I ask a lot of questions. If I don’t know something, I ask or I research it. And I finally feel smart enough to know I don’t know much and what I do know probably will change quickly. So this what I’ve learned about the planning and getting there, wherever ‘there’ is.
1. Where would I be without my travel books? Some in print, others electronic. Several traditional travel book publishers like Lonely Planet reformatted their handy guides so I could buy only the chapters on the particular city or region of my liking in Brazil . This makes for easy and light transport and pocketbook friendly.
2. Rule 240. Well, I’ve long heard conflicting information about this contract paragraph in an airline customer’s contract. So, I went researching and found a lovely article from CNN’s Christopher Elliot which sums up the issue nicely. In the past, I’ve done just as he suggests. I don’t call shenanigans at the ticket counter and point to “Rule 240.” Instead I politely smile. It’s amazing what a smile can do among so many frowns.
3. Pre-flight check. No matter how you acquire your airfare, you can make your trip more comfortable by visiting these two sites before you commit to your flight schedule. Seatguru.com helps you pick the best seat on the plane, and it’s not always in the exit row. Choose your airline, flight and aircraft and tah-dah! The site shows you the best seats and explains each sections’ limitations so you will sleep like a baby and have plenty of leg room. Pair seatguru.com with Flightstats.com and you’ll be worry-free your entire trip. Flightstats.com aggregates all the airline arrival and departure data to tell you in real time which flights routinely or recently were delayed and by how long. Knowing this before you book your layover to catch that international flight to Rome could be a Godsend.
4. Hostels and Couchsurfing.org. Nice hotels are great if you need a place of solace, but when traveling solo, I love to stay over in hostels. Yes, I don’t always know what to expect, but that’s what I like about it. I hostel it if I can’t find a couchsurfing.org host to take me in. I absolutely love the idea of couchsurfing.org. And I have felt safe surfing as a female traveling alone. The organization has many checks and balances to best help its member be and feel safe. But then again, I also follow my intuition when I read and submit requests to potential hosts. I want to get to know the person(s) I’m staying with. I’m just not looking for a place to crash. One of the first surfers I was lucky enough to host was Eddie, a 31 year old from Sydney Australia, who was on his last week of one year’s travel around the world. And I got to host him on his birthday. We spent an entire night on my porch swing talking about his adventures, motivating me to make my own travel dreams a reality. More about couchsurfing.org later.
5. Don’t forget the simple things. Avoid bloating airline food. Bring some snacks, a sandwich or trail mix with you on your flight. It makes for one happy tummy.
6. I believe I mentioned this one before. Smile. Maybe even hug. But more about that in the next post.
What are your favorite travel sites, blogs, books/series?