Before You Go: Travel Tips from a Pro

Travel Tips from a Pro

In my field, I have found that the more prep you do beforehand, the better the outcome of your vacation. So here are a few things to do (and other things to know) before you go:

  • If you are a worrier or plan to travel during hurricane season (from June 1st through November 30th, but especially from late August through September), please consider travel insurance. I know it seems like an added, unnecessary expense, but I have seen honeymoons disappear when couples don’t bother with it and then their flights were cancelled or their resort was damaged in a storm, and they can’t afford all the rescheduling fees they would have to make the trip happen. Other places have critical or dangerous events occur and then you might not be able to travel there. Travel insurance will also help you if you have to cancel or reschedule your trip for any reason, even past those point of no return non-refundable dates and change fees. Other people are very unhappy to find out that their health insurance plan doesn’t actually cover them when they are overseas, and then they are stuck paying out of pocket for medical emergencies far from home. Trust me, I have had all of these things, and more, happen to clients. Travel insurance is a huge piece of mind and a gigantic time saver if anything goes wrong.
  • Pack appropriately. Your travel agent will be able to steer you correctly here. Especially if you are going overseas, you need to know what the cultural norms are. Looking like a tourist is to be expected, but you don’t actually want to offend your host country. Other places may require sturdy footwear because there aren’t many paved roads or sidewalks. Some places may have lots of rain and others not at all, or temperature fluctuations either at various points during the year or even from day to night. If you know what to bring with you, packing won’t feel so overwhelming, and you’ll have the right clothes to feel comfortable on your trip.
  • Know what you need to have before you go. Be sure to have the correct travel documents and identification. Get familiar with the State Department’s travel website (or your country’s equivalent). It will give you information on what you need to get in and out of the country, and give you background on the place you’re visiting. Also visit the CDC’s website to find out if you need any vaccinations before you travel, and how soon you’ll need them. Be sure to schedule them promptly and retain documentation that it has been done. Remember, you can also ask your friendly travel agent, who will be able to advise you on everything you’ll need as far as these things go!
  • With the use of debit and credit cards being so widespread, you don’t necessarily need to have a lot of cash or travelers checks on hand. However, you may want to exchange some currency for incidentals, or if you are going somewhere that may not have extensive electronic access. Be aware of any fees that your bank or credit card may charge you with for withdrawals or exchanges in currency. You also can let your financial institutions know before you travel so that they don’t think your card has been stolen, but if you charge things like your airfare and hotel to the same card, they can usually figure it out on their own.

I hope these things help you make planning a trip easier and less stressful! Let me know if there’s anything you feel I have missed or with questions.

Finding Time for Fitness

I am a bit of a fitness buff. I dread sitting at the computer hour after hour—it’s such a sedentary life. They say it is really bad for your health. You need to stand up every so often or move about once every hour. Of course, I rely on my gym to take care of my physical fitness needs. Don’t we all? You can go early in the morning before work or just after. Some lucky souls squeeze an hour in a lunch. The point is to be regular with your program. If you are lucky enough to have a trainer, he or she will teach you about all the various machines. I must say that I don’t know how to operate most of them. I watch other people, but I can’t figure out what weight level is right for me.

The usual equipment is popular with gym patrons: treadmills, ellipticals, and the like. Every gym has a weight room and all kinds of equipment that works on the principal of resistance. One of my most favorite is the good ol’ rowing machine. It is simple to operate and provides a good upper body workout. I like it so much that I am thinking about getting one at home. I have a little space in the garage. All I have to do is put a heater nearby. I think part of the problem is that the gym only has one rower and I have to wait in line to use it. This is so frustrating. I can’t get there any earlier which might solve the problem. Work is a priority, and while the gym should be, I can’t always make the schedules work.

A rowing machine is a long metal bar with a seat on it. You strap your feet in. A handlebar is in front of you and you reach for it with two hands and then pull it all the way into your chest. The idea is to be consistent with the movement and to increase speed as you attain a selected goal of so many seconds, such as 500, my usual target. It challenges your upper body strength and the trainers say never to get below a certain resistance level. So you keep pumping back and forth while accelerating your heart beat. It is a good machine to use to start an exercise regime as it in effect serves as a warm up.

I am going to love having one of my own so I can use it day or night or on weekends. No more waiting for slowpokes at the gym who are not considerate when they see people waiting. I don’t have to be at the mercy of someone else’s schedule. These rowers come in different sizes so I am making ample space next to my car in the garage. I will buy a plastic cover to protect it from dust and roof leaks. It is not ideal. I would prefer to put it in the house; but that would eliminate my guest room. Right now, that is not an option. No matter.