Travel the internet before you travel the world.
If you did not book your transportation, hotel, and rental car at an online travel site, you made your booking far more complicated than it had to be, and you probably paid more than the rock-bottom price. Promise yourself you will use the internet for your next major adventure. So, while you do that read some essential travel tips right off and get a head-start.
– Here is one of the most essential travel tips: Before you board your flight, long before you exit the plane, review the airline security rules and the travel document requirements at your destination: What can you carry in your carry-on luggage, how much luggage can you check and how much will you pay for that convenience? Do you need your passport and supplemental travel documents? Do you need vaccination records or other health information? Does your destination put any restrictions on what you may bring with you?
– A little knowledge of history and literature goes a long way as you visit major landmarks: Do you know why they built the Eifel Tower and for whom it is named? Do you know the whole story of the Taj Mahal? Do you remember which famous work of literature found its way from imagination to paper at the Hotel Del Coronado? When you understand the history, you more easily comprehend the people’s reverence for their landmarks. Get some destination specific travel tips from friends who have already visited that place.
Know before you go.
Take time to learn a little bit about the culture and customs in your destinations. Study-up on the most common tourist mistakes so that you do not commit them, and learn enough about the local currency that you can estimate how much you are paying for all those souvenirs and curios. Learn proper etiquette for meeting and greeting new people, and pay special attention to tipping etiquette, because you do not want to omit key people from your gratuities list nor do you want to insult professionals by tipping when you ought not. Learn about the dress codes: most cruise ships and many upscale European casinos require evening attire and prohibit some casual styles.
Most of all, take time to learn about health and safety risks: Could you be exposed to bacteria or viruses for which you have not developed immunity? Do officials either require or recommend vaccinations before you travel? Because every major urban area everywhere in the world, you should find out which neighbourhoods are safe for tourists, and you should find out how late the night life rocks on before it becomes unsafe. Some extremely popular tourist destinations come with their own signature frauds and scams-everything from holy relics to card tricks and shell games. Learn to discern which ones are harmless amusements and which ones endanger your health or wealth. Some of these travel tips are easily available over the Internet and in the books.
If you cannot use your apps, use your maps.
The more adventurous your plans, the more you probably should outfit yourself with an upscale, go-everywhere phone. As you choose your handheld communicator, you may face a small dilemma: Veteran travellers stress iPhone’s wealth of travel-friendly apps, new converts to Android phones emphasize how easy ‘Droid makes using Google maps, and hardcore business people still rely on Blackberries. Of course, the good news is that fierce competition among those three big brands has driven down the prices of all three.
As you explore new territory, you do not want to call attention to yourself as a tourist, but you cannot venture out unprepared. Even if you feel confident you can rely on your cell phone for directions, standard phrases in the local language, and decent quality pictures, you still should carry a map and your phrase-book just to be sure. If you do get lost and decide to navigate your own way out of your confusion, pause long enough to make certain you and your map are oriented to north, south, east, and west. And keep in mind that, in many cases and many places, it’s best just to take a cab back to your hotel.