Many publications and online travel sites offer tips to make your next trip more fun, easier, safer…and on and on.
Periodically I offer quick tips that have worked for me or ones that others send to me.
Here are just a few:
When renting a car, check for any damage to bumpers or doors. Look at the windshield for damage as well. If you see any dings or issues, take photos immediately. Even if you rent from a brand name company, issues can occur. Last summer in Boston we rented from Hertz. When we went to the rental car, there were several issues with it from dings, to a bumper dent, to an odd smell inside. We took photos and then decided to talk to the on site supervisor about the car. They apologized and gave us an upgrade. Hertz employees showed exemplary customer service and made sure we were happy with the new rental. It pays to talk to them and not just accept a car with obvious problems.
Wear loose fitting shoes on flights, especially long ones. The pressure change in the cabin can cause your feet to swell, making your shoes tight. Plus, it’s easier going through security if your shoes come off easily.
Noise cancelling headphones can make all the difference on flights. They reduce fatigue and shut out noises, allowing you to sleep.
Bring a small toothbrush and toothpaste in your carry on, especially on long flights.
Bring a small flashlight in your carry on as well. You never know when you may need it in flight, at night in the hotel, or at a dark restaurant.
CHEF SEAN O’TOOLE OF NAPA’S TORC
The TasteMaker Series presents thought leadership forums staged in the Jessup Cellars Tasting Gallery in Napa Valley’s village of Yountville, just a block north of the famed The French Laundry. Each event is integrated with the launch of a thematic art exhibition, bringing together Jessup Cellars wines, food, art and people into fully realized sensory forums. Jessup Cellars Tasting Gallery is located at 6740 Washington St., Yountville, California. To learn more about Jessup Cellars and the TasteMaker Speaker Series visit Jessup Cellars or call 707.944.8523.
Let’s face it…when you visit a place for the first time, you probably won’t see it all. Unless, of course, you plan on an extended stay. Even then, you might not see it all.
So, how do you decide what to see and do?
Read some guidebooks, talk to people who love the city where you are going, and think about your likes and dislikes. If you really don’t like art galleries, but the city is famous for art galleries…do you want to spend time touring an art gallery? You might love wandering through gardens and this place has dozens of gardens. If churches are on your ‘must see’ list, check out what each one is famous for and whether it is something you want to visit.
With that in mind, make a list of your top 10 things to do and see. Then, whittle that down to three if you can. These are the three you definitely want to schedule. Look at the best times to visit these, including days and times. Purchase your tickets online ahead of time to avoid standing in lines. After all, if these are sites you really want to see…working out a scheduled visit will make your trip more enjoyable. No sense being disappointed because the lines were too long or you missed the window to purchase tickets.
Once your top three are scheduled, you have time to see things and go places that pop up or that look interesting as you walk through a neighborhood. You can be spontaneous with the rest of the day.
Some questions for you as you plan your next trip…
What do you do your first day in a new place? Do you leave that day open or do you schedule activities for that day?
Have you looked at maps to know where your hotel or apartment is in relation to sites you want to see?
Are you going to take a guided tour? Or, are you going to do it yourself?
Do you know where the best views in the city are located?
Have you made a list of ‘must see’ attractions or sites?
Do you know the ticketing procedures?
Did you purchase your tickets ahead of time?
Do you know when the most popular and crowded times and days are at places you want to visit?
Are you too scheduled for your time frame?
Have you left your last day open?
Depending on the country where you will be traveling, food could be an issue. No one wants to get sick at home, let alone in an unfamiliar city.
Drinking water can pose a big problem when traveling. It’s obvious you don’t want to drink the water in many countries. But, what about countries where you thought it was safe to drink the water? Before you go, research your destination. Is safe water an issue? If you’re not sure, drink only bottled water. Ask your hotel to recommend a brand that is a known safe one. Along those same lines, if you’re unsure…don’t brush your teeth with tap water and keep your mouth shut when taking a shower. Also, avoid ice cubes in drinks.
What about eating street food? If you aren’t sure about the cleanliness of it…avoid it. If you see lots of flies hanging around the food…avoid it. If the food vendor looks like he has unclean hands…avoid it. You might want to stay away from food that’s been sitting in the sun for hours also.
If you’re still unsure about the water…avoid foods that were washed in local water. Salads, fruits, and vegetables might be good ones to avoid. If you can peel it or cook it…you’re probably okay to eat it.
Check out this unique workshop…
TENDING THE WILD – THE WORKSHOP
You’ve probably read that it’s a good idea to learn a few words and phrases if you’re going to a foreign country. Please is a good one to learn and so is Thank You. Do You Speak English is one that might come in handy. One more that you might want to learn is No Thank You.
Take a couple of extra plastic bags along. They don’t take up room in your suitcase and are so useful in many ways from dirty clothes to wet swimsuits to seashells to muddy shoes. The uses are almost endless.
If you are getting a taxi from your hotel to a restaurant or attraction, be sure to take a business card from the front desk. That way you can show it to the taxi driver when you want to come back to your hotel. Before you leave the hotel, ask the concierge or front desk what the approximate rate will be.
If you bring a hard copy of the city’s map, you can save your phone battery for other uses.
Ask the locals for advice on restaurants, etc.
Do you know where the embassy is located? Is it in the same city as you? It would be a good idea to write down the phone number and address. You never know when this may come in handy.
Scan your passport and travel documents and send one copy to yourself and one to a family member.
Check out the airports on line ahead of time. This might save you some time to know the general direction of the rental car companies, the different terminals, rest rooms, etc.