Travel can reflect how one's life can be styled. For me, traveling conjures up so many feelings, i.e. excitement, anticipation, wonder, pleasure, frustration, joy, new friendships, cultural exchange, tension, impatience and choices -- but mostly JOY.
From the initial decision of where you are going, planning the logistics, making the arrangements -- solidifying the commitment -- to the actual trip itself, senses are heightened.
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No matter where you are going, it is easy to get swept up in the geography and the culture of the place. We can all look in our homes and see some influence of colors from nature, photographic memories, art pieces, rugs, fabrics, jewelry, and let us not forget furniture, which we probably picked up from some trip we have been on -- even if it is only in a city or state within our own country. These are the things that make our individual living environments unique. It also gives us pleasure in relating back to the time and place that encouraged the purchase.
Some people collect holiday ornaments that can be utilized once a year and then put away. But for that special holiday, they take pride and joy in seeing an object from another place which depicts how another part of the world may celebrate that same special holiday.
So if traveling is your thing, there is no time like the present.
Travel has always been one of my budget items; and as I TELL MY FRIENDS, I work to travel. If you don’t make a list of places you want to see, you will probably not end up there. It is easy to run out of time and money. For those of us who didn’t or couldn’t take the time to travel after our educational experience, planning is essential.
The internet provides so much information about anywhere in the world. If you are adventurous and organized, you can plan your own trip. Where language is an issue, you might want to hire a guide or go on a tour.
Having the right clothes or equipment can make or break your experience. If you haven't invested in travel clothing, you might want to reconsider -- especially if traveling for a longer period of time. Comfort, care, and weight are important criteria. Fabrics that wear well (i.e. wrinkle free, light weight, comfortable for long periods of sitting, easy to wash and quick drying) are the best.
Travel pants, whether long or knee length are not only lightweight and dry overnight, but have zippered pockets that can fit passports, money, room keys, etc. This is especially handy for wearing in areas where pickpockets thrive.
Comfortable, practical and waterproof shoes for walking long distances and on irregular surfaces are wise choices. You can always bring something thin and strappy for the evening if you want.
A traveling handbag is important and there are some wonderful choices in the marketplace, i.e. Kipling, baggallini, Travelon, etc. Nylon ones can be machine washed and they hold up well. Having a handbag that holds your passport and plane tickets in the same spot at all times makes for easy traveling, as well as having it large enough for a book, tablet, eReader, phone, etc. is also handy.
MY TRAVEL SMART TIP:
I have found that once I know what I am bringing on a trip, making a complete list helps for these three reasons:
1. Practicality - if you lose your luggage, you have a complete inventory of the contents,
2. Efficiency - you have a head start on packing for your next trip, and
3. Usefulness –just tweak it depending on duration of the trip, weather and activities.
Some resources for travel clothing and travel accessories and equipment include: Edwards Everything Travel, Chicos, REI, NorthFace, Royal Robbins, Travelsmith, LandsEnd, and L.L. Bean.
Airline Baggage Information
Travel can get complicated due to ever-changing airline baggage policies, TSA regulations and international travel alerts.
But, No WORRIES!
Edwards Everything Travel has assembled a comprehensive link list for easy reference when needed.
Tip: Bookmark this page, or save it to your smartphone home screen for easy access when traveling!
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3 TRAVEL MONEY ESSENTIALS
It's the ultimate travel nightmare!
You use an ATM in a remote part of the world and it eats your card. What do you do? You're booked to leave on the 8am train and the bank opens at nine. Yesterday was a general strike and tomorrow is a national holiday. All you have left in your pocket is a few notes and there's still the hotel bill to pay. It's best to have a plan B, particularly when it comes to your hard-earned travel cash.
It's crucial to take the time to prepare for worst-case scenarios before you leave home.
Here's how to keep your money flowing – and safe – on the road.
Changing money on the street is a great way to get ripped off – especially if you’re unfamiliar with the local currency.
Always be sure to exchange foreign currency with a recognized trader, such as a bank or exchange bureau.
You will always find better rates on exchanging foreign currency if you plan in advance, rather than changing it at the airport or abroad.
There are many ways to buy foreign currency (online, offline, from banks or from private retailers), so find out your options beforehand. Ignore boasts of ‘no commission’ as this won’t always mean you get more bang for your buck. Do your research and find out exactly how much money you’ll get from the exchange – the more you get, the better the deal.
There are some destinations where cash is the only game in town, so the only money available is what you bring in.
3. Traveller's Cheques
The global proliferation of ATMs (they even have them high in the Himalayas) has made traveller's cheques a less-popular option.
Traveller's cheques are no longer as widely accepted as they used to be, and changing cheques can involve drawn-out bureaucracy and yards of red tape. However, they do have their advantages: they are accepted by banks and moneychangers all over the world and are easy to replace if lost or stolen.
So, as long as you have the receipts and the emergency phone number, you can get new cheques in a matter of days, though you may have to travel to a local agency to pick them up. Thomas Cook and American Express are the most widely accepted brands, but before you buy cheques, contact the issuer to find out just how widely they are accepted in your chosen destination, and which currency the cheques should be drawn in.
Using cards on the road can have loads of payoffs, and it’s smart to use a mix of these so that you have backup if your primary money goes missing.
Credit cards come in handy for making reservations, larger purchases and are excellent in case of emergencies.
Debit cards allow you to access your money the same way as you do at home immediately, without the looming credit card bill to come home to after holiday.
Many card programs also include emergency cash or replacement card services, which can get you out of a tight spot, so it’s important to know how to contact your issuer if the need arises.
Many banks and credit card companies now offer prepaid cards, which can be charged as much as you like and used like a debit card. They’re great for sticking to your travel budget, and are available in single or multiple currencies.