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 Travel lists and useful quotes.
So here goes...
Admin Note: Today is April 9th and this will be the last tip of the day for a few weeks. It seems
I have an around the world adventure awaiting me tomorrow. But be assured that there will be
tips in our daily PostCards 2015 Event Blog to help keep you Travel IQ from atrophying!
Day 106 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #184 - As mention (Seven Deadly Sins & Ten Commandments of The
World’s Greatest Traveler), one of the worst things to pack with you when taking
an adventure is high inflated expectations. You only set yourself up for disappointment.
Leave them at home is the best travel mindset to have. But that needs qualifying
because travel adventures in general breed expectations and wondering (and wandering)
is good. But don’t expect West LA and Manhattan service anywhere else. Don’t expect
Thai smiles and German efficiency everywhere, or Southern manners and Middle Eastern
hospitality everywhere you go. It is a really BIG world out there and expectations of fun are
good, but avoid like the plague the Shangri-La Syndrome of idealized destinations. As
Alexander Pope said: “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be
Day 105 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #381 – Cultivating the right travel mindset takes effort. No one can just flip
a switch. You actually have to train your brain to take a holiday. So start creating mental,
physical and emotional space to go—before you go. Breaking daily work schedules,
to-do lists and chores, changing high-tech habits, and leaving your problems behind
as much as possible. If you don’t…they will infiltrate your travels. It is time to allow for
the serendipity of spontaneous joy, novel experiences, mental roaming and getting lost.
If you approach travel like work, guess what—it will be just like work.
Day 104 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #872 – It is really important to have your expectations aligned with
reality when heading out on a long adventure. Here’s the mindset travelers
should have: don't expect anything from the first and last days of your trip,
vacation or adventure...the reality—they are to and fro days, travel days...and
are by design NO FUN! Fun is when you get there...
Day 103 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #367 – Always remember—and it is your fault if they don’t—to make sure
that immigration officials always stamp your passport upon entry...there may be significant
delays in exiting if you don't have an entry stamp. We have seen some folks refused
boarding on a flight and sent back to the destination they entered—300 kilometers away!
Day 102 Travel Tip of the Day:
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religions and avoid the people,
you might better stay at home.” - James A. Michener
Day 101 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #228 – One of the most versatile things to pack is also one that takes
up zero space. A bandana/scarf. Let me count the ways that a bandana wins the
ultimate travel accessory award: takes up no space, easy to wash and dry, good
for you hair, keeps you cool, good for wrapping something up in, works as an old
timey hankie (aka snot rag), works as a pollution muffler/dust screen, great for
putting ice in for bruises, wiping your hands, to use as a napkin when there is none,
as a table cloth, can be used as a coffee filter, protects bald heads from the sun,
a useful tourniquet, stops bloody noses, it is a mini towel, lens cleaner, eye mask,
hair tie, headband…I could go on. Pack a few!
Day 100 Travel Tip of theDay:
"This is what's priceless about travel: It allows us to fill in the blanks, put names
to faces, and make bits and pieces of the wide world, now and forever, part of
our own worlds. And through it, we gain a better understanding of everything
from the front-page news to our next-door neighbors." - Thomas Swick
Day 99 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #391 – We always over pack. One helpful way not to, is not to pack
your vanity. No one cares what you look like after a 14-hour flight to the other
side of the world. You are not going on a job interview or a first date...just be
the real you. Think about it. It will lighten your load. Smiles and demeanor
matter—not your packaging. Transcend you.
Day 98 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #281 - Long for comfort food on long trips or just need to hold something
down? Pack a few bags on instant oatmeal—add hot water and you have a nourishing
tick to your ribs meal. Some travelers take a few instant breakfasts for quick calories
when they are in need…
Day 97 Travel TIPS of the Day:
Travel Tip #421 – Upon arrival to an international destination, always have a
personal pen handy to fill out the inevitable forms awaiting you.
