10 Tips from the Travel Pros

Posted: Thursday, February 01, 2007
It's exciting to travel - to arrive in a country and explore someplace new. Tour directors have seen it all ? they know the mistakes travelers make and the tricks that can save time and effort. Since they handle all the details on the ground (transportation, hotel check-ins and sightseeing) they've got some useful tips to make your trip go smoothly. And as educators and guides, they know the best ways to experience and enjoy more when exploring a new town or country.

In a recent interview with 12 tour directors, Grand European Tours (www.getours.com), gathered the following tips:

1. Don't be a tourist.

Mingle with the locals. Try to learn a few key words or phrases in the local language and be a courteous guest.

2. Study up.

Before leaving for your trip, read a few books or research online so you have background on the major sights, weather and local culture. Get the reading out of the way before you depart, and spend more time living the experience once you arrive. For an interesting perspective, read some literature from a contemporary local author.

3. Bring a digital camera.

You can save on film costs by deleting photos on the spot. And the photos will be easier to share later with friends you meet on your trip. As you travel, you can email pictures to family at home and even create an electronic journal with notes for each image.

4. Meet new friends and keep in touch.

One of the best ways to preserve your travel memories is to stay in touch with key friends you meet during your journey. Share pictures and stories from your trip.

5. Be open-minded and flexible.

Be open for new experiences and changes from your planed itinerary. Accept that things won't be the same as home, and embrace those cultural differences. You can help create unforgettable experiences come when you relax and try a new way of doing things.

6. Take only the basics with you each day.

Just keep the essentials on you, like some pocket money and a camera. Never take valuables, including your passport, driver's license, social security card and tickets, since they can be hard to replace if needed. They are better left behind at the hotel in a safe.

7. Bring a cash card or credit card to make shopping a breeze.

While traveler's checks are always a safe option, nothing beats the convenience of a cash card or credit card when traveling. They are accepted readily in most places and you can withdraw just what you need at the time. Always keep a photocopy of your card safe at the hotel, and consider taking a back-up card as well.

8. Pack lighter than you think.

Many travelers bring too many clothes, dressy clothes they don't really use, and appliances like hair dryers and irons that can be easily obtained at a hotel. Extra supplies you may need can always be purchased during your trip. But, be sure to pack an adapter if needed, since they can be hard to find in some places, as well as any medical prescriptions you may need.

9. Get in shape.

A few weeks before your departure, practice taking daily strolls so that you can walk up to two miles easily in one stretch. You will be able to see and explore much more when you travel.

10. Take the trip best suited for you.

There are many different ways to travel and many kinds of trips to pick from. Decide if you are looking for an adventure or something more relaxed. You'll be happiest if you match your needs to the trip. If you're looking for a relaxing experience, consider spending a week or two in one single place. Or try a tour with more daily excursions and enjoy some new discoveries.

Categories: Travel

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