Bringing Food Home With You

You loved the prosciutto in Milan. You want to bring some home with you.

Be sure to check with US Customs to see if that is permitted to come home with you. You might just have to eat it there.

You may have to pay an extra fee, the food may be confiscated, or in some cases you may have a penalty attached. And don’t think you can hide it in your suitcase. Those dogs in customs can smell more than just drugs…they smell food as well.

Shopping Overseas

Open air markets are a great place to shop. Most of the time, cash is appreciated. Know what you are buying and whether it is the real deal. Counterfeit and imitation goods can be found on the sidewalks all the time. If you want the real deal, you’ll have to pay the real price.

Passports

Check the expiration date on your passport now. Even if you aren’t planning on traveling next month, it’s a good idea to check it. Certain countries require that your passport be valid for six months past the expiration date that you’re scheduled to return home. These are China, Russia, and US.

It’s also a good idea to check entry and exit requirements for countries around the world. You can check those at www.travel.state.gov.

Where is My Hotel?

One good idea when staying in a hotel in a different city is to take a business card from the front desk on your way out to explore the city. Since locals usually don’t pronounce words the same way in their native language as we do…you may have a hard time telling the taxi driver the name or address of your hotel. Instead, show him the card and make life easier for everybody.

Travel Quote

“All major cities are divided into two parts: the bits that are in the guidebook and the bits that aren’t. If you don’t take a guidebook, you’ll see a different city.” Guy Browning.

Phone Numbers

It’s a good idea to have your airline’s phone number in your phone. If you get stuck, your flight is cancelled, or you need to call them…you will have the number handy. In addition, you can ask to receive a text message if there is a change in your flight.

Documents

Have you ever stood in line behind someone who is searching every pocket in their vest, pants, carry on bag, or purse for their boarding pass and id card? That’s not fun for anyone!

Make sure you know exactly where yours are before you get to the front of the security check in line. I always try to keep them in the same spot in my purse. That way…I know where they are.

You’re Not in Kansas, Anymore

People watching is a great pastime when sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Venice or drinking coffee at a stand up bar in Sienna or standing in line in Luxembourg. Overhearing their conversations is just as amusing.

What constantly amazes me is the number of times I hear something like…”in America we get faster service” or “I want my coffee just like I drink it back home.”

Well…the bottom line is, you are not back home. You are on vacation in Europe or some other country.  You are there to experience the culture of that country. Things might be done differently. But, isn’t that why you travel…to experience another country and their way of doing things?

Enjoy the differences and have fun.

Pockets and Purses

You are at the airport…

You’ve removed your watch, bracelets, belt, coins, and anything else that could create a problem going through security. You’ve placed them in the small container and put that in the larger bin on the conveyor belt. Standing in line waiting for your bin to exit the scanner, you are probably thinking of how to quickly get to your gate. Maybe there’s a whole line of people and you just want to get out of the way.

Have you ever left anything in one of those little bins? Have you dropped change all over the floor in hurrying to get going? This past week I watched a couple do just that. Security lines were long. I’m sure they were just trying to be nice and get out of the way. First, she dropped her bracelets that were laying on her jacket in the bin. Then she dropped her jacket. He dropped a whole bunch of change, his clippers, and his belt when he accidentally upset his bin when he picked it up.

They were embarrassed. The line was held up as people tried to help find their things.

Next time…place all small items in your jacket pocket,your purse, or your carry on bag. You have to put that item in the bin to go through security anyway. If you carry change in your pants…place it in a zippered pocket of your jacket or in a pouch in your carry on  so it won’t escape in the ride through the scanner. You only need to grab your shoes and your bag or jacket. No standing around grabbing for small items. The line moves and you get going.

You’re not going to need these items immediately once you get through security.  So why not make the time spent in security for you and for everyone in line behind you go a little more smoothly?