Posts Tagged With: travel tips

Summer Travel Safety 101

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Exploring a new town, city, or country can be an exciting time. It can also be a time of unknown, wondering what could happen and whether your new location will be safe. However, there are several ways to ensure your travels are safe, while still having a memorable time.

Leave an itinerary and emergency contact: Before leaving for your trip, leave your itinerary and contact information with a trusted friend or family member. Your itinerary doesn’t have to be down to every detail, but give them the basics as to where you’ll be and when. Try to check in with them often, so that in case something does happen, they can contact authorities.

Choose your transportation wisely: Research transportation companies and their safety records before starting out, especially if you are traveling abroad. Avoid less-safe vehicles by making sure your mode of transport is in good condition and has working seat belts. According to the World Health Organization, the number one death for U.S. citizens abroad are motor vehicle crashes.

Secure your items and leave valuables at home: It is very important to secure your luggage, money, and other items when traveling. Keep your valuables, such as laptop, jewelry, and other expensive items at home to avoid them being stolen or lost. As for your luggage, always have locks on it. TSA-approved padlocks are great to prevent airport security from taking them off and having your things falling out after inspection. If you need to secure your bags, use a backpack and a bag mesh protector. Your bags will be in a wire mesh, where you can lock them inside. When you are in your room, use a travel door alarm on your luggage to make you aware of any suspicious activity or tampering when you are out sightseeing. Lastly, always remember to secure your money. Travel wallets that strap to parts of your body are dependable. Whenever I travel, I use a cross-body purse to carry my belongings. Other travel wallets can strap to your legs, waist, and shoulders. Also, let your bank and credit card companies know when you are traveling, especially overseas. Remember to not flash your money every time you pay for something. Also, be protective of your cell phones. It is common for thieves to grab cell phones out in public.

Stay alert: When you’re in a new city, stay alert to your surroundings. Your surroundings include the areas you are traveling to, buildings, and people around you. If someone is making you uncomfortable, walk away in either the direction you came from or a quicker way out. Head towards a safer, more touristy/populated area. If they follow, find the authorities. Try to blend in and not take on the typical tourist look. Don’t have a map sticking out of your bag or pocket, or a camera around your neck. These actions are a giveaway that you are unfamiliar with the area and a tourist. Instead, dress like the locals and be alert when using your camera, maps, etc. An important part of staying alert when traveling is always having an escape route. For your room, take note of the map on the back of your door and familiarize yourself with the emergency routes. Also, if you are venturing into unknown areas, be aware of the buildings and landmarks. If you feel unsafe, go into a café, shop, or restaurant, until you are more comfortable.

Be aware of your location’s safety: The State Department is a great resource to check whether or not there are travel alerts and warnings for your destination. In addition, you can find out what possible vaccinations you need and local laws. Be sure to check on the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Within this program, you can register your travel plans and if an emergency occurs, the State Department will be able to notify you.

Traveling to new places and touring unfamiliar sites is one of the best things a person can do. It’s a time to make new memories, fall in love with new places, and learn about other parts of the world. However, it is important to always be safe and alert when traveling. Using the tips above will help make sure your trip is stress-free and a memorable adventure.

 

 

 

Article published by The 20 Something Traveler in Forsyth Woman magazine, July 2017.

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Summer Travel on a Budget

Icon. Traveler luggage with hand drawn clothes and icons on

As of Wednesday, June 21st, it is officially summer! With summer comes no school, longer days, and more traveling. However, taking trips can be expensive. But, never fear, there are still ways to travel and enjoy the summer season without breaking the bank.

Start a Travel Fund: Start collecting your spare change or setting aside money for an upcoming trip. You can also create a savings account just for traveling. Little by little your money will add up, and before you know it, you’ll be in your dream vacation spot.

Go During the Middle of the Week: Did you know hotel rates and other travel expenses are lower during the middle of the week than the weekends? Try going on vacation during the week. You’ll end up saving more money and won’t have to deal with crowds at popular tourist attractions. Another way to save is to travel during the off-season. Research your destination and see when the crowds are the lowest. For some places, winter is the highest tourist time, while summer is the busiest for other destinations.

Visit Nearby Destinations: While staying in one place, explore the surrounding areas. For example, if you are staying in a major city, take the time to venture out to nearby tourist attractions. This will save you time and money without having to plan another trip.

