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10 Travel Tips from a Seasoned Traveler

10 Travel Tips from a Seasoned Traveler
Airplane

Recently I’ve just completed a trip outside of United States. I am not a world traveler and I learned a few hard lessons that I would like to share with you. Here are the top ten suggestions I’d like offer to make your overseas travel a more smooth experience than mine was.

I have written them from my perspective which is that of an American traveling to other countries. It is also worthy of note that I travel and thus write from the “coach” perspective as I have never traveled “first class” and so can not comment on that experience.

Here are some of the things I learned.

1. Airline Food. If you request a kosher meal you will probably be served before the other passengers. This may get you some grudging looks from the other passengers but at least it will give you time to actually eat something before the flight attendant comes back to take your tray. In addition some airlines offer a children’s menu. This is good to know just in case your son or daughter isn’t a great fan of steam leeks. It is a lesson I wish I had in advance and it particularly sinks in when the child in the next seat over is munching on chicken tenders rather than the aforementioned creamed leeks on your child’s tray (sorry girls).

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2. Claim and Recheck Baggage. Much to my dismay, I learned upon my return to the United States that I needed to claim and recheck my luggage before I could make my connecting flight. If you don’t know this, then you don’t know to build an extra hour into the time you need to make your connecting flight and end up rushing about the terminal like a fool.

3. Travel Light. You may be able to expedite your entrance and departure from the airport by forgoing the use of checked baggage and using a carry-on only. In addition to the hassle of checking bags twice as mentioned in number 2, you save loads of time otherwise spent standing about the luggage carousel in the herd with the other travel beasts of burden, while you await the appearance of your luggage (which looks just like every other piece of luggage) then fighting your way to the front of the line before it disappears through to baggage handlers port of no return before your eyes.

4. Show Me the Money. Rather than exchanging for local currency before you begin your journey, you may wish to stop at an ATM in your network when you arrive for some walking around money. Large financial institutions get a better exchange rate than an individual can secure.

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5. Protect Your Documentation. Scan copies of all your passports and travel documents. Then save them to a USB compatible storage device. I put mine on a lanyard around my neck. Wherever you put yours make sure it isn’t the same place as your passport. One of the things that make this so important is the brisk market for stolen travel documents. This is not a day in which you can easily explain how you indentification became involved in the commitment of some fraud on soil that is not your native home.

6. Share the Plan. Register with the U.S. State Department. This will provide a way for you to be contacted should there be a family emergency while you’re away. However, advise your family of what constitutes an emergency you should be contacted about. It may be callus but I tell my family, unless it is something I can do something about from 2,000 miles away don’t tell me until I get home. Another benefit of this service is that it provides a way for you to contact family if you encounter an emergency someone at home can help with while you are abroad. Plus, it’s free. I’m a big fan of free.

7. Are You Really in Good Hands? Advise your medical insurance providers that you will be traveling out of the country. You may need to purchase riders or supplemental coverage to protect you while you travel. There are also some quality policies you can purchase from independent providers who specialize in this type of protection.

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8. Reach Out and Be Touched. Arrange for your airlines to email, text message (international travel cell phone required in some cases), call you with changes in your flight arrangements. This could have saved me several hours worried waiting when terrorists bombed a nearby airport on my trip.

9. Drink Bottled Water When Traveling. Request bottled beverages if you are not sure of the source of the water. Read this for more information on advices on water consumption.

10. Relax. You might as well. You’re traveling in a foreign country and your fate is in the hands of people you’ve never met before. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it so you might as well enjoy it. Life is about the journey, after all.

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Editor update: Updated the title, introduction and #9 to avoid confusion.

Reg Adkins writes on behavior and the human experience at Elemental Truths.

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Last Updated on March 24, 2021

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

1. Smart Door Locks

A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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2. Smart Kitchen Tools

Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

5. Nest Thermostat

This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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6. Smart Lighting

Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

7. Google Chromecast Ultra

Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

8. Canary

This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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