The most exciting thing about travelling is being there, although the journey to your destination can present some fascinating moments too. The long preparations, the vaccines, are all worth it once you arrive at your destination. If it is the first time in a country, there is so much to absorb. If it is not, it is like visiting an old friend.
We will review some of the places, and services that we have used in our travels. Other Empty Bester travellers, will share their favorite ‘go to’ places at home and abroad.
Sometimes the best travel experience is in your own backyard. As you mature, you see things from a different perspective. Visit the attractions that tourists come to see in your nearest big city, or enjoy the defining characteristics of your local area.
Take advantage of off season prices:
The Megabus has some great deals, especially to New York City. I am still trying for those rare $5.00 tickets. My friend had some luck with those, so I know it is possible. The prices for Ontario and Montreal are reasonable so keep checking the dates.
Via Rail discounts and special rates are available throughout the year. This is a great way to travel across Canada.
There has been a recent drop in oil prices. Will this mean cheaper airline tickets? Do your homework.
You will enhance your travel experience if do some of the following:
Do your research: Depending on the time of year you are travelling, the climate may not be what you expect. Many countries have the following seasons: rainy and dry. If all inclusive holidays to a particular place seem too cheap, check out the expected weather for the time you want to go. You may find it’s hurricane season, or some other exciting weather pattern that might hinder your enjoyment of the holiday.
Wear light cotton fabrics: If you are going to a hot and humid climate, durable and wrinkle free will go a long way. Comfortable walking shoes are a bonus, nothing ruins a great walking tour like uncomfortable shoes. Some city streets around the world may be beautiful but the streets can be uneven or cobbled stone.
Get some local currency: It can be hard to change US currency outside of the major cities in most countries that you visit. So stock up on some local currency before leave, at least you will have some money pay for a taxi from the airport. Black market transactions are risky.
Check out the local area health warnings: You really don’t want to bring back something with you, that was not in your body before you left. The rule of thumb is the more exotic the location, the more caution. If you do get medication, for example, malaria tablets, make sure you are aware of the side effects, and how this will affect your travel plans.
Bring toilet paper: I always pack one roll in a zip lock freezer bag for a day’s site seeing. There is no escaping, ‘Montezumas’s/Slaves revenge’ on more adventurous vacations to Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is going to get you some way, somehow. Not all toilets are the same. I remember being in a ladies room in a museum in Dar-es-Salam, and to this day I am not sure what part of the nether regions the small shower head was supposed to clean, and what position you were supposed to be in when this happened. There were no women around to ask.
Bring a can opener: a small one or a compact camping style. You never know when you will get the munchies, and canned food is a convenient snack when you are back at the hotel.
Pack lightly: Actually, my case is very full arriving as I always bring gently used, laundered clothing to give away, especially children’s clothing on trips to third world countries. Second hand clothing is a thriving business in many African countries and people are very grateful for clean, donated, used clothing.
Wear a sun hat: Can’t stress enough the importance of protecting your head from the sun, sometimes you don’t realize how hot it is, as you walk around enjoying the attractions. Sun stroke is extremely unpleasant.
Bargain: When shopping in local markets, find out beforehand from a local at what price you are expected start in negotiations with the vendors. Prices for tourists are immediately inflated, and bargaining is expected.
Be aware of your surroundings: Sometimes while walking and enjoying the sights, one might not realize that you have ventured beyond your comfort zone. Don’t take things that will really be a nightmare to replace. Make a copy of your passport and ID and leave it at your hotel.
Learn some basic words and phrases: A combination of these and sign languages is always handy. Local people are usually very helpful when they see that you are trying to use their language.
Here are some great travel sites that are full of information and tips: