travel Tip of the Day:
"Travel has never been so urgent, even necessary, as it is today." - Pico Iyer
So much misunderstanding. So much ignorance. And yet we live in a highly interconnected globalized world.
A solution: Go travel!
Day 4 Travel Tip of the Day:
I am always asked simple questions; like which I would recommend
Either/Or? Here is my latest list of Either/Or choices I would choose:
JFK or EWR? (JFK)
Florida or Hawaii? (Hawaii)
Rome or Florence? (Florence)
LA or SF? (SF)
Paris or London? (Paris)
ATL or O'Hare? (ATL)
10 day trip or three 4-day trips? (10 day trips)
Louvre Musee or Musee O'rsay? (O'rsay)
Europe or Asia? (Asia)
Vienna or Berlin? (Vienna)
Croatia or Cinque de Terre? (Croatia)
Panama or Mexico? (Panama)
Hong Kong or Singapore? (HGK)
De Gaulle or Heathrow for connections? (De Gaulle)
Window or Aisle? (Window)
Turkey or Greece? (Turkey)
Prague or Budapest? (Budapest)
Australia or New Zealand? (NZ)
Beijing or Shanghai? (Beijing)
Dubai or Las Vegas? (Vegas...easier to get to and you can kiss in public!)
Bangkok or Singapore? (Bangkok)
Bali or Phuket? (Bali)
France or Italy? (Italy)
Amsterdam or Copenhagen? (Copenhagen)
7-day cruise or 7-day resort? (Resort)
Disneyland or Disney World? (Save your money & stay home)
Buenos Aries or Rio di Janeiro? (Rio)
Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat? (Machu Picchu)
Tanzania or Zambia? (Zambia)
Uganda or Angola? (Angola)
China or Vietnam? (Vietnam)
Nepal or Tibet? (Nepal)
…I could go on.
Day 3 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Myth #1 - There is a right way to travel. Wrong, there is no right way formula to travel. There is no cookie cutter one-size-fits-all approach to travel either. There is only your own personal Goldilocks Theory of Travel. Some folks love to sleep on the beach, while others are adrenaline junkies. Some are cheap and busy, others wealthy and lazy. Some like the tried and true and hang with the herd, while others head off to parts unknown by themselves. Some folks just need a few days, while others take a whole year off. There are no right ways to travel, and one way is not better than the other; it is wholly subjective, personal and an individual choice. Just like art. There's slow travel, hyper-travel, event travel, culinary travel, cultural travel, etc. I say, just travel.
Day 2 Travel Tip of the Day:
The Travel Mindset #1 - The hard fact of life is that you are only getting older and closer to death. Accept it. That said, YOLO (You Only Live Once)...now is the time to travel; not next year, not after you retire, not after the world goes to hell in a hand basket--now! Shit happens, and frankly, you never know where the roller coaster we call life will take you. As Woody Allen says, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans." So, planning a trip for a year from now is great, but don’t put off travel as you and the world are rapidly changing…and it will only cost more later! No matter how short your trips, make taking them a lifelong habit.
Day One's nugget...and it is always best to start at the beginning I think:
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller