Chapter 4 What’s On Your List?

Chapter 4    What’s On Your List

In Chapter 3 we talked about Making a List, or Lists…and this chapter will cover what you may want to include on that “list”….for the items on this list can “make or break” your travels. In addition to the “list”….there are some basics to include in your carry on, and I got the following from a travel blogger, Jamie.

When you think of the best parts travel, immersing yourself in new cultures and eating authentic food probably sound more appealing than flying to your destination. But, when you have the right things with you, your flight can be the ideal time to relax and dream of all the discovery to come! To make your time in the sky even more enjoyable, we reached out to Go Ahead staff to hear which products they always pack in their carry-on bags. Here are ten of their favorites to have with you the next time you take to the skies.

One thing is for sure: Digging for your passport and other travel documents isn’t nearly as fun as digging into culture. That’s why having a functional travel wallet on hand is a must—and why we love the colorful selection made by Zoppen. With well-organized pockets for your boarding pass, money, cell phone, and more, you’re guaranteed to have everything you need at the ready. Plus, the wallet’s RFID-blocking material prevents anyone from electronically nabbing ID info and credit card numbers, so you can stroll through busy terminals at ease (and in style!).

2

Water bottle
If you’ve ever arrived at an airport’s security line just in time to remember you’ll need to toss the full water bottle in your bag, this tip’s for you. Next time you pack up your carry-on essentials, bring along an empty water bottle. You can fill it once you’re through security instead of paying high airport prices for a bottle while waiting to board your flight. Then, you’ll be able to refill it during your adventure (as long as it’s safe to drink tap water at your destination). We love the Hydro Flask bottles, which are insulated to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot, making it easier to stay hydrated while quenching your thirst for adventure.

3

A good read
Far-off places spring to life from the pages of a good book, and bringing a travel-centric tale along during your flight is sure to get you dreaming of all the adventure to come. The Go Ahead team is full of top travel book recommendations, but one of our staff favorites is The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. In it, Weiner says there’s a link between inspiring destinations and overall happiness… and we can’t argue with that!

4

Noise-canceling headphones
If you’d rather catch up on a good flick while coasting through the sky, noise-canceling headphones are the way to go. While quite reprieves may be hard to come by on busy flights, these headphones help keep any outside noise (think: crying babies) at bay while you tune into your movie or music. Want an option that won’t break the bank? Check out Sony’s over-the-ear headphones, which are comfortable enough for long trips and fold up when you’re ready to pack them away.

Portable charger
Enjoy passing the time on flights by watching movies on your tablet? A portable charger is the thing to bring. One of our top picks is the Jackery Bolt, a small-but-reliable external battery charger with built-in cords. It can provide a medium-sized smartphone with up to two full charges and give tablets and other electronics with USB ports more life. Simply plug the charger in overnight to give it some juice before you take off, and all you’ll need to think about is filling up your wine glass on tour instead of running out of battery in the air.

6

Toiletry bag
Like a good travel wallet, a roomy toiletry bag is a must for wrangling all of your in-flight essentials, and one of our favorites is the Herschel Supply Co. Chapter Travel Kit. The good-looking material is sturdy, the interior is roomy, and you can simply pop your plastic gallon baggie full of 3-oz liquids inside. That way, you won’t need to go rooting around in the bottom of your tote for lotion when your parched hands need some love mid-flight.

7

Antibacterial wipes
While meeting new people is one of the best parts of travel, picking up any germs (or sharing your own) undoubtedly dampen the adventure. That’s why using antibacterial wipes is always a good idea, and Purell’s travel packs are a good go-to. You can clean your hands, tray tables, and armrests in flight for a germ-free journey, and then tuck the package in a convenient place—the wipes aren’t considered a liquid so you don’t need to worry about keeping them in your gallon baggie.

8

Hand cream
An airplane cabin’s dry, recycled air can do a number to your skin, so it’s key to have a good moisturizing cream on hand (get it?). We love L’Occitane en Provence’s creams, which hydrate without feeling greasy—and call to mind bright fragrances in the South of France. If you’re hoping to sleep as you coast through the sky, opt for the lavender scent for an extra splash of relaxation.

9

Lip balm
A refreshing wake-up may be just what you need after snoozing mid-flight, and a minty lip balm should do the trick. One of our favorites is Smith’s Rosebud Perfume Co. Minted Rose Lip Balm. It hydrates while providing an invigorating kick and a light tint, all in a compact, pretty tin.

For the trip itself, let’s start with the obvious…your camera or camera phone, and the charger. Your IPad, if you use it for photos, and its charger. If you use your IPad for Kindle, then be sure you have the books you want to read downloaded while you have an internet service available. Sun glasses are always needed, and you might think about a case to keep them from breaking.  If you like to take notes of things you see, or memorable things that happen on the trip, take along a writing tablet or note pad, and a couple of pens that work. Maybe for you it is your daily Diary. Binoculars always come in handy, but get a good one. REI is where I got mine…very pleased and only $100. A small umbrella is always good to take, for even though you may be in an area where it is not suppose to rain, be prepared in case weather turns bad. Just keep it small. Sunscreen may be needed, so stick in a tube, but it has to be the right size. For the flight, air sickness or Jet Lag pills may work, and the same for sea sickness. Slippers for the long flights are often well used, as well as a neck brace and eye covers and ear plugs. Always good if you plan on sleeping on the flight. And, if you take medications, be sure you have them with you on the flight, not in your checked luggage.