Travel Tip #422 – When entering a foreign country always travel as a tourist, never as a
writer, blogger, lawyer or businessman; it prevents border hassles, kidnappings and
political problems. And no matter how long you are visiting, never tell immigration officers
you don’t know where you are going or how long you are staying. Rookie mistakes that
make their heads explode. Always give them a two-day, one or two week answer naming
any hotel will usually do.
Day 96 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #276 - Okay you are all packed. Good job. Now take all your stuff, bag and
back pack and go for a walk in the neighborhood. Pretend like you are strolling through a
long airport conccourse…or between a subway stop and your hotel. After you come back
from your walk, ask yourself: Do I have second thoughts? Did you travel easily? Was it a
heavy load or a light load? Remember: You don’t need options…you need to be smart!
Take a few items out of your bag—now!
Day 95 Travel Tip of the Day:
“A journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” - John Steinbeck
Day 94 Travel Tip of theDay:
Travel Tip #842 – Taking video today has never been easier—or easier to
edit it later into a fun travel adventure movie. But when taking videos, people
tend to either take a too long or too short and muddled a take. The Goldilocks
Theory to Videos involves these rules of thumb: 1) less is more when taking
B-roll…3-5 seconds per image—8-10 seconds max; 2) avoid unnecessary zooming
and panning by keeping the scene steady (pick your zoom levels before you shoot);
3) there are three basic shots to capture: close ups, mid-shots and wide angle
shots—stick with one for each scene but take many of them; 4) make a scene
have relevance or context to your travel narrative—interviews are good, telling
a funny story is entertaining and odd facts and history can be fun; 5) Finally,
always shoot more than you need you can always delete footage ——but you
cannot take more after you’re gone!
Day 93 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #442 – Hotels are notorious for excessively marking up products
for the convenience of their guests. Revenue centers expand daily. On the other
hand water is a basic human need. Quickly scout out stores near your hotel when
you arrive and buy water at the nearest convenience store. You are a true sucker
if you pay for the bottles in your room…the one’s that should be offered gratis.
Day 92 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #594 – Taxi drivers have bad reputation in some parts of the world—for
good reason too. You will most likely get ripped off at least once—don't worry about it.
Consider it a lesson learned…get it over with quickly so you know! And what do you need
to know? A couple things really: firstly, always agree on a fare before setting off—yes
it is negotiable—but always agree first. If at the end of the ride there is a scene, call a
police officer if you need one. Secondly, always have small bills to pay taxi drivers or
else you might enter the realm of money-changing magicians where your large bills
have mysteriously turned into small bills and you still own them instead of them owing
you change!? And one more thing, never let a taxi driver put any part of your luggage
in the trunk until you have agreed on the fare.
Day 91 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #721 – Shopping abroad used to be caveat emptor—let the buyer beware.
No more. Today the buying and shipping of exotic treasures home can be pain free if
you are sure to follow a few basic rules: 1) always pay by credit card so that you have
advocates if something goes wrong, and 2) always take a photo of the item so you
know exactly what you are supposed to be receiving. (I always sign the back of pieces
of art or rugs so I know they are mine.) Enjoy your exotic conversation pieces…
Day 90 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #471 – A rookie mistake I see all too often: Never put the Please Clean My
Room sign on your hotel door—it is just a work order notice for would-be thieves.
Rather, call the front desk to let them know it is okay to clean.
Day 89 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #695 – When checking out of a hotel room…always double check your
room (aka do the once over twice)--behind doors, closets, safe, under bed, tub/shower
area, power outlets. You’d be surprised what we leave behind: mobile devices and
chargers, glasses, passports, bathing suits, jewelry, toiletries, etc.
Day 88 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #582 -When I travel, I keep my money separated in three places:
small bills and coins in an easily accessible front pocket; ATM/credit card
and larger bills in a zipped secure secondary pocket (shirt or pants); and then
I keep a crispy twenty, a few mixed bills and a backup credit card in my backpack
(or purse). Some folks prefer a money belt—I have never used one.
Day 87 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Paradox #2: I don’t know what is worse: suffering from homesickness
while traveling or wanderlust when I’m not?
