Friday, April 26, 2013

Bringing Food Home With You


You loved the prosciutto in Milan. You want to bring some home with you.

Be sure to check with US Customs to see if that is permitted to come home with you. You might just have to eat it there.

You may have to pay an extra fee, the food may be confiscated, or in some cases you may have a penalty attached. And don't think you can hide it in your suitcase. Those dogs in customs can smell more than just drugs...they smell food as well.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shopping Overseas


Open air markets are a great place to shop. Most of the time, cash is appreciated. Know what you are buying and whether it is the real deal. Counterfeit and imitation goods can be found on the sidewalks all the time. If you want the real deal, you'll have to pay the real price.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Passports


Check the expiration date on your passport now. Even if you aren't planning on traveling next month, it's a good idea to check it. Certain countries require that your passport be valid for six months past the expiration date that you're scheduled to return home. These are China, Russia, and US.

It's also a good idea to check entry and exit requirements for countries around the world. You can check those at www.travel.state.gov.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Where is My Hotel?


One good idea when staying in a hotel in a different city is to take a business card from the front desk on your way out to explore the city. Since locals usually don't pronounce words the same way in their native language as we do...you may have a hard time telling the taxi driver the name or address of your hotel. Instead, show him the card and make life easier for everybody.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Travel Quote


"All major cities are divided into two parts: the bits that are in the guidebook and the bits that aren't. If you don't take a guidebook, you'll see a different city." Guy Browning.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Afternoon in Napa


Tasting the latest from The Terraces...Rose


Buds and leaves

Overlooking the valley floor

Friday, April 12, 2013

Phone Numbers


It's a good idea to have your airline's phone number in your phone. If you get stuck, your flight is cancelled, or you need to call them...you will have the number handy. In addition, you can ask to receive a text message if there is a change in your flight.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Documents


Have you ever stood in line behind someone who is searching every pocket in their vest, pants, carry on bag, or purse for their boarding pass and id card? That's not fun for anyone!

Make sure you know exactly where yours are before you get to the front of the security check in line. I always try to keep them in the same spot in my purse. That way...I know where they are.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

You're Not in Kansas, Anymore


People watching is a great pastime when sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Venice or drinking coffee at a stand up bar in Sienna or standing in line in Luxembourg. Overhearing their conversations is just as amusing.

What constantly amazes me is the number of times I hear something like..."in America we get faster service" or "I want my coffee just like I drink it back home."

Well...the bottom line is, you are not back home. You are on vacation in Europe or some other country.  You are there to experience the culture of that country. Things might be done differently. But, isn't that why you travel...to experience another country and their way of doing things?

Enjoy the differences and have fun.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pockets and Purses


You are at the airport...

You've removed your watch, bracelets, belt, coins, and anything else that could create a problem going through security. You've placed them in the small container and put that in the larger bin on the conveyor belt. Standing in line waiting for your bin to exit the scanner, you are probably thinking of how to quickly get to your gate. Maybe there's a whole line of people and you just want to get out of the way.

Have you ever left anything in one of those little bins? Have you dropped change all over the floor in hurrying to get going? This past week I watched a couple do just that. Security lines were long. I'm sure they were just trying to be nice and get out of the way. First, she dropped her bracelets that were laying on her jacket in the bin. Then she dropped her jacket. He dropped a whole bunch of change, his clippers, and his belt when he accidentally upset his bin when he picked it up.

They were embarrassed. The line was held up as people tried to help find their things.

Next time...place all small items in your jacket pocket,your purse, or your carry on bag. You have to put that item in the bin to go through security anyway. If you carry change in your pants...place it in a zippered pocket of your jacket or in a pouch in your carry on  so it won't escape in the ride through the scanner. You only need to grab your shoes and your bag or jacket. No standing around grabbing for small items. The line moves and you get going.

You're not going to need these items immediately once you get through security.  So why not make the time spent in security for you and for everyone in line behind you go a little more smoothly?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Do You Carry Cash?


Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere you go. But, what if you want to pick up some small purchases at a street fair? Or, what if you want to grab a cup of coffee from the local bar? Cash comes in handy. It's quick, easy, and often appreciated.

You don't have to carry a lot of cash. Just have some to use when necessary.

If you do want to use your credit card and you aren't sure if the vendor takes them, be sure to ask before you receive any kind of service or goods. Asking first saves everyone a lot of grief and embarrassment.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Should You Drink the Water?


Huskies can drink the water just about anywhere. But, should you?

Depending on your destination, you may not want to let any of the water near your mouth. This means drinking it, brushing your teeth with it, and letting it close to your mouth in the shower. This also means ice cubes in cold drinks or frozen cocktails should be avoided. And, think twice about salads where the lettuce is washed in local water and not cooked.

Just to be safe, bottled water is the best if you are uncertain about the water in the country where you are.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What to Wear on Your Flight


You have a long flight ahead of you, not to mention going through airport security. What's the best choice for clothes? Layers are always good. You can add or delete depending upon the temperature in the airport, on the plane, and your final destination. Opt for an easy to remove sweater or light jacket.

Loose fitting clothes are a good idea, too. Since the cabin is pressurized you want to be able to get up and walk around without tight clothes making your circulation even more strained.

How about your footwear? You have to remove your shoes. Make sure you can easily get them on and off. Consider comfort here as well. If you will be walking around the terminal or will be walking when you deplane, you should wear your most comfortable shoes.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tips


In most parts of Europe, tips or service charges are included in your bill. How do you know what or how much to tip? You could learn the language and read your bill. You could ask a local before you get to the restaurant. Or you could do a Google search to see what the custom is in the country where you will be eating.

If you do see it included in your bill and your service was outstanding, it is okay to leave an additional tip. But, it's a good idea to check first. And, Asia is different than either Europe or the US. Many countries there do not even expect any tip.

Bottom line...check first.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Learn the Language


If you are planning on traveling outside the US, here's a tip that may make your trip more enjoyable. I find it's a good idea to learn some language basics. Sure, many people in most places speak English. But why not learn a few of their words? You may find that people are more willing to help you.

Please, thank you, hello, good morning, excuse me, good night, bathrooms are just a few to begin with. You can learn more once you master those. It has always helped me. And, don't worry if you butcher the words. Your effort will be appreciated.