Have a Staycation: There are probably places in your own hometown you have never explored! Take a day or two and get to know your city a little bit more. Visit the little, unknown places, historic sites, and more. You never know what history you’ll learn about your hometown. Also, read your newspaper and look online for free events and festivals to take part in.

Research Your Accommodations: Hotels aren’t the only place to stay while on vacation. Vacation rental websites, such as Airbnb.com and VRBO.com, are great places to search for cheaper accommodations in different cities. Plus, you’ll get to live like a local while exploring a new place. Another benefit is the possibility of having a kitchen, where you can make your meals and save on food. Be sure to read the rentals’ ratings and reviews before booking.

Take Advantage of Free Things: There is no shame in taking advantage of free entertainment, attractions, and transportation while on a trip. Sites like museums and parks can be free to visitors. Also, look into your location’s events, including concerts, art shows, and more to experience. Another way to save money is by using public transportation or, when possible, walking.

Fly Right: Prices for plane tickets vary throughout the time of the year and day of the week. It is recommended you purchase your tickets 50 to 100 days before your trip. Another way to save money is research prices through travel websites, such as Kayak, Expedia, and Airfarewatchdog.com. Try to plan your departures on a Thursday and returns on Monday to save more. When traveling abroad, fly to your destination during the off-season for cheaper airfares.

Use Travel Saving Websites and Apps: When it comes to any trip, the best thing you can do while planning is to research the best deals for accommodations, transportation, and more. An easy way to compare prices is by using travel saving websites and apps. In addition to the websites listed above, the Travel Channel recommends using jetsetter.combudgetplaces.com, and momondo.com.

Save Money on Food: You don’t have to eat out every meal while on vacation. When you first arrive, go to the grocery store and stock up on the essentials and items, such as sandwich supplies and easy to-go meals. This way you can pack your lunch, dinner, and snacks to take with you while site-seeing. Plan to splurge and eat out for maybe one or two good meals during your trip, and pack the rest.

Vacation expenses can quickly add up when you aren’t looking. However, there are still ways to save money and have the time of your life exploring a new place and making memories.

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7 Things to Know: Germany

  
Heading to Germany soon? Here are seven things to know before going.

  1. May through October is the high season, while December through March is the best time for skiing.
  2. Be on time. Punctuality is key in Germany.
  3. Waitstaff is only supposed to be tipped 5-10%
  4. Keep your hands out of your pockets when talking to someone.
  5. Be prepared for Germans to correct your behavior and are reserved with compliments.
  6. When finished eating, lay your fork and knife across the right side of your plate.
  7. Germans are very formal. Avoid shouting or chewing gum in public.

 

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The 4-Shoe Rule

When it comes to packing for a trip, I always follow an age old travel tip: pack only three pairs of shoes. Well, this piece of advice quickly failed me. I was in Charleston and it was pouring down rain. If you know Charleston in the rain, things can get a little muddy and messy, especially when you are wearing sandals and didn’t pack any closed toe shoes. Long story short, by the end of the day, my feet were a sight and I discovered this three shoe rule needs altering.

For each trip, I now pack one pair of:

  • Closed toe shoes (usually flats)
  • Tennis shoes
  • Flip-Flops
  • Something dressy (when it’s summer, this is where I use my sandals.)

We all have our travel mishaps, but trust me, the four shoe rule helps prevent them.

 

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Walt Disney World…Uncovered

Disney

It’s the most magical place on earth! Planning a trip to Walt Disney World can be fun and hectic. Just a simple google search can get your head spinning with all the articles on tips and tricks. To save you some time, I condensed the lists and came up with my top 10 tips for traveling to Walt Disney World.

  1. Buy t-shirts and pins before you go- You’ll save tons of money and still have souvenirs. Shop online (Amazon or Ebay) for pins and shirts. Target or the Disney Store are great places to go.
  2. Watch the food prices- Have breakfast at the hotel before starting your day. Don’t be afraid to pack and bring food, for meals and snacks, along with you.
  3. Look for Hidden Mickeys- Little known fact that many people don’t know is that there are hidden Mickey Mouses throughout the parks. These Mickey Mouses are Mickey Mouse heads hidden in buildings, chairs….pretty much anywhere they shouldn’t be. Apps are also available for your phone to make the search a little easier.
  4. Travel off season- Go to Orlando during January, September, October, and between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s the most crowded right at Thanksgiving and Christmas, so consider going between the two holidays, as well as, the months listed above.
  5. Don’t try to see everything- This is almost impossible and you will spend your time rushing from place to place. Prioritize what you want to see the most and stick with that list.
  6. Stay on property- Choose a hotel on the Disney property and make reservations early. Also, you’ll get free transportation to the parks.
  7. Use the FastPass+ – The FastPass+ saves time and money (you can thank me later). This way you can make reservations for characters, attractions, and more.
  8. Bring your own stroller- If you have young children, definitely bring your own stroller. Renting one can add up unnecessary expenses.
  9. Start early and stay late- Arrive at the parks when they open and stay until they close. You can sleep later when you aren’t enjoying your vacation.
  10. Freeze water bottles the night before- Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it at the end of each day. Then, freeze the bottle in your hotel room’s fridge.  Saves money and time, standing in lines for drinks.
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Insider’s Guide to Savannah, G.A.