Day 86 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #388 - Most travelers have no local currency upon arrival…your best
bet is to take US$100 worth of local currency from an airport ATM machine—sometimes
they are in the baggage terminal just before customs. You now have enough for
subway/cab fare and beer money to tide you over. Once you get your bearings,
exchange more, but never, repeat never change money at hotels as their rate
is a real ancillary revenue stream for most hotels.
Day 85 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #673 - Remember that many historic and sacred sites are still
functioning places of worship for local inhabitants—and not just for tourists
to admire and photograph. Always adhere to the posted “no photos,” and/or
“no flash” rules. Leave people alone when praying…
Day 84 Travel Tip of the Day:
“He who would travel happily must travel lightly.” - Antonine de Saint-Exupery
...figuratively and literally!
Day 83 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #295 – Always have scans/backups of all you vital travel information
(passport, airline and hotel confirmations, insurance, credit card info, emergency
contacts, destination info, etc.). A couple of suggestions to reduce paperwork in
our digital age: 1) backup all your vitals onto a flash drive that takes up almost no
room and can accessed on any computer anywhere; 2) use your public email account
and just email it all to yourself, again you can access them from anywhere in the world
from any internet-linked computer. Forget bulky paper.
Day 82 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #176 - Packing the essentials. Want to prevent over-packing and
forgetting things? If you are a regular traveler, make a simple checklist of stuff
you actually bring before you go…then check it when you get home. Did you
take too much? What did you miss/forget? Keep updating that list. You will never
make packing mistakes again instead of packing being a stressful chore, it will
become consciously effortless.
Day 81 Travel Tip of the Day:
“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” - Rudyard Kipling
Day 80 Travel Tip of the Day:
Traveling as a foodie is one of the many delights of traveling the world.
People sharing meals is what "the good life" is all about. That said, cultures
have very different takes on food. Yes, it’s just a matter of taste…but it is
my taste. Here are my choices for:
“World’s Best Cuisine’s:” “World’s Worst Cuisine’s:”
Lebanese the Philippines
Day 79 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #391 – When packing, I am passionate advocate of using Ziploc
freezer-type bags for everything. It may be the Holy Grail of Packing! I put
whole outfits (socks, t-shirts, dress shirts and pants) in one bag, sit on it to
suck the air out, and then seal it up. Boom. No wrinkles, no smells, no lack
of organization and rummage chaos. Great of course for all checked liquids
and shoes too. Then I pack a small garbage bag for the dirty laundry. Plastic
reusable bags people…the only way to go!
Day 78 Travel Tip of the Day:
South America is the Lost Continent for most North American travelers…no one
seems to go there. And it is there loss too because there is so much to see and
do: nature, vibrant culture, great urban centers and amazing food.
My Bakers Dozen South American Natural Wonders:
Angel Falls (Venezuela)
Colca Canyon (Peru)
Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
Atacama Desert (Chile & Peru)
Iguassu/Iguazu Falls (Argentina & Brazil)
Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia)
Torres del Paine (Chile)
Grand Sabana (Venezuela)
Lake Titicaca (Peru & Bolivia)
Tierra del Fuego (Argentina)
Day 77 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #472 – When packing a bag for a long adventure, put scented dryer
sheets that you use when drying laundry between your clothes in your suitcase.
It will keep clothes smelling fresh and clean while in transit. (Appearances and
odors are everything!)
Day 76 Travel Tip of the Day:
“Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you’ve got to keep moving.” - Albert Einstein
Day 75 Travel Tip of the Day
Everybody love’s beaches: white-sandy beaches, topless Teuton beaches,
secluded Robinson Crusoe-like beaches, party beaches, windsurfing beaches,
chic beaches, beach blanket bingo beaches, endless bleaches…
Here are a few of my Favorite International Beaches:
Anse Source (Seychelles)
Bondi Beach (Sydney, Australia)
Boracay Island (Philippines)
Ile Sainte Marie (Madagascar)
Matana Beach (Fiji)
Nha Trang (Vietnam)
Pantai Kecil-Little Beach (Bali, Indonesia)
Playa de la Soledad (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
Punta Uva Beach (Costa Rica)
Hamilton Island (Australia)
La Costa Beach (Malibu, USA)
Day 74 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #183 - Planning, researching and organizing your trip will help you
get the most rest, relaxation and adventure out of any trip. What you put into
it--you will get out of it. It is much easier to unwind and explore when your trip
has a basic plan. Not planning on the other hand, will add unnecessary uncertainty
and stress to any trip. So save you family, friends and fellow travelers from going
postal on them--do your homework. (But not so much that your expectations
are overly inflated or that you don't allow for serendipity!)
