Travel Inspired...


Travel information and travel advice 

Preparing For Travel

Where would you like to go?  Think about your comfort level, your budget, and your ability to handle the unknown.  Do you want to stay in more basic lodging in southeast Asia, knowing that it may be harder to find someone who speaks fluent English?  Or would you rather stay in a country where you don’t need to worry about using bottled water to brush your teeth and it is fairly easy to find someone who speaks English?  Go to the local bookstore and read through books on places of interests.  You’ll be able to gather some basic information to help you make a decision.  And talk to friends, co-workers or family members who travel.  They know you better and may be able to help provide some suggestions.

How do you want to travel?

  • Alone - Are you comfortable going alone because you have a plan and can easily met people along the way?
  • With friends - You’ve picked Morocco and you have some friends who want to go there too!  It makes it easier to budget and you’ll have company and a consulting committee for any decisions.
  • With a group - You picked Nepal because you want to hike in the Himalayas but you only have a two week vacation and you’d like to maximize your time there.  Traveling with a group will help with logistics and give you some company.  You can investigate different companies on the Internet or talk to a travel agent.  They often have ideas on what companies might offer the type of group travel most appropriate for you.

What do I need to think about when planning my trip?

  • Booking airfare:  Can you use frequent flier miles or are you looking for the best deal?  Several different sites offer deals on flights.  One advantage is that you often have 24 hours from the time you book to cancel without a penalty.  Some sites offer credits towards other purchases in the future.  I usually start with Kayak to get a general idea of routing available and pricing and then check directly with the airlines.
  • Booking Hotels:  Can you use points to stay at a hotel or are you looking for a good deal?  Hotels can be tricky because you want to make sure there are no surprises.  With sites such as and Trip Advisor, it is easy to search by location, have access to specifics on several hotels, and read reviews from other travelers.  I always check the references and how current they are before I move forward on a booking.
  • Booking with a group:  A travel agent can be helpful in finding a travel company for you, especially if this is new to you.  There are several companies that offer different “styles” of trips to fit different tastes.  Spend some time on their sites reviewing trip agendas to see what best fits your needs and desires for the trip.


  • Passport:  If you don’t have one, get one.  If you have one, check the expiration date as most countries require that you have at least 6 months left before expiry to enter the country.  Also, if you travel frequently, make sure you have enough pages available.

  • Vaccinations:  If you’ve never left the country, you will need to check on recommended vaccinations for the countries you plan to visit.  Keep your list of vaccinations current so you can quickly tell what needs updating before you travel.  It’s also helpful to take this record to your doctor’s appointment so they can add information for each new vaccination.  I keep everything on my yellow fever vaccination document so it’s easy to keep track.

  • Visa information:  Pay attention to which countries require photos, the fee, and which countries will allow visas on arrival (also, note which airports within a country) versus having to apply in advance.  Make sure that if you apply in advance, it’s not too far in advance as the visa could expire before you arrive in the country.

  • Travel Insurance:  Yes, you should have travel insurance, especially for emergency medical evacuation.  Many credit cards will cover certain aspects related to your airline ticket but emergency medical evacuation is a good idea in many countries, especially if you are doing any type of “adventure” travel (which includes hiking).    
  • Currency:  Check on currency and conversion rates.  There are Apps for your smart phone that make this much easier.  You will also need to check on the availability of ATMs.  Call your bank to make sure your ATM card will work overseas and let your bank know you are traveling so they don’t put a hold on the card for irregular activity.  Take two cards so you have a back-up and check for any fees the bank may impose for using the card.  Some banks do not charge fees to use other banks and I’ve found that many banks overseas do not charge a fee.  Why pay the bank to get your own money?
  • Credit Cards:  Get a card that has no foreign transaction fees.  I have a Capital One Master Card for this purpose and there is the added benefit of travel protection for any travel related purchases on the card, such as airline tickets.  I also accumulate points that can be used against future travel purchases.

Other considerations

  • Transit Hotels: If you anticipate a long layover or an overnight in the airport, I highly recommend a transit hotel for a nap (or overnight) and a shower.  They are usually cheap and it gives you some down time from the cacophony of the airport when doing extended travel.  Yotel is one example.  You can usually find accommodation by googling the airport by name and searching for transit hotels.
  • Reading materials:  Get a Kindle (it doesn’t have to be a fancy one) and a library card so that you have access to Kindle books AND library books.  Download free classics, buy whatever you like and continue to check out books from your home library as you travel.  This is one of my favorite uses of technology as I used to bring several books on trips and who wants the extra weight?  You can also email documents to your Kindle rather than printing copies or bringing a computer or notebook.