Traveling isn’t always easy and can be scary or foreign. Safety, wellness, finances, language barriers, and time away from work are common concerns that may prevent us from embarking on an incredible journey. Travel smart and new experiences will be more than worth it!
Traveling so easy a gingerbread can do it!
- Make 2 copies of the front and back of credit cards, identification cards, and passports. Keep each set of copies in a different location. In case of theft, you will have the customer service numbers on the back of the cards and passport information.
- We recommend carrying an anti-theft bag. Travelon makes a line of anti-theft messenger, cross-body, hobo, carryall bags, backpacks, and waist packs. The bags all have RFID blocking pockets, slash resistant straps and panels, and locking zippers. Loctote also makes a line of waterproof, locking, slash-proof drawstring bags we love.
- Countries we feel a little uneasy exploring on our own, we visit with a tour company. Having a knowledgeable guide familiar with the area and able to speak the native language provides multiple benefits: avoiding the less savory parts of town, being respectful of other cultures, and access to incredible places known only by locals. We have traveled to multiple countries with GAdventures. The trips are affordable, offer free time to customize the itinerary, and enable us to see multiple cities in a limited amount of time.
- Before embarking on your adventure, provide friends or family members with a detailed copy of your itinerary including all hotels, tours, and flights.
Possible Disease, Injury, or Illness
- We recommend investing in travel insurance for any trips outside your current healthcare coverage. We use TravelInsurance.com for all our trips outside of the United States. The site provides quotes from different companies and easily compares plans.
- Pack a first aid kit specific to your needs including enough prescription medicine for a couple days exceeding the length of your trip if possible. We always travel with a small bag containing various sized band-aids, gauze, antibiotic ointment, safety pins, Pepto-Bismol, antacids, allergy medicine, anti-itch relief cream, cold medicine, anti-diarrhea medicine, hand sanitizer, and alcohol wipes.
- A list of required and suggested vaccines per country or region is available on the World Health Organization website.
- Another great website is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Choose a destination to view suggested or required vaccines, current health notices, tips for eating and drinking safely, preventing bug bites, and more.
- Print confirmation emails for tours, flights, and accommodations or write down destinations in both English and the native language for taxi drivers or to ask for directions.
- Text, photos, and conversations can be translated using the Google Translate app on a mobile device. Hold your phone over a menu or upload a picture of a street sign and the app will translate. Type or talk into the app to translate conversations. We used this feature to communicate what airport terminal we needed to a taxi driver in China.
- We recommend using YouTube to learn a few common phrases in the native language like thank you, hello, goodbye, nice to meet you, and delicious. From our experience, knowing a few common phrases has earned us a lot of smiles and offers to help find our way.
- Most metros, subways, trains, and bus maps have color coded routes. Being able to pronounce the name of the station isn’t necessary to get from point A to point B.
Managing Work while Traveling
We all have too much work and not enough time, but getting away from the office is important for mental health. We frequently check emails while waiting for flights, tours, etc. to forward critical action items and delete anything unnecessary to ease opening our inbox the first day back at work.
- Schedule vacations in advance to provide management and other impacted parties ample time to prepare. Provide detailed information for an alternative contact that can provide immediate assistance during your absence in an out of office message and voicemail greeting.
- Most companies offer and encourage employees to take PTO (Paid Time Off) or vacation days. Time out of the office doesn’t need to be an extravagant week long vacation. Camping, visiting a nearby lake, or spending the day exploring a local city are budget friendly options that provide a much needed break.
- If completely disconnecting isn’t an option, many hotels offer free WiFi and/or business centers with computers, printers, and desk space. Downloading email or Microsoft Office apps to a mobile phone can make checking emails easier and prevent missing any critical communications.
Financial Concerns? Check out our Budget Travel Tips for people like us with full time jobs, limited funds, and take advantage of long holiday weekends.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle While Traveling
Normally we exercise daily, prepare nearly all our meals at home, and consume few alcoholic beverages. While traveling, our lifestyle is very different. We eat out every meal, try the local beers and spirits, and often are up early and exhausted when we return at the end of the day.
- Check out The Traveling Gingerbread Essentials for a suggested lightweight, fold-able yoga mat. Groupon offers great deals on unlimited online yoga subscriptions. The Yoga Collective app, Stephanie’s favorite, offers 20, 40, or 60 minute yoga sessions anytime, anywhere.
- Search Airbnb with a filter to display only listings with an onsite gym or research hotels in advance to ensure a workout room is available.
- Find a trail or park near your accommodation and schedule time in the morning for a run or jog before starting the day.
- Book a biking or walking tour of the city rather than a shuttle. Many cities now have free self guided walking tours available for mobile devices. Viator offers many active excursions and tours including kayaking, biking, walking, and hiking.
Last Updated January 2020