Day 73 Travel Tip of the Day:
Terrible Travel Advice #176 – Buy really expensive luggage, it will last forever.
Gearing up for a road trip, adventure or trek is always fun; but don’t buy expensive
luggage ( I have seen plenty of expensive luggage in pieces on luggage belts and
worse, mysteriously gone missing!) No, buy quality luggage. There doesn’t seem to
be a relationship between luggage price and quality. Check the zippers and straps—those
are what matters. And although I prefer wheel bags, I also see the merit in getting wheel
bags with the option of using it as a backpack for when the road ends—and it does
eventually me! They end up easier to carry.
Day 72 Travel Tip of the Day:
The Travel Mindset #105 - Admittedly, travel is not always easy or perfect. But
consider this--the personal experiences you derive from travel will make you much
happier (and a more interesting person) in the long run than having more stuff.
Experiencing, learning and challenging yourself, are much better than buying,
consuming and acquiring.
Day 71 Travel Tip of the Day:
There are so many places see and things to do, more than 1,001 I am told (although my
list keeps getting longer ironically)…but here are ten things you really should experience
for yourself before you kick the bucket (in no particular order):
A Himalayan Sunrise (Nepal/Tibet)
Monument Valley Sunrise (USA)
Venice by water (Italy)
The Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt)
Bagan Plains (Myanmar)
A sunset at Thira (Santorini, Greece)
Machu Picchu (Peru)
Angkor Wat (Cambodia)
Iguazu/Iguaçu Falls (Argentina/Brazil)
Scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
Day 70 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #366 - If you are traveling with a partner, think about what stuff that you
can share with them. Why pack two of the same thing? And when traveling afar with
a partner for an extended time—or just a weekend away—split up your essential
stuff 50/50 into your two bags (aka cross packing)—that way if one bag is lost or
delayed, it less of a hassle because you still have stuff. ______________________________________________________________________
Day 69 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #292 – We are big advocates of taking the kids when you travel afar;
yet managing them can be tricky. So, bribes, threats and extortion is the way to go!
We play the bribe game by offering treats--giving them a buck or two, an ice cream
or a special treat—whenever someone traveling tells us how great and polite they
are! Those “please” and “thank you’s get them what they want.
Day 68 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #178 - Before you head out on that grand international adventure, you
should make sure of a couple things in regards to your valid passport, as immigration
officials around the world are getting a little stuffy these days. One: Make sure that
your passport will not expire for six months after you enter the last country on you’re
a trip. Tourist visas on arrival typically last 180 days and your passport needs to be
valid to get one. Two: Make sure that you have at least one clean empty page for
each country you are planning to visit for stamps and official whatnots (entry stamp,
visas, exit stamps, customs stamps, etc.)--at a minimum.
Day 67 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #254 – Before you finally book your hotel, use Google Maps to check
out the area around the hotel. Location, location, location. Consider being nearby
a subway station—it can save you a lot of time and money. Are there any local
stores, restaurants or bars? How far away are you from the things you will want
to see and do? Saving $30 on a room for a weekend that is far away and costly to
travel to/from the places and things you want to see and do, is penny wish but pound
Google Maps is an absolutely revolutionary tool; ne that I am
constantly awestruck by the possibilities it presents. Use it often.