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Savannah, Georgia

The next stop in my roadtrip is Savannah. Here are the things to do, restaurants to eat, and tips to use while in the historic city.

Things to Do:

  1. City Market in the Historic District
  2. Tybee Island Light Station and Museum
  3. Riverboat Cruise or Dolphin Magic Tour
  4. Samantha Claar Gullah Living
  5. Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace

Restaurants to Try:

  1. Tubby’s Seafood River Street
  2. Belford’s of Savannah
  3. Sandfly BBQ
  4. Savannah Theatre
  5. The Olde Pink House

Tips to Use: 

  1. Looking for a boat or ferry tour? Contact Savannah Belles Ferry for great deals and information. They’re contact information is on: http://www.catchacat.org.
  2. Savannah’s peak seasons are spring and fall. Try going between November and the end of January during the low season.
  3. Look into the different festivals throughout the year that might interest you. The city is known for it’s St. Patrick’s Day fun. There is also the Savannah Music Festival and the Sidewalk Arts Festival.
  4. To save money on food, the Savannah Menu Card can be a huge help. These special deals range from free appetizer to discounts. For more information, visit: http://www.savannahmenu.com.
  5. You can also save on hotels, by visiting: http://www.stayinsavannah.com.
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Insider’s Guide to Charleston, S.C. 

Charleston, South Carolina 

 One of my favorite places in the world is Charleston! There is nothing better than seeing the Palmetto trees swaying in the Atlantic breeze and reliving the city’s history. So, of course, the Holy City would be the first stop on my Southern Summer Roadtrip!

For each place, I’ll give you the things to do,  the restaurants to try, and the tips to use. Let’s go!

Things to Do:

  1. Rainbow Row
  2. Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens
  3. Carriage Rides
  4. Charleston City Market
  5. Fort Sumter

Restaurants to Try:

  1.  Poogan’s Porch
  2. The Rooftop
  3. Charleston Crabhouse
  4. Brown Dog Deli
  5. Fleet Landing

Tips to Use:

  1. Weekday rates for hotels are often cheaper than weekends. If your schedule allows, come to Charleston during the week. My past trip was a Tuesday-Thursday and I loved it! For all of the places I visited, there was little to no wait.
  2. Look for special packages if you plan on doing a carriage ride, tours of plantations or museums, or the South Carolina Aquarium.
  3. You don’t have to stay in the heart of the city. Check out a hotel on the outskirts or North Charleston. Lower hotel rates are always a favorite.
  4. Walk the city! Save on gas and a get a little exercise. Trust me, you’ll see a TON more if you get out of the car.
  5. Go to the Charleston City Market  FIRST thing in the morning, right after it opens. You’ll get first pick over all the vendors. Plus, the crowd’s still small, so there’s more room to shop.
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Ways to Travel without Hassle

Let’s face it-we all have those vacations where things don’t go as planned. These vacations could be described as somewhat as a “Griswald” family vacation.

To help avoid some of the unwanted stress, follow these five tips the next time you travel:

1: Always bring antibacterial wipes with you. Wipe down the hotel room, rental car, and anything else before use. A great way to stop germs from spreading. 

2: Use a pill container for jewelry. This trick helps to keep jewelry, especially necklaces, from tangling.

3: Have multiple chargers for phones, cords for electronics, or anything else you need to plug in? Bring a power strip to use in the hotel. 

4: Pack an empty water bottle for your drinks. Wherever you are, you can fill it up with water or something else. This is a huge money saver, as well! 

5: Flying to your destination? Select your seats with Seat Guru. This tool allows you to find your airport, airplane, and which are the good and bad seats. Trust me, there is nothing worse than sitting near the restroom.

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