Travel Tips

When it comes to Travel, we've been there, done that, now serving 214 tips in 21 categories ranging from Active/Sports to Walking Trips.

Can I use my credit card overseas?

Traveling with Credit Cards

Before going overseas, check with your bank or credit card issuer to see if it has ATMs where you will be visiting. If there are, make sure you can use your card to get cash - and ask about any fees they may charge you.

What do I do with my toiletries when traveling?

Toiletries for Travel

When going on one- or two-night trips by plane and don't want to check your luggage; use small, closeable craft bags to hold all of your creams and liquids. Fill each bag with one- or two-day supply of hair, face and body cream, etc. and label them.

When traveling, what should we do if a hurricane is headed to our vacation destination?

Hurricane Preparedness for Travelers

The last thing vacationers think about when heading to their vacation destination is a hurricane. Unfortunately, hurricane season occurs during the time of year when many people are heading to coastal beaches and tropical locales. From June to November, a hurricane can wreak havoc leaving cities devastated.

When traveling and there is a threat of a hurricane, vacationers need to be prepared. Knowing what to do, what to have and where to go can mean the difference between being safe or being in a dangerous situation.

The following is a basic list of what every vacationer should know before, during and after a hurricane.

1. Check weather conditions before heading to an area under a hurricane watch or warning.

2. If a hurricane forms after you've arrived at your destination location and you're unable to leave, devise an emergency plan and implement it immediately. Start by finding out where the nearest evacuation location is for your area. Please note that not all evacuation centers allow pets.

3. If traveling by car, fill up the tank. After a storm, there is a good chance electricity will be out and gas pumps will not function.

4. Have cash on hand. If electricity is out, ATM's will not work meaning debit and credit cards are not usable.

5. Go shopping immediately as stores will empty out quickly of necessities. Put together a survival kit for each person in your group. The kit should include1 gallon of water for several days per person, along with non-perishable food items such as canned fruit, meat, and vegetables, juice, snacks, crackers, peanut butter, and granola bars. Include food, water, and litter for pets.

6. It's also important to have personal items for hygiene including soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, toilet tissue, feminine items, paper towels, moistened towelettes, and hand sanitizer.

7. Include in your survival kit a flashlight, extra batteries, garbage bags, manual can opener, first aid kit, sleeping bags, blankets, extra clothes and shoes, car cell phone charger, and a battery operated radio with a weather channel.

8. For anyone on medication, be sure to have at least a two week supply of meds on hand.

9. If traveling with pets, be sure your pet has a collar with its name, your contact information, phone number, and an emergency contact person in case your phone is not working. Bring along an extra leash and collar and a pet carrier.

10. When ordered to evacuate, do so immediately and go to your area's designated evacuation center. Staying behind to "ride out the storm" may leave you in a situation where rescue personnel cannot be dispatched.

Hurricanes range from a category 1 to category 5 with level 5 carrying winds over 150mph. While a category 1 may not have the same wind power, it can cause severe wind damage, storm surge, fallen trees, downed electric lines, and flooding.

When traveling to a hurricane prone area during hurricane season, be aware and be prepared whether the category level is one or five.

What type of clothing should I bring on safari?

What to Wear on Safari

When it comes to packing for a safari, practicality is typically much more important than fashion. For instance, you will want to choose clothing that can protect you from the elements and insects, especially mosquitoes, which may carry malaria. That is why even if the weather will be very warm at your safari destination, it is best to choose long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Keeping your skin covered is also important if you are taking Doxycycline as a malaria preventative, since one of its side effects is to make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

As for the color of your clothing, most safari companies recommend that you wear natural and light-colored clothing so that you will be able to blend in with your surroundings. More importantly, avoid wearing blue if you are heading into an area where tsetse flies are common, as this color will attract them. The bite of a tsetse fly is not only painful, but it could carry sleeping sickness, as well.

On many safaris, travelers are only allowed to bring one luggage bag, either because they will be flying on a small plane or because the jeep they will be riding in will only have limited luggage space. While some safaris will offer laundry service, it may not be available at all times, especially in the bush. In these situations, the best types of clothing to bring are ones that you can rinse in a bowl of water and that will dry quickly.

Many people have an image of Africa as being a mercilessly hot continent, so they are often surprised to hear that it can be downright chilly on safari, especially in the mornings. To combat the cold, you should bring a medium-weight jacket and clothes that you can layer.

In addition, don't forget to bring a good pair of sunglasses and a hat to protect your head from the elements. Some people also recommend wearing a bandana that you can cover your nose and mouth with, as it can get very dusty as you rumble down the dirt roads.

Where do I find whale watching tours in Victoria?

Whale Watching in Victoria, British Columbia

A resident pod of orcas plies the waters around Victoria, British Columbia year round. Currently the population is roughly 85 individuals. Some 250 orcas also live on the island’s eastern coast and in the waters along the British Columbia mainland. Humpback whales, California greys and minke whales also visit on their annual migrations. A number of firms in Victoria offer the chance for some eye-popping photo ops in the nearby waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Whale Watching Tours:

Located right in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, the Prince of Whales offers year-round whale watching tours. Nimble Zodiacs that seat 12 passengers put you closer to the action and guarantee you’ll get at least a little wet. Passengers must wear special red flotation suits for the Zodiac tours. The other option is on the Ocean Magic cruiser which does have an enclosed cabin as well as an open viewing area. No flotation suits are required for this tour. Either way you are soon motoring out of Victoria Harbour in search of the tuxedoed ambassadors of Vancouver Island.

Eagle Wing Tours also operates out of Victoria's Inner Harbour, offering whale watching tours on Scarabs, the same fast boats used by the Canadian Coast Guard. The boat’s pointed hull and low-slung design provide greater speed and a longer range. Tours up to 3.5 five hours are available. Protective clothing is offered but not required. The open roof does give you a better view but you will probably get wet. The tour boats do have a lower center of gravity, which helps to combat sea sickness. All Eagle Wing Tours' boats have on-board washrooms.

Great Pacific Adventures is also in the Inner Harbour and offers both Zodiac and cruiser whale watching tours. This firm also rents kayaks, rowboats, power boats and bicycles.

How can I find good books to read when I'm travelling?

Treat Yourself to a Digital Reading Device

Have you ever found yourself on vacation without a bookstore handy, trying to get by on whatever you can pick up at a grocery store or news stand? If you're someplace where you don't speak the local language, this can become a real problem.

Without mentioning the obvious brand names, digital reading gadgets are the perfect travel companion. Even thrifty travelers will quickly find that the comfort and entertainment granted to them by an unlimited supply of reading matter - which weighs only a few ounces - is beyond compare. If you're stranded at an airport for hours on end, or if you can't sleep on a late-night flight, you have a magic library at your fingertips.

Some of the new generation of electronic reading devices have lit screens, which enable you to read on a dark plane without disturbing anyone with your reading light. (Airplane mode settings can shut down their communication function.) Furthermore, on long flights you may wish to try shifting position, and a lit screen allows you to hold the reading surface at any angle without worrying about having enough light to see the print.

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George Sayour