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Travel Wisdom

Be a Tourist – Without Looking Like One!

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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you picture a tourist? Is it a bright Hawaiian shirt and a bulky camera around the neck? Funny as this image may be, you don’t want people to look at you and think: tourist…even if you are one. Thankfully, there are ways to blend in, even when you’re travelling. Here is how to do it:

 

Dress the Part

People dress differently in certain parts of the world. If you really want to avoid being labelled as a tourist, you’ll need to be observant. In London and Paris, for example, men and women tend to wear darker colours, like black and brown. In the Caribbean on the other hand, people wear brighter, more vibrant shades.  Look around you and take note of what other people are wearing. You can adjust your wardrobe accordingly.

Avoid Tourist Trademarks

Know that adorable sweatshirt you bought…the one with the British flag on it? Don’t wear it on your vacation. It’s better to wear that after you’ve returned home. Why? Nothing says tourist more than wearing souvenir merchandise! While you’re at it, you should also avoid wearing a backpack or fanny pack. Those are some other obvious tourist trademarks.

Be Aware of Weather Conditions

To look like a local, you’ll need to be properly dressed for the weather. If you’re headed somewhere with a lot of sunshine, wear sandals and shorts. If there is a lot of rain in the area, bring along an umbrella or rain jacket. It’s all about being aware of your location – and dressing appropriately for it. This will keep you comfortable and help you avoid looking like a tourist.

Learn the Currency

Want to let people know you’re a tourist? Just spend five minutes counting out change when you’re paying for food. To avoid these awkward moments, take a little time before your trip to learn the currency. A quick search online will help you understand the basics – which will speed things up when you’re buying something.

Know the Language and Customs

Before you travel, it’s also a good idea to understand the language and customs. You don’t need to be able to speak the language fluently, but a basic understanding will make things much easier. Plus, by understanding the basic expected behaviours for that culture, you’ll be less likely to stick out as a tourist.

Eat Local Food

We all have foods that we prefer to eat. If you’re in a different country, though, don’t just stick to what you know! Not only will this let others know that you are a tourist, but it will really limit your overall experience. The solution? Try eating local foods instead. You never know – you may end up loving the local cuisine.

Always Keep Maps Out Of Sight

Pulling out a city map is the biggest rookie mistake you can make. That’s right – if you want to avoid looking like a tourist, don’t openly look at your map. You’ll set yourself up to be seen as a tourist and you may even make yourself a target for criminals. Be careful and always keep your map out of sight. Have it on your phone or look at your map in a quiet place, instead.

If you’re tired of being labelled as a tourist, think ahead. Always be careful, observant, and aware of your actions. You’ll be acting like a local in no time!

Travel Wisdom

What Should You Pack In Your Carry On Luggage?

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Packing can be a little, well, stressful. You don’t want to forget anything or leave any of those trip necessities behind, regardless of if you’re hiking a mountain or just laying on a beach for a few weeks. It’s not just your checked luggage that needs to be packed correctly, though. Your carry on luggage is just as important. So, how can you pack smart? If you’re not sure, here are some of the things you should put in your carry on.

Important Documents

Let’s start with the basics. Your carry on luggage needs to have all of the absolute essentials. It should be filled with all of the things that you need in order to get through your flight in ease. That includes important documents, like your passport, driver’s licence, important phone numbers, hotel reservations, taxi numbers, and so on. That way, whatever happens, you’ll have all the information you need on hand. To keep it all organized, put everything into a passport wallet or a folder. You can simply slip it into your carry on luggage!

The Must-Haves

There are other essentials that you’ll need to keep with you. For instance, if you wear contacts, you may want to take a small amount of solution or comfort drops with you. You may also want to bring along things that you may need to use during the flight. Think about things like a hairbrush, hand lotion, chapstick, deodorant, baby wipes, and so on. These will help you feel fresh – even during a long flight.

Valuable Items

In order to travel successfully, you’ll need to think ahead. What would you be devastated if you lost? Don’t check those items! While airlines losing luggage is rare, it can happen. It is best not to risk losing something you can never get back. Any sentimental items or valuables like jewellery should be kept with you. In addition, your wallet and all of your money should also be on your person. So, instead of spending the flight worrying, pack them in your carry on. It will make your trip much less stressful.

Electronics

Just like valuable items, you should probably pack electronic devices in your carry on. You don’t want to risk them getting lost or damaged during transport. Things like tablets, laptops, smart phones, and iPods can be taken on the flight with you. However, extra laptop batteries may not be able to travel on the flight with you. If you’re not sure, check the airlines policies before you pack. This will ensure that your items are exactly where they need to be.

In Flight Entertainment

The only other things that should be in your carry on luggage are things that you will actually need for the flight. Items like portable DVD players, music devices, books, magazines, and so on should be kept with you. That way, if you’re bored on the airplane you have something that can keep you occupied. Really put some thought into what you’ll want to do while on the flight. That way, you can determine how much to take with you.

Packing your carry on luggage doesn’t have to be complicated. The most important thing is to focus on the essentials. Ask yourself: What do I need to travel comfortably? Once you figure that out, packing will be a cinch!

Travel Wisdom

How to Plan The Perfect Trip Itinerary

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We all dream of taking that perfect trip. You know, the one that makes you smile long after it’s over. For some of us, that may mean a trip to see the lights in Times Square. For others, that could be a week lounging around by the pool. Whatever you dream of, the good news is that you can make it a reality. Ready to find out how? Here are some tips to plan the perfect trip itinerary.

Start With The Destination

The first thing you’ll need to do is choose your ultimate vacation destination. This is easier said than done. Why? There are so many incredible places to visit. To start narrowing down your list, take out a blank sheet of paper and a map. Now, get brainstorming! What locations intrigue you? Where have you always wanted to go but haven’t quite made it to yet? Are there any spots that immediately jump out at you? Write them all down. Once you have done that, you can start to narrow down the list.

