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Travel Tips

 


Advance Planning

Without saying, advance planning is the most important part of your travel. Before you go, find out the weather, customs and cultures, currency exchange, places-to-visit, and places-to-stay in advance.
  • Search the Internet for all the information you need. In North America, www.tripadvisor.com is a good site for travel information.  For the worldwide travel, check out Lonely Planet.  Finally, to help you prepare for your trip, visit www.travel.state.gov.
  • Before you book a hotel, check out this site to see if the hotel has bedbug infestation history.
  • Before you book plane tickets, check out this list of airlines banned within the EU.
  • For backpackers, check out the following web sites for last-minute discounts: 
    • Kayak
    • Priceline
    • Orbitz
    • Travelocity
    • Expedia
  • For price trend following and prediction, check out Kayak's Price Trend and Bing.travel's Price Predictor.
  • To find great excursions at your destinations, check out peek.
Financial Planning

Check your wallet before you travel:
  • Prepay your bills.
  • Pay down credit card bills.
  • Pack credit card contact information.
  • Clean out your wallet—Bring only things that are important to your trip.
  • Buy traveler's check for better exchange rate and safety.

Play Safe

Take precautions for:

  • Have mail on hold
  • Double check your house before you leave
  • Keep friend's phone numbers in case you need help
  • Ask neighbors or friends keep an eye on your house
  • Keep copies of passport and other important travel documents
  • If you have health problems, pack copies of your medical records.

Best Tips about Staying Healthy Natural remedies for travel ailments[7]:
  • Jet Lag: try Miers Laboratory No-Jet-Lag or Melatonin
  • Travel Anxiety: try Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, L-Theanine, or kava kava
  • Motion Sickness: try ginger chews, ginger tea, harmaca Peppermint Spirits, Herb Pharm Breath Tonic, and taking vitamin B6 or homeopathic Gelsemium Sempervire 30C by Boiron
  • Traveler's Diarrhea: try UrgentRx Upset-Stomach Relief and start a good probiotic a few weeks before leaving
  • Sunburn: try Sanitas, Eco Logical Skin Care, Kiss My Face, Badger, La Roche Posay, and Alba Botanica products; try coconut water to rehydrate and get more electrolytes than with water alone; for healing, try All Terrain Aloe Skin Repair with healing herbs or Boiron Calendula Lotion.
  • Sleep Problem: try an eye mask and earplugs to block out stimuli; take a magnesium supplement before bed ; also try Herb Pharm Relaxing Sleep Tonic
  • Sore or Tight Muscles: get into a warm bath full of Epsom salts; or try arnica 
  • Insect Bites: try WishGarden Catnip-Oil Bug Spray and take vitamin B1 (thiamine) starting about two weeks before your departure 
  • Scrapes and Bruises: try arnica; use tea-tree oil as antiseptic[8]; also try Herb Pharm Original Salve
  • Mild Digestive Discomfort: keep Pharmaca Chewable Papaya Enzymes, digestive enzymes such as MegaZymes by MegaFood or Complete Digestion by Enzyme Science on hand.
  • Food poisoning: try Peaceful Mountain Stomach Rescue
Best Time to Buy Cheap Airline Tickets

Best time to buy cheap airline tickets is:

