Read these 14 Misc. Travel Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Hotels tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you find yourself in trouble with the law while in another country, (whether you're guilty or not), remember * You are not necessarily innocent until proven guilty * You have not automatically got the right to speak to an attorney * You only have the "rights" of that country. You are a visitor in a foreign land and the rights you enjoy in the USA do not travel with you. Do not under any circumstances become aggressive or threatening. The best thing to do if you are allowed, is to contact the nearest American Embassy or consulate. Their powers are limited; they can't spring you from jail or provide bail, but they can help to get you in contact with family and counsel.
Domestic or foreign, only take with you the cards you are likely to use on your trip. Store the rest safely at home or in a safe. In the event of loss or theft, the fewer cards to track the better. Keep every receipt for purchases...cash or credit card. In some countries you may be eligible for a rebate in the form of a "VAT" tax; receipts also protect you against inappropriate charges, insurance valuation, and for proof of purchase at US customs. When endorsing the actual credit card, instead of your signature write "ask for I.D." which will protect you from credit card theft / fraud.
As you prepare to leave on the lavish and exotic/or quick and cheap trip you have booked, invest some time in making sure your homecoming is happy: alert the police when you will be gone so they can keep an eye on your house during their rounds...put lights on a timer to give the illusion of someone being home...ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway for the same reason...arrange for newspapers and mail to be suspended or collected in your absence. If you don't have an alarm system consider getting one- it should lower your insurance rates as well as protect your family and your belongings whether you're home or not.
With the possible exceptions of major cities in developed nations: Do not eat raw vegetables or salads.
Do not drink water or milk that is not pasteurized or bottled. Eat only fruits that you have peeled (bananas, oranges). Do not eat foods sold by street vendors or uncooked foods like sushi. Eat food which is fully cooked or boiled.
**This is not to say the foods offered are in themselves dangerous; just that they may introduce bacteria that is strange to your system, thereby causing illness.**
If you're investing your hard-earned money on a wonderful package/tour/cruise, BUY the insurance!! Protect your thousands of dollars for a fraction of the trip's cost. Ask questions of your travel agent, read the policy coverage...it will probably include features for travel delay, illness or death of travelers or immediate family members, possibly jury duty, baggage coverage, emergency medical assistance and more. I used to be a reservations supervisor for a cruise line, and barely a week went by that I didn't speak to a tearful would-be passenger who declined insurance, had an unforeseen occurence, and was penalized 100% because of the close-to-sailing refund policy. Insurance is a bet you don't want to win...but protect yourself- if you need it, you REALLY need it!
When I took my little niece to Disney World, I took a Polaroid picture of each of us (separately) right before we left, then trimmed the pictures to fit into plastic luggage tags, to which I added a clip-on. I told her that if we get separated, to go to a security guard or other employee, and have them take her to the lost-children area. I then told her to show them my picture and not to release her to anyone else but me. I had her picture with me for easy identification. We could wear our ID at the waistband of our shorts under our shirts so they were not visible. She felt a little silly, but secure knowing I'd get her.
Do not swim in warm summer Caribbean waters if you have an open wound of any kind. Not just the "blood attracts sharks" angle, but bacteria flourish that can give you a nasty infection, which you won't want to treat in countries or on cruise ships with sub-standard medical facilities and training.
If you have limited time and/or interest in planning your own vacation or business travel, a travel agent may be able to save you time, money and headaches. Be sure to find a good travel agent that completely understands your needs and budget. Almost every travel agent now needs to charge for their services, because most carriers have ceased paying commissions (exception- Southwest). Choose wisely or do it yourself. Finding bargains on the internet can be worthwhile if you're careful.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|