We covered the correct clothes, coats, and hats previously….but also think about personal security. If you have a fanny pack or a pouch, be sure it is RFID, which protects valuables for potential theft of private information. If you carry a purse, be sure it is RFID and has a way to strap it to your body. Men’s wallets should be kept in the front pocket of pants, not in the back pocket. If you use a back pack, they are great but can be accessed from the back, and you might want to look at one that you can carry in front of you, as well as on your back. If you are in a big crowded area, keep the pack in front of you with your arms around it. Speaking of personal security.…let’s think about the credit card and cash that you carry. First, be sure and notify your credit card company that you will be traveling outside the US, and they will probably ask what countries, and the dates, so have this handy. And, be sure and mention that you may be using both a credit and debit card. Regarding US dollars, in cash, for the most part will not be accepted in stores. Use a credit or debit card. However, dollars can be used for hotel tips, etc. but again, not widely accepted. Local cash, which you can get at ATM’s, which are very accessible, is the way to go. I do not recommend keeping much cash on you (maybe $100 converted to local currency) as you can use your debit card for almost all purchases. This process is much more common outside the US than in the US. We will talk  more about getting local currency once you arrive at the in-country airport.

Now that you have done your pre trip planning, your pre-trip packing, and have your list of items to take, you are ready to depart and head to the airport. Chapter 5 will deal with “The Airport”….from getting there to taking off….stay tuned.

Make a List…..What to Know Before You Go…Chapter 3

Chapter 3  Make A List

Make a List. I started making a list when I started traveling in 1960, while on a UCLA project to India. We did not have a lot of choice, as our Faculty Leader said, ” you can take 1 suitcase, and it has to be small”.  Well, for a 20 year old college student that grew up with a Mom that said “wear clean clothes every day”, this was not going to be an easy task. But, I made it…and I made it because of My List.

Then for 10 years, while I was with World Vision and traveled someplace every week, the list was critical, and to this day, I make a list for every trip. In fact, now I make a couple of lists. One is for the trip, and one is to prepare for the trip, and let’s start with this one. From stopping the paper,  (and yes, some people still get a newspaper), to stopping the mail, to planning out how the dogs and cats will be cared for, make that list for your departure. I even put on there adjust the heating and cooling system, depending on the time of year, and I list turn off the water if it is winter and may freeze. And so it goes. One word of caution though, that just came to me by a reader on Active Rain, only tell people that you know that you are leaving…don’t put it out there for the world to see on Facebook, etc….we are in a different world these days, and it is best that not everyone know that you are going to be traveling for 3 weeks, or whatever. But, do tell the neighbors that you know that you are leaving…could they keep an eye on the house, etc. They are always willing and you may want to return the favor…part of being a good neighbor. Put “check with the neighbors” on your list.

Plan for the trip. I like to think through the days, and what will I be doing each day. If you are walking a lot, will 1 pair of shoes work, or will you need two. What about the weather? Will you need a coat or jacket, and what attire do you want if you go to a concert, or to a fancy restaurant in Rome? Then,  I will actually make a list of day to day clothes. This may sound ridiculous, but this way I can determine how many shirts, pants, etc I will need before I will have to do the laundry. This also helps to point out that you really will not need 8 changes for an 8 day trip…or that you may need that many changes.  Then my list will start to list the activities that I am anticipating, such as climbing up a mountain, swimming in the hotel pool, or going on a photo safari. Do I have the batteries needed, as well as the tripod if I am using one, etc. Will I need my binoculars if i am looking at birds, or at a sporting event. Am I going to keep a diary, or will I use my IPad, and if so, do I have the charger(s). If I want to do some serious reading,  do I have a book or is it on Kindle, and if so, have I downloaded the books I want to read. If you want to go to the hotel gym, what do I wear? What about a hair dryer, or clippers if you have a trimmed beard or need an haircut? Well, this is the process, and smart travelers go through this at least a week in advance of departure, which gives you time to pick something up at Walmart or the local drug store.

In the next section, I am going to list some items to put on your List, in preparation for the flight, and then arrival at the airport or port….so stay tuned…Chapter 4  What’s On Your List?

 

What to Know Before You Go…Chapter 2

Chapter 2  The Internet, Web Resources, and the Travel Agency

As you start your trip planning and you are trying to determine where you want to go, use the Internet. There are a number of travel sites, but the best way, in my opinion, is to use Google and put in such things as “vacationing in Australia, or Europe, or France, or the Caribbean, etc”. Many site will come up and you can take your time and look at all of the many places that you can see and things that you can do. On our recent trip to Australia, we knew we were going to Cairns as our first step on our journey, so my wife Googled Cairns. From Cairns, which is north on Sydney, we were able to go out to the Great Barrier Reef, rode the train up to and through the Rain Forest, then rode the Skytrain back down over the Rain Forest to sea level, and back to the city of Cairns, which in itself is well worth seeing. We found all of this on the internet….then went to our agent, who had also suggested these attractions, and made the ticket arrangements.

