Global Travel

It’s no secret that I’m a globe trotter. And, while jet-setting around the world I’ve learned a few secrets of how to get around like a local yet keep myself feeling well — no matter the time zone.

It didn’t come easily, mind you. I’ve gotten turned around more times than I can count, lost things in translation, and couldn’t resist the anti-jetlag power nap that ultimately turned into a 5-hour deep slumber, leaving me groggy. It’s all been worth it though because I love my work, and I love learning about new cultures and exploring new countries.

But, my hope is that you don’t make some of the mistakes I have. So, here are five tricks of the travel trade.

1. Beat jetlag. After 25 years of travel, I think I have the secret formula to beat jet lag. First, pack a sleep kit to help you rest on the plane. That can include ear plugs, pillow, light blanket, and an eye mask. Next, resist over-indulgence on food and alcohol. Better yet, skip the alcohol. Get fresh air and exercise when you land. And, finally, don’t fall into the “power nap” trap. Try, try, try to get onto the local schedule. For more tips, visit here.
2. Snap photos. Sure, for the memories. But also to remember where you came from and where you are going. Take photos with your phone of the metro stops so you know where to exit and get back on. Take a photo of your hotel, or grab a business card, so you know the address.
3. Maximize Google. Speaking of that business card—it can be key in making sure the non-English speaking cab driver knows where to take you. So can Google Translator. Be sure to bring a device that has WiFi (almost everywhere has it now) so you can tap into Google Translator to help give directions or express your wishes of where to go and what to see. (Recently, on a trip to Argentina, I did this along with showing the driver my GPS so that we arrived at the correct location.)
4. Befriend concierges. And not just your hotel’s. On that same trip in Argentina, when we couldn’t find a restaurant, we ducked into a hotel and asked the concierge. They almost always speak English (for good or for bad, it’s still the primary global business language) and are happy to help. We got great guidance and had no trouble finding our destination.
5. Keep it clean. It’s pretty terrible to be sick—not to mention being sick in an international destination. Bring wipes with you and sanitize your environment. I have no shame in wiping down airplane seats, hotel room door handles, remote controls, and any surface that I am unsure of. Take vitamins and supplements. I rely on COLD-FX and Traumeel. For more on tips to stay healthy while (at home or) abroad, click here.

Traveling doesn’t have to be a grind. With the right tools at your disposal, you can bring home the reassurance of a job well done or an adventurous story rather than your plane seat neighbor’s cold. Bon voyage!

Traveling doesn’t have to be a grind. Pack the right tools, and you’ll return home w/ the reassurance of a job well done! {TWEET THIS}

Image Credit: Fotolia (Maxim_Kazmin)

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