Tip of the Day – Week 3

Below are our Tips of the Day from this week:

Tip #1:  Looking Beyond the Typical US Tourist Destinations:

Some European countries are more frequented than others by US tourists, but don’t let that deter you. Slovenia is one of my favorite countries in Europe with beautiful coastline, a cute capital city, and gorgeous Lake Bled (which looks like it belongs in Switzerland). Just because your neighbor’s never been there doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add it to your bucket list.  Bosnia and Herzegovina has beautiful little Mostar, Croatia has SO many sites and cities to choose from that you could easily make a trip out of that country alone, and Montenegro has the sandy beachfront that’s so hard to find in most of Europe. Even visiting the big tourist draws–like Spain–sometimes offer you a chance to go off the beaten path and temporarily out of your comfort zone. You can take the ferry over to Morocco (Tangier) in only 30 minutes and get a completely different experience (think Arabian nights)–or you can stop off in Gibraltar for a spot of tea simply by driving or walking across the border.

Slovenia- Lake Bled- Island Center 1  Morocco- Tangier Camels 1  Croatia- Dubrovnik- Walls and Kayaks 1

Tip #2:  The Benefit of Overseas Insurance:

When leaving for vacation, you don’t want to dwell on everything that could possibly go wrong, but sometimes you are better off safe than sorry. More often than not, your health insurance will not work when you are abroad. Not only that, but many of these countries will insist on a cash payment if something does go wrong because of this. Add in the potential of needing to be airlifted home, etc, and it could easily bankrupt you. There are many companies out there that sell supplemental insurance for your trip for only a few dollars a day. You can choose your options and the time period and give yourself some piece of mind. (Read the fine print about pre-existing conditions, though. Often they are not covered.). For even more piece of mind, they will often provide trip interruption coverage, as well.  Again, the fine print is important, but if you do your homework, for a few dollars a day, most of your major concerns can be covered.

Tip #3:  Packing Tips from Travel and Leisure:

Packing is my least favorite part of any trip.  Below are some tips from Travel and Leisure to make the struggle a little bit easier:  http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/packing-tips-for-the-smart-traveler

Tip #4:  Expect the Unexpected:

When traveling, things don’t always go according to plan.  The #1 rule of travel is to expect the unexpected.  TBT to an article I wrote 2 years ago on this subject:  https://traveltalesandtips.com/2012/09/05/travel-lesson-1-expect-the-unexpected/

Germany: Hitler's Eagle's Nest Obersalzburg 1

Tip #5:  When to Hire a Guide or Driver in a Foreign Country:

When to hire a guide and when not to is a difficult question to answer sometimes. I find it important to look at three key things when making the decision: cost, hassle (difficulty of navigating yourself), and the prospect of hearing a local’s viewpoint firsthand. In some places like Cambodia, getting a guide and a driver is a no-brainer. An entire day for both will cost you about $45. Other places like London will cost you a small fortune and can easily be navigated on your own with no language barrier. Somewhere like China will cost you more but the mental hassle of trying to get around in a place where no one speaks English is not worth it. Plus, you couldn’t drive there even if you wanted to, so you either have to take taxis (most taxi drivers speak no English) or public transportation where all of the signs are in Chinese. Our guide there did everything from order our food to take us to each location we mapped out ahead of time. It make a potentially stressful trip a joy.  Other times, a driver for transportation alone, is worth the cost. There are certain countries you just don’t want to deal with the headache, or for example in Italy on the Amalfi coast, there are a lot of accidents because people want to look at the view. You’re better off hiring a good driver and enjoying them yourself and not contributing to the problem. Other times, a rental car would actually cost you more. For example when driving from Spain to Portugal there is a huge rental car tax for dropping the car off in the other country. Hiring a driver to take you from your final destination in Spain to your first destination in Portugal is often significantly cheaper. I could go on and on with different examples, but the moral of the story is to be sure to do your homework before booking anything.

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat - Somuch 1

Tip #6:  Ten Best Value Destinations Around the World:

The Huffington Post looks at some of the cheaper exotic destinations around the world–how to travel afar without breaking the bank.  They include one of our personal favorites, the little city of Mostar:  http://m.huffpost.com/uk/entry/5715529?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

Bosnia- Mostar Old Bridge 1

Tip #7:  Madrid as a Home Base to Explore Some of the Best of Spain:

Madrid is the ideal homebase to explore that region of Spain. The city offers a wide variety of things to do and wonderful restaurants plus a lot of great sightseeing and phenomenal museums. The high-speed trains make it easy to visit a variety of the country’s best cities, too. Toledo, for example, is only a 30 minute train ride away. It can easily be explored in a few hours or a full day. You can reach Cordoba in 1:40 on the train, making it another easy day trip. And even Sevilla can be reached in 2:30 on the train for a long, but do-able day. Segovia and Avalia are also nearby popular destinations. A wide variety of tour companies offer a daytrip that covers both of these from Madrid. There are endless possibilities.  You could spend a week staying in Madrid and not even get a chance to spend a day in the actual city!

Madrid Little Image  Spain- Toledo- El Mirador 1  Cordoba Featured Image

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: