● By Patrick John
Q97 SnapshotMarch 2015
By Patrick John
Close to home, across the United States, halfway around the world... I'm an equal opportunity traveler. It's an escape. It recharges your batteries. It's a way to reconnect with your spouse or partner, and it's a great way to have fun with family.
Do you remember your first plane ride? My first time on a plane was a holiday trip to Wisconsin with our family of six. I was in sixth grade and it was exciting. We literally ran through one airport to catch a flight, met more family members than we knew existed, experienced snow on Christmas Eve, saw Lake Michigan (we had only seen the Pacific Ocean), and the airline lost our luggage on the return flight. Thankfully, the bags arrived a day later, because they contained all our presents! It was a whirlwind, and to a kid, a true adventure.
Those who listen to our ratio show konw that over the last 20 years, I've been across the U.S., to the bahamas, Italy and Great BRitain, added a pair of stops each in Canada and Mexico, and tackled on numerous trips to Hawaii and Disneyland. FYI - I used to emcee large corporate conferences, so many of these trips were on someone else's dime. I'm often asked, "How much vacation time do you get? It seems like you're always going somewhere!" The truth is that Jane and I don't real travel that much, but when we do, we make it count.
The other questions typically asked often pertain to travel tips, expenses, and planning, so here's what has worked for us:
Plam ahead. That gives you time to research the location and pay over time. We try to save up and have our airfare and accomodations (the big stuff) totally paod off before we leave. Then you only have to worry about expenses incurred during the trip.
Save money by renting rooms/condos with a kitchen. Youw ill save a TON of money (especially for families) by not eating out every meal. Upon arrival, make your first stop a lcoal farmer's market, supermarket or Costco.
Nervous about new ideas or destinations? Ask amongst friends, but sometimes you just have to GO FOR IT! You'll never know if you like to cruise until you try it out, and we flipped a coin to detemine which island to visit in Hawaii. We ended up on Kauai for the first tie and had a blast. Foreign country? Big trip? CLueless? Use an experienced travel agent. Travelers think they can book anything on the internet and it will be fine. Travel agencies are super busy for a reason... they know what they're doing. Most services are free and they match and beat internet prices. You also have someone to call if any problems arise. The latest statistics (2011) report travel agents booked almost two-thirds of all airline tickets, cruises and tours. You will thank yourself later!
Alert your bank/credit card/ cell phone companies before you travel - Banks often perceive cards used overseas as stolen and automatically issue a hold, so make sure you have more than one credit card in case there's a problem. Not all cell phones are compatible around the world, so you may need to adjust your plan/coverage, or even rent a travel phone.
Be polite and engaging - The loud, obnoxious American with the fanny pack is not the image to convey. Good manners, attempting to speak the native language, and asking questions are good places to start. The locals are your sincle best resource when it comes to finding the best food, unique places to shop, sights to see, and maybe a hidden gem of an experience. Make friends all over the world and you'll always have somewhere to go!
A few great travel resources - AFAR Magazine, www.budgettravel.com, Avanti Travel of Redding 530-244-1400