So, it turns out, I had some more advice about little things to know about travel. Some of these tips could apply to traveling domestically, or internationally, but a few suggestions are strictly out of the country-oriented.
There are actually a lot of little things to take into account before you leave your house to go on any trip, even if it is just across Georgia. The word "vacation" is so deceptively named, because there is so much "work" that goes into planning a trip. You have to put on your mental thinking caps, and really put some thought into your planning.
But, if you cross all of your "T"s and dot all of your "I"s during the planning phases, you will have the best vacation of your life. I started this list of things to keep in mind last week, and now I'm finishing it this week. Hopefully, these tips will help you out when you sit down to plan your vacation.
So, without further ado, here are my final five "must knows" for planning a vacation:
* Make a list of every place you want to see ahead of time. Planning is always a must. Let's be honest here. You cannot just go out and wing it, and risk doing absolutely nothing when you go someplace new. Read the books on sites to see in whatever area you're going to visit. Then, figure out which sites are close to each other, in clusters. Then plan your days so you hit a specific cluster each day.
* Pick a hotel close to a transit line. First off, you want a hotel that is as close to the action as you can get. Too close, however, and you're probably either, getting a cheap place that is the armpit of the planet, or a hotel that is ridiculously high-priced. The solution is to find a hotel that is somewhat close to the action, but is on a transit line (subways preferred) that takes you right into the heart of the action. You can get to the fun stuff quickly, but it is still relatively quiet when you want to go to bed.
* Have a place to hide your money. Pickpockets are notorious in Europe, and they have allegedly turned thievery into an art form in Italy. If you are going to Great Britain, or Ireland (or probably Norway, Russia, Finland and Sweden for that matter), this probably won't be too hard, because even in the summer, it is still kind of chilly, and you will need to wear a jacket at all times. Now, you will need to keep that jacket zipped, or buttoned up the whole time, but you should have an inside pocket on that coat that you can keep your money in. Otherwise, can we say "Money Belt?" The same rules apply for American cities, as well.
* Think before you drive. This is all encompassing. It ranges from knowing where you are going, and how to get there, before you turn the car on, to remembering that people in Great Britain and Ireland drive on the opposite side of the street from us. The two things you absolutely do not want to do are: get lost in a strange place, and run head-on into oncoming traffic because you are on the wrong side of the road.
* Know the electrical outlet for the foreign country, and get the appropriate plug adapter to match it. The world does not use the same type of electrical plugs that Americans use. Well, a couple other countries do, but not many. Just going to France, and then Great Britain, you're going to need two different types of plug adapters. Continental Europe uses plugs that have two pins, while Great Britain uses plugs that are similar to ours, except the prongs are thicker. Still, other countries use plugs that have slanted, flat prongs. The Wal-Marts and Targets of our world sell affordable plug adapters for just about everywhere in the world.
Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.