  • Eight weeks before you are due to fly
    • Any earlier than that and there is a danger that changes in your life may cause you to have to change your travel plans, any later and you start to run into the time frame when airlines start to increase their fares.
  • Will cost you more if you book in the morning
    • When, the report speculates, business people are more likely to be booking their flights, so the airlines increase their fares.
    • Ordinary people booking flights for their private use stand a good chance of paying less if they book in the afternoon.
  • Ticket price usually will be at peak in the summer and then begin to decline in September.  But in the second week of December, it is expected to start rising again.
  • Sometimes you can find the last-minute ticket to be cheaper if your travel time is flexible.  Try Kayak search site for those last-minute tickets.
  • Tips provided by CNN Money[2]
    • On average, the best time to buy a ticket for non-holiday domestic travel is 49 days before departure, based on CheapAir.com's study of 560 million 2012 fare records; for international flights, 81 days is the sweet spot.
    • When traveling around July 4 or another busy weekend, start looking early -- about 10 weeks beforehand in most cases, says CheapAir.com CEO Jeff Klee. For Thanksgiving, though, you might need a month more than that.
    • Shop on Tuesday afternoons, says FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney, since most domestic sales launch late Monday and are soon matched by rivals.
    • For non-vacation destinations, buy on a weekend; a Texas A&M study found that strategy resulted in average savings of 5%.
Save Money on a Cruise Vacation  Here are seven tips for saving money on a cruise vacation[4]:
  • Book early
    • Book at least four to six months in advance to get the ship, travel dates and state room of choice
  • Avoid peak times
    • High season is generally during the summer and other times of the year when school is out. That includes spring break, around the December holidays, Thanksgiving, etc.
  • Sail old school
    • Select a cruise with an older ship to save.
  • Look for repositioning cruises
    • Booking a vacation on one of these repositioning cruises can be significantly cheaper than a regular itinerary.
    • However, one should consider that repositioning cruises are only one-way. The voyage also can take 10 days to two weeks, with fewer stops at ports of call along the way.
  • Look beyond price
    • There are the perks and incentives that could end up making the trip a better value. 
  • Target cheaper itineraries
    • The shorter the voyage, the less costly the cruise.
  • Account for extras
Best Time to See Wild Animals

Best time to see wild animals is during their meal or drinking times :

  • Early morning—6:00am to 8:30am.
  • Late afternoon—6:00pm to 9:00pm. Assume sun sets around 9pm which is the case for Canadian Rockies during summer time.
Find a spot you like and settle in. Then... sit still and be quiet. After about 10 or 15 minutes, the wildlife will ignore you and go about their business.
Best Time to Photo

Best time to take pictures depends. However, it is usually when:

  • Sun rises
  • Sun sets
that both lighting and backdrop is the most favorable.

According to Mike Yamashita[1], the magic hour for him is 1/2 hour before sun rise (or sun set) and 1/2 hour after sun rise (or sun set).
Best Place to Enjoy the View from Comfort Zone

Most restaurants of resorts have the best view. So, do take meals and enjoy the views from the best vantage location—Dining Room. For example, we took a lunch from Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise even we didn't stay in it. The experience was really rewarding. You enjoy your meals with great sensations: visually (glaciers and lake view) and acoustically (i.e., harp playing in the background)
Best Place to Visit

Sometimes the best place to visit is off the beaten path and away from the crowd. However, Be Bear Aware.  The following ingredients together usually make a perfect view: glacier, lake, mountain, and falls. Be in the right place at the right time—often you can find your own paradise in the wilderness.
Travel Companion Items

Don't forget to bring insect repellents, hats, sun screens, sun glasses, walking sticks, hiking shoes, swimming suits, or music CDs. If you take pictures or videos, don't forget to bring extra batteries and chargers.
Venture out

Try different ways to explore the wilderness—horseback riding, hiking, water rafting, canoeing, kayaking, flying, etc. Usually you travel a long distance to your destinations. So, don't miss any chance of different ways to explore. Remember maybe you won't get another chance to revisit the same place in your lifetime.
Talk to People

Peer travelers are the most friendly people in the world. Reach out and talk to people. You'll get memorable conversations with someone you never know before. Anyway you can always use someone else experience, advices, or tips to gain the most for your travel.
GPS Device

If you drive and drive for a long distance, a GPS device is indispensable. It can save you time and effort to get to your destination safely and quickly.
Get Familiar with the Customs and Cultures of Your Destinations

For example, if you travel to Canada, here are the information that will be useful to you:

