Miscellaneous Travel Tips
- Getting a cell phone for your trip abroad? Research your
destination countryís laws regarding cell phone use. Some countries
(Brazil, United Kingdom, Switzerland, etc.) prohibit driving
while using the phone. In Singapore, youíll lose the phone and
pay a $600 fine or spend a year in jail. Cell phone use is banned
on Japanís commuter trains.
- Save the maps from your trip. You can highlight your route(s)
and use the maps in a scrapbook or photo album of your travels
to add a nice design element.
- Keep a small journal or notebook handy as you travel. Record
your impressions, including favorite sites, restaurants, and
hotels. Your personal insights are more meaningful than photos,
and can be kept in your photo album, scrapbook, or travel file.
- Photographs of illuminated city buildings will render best
when taken at dusk or twilight, not in the full darkness of
- If you are planning to buy a bird overseas, learn about
the strict regulations for bringing it into the United States
from the USDAís Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
These rules include obtaining a health certificate from the
country in which youíre buying the bird, and submitting the
bird to a 30-day quarantine period at an approved facility.
Smuggled birds may bring in diseases (such as the Newcastle
virus) that could severely affect the U.S.ís commercial poultry
Students should always carry a student ID card no matter
where they are traveling because airlines, hotels, attractions,
etc. frequently offer discounts or other benefits to full-time
students. Itís best to get a valid International Student Identity
Card for international travel.
- When hiking, refrain from picking wildflowers. If you want
a specimen so you can find out its name, take a picture instead.
- Did you know there is no governing body regulating worldwide
time zones? Itís up to individual countries to determine when,
and if, they observe daylight savings. Use
WTAís Links section to find the local
time anywhere in the world. To see a map view of time zones,
- In case of an emergency while traveling, have the contact
numbers for all the people you plan to visit with you. Also
carry a list of banks and credit card companies you may need
to reach to cancel cards or increase your credit limit.
- Rather than carrying around a bulky address book, prepare
pre-addressed labels before you leave home to use for postcards
and letters to send back to family and friends.
- Whether you choose to use convenient disposable cameras
or your regular camera, purchase the camera and film at home.
Prices tend to be much higher at popular tourist attractions.
- Itís a good idea to make sure your personal papers (will,
insurance, etc.) are in order before a trip. Also make sure
a loved one at home knows where the papers are and how to get
access to them if something unforeseen happens to you.
- Don't alert would-be thieves to the fact that you're away
from home. Hire someone to do outside maintenance (mowing, snow
removal) while you're gone.
- Although you probably suspend your mail and newspaper delivery
while you're away, you know that sometimes the process breaks
down and it arrives anyway! Ask a friend to check for papers
and mail if you will be away for more than a few days. They
can also pick up any 'complimentary' papers whose presence could
indicate an empty home.
- Do a quick check before leaving home to make sure all the
door and window locks work properly. Also check all your smoke
detectors to make sure they are working and have fresh batteries.
- Leaving the frigid north for the winter to be warmed by
the southern sun? Be sure to leave the heat set high enough
so the pipes won't freeze in your home.
- If you would like your vacation album to be eye-catching,
copy the pros. Look at a few travel magazines to get a sense
of how to compose a picture. Note how most photos are clean
and uncluttered. Simplify by focusing in on one subject, rather
than taking in a whole array of objects.
- To take the most flattering photos, catch your subjects
when they are in the shade. The midday sun can create shadows
around the eyes.
- Feel you didn't get what was promised on your vacation?
Send a formal letter (via certified or registered mail) to the
company you paid for the service. Try to keep the tone positive
so the reader will want to help you. Explain the major complaints,
providing specific dates, times, employee names, etc. Attach
copies of any supporting documentation. Don't threaten legal
action in the initial letter; if you do, the company will likely
send the letter to the legal department, which will slow down
the process. Also, since refunding the money may be viewed as
an admission of guilt, the company will be reluctant to do so
if they believe the matter may be court-bound.