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As an avid traveler, I have experienced different cultures, places, and foods around the world. 

I have learned the dos and don'ts to make each journey safe and enjoyable.  

Here are some basic dos and don'ts when traveling

First time visiting a new country.

  • Learn as much as possible about the place you are visiting before taking off is crucial.  It will make your experience that much more enjoyable.

  • Learn essential phrases in their native language and download a language translator into your phone, it is enormously helpful.  I recommend  I Translate. Remember, you’re visiting someone else’s country, so don’t expect locals to always speak your language.

  • Learn about the currency and exchange rates to make it easier to monitor your spending.

  • Learn about the local culture and customs – oftentimes something that’s considered normal in your own country may be considered offensive in another.

  • Research the area you’re going to be staying in to make sure it is safe day and night. Learn what stores, restaurants and entertainment is near by. 

  • Make notes of all pros and cons, and take them with you.  t’s always better to do your research in the comfort of your own home, rather than out in an unfamiliar space.

Pack intelligent.

  • Research how the weather will be while you visit, and anticipate sudden weather changes.

  • Plan your outfits for comfort.  Take at least some dressy clothes in case you plan to go out to a fancy place. 

  • Avoid randomly tossing things in your suitcase; you don't want to overpack or forget things that truly matter. 

  • Hotels, B&Bs, and most accommodations offer irons and hair dryers,

  • Pack neutral-colored garments that make it easier to match shoes and purses.

  • Pack only essentials, in winter some warm clothes, in summer light dresses and bathing suits. 

  • Plan out what you’re going to be wearing each day so you don’t overpack clothes.

  • For longer stays, if it suits you, hotels offer a washer and dryer.  Pack your favorite detergent in a travel bottle. 

  • From brushing your teeth to caring for your skin, take the toiletries that will keep your skin well cared for.  Purchase a set of travel bottles and jars, calculate the amount of product you'll need, and fill your travel bottles.

Ensure your own safety when visiting any country.

Learn to avoid dangerous situations in foreign countries where criminals prey on tourists:

  1. Do not carry large sums of cash on you

  2. Don't show your cash in public

  3. Avoid walking at night or in secluded areas

  4. Always park in a well-lit area

  5. Avoid carrying valuables in plain sight

  6. Use your hotel safe for all your valuables; use your own passcode.

  7. Purchase and carry gadgets that help you detect hidden cameras (this is advisable for ladies)

  8. Purchase and use a door security gadget (this is advisable for ladies traveling alone)

  9. Carry the hotel phone number with you at all times.

  10. Carry phone numbers of taxi services.

  11. Don't trust anyone who offers to help you or give you a ride.

  12. If visiting a conflicting country, stay within your hotel/resort grounds to avoid dangerous situations.

  13. Don't drink excessively; you become vulnerable and an easy target.

Be mindful of the food and water. 

There’s nothing worse than getting sick on the trip of a lifetime because you ate food with unknown spices or drank untreated water. Do your research and ask if the water is safe to drink.  I recommend you stick to bottled water at all times.  Also, keep in mind that food such as raw vegetables and raw fruits may be washed with local tap water. Just to be safe, make sure to pack some anti-nausea, anti-diarrhea, and digestion medication.

Visit new sites while you are there. 

Plan to safely explore and visit important, hidden gems and unique sites.  To be safe, plan trips with a group or a tour guide.  Don't spend all your time on the beach or at the bar by the pool.  See the city, visit museums, take a bus tour.  These are easy ways to get the most out of your travel experience, learn something new, and bring great memories back home to share. 

Handle jet-lag

Try to normalize your sleep schedule as soon as you arrive at your destination – don’t waste your trip by going to bed at 7 pm every night- you could miss out on valuable nightlife and vacation time. Even if it means walking around like a zombie for a few hours, it’ll be worth it, and your body will climate soon enough.

Be friendly to people who serve you. 

From flight attendants to hotel agents, servers, housekeepers, drivers, and more, simply being nice to someone can make someone’s day and can end up being rewarding to you. Genuine kindness can take you far and even result in some rewards for you.

Be careful when going to buy at local markets. 

In some foreign countries, local street and market vendors can be ruthless in trying to make the sale.   Some yell and some will even go so far as to grab you in order to attract your attention to their products. Do not allow them to guilt you into buying anything you don't want.  It is OK to say to say no and walk away firmly.

Protect your important documents. 

Losing your passport in a foreign country can be one of the most inconvenient and dangerous things that can happen to you. Having a copy of your passport and papers can save time and effort if something happens to your identification. Always keep a photocopy of your passport with you as identification, and leave your passport in the safe at the hotel. 

If you stay smart and safe during your trip, you will definitely have a wonderful and enriching travel experience! Good luck and make the most of your trip!

California is my home; winter really is a magical time of year. There is a more peaceful energy, and winter activities are everywhere throughout the state.

There are many outdoor events. 

Whether you’re a die-hard snowboarder or looking to escape the cold and enjoy a sunny weekend in the middle of January,

this season holds something for everyone.


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