Again, my mind is wandering. I can’t go more than a month after I travel without getting the serious itch to leave. In this world, it is pretty easy to nosedive into the sprawling internet to see places far and wide. But nothing comes close to actually going.
Have you ever traveled only to learn that nearly every “tip” you got before-hand was either off base or flat-out wrong? I know I have. Here is a checklist of questions to ask yourself when you are trying to figure out where to go, and when.
1. Currency and exchange rate: This is usually where I start. I love to see places where I am not too limited by my budget. When given the choice I tend to lean toward Albania in lieu of Italy. They share the same beautiful Riviera, climate, and distance from home. BUT Albania uses the Lek versus the Euro in Italy. What does this mean? Check out the differences between average costs in each respective country.
2. Safety and Security: This decision definitely comes down to personal opinion. It is difficult to be objective about how much “safety” is enough or not. I consider different questions now that I have a child, for instance, than I did when I traveled alone. A good place to start, though, is with the US State Department (if you are US-based, or your country’s diplomatic resource) to see if there is anything for you to worry about. (Consider also checking other nation’s websites to satisfy curiosities).
When I went to Thailand a few years ago, there had just been a military coup a couple of days prior. The country was dealing with the aftermath. The US Government advised
against travel, but all other allied nations ( England, Australia, Germany) did not advise against travel. Ultimately we were glad to have gone when we did, though Thailand was under a curfew. It was exciting and “safe enough” for us.
To check the US government site, go here.
The information is always current and under the Safety and Security tab, you will see all pertinent incidents. Here is an example of Thailand’s today.
3. Documents: Are you able to travel there at all? Make sure you have your passport and visa in order. Check out if there are travel restrictions of any kind. Make sure you understand how many days you are able to visit before you need a visa. Some countries don’t allow you to get a visa while you are already there. Make sure you get all of this in order first.
4. Health/vaccines: Make sure that you understand what vaccines you might need besides the routine ones. If yellow fever is present, or malaria, you might want to be prepared. If you have an allergy to bees, make sure you have your medication with you when you travel, as you cannot expect to be given this medication in every country globally.
Food is an important custom. Be aware that water and food born illnesses can ruin a trip. Make sure you are taking precautions. Recently, Jay and I went to Uruguay with our little one. We wanted to go far, we wanted to avoid changing too many time-zones, and we wanted clean water so that our daughter could drink (in the case she went on a strike against breastfeeding). Research showed that Uruguay was one of the few countries that fit the bill at the time. You can search the US website for this, again. Or you can look on the Lonely Planet site or Wikipedia. The information is vast and very important.
5. Best time to visit/ worst time to visit: I have found that Pinterest is a really cool resource for this info. There are infographics for nearly every country and a list of “need to know info.” The “time to year to visit” is usually want I look for. Here are some examples.
You can also use these graphics to understand customary basics in the prospective countries. Answers to questions like What do tip and to whom? What are a few basic phrases? Wow do I greet a stranger? and What actions should avoid in polite company are all here.
Once you have these answers down, it’s easy. This world is full of beautiful destinations, accommodations, and people! I Hope this helps, and let me know how you decide where to go and when!