California Trip

California’s Pacific Coast Highway has been called one of the best US road trips by several magazines. It’s easy to see why.

From sunshine to fog, this drive never disappoints as it jogs along cliff side beaches. Take time to enjoy towering redwoods, serene farms with happy grazing cattle, walks on the beach, and of course…the sunsets.

Duct Tape and Dental Floss

Ever travel with duct tape and dental floss? Why not? The uses are endless.

You don’t need to take the whole roll of duct tape. Wrap some around a pencil , a straw, or the little package of dental floss.

You can fix just about anything for a short amount of time with these two, from buttons and hems to broken zippers.

I’ll give some ideas later…what are some things you have used them for when traveling?

Luggage Tips

If you’ve ever lost your luggage when traveling…even for just a couple of hours…you know what it’s like to try to describe it to the lost and found people.

It’s black, the zipper goes all the way around, there’s red tape on the handles, it’s about this big, it has my name on an airport tag…

Sure.

Next time, take a photo of you standing next to your luggage. It still is black with red tape on the handles…but at least they will know it’s your luggage. Think about using a sturdier name tag instead of the paper ones provided at the check in counter. It may help.

Passports

You probably know you need to allow four to six weeks to get a new or replacement passport. And, you probably know that in several countries you need six month’s worth of validity remaining on it in order to enter.

Did you know you can expedite the process if necessary? It will cost you about an extra $60…

Did you also know that some countries like South Africa require at least one fully blank visa page in your passport? Without it, you may be refused entry. If you travel a lot, it would be a good idea to check your pages.

Train Travel

If you are looking for an economical way to travel around Europe, check out the Eurail pass or the European country rail pass.

You can view both on their websites. If you are using a travel agent, be sure to ask questions about your destinations and stops. If you want to purchase on your own, it’s definitely easy to do. Think about these things before you make your purchase.

Plan out the cities and days you will need the passes. Are you traveling in only one country or through several? It will make a difference.

Check the beginning and ending times and days of the pass. Friday nights fill up quickly.

Remember you need to validate your rail pass at a railway ticket office before you use it the first time. There may be a line to do so.

If you want an assigned seat, be sure to purchase the correct pass.

You will need to make advance reservations for sleepers.

Don’t leave your luggage unguarded…use a lock or some other form of safety precaution.

Your rail pass is not replaceable…keep track of it.

Travel Mistakes

Recently I read several posts about mistakes some travelers make. Any of these resonate with you?

When you booked your airline ticket, you didn’t leave a comfortable amount of time between your connecting flights. Check the airport where you will be connecting. You can find airport maps online. Do you know how far you’ll have to walk? Are you carrying your luggage?

When you rented a house for your vacation, you didn’t really read the contract. Did you know the neighborhood had a curfew? Did you speak to the owner of the house to find out anything special that wasn’t listed in the contract? Did you look at the check out time or the fact that you had to do the laundry before you left?

When you booked your flight into an out-of-the-way airport because it was cheaper, did you realize it would take you over two hours to get to your hotel? Sometimes less popular airports are great…sometimes not. Check out the logistics.

Travel to Eat

Do you find local places to eat when traveling? Who do you ask? Do you scope out places ahead of arriving at your destination?

What’s your favorite tip for finding interesting restaurants or cafes?

You can read the guidebooks and ask fellow travelers…but take some time to look around when you travel. Who is eating at the sidewalk cafes? Are they locals or mainly tourists?

Have you ever taken a walking food tour of any city? Recently we took one in San Francisco’s Little Italy. Even though we’ve been there many, many times…we still learned some real local insider tips of some restaurants we’ve walked right past.

It’s worth talking to the locals. You never know what you might learn.

Remedies for Ailments When Traveling

These home remedies may assist you when traveling.

Ginger: It has been known to have anti-inflammatory properties as well as aid in digestion. It may even work for motion sickness.

Chamomile: This can be used to sooth a stomach ache.

Warm Salt Water: It sounds odd, but drinking a glass can aid in soothing a sore throat.

Baking Soda: Ever read the labels on antacids? They contain bicarbonate of soda…baking soda. Mix a teaspoon in some warm water to get rid of indigestion or heartburn.

Lemons: Squeezing a lemon in some water may also soothe an upset stomach.

You certainly won’t need all of these…but it may be a good idea to pack some ginger tablets, a packet of salt, or some baking soda in your travel bag.

Renting a Villa

Renting a villa can be the best option for your travels. Here are some things to think about before you rent.

Check out the area where you will be spending most of your time. This means knowing the towns, attractions, and areas you want to visit. Once you have that decided you can start looking for rentals. There are many sites available that will let you check out the interior, the exterior, the surrounding areas, nearby attractions, and even let you talk to the owners.

Check out Google Earth for street view. It may make a difference between what is said and what is real.

What size of a place do you need? What services do you need?

Read the reviews. Read the good ones and the bad ones. Don’t just concentrate on one or the other.

Talk to the owner, if possible. Sometimes that will be the deciding factor for me.

Read the contract…make sure they send you one! Make sure it includes your rental dates, what is covered, any amenities not included, cancellation policy, tipping, and whether there will be services that require a fee. If the site says it sleeps 4 to 6, what does that mean? How many bedrooms? What kind of beds? Does it say beach front, beach view, or close to the beach? What does that mean. Google Earth is a great help on this one. Close to the beach may mean six or even ten blocks away. What does gourmet kitchen really mean?

Pay with a secure method.

Consider buying travel insurance.