And, you can use a site like Expedia to get an idea of flights into almost any destination in the world. They will give you prices and times, although the prices are often on bad connecting flights , or bad times, but it gives you a very good idea of when and where you can go. Trip Advisor is another good one, as this give first hand experiences from travelers.

These sites, and many others, are great for travel information, but not always good for ticketing. As I have said, and will say many more times, the local travel agent can get the same, if not better, price….they can give you the experiences of other travelers, and they can do the “hard work” for  you, such as the reservations and ticketing. That is their job. But, you can do the pre-planning by using the Internet to get your general idea of where, when, why, and what you want to do.

A word about the Travel Agency. Only the good ones have survived the Internet. And they have survived because they can offer a service that the Internet cannot. As with almost any professional services these days, you can get almost any service on the web. But, you get what you pay for. I have planned and taken trips using nothing but the internet, with sites like www.hotels.com, and  www.expedia.com, and they were good trips. But, for the most part, I was “flying by the seat of my pants”. And, when all said and done, did not save a penny. Now we use an Agency exclusively. And, a couple of other factors as to why to use an agency….(1) some are specialists, like with Cruise Lines…(2) many of the agencies are really experienced. :Been there done that”  is true for many and this experience is passed on to you…..(3) Your individual travel agent in an agency will become “your good friend”, and they will have your interest foremost in their mind as they plan for you. This is that valuable factor…and can make the difference in your travels.

Next section is entitled….”Make a List”….and this is one of my favorites, for many do not do this until they get someplace and say, “I should have made a list of these things to bring”. Stay tuned.

Pre Trip Planning….What to Know Before You Go! Part 1 – Chapter 1.

Chapter 1. Passport and Plan in Advance

First, think Passport. If you do not have a valid and current passport, this is a first step as soon as you decide you are going to travel overseas, internationally, or whatever you want to call traveling outside the United States. You can get a passport application at the US Postal Service near you, and in many counties, there is a passport office as part of the County Clerk,or equivalent. And, there must be at least 6 months remaining on an existing passport, or you may be stopped at customs, both in the US and upon arrival in another country. This is a black and white issue…no 6 months, no travel  outside the US. As part of the application, you must get passport photos, and these are available at various drug stores in your community, and at some of the US Postal Offices. The cost will be in the $125 range….and their is the passport book and the passport card…get the standard passport. Renewal will be about $100. And, at the Passport planning time, also think about vaccinations. Depending on the country, vaccinations may be required. Your local county health department will usually have these guidelines, and they can assist here, and in some counties, will actually administer the vaccination. Do this as you start your Passport planning, as shots may have to be given over a period of time, such as 4 weeks. Don’t wait until you are ready to go.

Second, think Plan in Advance. Time flies and I am recommending plan a year in advance of when you would like to travel. In this planning process, think through Where Do You Want To Go?, When Do You Want To Go?, Why Do You Want To Go to This Place?, and How Do You Want To Get There?  The When is really important, and this may take some research on your destination. Everything from  a National Holiday to a Special Event in that location can complicate your travel plans. Easter Week at the Vatican in Rome can be a nightmare if you do not like big crowds, for example. Boxing Day is the Day After Christmas in England, and many stores and attractions are CLOSED, including public transport. Local celebration days can bring extra crowds to attractions, and lines to get into museums can be long and slow. All of these kinds of events and happenings can now be found on the internet, and Google will become your “good friend”. The final past of this Plan in Advance section is to think about how long do you want to be in a place, city, or country? Some years ago one might think 2 days in Paris is plenty….not so now. Reasons are simple and revolve around (1) more people are traveling now than any time in history. And, (2) more travelers are coming from Asia To Europe….and many that were traveling to the Middle East are (3) now going to Europe and Asia…all complicating the crowd factor. So, think in terms of a day with crowds and lines and delays, and maybe another day or two in that special place will be in order.

In order to Plan in Advance, you  have to have a good idea of where you want to go. Enter the Internet, and Chapter 1 will continue with using the Internet to get the information that you need to make some good plans and decisions. All for now.

 

Safe Places

When you set out to see the world — heck, even when you leave your house in the morning — you assume an element of risk. Today’s safe haven may be tomorrow’s ugly headline, no matter where you travel. Luckily, cruising is one of the safest vacations out there. Think about it: Your family and friends are all in one place, there are very few traffic concerns and you don’t have to worry about a designated driver.

That being said, cruises do go to places that some consider risky, including European capitals, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Even Alaska comes with the risk of bears. But fear not, nervous Nellies. If you are the type who frets, check out my list in the next few blogs of the safest cruise destinations where you can leave most of your worries behind.

Australia and New Zealand

We just returned from Australia and New Zealand….it was GREAT… here is the promotion for Holland America…and I could not put it better….and cruises start at $1199.  Such a deal.

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Specially crafted for our guests, and complimentary for suite guests, choose a Sydney or Auckland itinerary today to take advantage of this intimate pre-cruise signature experiences!*