Day 66 Travel Tip of the Day:
"Travel...is not always the reward for financial success. Sometimes it furnishes
the source of one's wealth." - Robb Report
Day 65 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #103 – When packing resist the urge to pack more than you
need “just in case”. Because in the oft chance that you do get invited to a state
dinner, are asked to pose for a glossy magazine spread, or maybe are upgraded
into First Class because you were so nice to that gate agent (aka when “just in case”
happens)—just buy something new to wear! It will probably be cheaper and be a
future conversation piece too: “Oh this thing? I bought it at a store in Laos.” Serious
travelers know, but neophytes should too, that they do have stores in the rest of the world.
And they do also do laundry in other countries too. We also live in the 21st century where
there are plenty of ways to check the weather at impending destinations and to pack
accordingly. Pack light, don’t let a heavy load get you down. Less is more.
Day 64 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #287 – Security folks always taking away your newly purchase, must
have in-flight, water? Take an empty refillable plastic bottle with you through TSA,
and just refill it in the terminal...saves you $3-5 bucks a pop. Plus you won’t be adding
to land fill sites. I also fill them up on the plane during my flight—the flight attendants
never mind. You will always have water…err, except during security!
Day 63 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #429 – If you are coming and going by train or bus from a single
destination? One way to save time, maybe money and ease your mind about
logistics, is that when you first arrive at a station quickly check the time tables
for your future departure options. It may show whether you need advance reservations,
what alternative timetables are and what track you would be leaving from, etc… Familiarize
yourself with all these. This saves a lot of needless Traveler’s Panic when you are
departing in a rush and maybe another needless trip to the station.
Day 62 Travel Tip of the Day:
The Travel Tip #145 – This of course almost goes without saying, and yet I must
say it: If somebody offers up their home for you to use anywhere in the world--just
say yes! Build your trip around that destination using it as a base. It does not
matter where it is--go...experience their lives for a period of time.
Day 61 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Tip #356 - Want to fly a little better? On a long haul flight pre-order a
special meal (pasta, fish, vegan, whatever). This is a no-brainer, not only do you get
your food first, but they are usually a little better and healthier too!
Day 60 Travel Tip of the Day:
Terrible Travel Advice # 13 - “Once I was running late for a flight and couldn’t find a
parking space, so I just left the car at the terminal departure curb. Yes, it got towed
away, but it was cheaper than missing my flight.” A smart business calculaton if I ever heard.
Day 59 Travel Tip of the Day:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you
didn't do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away
from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
Day 58 Travel Tip of the Day
Travel Tip #291 - Don't backtrack. Satisfying traveling requires good time-management
and one of the worst uses of your time is backtracking. Create an itinerary that always
moves forward, onward to new destinations. Always be moving on to someplace new,
only to backtrack when necessary to return to your place of departure. But even that can
be fixed with good planning. Look for natural travel circles and travel triangles of off-the-beaten
path places to experience around and near your gateway cities.
Day 57 Travel Tip of the Day
The Travel Mindset #4 - Be a curious soul and develop and deep longing
to travel. A wise man once said, "The world is a book and those who do not
travel read only one page." Some would say travel is better than reading a good
book because it not only allows you to escape (not vicariously though) and personally
experience a whole new set of assumptions; all while creating your own narrative full
of drama, romance and adventure. There is no boring travel—just boring people. So
be curious, seek out the elusive. Go on a quest, fulfill a bucket list item, take a
pilgrimage, and just go on an adventure. Travel for whatever reason you want--but do travel!
Day 56 Travel Tip of the Day:
Travel Myth #3 - I’m too young to travel. Oh really, who said? If your parents will
let you and you’re younger than 18--why not? Over 18, you don’t need anyone’s permission.
(Have you ever heard of any mode of public transportation that won’t sell a ticket because
you’re only 18? Me neither.) It may be the best education you ever get being able to worship
at the altar of experience. And travel is all about experience. In fact, it may be a case of now
or never for you too as you begin entering the trials and tribulations of adult responsibilities--
tomorrow may never come (school, adult responsibilities, debt, marriage, mortgage, kids…).
And in this ever-changing globalized world, the contacts, the insight and the context you will
garner from international travel will benefit you immensely. Beside, when you are young you
can embrace and tolerate a lot more discomfort and adversity--which make the costs of travel
even more feasible. Go now!
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