Off the Beaten Path

When you travel, do you venture off the beaten path? Do you eat where the locals eat? Do you sit at a sidewalk cafe that’s listed in the guidebooks? Or, do you search out one most tourists wouldn’t find?

I know what I do…how about you?

Trip Plans

When you plan your trip, where do you start? Do you plan the trip you really want? Or, do you plan what you think you should see and do while there? There are famous sites, museums, art galleries, monuments, and beaches all over the world. If you are only going to the site or the museum because you think you should…not because you really want to…do you think you will enjoy it?

Maybe or maybe not. This is your trip. You should plan it to get the best experience for you. What do you think?

Check Your Luggage or Carry It On?

Can You Travel With Only a Carry-on?
Want to avoid the waiting game at the luggage carousel? You can with these tips…
Opt for a great bag
First, you want a bag that’s easy to carry when you’re rushing through terminals and easy enough to place in an overhead bin or under your seat. A quality rectangular bag that’s soft and lightweight might be your best bet. Most airlines have a size limit for carry-on bags, which is often 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches.
Pay attention to what you pack
Do you really need everything you think you do? Probably not. Make your list of clothes, including those you can easily mix and match for multiple days or events. You probably can’t have only the pair of shoes you’re wearing, but try to only take two distinct pairs. These will cover most occasions. You can always throw in a pair of flip-flops that don’t take up much room. Check with the hotel to see if they have hairdryers or any other appliance that takes up valuable room in your bag.
Compression bags can come in handy
For saving space, these bags can either be rolled up or vacuumed to suck out every last bit of air, leaving you with the most compact travel bag possible. Once they are compressed down, you’ll have more room in your bag.
Guide books versus tablets and apps
Instead of packing the entire guide book, pack your tablet or gadget with its wide variety of sites you’ve previously bookmarked. If there are some pages in your favorite guide book that you just can’t travel without…tear them out and bring only those pages.
Are you traveling with a friend, partner, or spouse?
You can save room by only one of you packing the toothpaste, contact solution, and shampoo. Decide who has what and you’ll save a bunch of room. Plus, you can always purchase more if you run out.
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Visiting a City for the First Time?

When visiting a city for the first time, do you spend several days there? Or, do you think you can see it all in one day? Especially if you are going someplace like Rome, Florence, Paris, or Cambridge…spend more than just a day. That way you’ll have time to wander around, enjoy the views from a sidewalk cafe, see more than just the tourist spots, and of course people watch.

Cambridge phone booths…

Taking time to sit by the water provides great photos as well as a chance to rest your feet from walking around the city. In Cambridge, pubs provide great spots to relax with a mug of beer. Or, is it a pint? Finding good wine was a challenge…but I managed to do it.

Once rejuvenated…take a punt on the river.

Passport Tips

You may know that routine passport processing takes about four to six weeks. You may also know that in certain countries you need at least six months worth of validity remaining on your passport in order to enter that country.

Did you know you may need completely blank pages in your passport? If you are planning a trip to South Africa, they require travelers to have one fully blank visa page in their passports. If not…no entry.

If you are a frequent traveler, you may want to look through your passport now. Make sure you have enough room for additional passport stamps, especially if you are traveling to more than one country on any of your upcoming trips. No one wants to be denied entry based on something you could have taken care of before you left.

Need more info or have questions regarding passports and visas? Go to www.travel.state.gov for more information.

Travel Apps

Check out Trip Advisor’s newest app…GateGuru. They say it can help spot delays at your gate, give you information before you arrive at the airport, help you find a place to eat at the airport, and assist with car rentals.

I haven’t tried it…let me know if you have and what you thought of it.

Have you ever used Evernote on your tablet? I have and it’s a great way to take notes. But, it will do more…especially when you’re traveling. These are just a few uses. Use it like a notebook to keep track of expenses or your travel journal. Upload brochures, maps, and menus from places you loved. Add your photos. What else can you think of?