Travel Tips and Resources

One more note/word of caution before you actually book your flight or hotel or rental car. I prefer, and would strongly suggest, booking directly with the company and not through a third party site. That way if anything goes wrong (not saying anything will, but just in case) you’re dealing directly with the airline or hotel. You also may want to check out a site with reviews (I prefer TripAdvisor) to see if you’re about to book a hidden gem or stinking rat hole.

The Details: Shots, Visas, Insurance, and What to Pack

Okay, so now you have everything booked. What do you do about packing and getting your shots and visas? First off, if you’re traveling within your own country don’t worry about the shots and visas, and just be mindful of your airline’s luggage restrictions and fees if your flying to your destination.

For the more adventurous traveler who feels like wandering a little further afoot, you may need to obtain an entry visa and receive vaccinations before you go. You can check out the US State Department’s website for information on fees, forms, and other entry requirements by country for US citizens. If you do need an entry visa it will need to be obtained from that country’s embassy or consulate. Don’t live close enough to Washington DC or New York to stop in on your own? Don’t worry, you can use a courier service to handle the dirty work for you (for an extra fee, of course). I typically go through Travel Document, but if you do a Google search there are plenty of other options out there.

As for the shots, check out the Travelers’ Health section of the CDC’s website for country specific health information, including any suggested shots or medicine. You can either go to your doctor or a travel clinic for the actual consultation. I prefer the travel clinic since you’re dealing with people who are well versed in travel medicine (there’s more to it than “Don’t drink the water”), but it’s up to you.

Okay, you may be wondering why I would put insurance in the subtitle above. The answer is: because your normal medical insurance typically does not extend coverage outside the country. So, if you drink the water someplace and find you’ve contracted dysentery or some other horrible disease, you’ll not only shit your pants in hospital but also when you get home and see the medical bills. In addition to trip disruption or cancellation, you also can get travel insurance that will cover medical, dental, medical evacuation, and, in the event you decide to eat street food in India, death (just kidding, kind of). Where do you find these fancy policies? I usually go to an aggregator site like insuremytrip.com. I’ve also heard excellent things about International SOS if you just want to book directly with a company.

Now for the packing issue, or non issue.for some. I’m not here to tell you what to pack or how much to pack, but I will mention that if you’re looking to pack light you can always do laundry somewhere along the way (even if it means buying detergent and washing clothes in your room). I’d also like to mention that luggage weight restrictions and carry-on luggage limits for airlines vary from country to country. So, if you’re traveling abroad you may want to check with your airline before arriving at the airport and becoming those people frantically repacking all your bags at the check-in counter while everyone in line now knows whether you wear boxers or briefs.

Going Solo

Probably the comment I hear the most is, “That’s awesome that you can just pick up and travel on your own.” This is quickly followed by the comment I hear the second most, “I wish I could do that.” People, it’s not that hard to do. In fact, it can feel quite liberating to know you can survive on your own – especially if your solo travels take you to a foreign country.

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