Think About What You Want to Do

Have you chosen the perfect place to visit? Great! Now it’s time to continue on with the planning process. That’s right – choosing your destination is only the first step. There is still more planning to do if you want your vacation to be memorable. For instance, are there certain things you want to do? If an afternoon at the spa sounds like your nightmare, you’ll need to start looking into local attractions. You can either do a web search or speak to a travel agent about your options. Look into historical monuments, museums, shopping areas, and of course, local hot spots. This will give you a better idea of how you want to fill your days.

Decide What You Can Afford

Budget is always important. While it may be tempting to splash out on the best of everything, chances are you will regret that decision once you return home! Don’t worry though – you can still make sure your trip is perfect…. even without going broke. The key is to focus on quality rather than quantity. Take some time to consider the things that you think will be the most memorable. You can go to a Gap store anywhere, but swimming with the dolphins is a unique experience that will last for longer than any sweater could! You can also start to narrow down the list you made of all those attractions. Decide on the things that are most important and go from there.

Get Organized

You’ve got your destination picked out and a list of things you really want to do. Now what? It is time to get organized. You will need to start booking the trip – and all of those unforgettable attractions. It is time to map out a rough trip itinerary. Are certain things only open on certain days? Then you’ll need to plan your itinerary accordingly. Create a rough plan for your vacation. A little organization can maximize your overall experience!

Are you ready to take the trip of your dreams? Then start making plans! Instead of putting it off indefinitely, look into your options. Before long, you’ll be enjoying some time away…. courtesy of your perfect trip itinerary.

Travel Wisdom

The Best Travel Apps with Maps

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Getting around in a foreign city or country can be challenging. Your GPS may be slow to work or it may not work at all. To make sure that you always know exactly where you’re going – and exactly how to get there, you need to do a little planning before you go. Luckily, there are many apps that make travelling easier. Here are some of the best travel apps with maps, to ensure that your next trip goes off without a hitch.

Best Travel App

Need a detailed map? Then the Best Travel app is your ideal choice. Thankfully, you only have to pay for the app once, rather than for each individual map you need to look at. Best of all, this handy app stores the maps that you need on your phone. So, whether or not you have Wi-Fi or data available, everything you need is right there! There are thousands of zoomable maps available, plus highlighted points of interest, and even travel guides. This map app has a little bit of everything!

The Snow Report

There is more than one kind of map app. It isn’t just about finding your way through the busy streets…it also has to do with the snow! This next app, the Snow Report, focuses on snowy areas to avoid (or head to, if you’re going skiing!). Plus, there are detailed trail maps available. They can help you get back to your hotel or accommodations for the night as easily as possible. Perhaps the best thing about this app is that it is totally free.

submainNew York Subway App

Getting around in New York can be a little complicated. Make it simpler by having the New York Subway map downloaded on your phone. It has a map of the city, all of the major stations, helps you plan your route, and even gives you a street view of the major stations. It makes getting around the Big Apple easier than ever.

Localipedia App

You need detailed maps to get around. This next app for your smart phone or tablet is the Localipedia App. It includes maps for many different local areas as well as Wikipedia articles about the place you’re visiting. That means there is tons of helpful information about where you’re staying, right at the touch of a button. This app is also free to download, so you won’t even have to spend extra cash to learn more about your favourite travel destinations.

AlpineQuest GPS Hiking App

Another map app you can’t do without? The AlpineQuest GPS Hiking App. This is ideal for travellers that like to hike and see the world. This isn’t your typical map…this super useful phone app can be used to target your location and guide you back to your starting point. It can also let you know about the terrain you are approaching. These maps can also be saved on your phone, so they don’t rely on having a signal to work. This is one way to stay safe – and know exactly where you’re going.

Travel smart by having map apps downloaded to your phone before you go anywhere. Not only are they useful but they can keep you safe, too. Don’t spend your vacation getting lost and stressing out. Enjoy it from start to finish!

Travel Wisdom

More Tips for Traveling on Your Own

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If you have decided to travel on your own, you will have a great chance to learn more about yourself while seeing a new place. Being on your own as you travel means that you will be able to completely tailor the experience to how you want it and you will not need to compromise in terms of the things that you want to do. With that said however, there are some practicalities that you will need to take into account to assure your safety and that you have the best time that you can. A little planning and thinking ahead can go a long way while traveling on your own.

Pack Wisely

Traveling on your own means that there is not anyone else there to combine luggage with so you will have to pack wisely. Remember that in general less is more and that you should not pack things that you cannot afford to lose. One of the classic missing items nightmares for solo travelers is lost travel documents and ID’s. A good idea to proactively work against this is to make copies of your documents in case of emergency this will greatly increase the pace that they can be replaced. Also, as a last note, be sure to pack your camera. On your own taking pictures will help you remember the experience and can also act as a conversation starter with strangers.

113_558805981751_841_nUse your instincts

Traveling on your own doesn’t mean you should allow anxiety and fear of strangers to paralyze you, but it does mean that you should follow your instincts if people, situations, and places you are in don’t feel right. If you do end up in these situations, try to gracefully slip away without alerting those around you to your concern. There are a number of tactful excuses that could be used, perhaps the best is that you are meeting a friend and have to leave. In order to avoid anxiety it is a good idea as well to avoid using ATM machines at night and in poorly populated areas. Also booking your accommodation in advance will help alleviate lingering anxiety and ensure that you have a safe haven to retreat to at night. Look to only book well reviewed hostels and hotels that are in areas of town that are heavily populated.