The weather changes; that’s a given, but your body needs time to adjust. I’ve spent most of my life in Los Angeles, but when I moved to Bangkok, where I currently live, it took a couple of years to adjust to the heat.
Southern California is warm, but in Thailand, there are just three seasons; Hot, Hotter, and Damn, it’s HOT!
Understand that I just didn’t up and move on a whim. After twenty-three trips to the Land of Smiles, I decided to make Bangkok, Thailand my home. The weather is great, once you get used to it and I like the beat of the city and the nightlife. Despite what the media reports, it’s a great city with over one hundred Starbucks, more than four thousand 7-11s, and dozens of McDonalds to make you feel like you’re in a familiar setting.
Here are just seven travel tips that can make the difference between a good trip and a wonderful journey into a new land.
- For at least the first night or two, have a reservation at a hotel so that you have a destination, an address for the immigration documentation that they will hand you on the plane to fill out, and peace of mind of knowing you’ll have a frame of reference. Once you’re settled in, get going on finding a more reasonably priced, better located, and “cooler” place to stay.
- Always carry a few business cards from the hotel that you are staying. This will make it easy to get back to the hotel, once you get lost a few times, and if you purchase items in some of the shops, you can give them a business card with the hotel name and number, along with your name to have the item(s) delivered.
- Travel light, especially in the clothing department. One of the coolest parts of traveling is hanging in a coffee shop and looking at how the locals dress. This is also a great way to strike up conversations with people; by asking them where the best places to shop are located and where the deals are. In most of my early trips to Thailand, I wore jeans and a shirt, with a suit for business in tow and purchased locally made cargo pants and shirts for my evenings and exploring time. At the end of the trip, I just left the clothes on the bed for the maid to find a home for.
- Locate a pharmacy as soon as you have a moment to spare, because eating some unwashed fruit or some tainted street food can be a cause for alarm. Knowing where to get medication (upset stomach etc.) for relief makes a trip a lot more enjoyable and will encourage you to try new dishes. Be careful what you attempt to bring into a foreign country, Japan for example, is very strict. Ice can be a problem, so chilled might be a better choice.
- Scrimp at home, not while on vacation. Save up some of that junk food money to enjoy some great meals while enhancing your cultural experiences. It’s hard to enjoy a cheap vacation. You don’t have to be fast-and-loose with your wallet, but there seems to be something that you just have to have to remember the trip. Sometimes common items at home are priced much higher in other countries because of tariffs, which are placed on items to encourage domestically made items.
- Dark alleys are dark for a reason. They are not designed for active use. Traveling alone is a bit riskier, but I prefer it because it doesn’t tie me to anyone else’s agenda and gives me complete control over my time, spending, and eating urges. It is especially helpful if you keep a running journal of your days and nights so that you can go back to the great places on another trip and collect as many business cards as you can; it’s helpful if you lose something and are attempting to track it down (like a camera, scarf, umbrella, wallet, or “hot” phone number).
- Before you land, keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water and shy away from alcohol on the flight. Have copies of your prescriptions with you, pack sunscreen, lip balm, and any other sundries that you use daily (smaller portions), and carry more than one credit card. There’s nothing more embarrassing (from experience) than to offer your credit card and have it rejected because the bank (which you called ahead of time) failed to see the note on your account that you were traveling to “dump-truck, nowhere” and in their vigilance to prevent identity theft, leaves you stranded.
Travel as much as you can, as soon as you can. Your bones and muscles don’t have the same energy in their 70s as they do in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s.
Your travel experiences will be things to share for many years and your creativity, thinking, and appreciation of life will hit new heights.
Your really should travel now, not when you retire. Make travel part of your life, not something to be put off until the time… when you have the time.
Sophia D’Souza is a Content Marketer, Blogger and Story Teller at Exit Timeshare Now. She enjoys connecting with people, keeping herself updated with the latest in the field of business, technology, travel & fashion and spending quality time with her family.