  • Tips for Meal—10% for lunch 15% for dinner. 5% difference depends on the quality of service.
  • Tips for Hotel Services—Usually you don't have to pay extra tips for all the hotel service unless you think their service is terrific.
  • Average Meal Costs—It depends on what kinds of food you eat and what kinds of restaurant you go. Normally lunch is around CAD$ 10 to $20 and dinner is around CAD $15 to $30. For example, in Richmond B.C., you can have Chinese lunch for only $CAD 5.99, Japanese lunch box for around CAD$ 7.50, and all-your-can-eat for CAD$ 10.99. However, treat this example as an exception rather than normal because foods served at National Park is much higher.
Walking & Hiking

Hiking safety tips:
  • Know Your Own Capabilities and Limits—Plan one hour for every two miles, and add one hour for every 1,000 feet you climb.
  • Stay on the trail so you won't get lost.
  • Hike with a partner and leave an itinerary with a responsible person.
  • Always maintain a safe distance of at least 100 yards between you and a wild animal.
  • Wear sturdy, comfortable hiking boots or shoes and outdoor socks to prevent blisters, the most common ailment on the trail.
  • Dress in layers (always carry a jacket or sweatshirt) and bring rain gear and plenty of water.


Pocket Picker
 Watch out for pocket picker at crowded tourist destinations.  See this video for the tricks that gypsies use.



References
  1. Art of the Photographer
  2. Want a cheap flight? Book 49 days ahead (CNN)
  3. Be Bear Aware
  4. 8 tips on saving money on a cruise vacation
  5. Eight Essential Rules for Vacation Rentals
  6. Hotel vs. apartment: where to stay?
  7. Natural remedies for travel ailments
  8. 80 Uses of Tea Tree Oil
  9. Berggasthaus Aescher
  10. The gadget-wise traveler
  11. Where tourist crime happens the most
  12. Interview with the author of book How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money and Hassle) (video; watch at 33:30)
  13. Topographic map
  14. Peek
  15. Travel in India? (a must-read article)
  16. Cheaper and More Exciting Alternative to Hotels!
    • All you have to do is choose your destination on Airbnb.com and its search engine will provide you with various options.
  17. Best Winter Trips 2015
  18. Travel Tips to Sydney
  19. Australia's Seasons
  20. Places to See in Your Lifetime
  21. Why Booking Hotels Through Websites like Kayak, Expedia Isn't Smart
    • If you are loyal and you know that you are going to stay at a specific hotel, usually you can find a comparable rate on the hotel website
    • Hotels earn more from you when booking direct — they don’t have to pay an [online travel agency] commission fee — they are more inclined to offer you upgrades, better perks or complimentary add-ons
  22. Glass Igloo
  23. The 15 best hiking trails in the world
  24. When Should I Buy My Flight? (SmartTravel)
    • Avoid booking too early and too late. CheapAir's "window" for good deals on domestic tickets is 27–114 days in advance; Expedia's window is 50–100 days.
    • Start with our own free fare alerts, our sister site BookingBuddy, and Airfarewatchdog's famous fare alerts.
  25. 2015 Global Peace Index (country safety ranking)
  26. 20 gorgeous natural wonders around the world
  27. Good credit card for international travel (@Forbes)
    • If you want no fee, PenFed Promise has no 4x fee and no annual fee.
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred: no 4x fee and can transfer points to multiple airlines. But there is a fee.
  28.  Tourist Destinations That Are More Dangerous Than You Think
    • Avoid these countries: Dominican Republic, Honduras, Egypt, Mexico, Kenya, India
  29. Don’t let jet lag affect your sleep
  30. Study finds new potential treatment for jet lag
    • Researchers believe the flashing light helps reset the circadian system, which regulates rhythms in the human body and establishes normal sleep and wake phases.
  31. Top 10 European Train Trips
  32. JAPANiCAN.com
  33. 26 beautiful places you should visit before they disappear
  34. Bedbugs are drawn to certain colors, study finds
  35. 9 apps and websites to make the most out of your next vacation
  36. Travel for a Purpose
  37. Medical Considerations before International Travel
  38. One Surefire Way to Spot Bedbugs in Your Hotel Room

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