Monthly Archives: May 2012

Travel Safety and Security

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securityThere is nothing more important during your travels than remaining safe. Constantly on the news you hear about violent outbreaks happening. These security related concerns should be a part of every smart travelers radar early on before you have made all the reservations (if possible).

First, you’ll want to check out the government warnings for the particular country you will be visiting. Have there been any warning within the past few months that would be of importance to you as a traveler?

Next, if the country you plan on visiting is not on any warning list, then I always bring a money belt to help reduce the risk of having my money taken while doing site seeing. You can usually pick these up at Amazon for under $20.

When I was in Italy a few years ago, our tour bus made a stop at the rest station so everyone could use the restroom. There was a small convenience store in there and one older gentleman who was waiting in line had his wallet taken along with the $2500 in cash that was in there. This was a real shock to the person since that was their entire budget for the trip. Lesson there: Don’t keep all your money in a easily accessed area.

Don’t wear clothing that would give a criminal the sign that you are from a certain country or economic status (i.e. shirts with flags or expensive brand name clothing). Also, keep most of your really pricey jewelery at home or safely locked up or stored in a packing cube set. These are all things that the common pickpocket will look for.

Know where your embassy is just in case you need a hand. The embassy handles a lot of the major issues that could very well be outside your control. It is important that you know at least where one is during your trip and preferably have a phone number just in case you have to reach them for advice or assistance.

Health safety is another concern that every smart traveler should consider. The food and water quality of most undeveloped or developing countries is poor and could make you really sick. I have always adopted a certain level of precautions that have so far kept me from getting really ill.

First, purchase bottled water, and make sure that the lid is sealed. Sometimes people will refill the water from the tap and if that happens, then you will be vulnerable to some bacteria or nasty stuff associated with it.

Brush your teeth with bottle water. People forget about this part, but it is just as important. Also, don’t drink with ice cubes. These are things that may make perfect sense for some, but other people may overlook the fact that water can come in different forms (but it still leads to the source). Bring along some of your medicine in case you do get sick.

Where To Find Affordable Flight Options

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affordable airfareThere are many ways to find affordable flight options for you next travel opportunity. Back in the “olden” days people would call the travel agent and they would find the customer the best vacation package deal. This still can be an effective strategy, but with the online market as strong as it is today, calling an agent is just one option and shouldn’t be the only resource for keeping your costs low.

Websites today make booking your reservations a snap, even if it is straight from the couch in your living room. The various online reservation platforms like Orbitz.com, Priceline.com, or Kayak.com help you compare flights with your preferred airline and time of departure/arrival.

I have noticed recently that many online airfare reservation companies are advertising a price match guarantee. Meaning that within a certain period of time, if you find anything cheaper, they will refund you the difference. Some important things to realize here is that you will need to track the prices after you buy the ticket and see if there are any other comparable fares that pop up during the window of opportunity. Most companies offering this guarantee are banking on the fact that their customers are going to forget to follow up.

Online resources such as this website provide a great deal of information to help you find your ideal travel arrangements in one place. Keep in mind that you will want to check out where your seats are before you purchase and that if you are booking for your entire family, that the seats are all together in the same place. Sometimes, it is possible to get the seating arrangements worked out after you purchase the tickets, but it is always a peace of mind knowing that your not going to have to hustle to make sure you aren’t on opposite sides of the plane from each other.

The most common method of ticketing for online systems today is through the e-ticket process. An e-ticket stands for electronic ticket and you usually have to print it out (so not that electronic after all). This helps airline ticket companies save some of the cost by issuing tickets that don’t have to be sent via snail mail.