Never Pass Up A Bathroom and Other Travel Tips
My two biggest stressors when traveling are drinking enough water and finding a bathroom. It is not so bad when traveling within the United States, but once you go internationally, it is a whole different ballgame. Keep the following in mind when traveling abroad. 1) When you have the chance to use a restroom, GO! 2) You might have to pay a small fee, exact change only, to use some public restrooms. 3) When in doubt, ask for the toilet. It is a standard word in most languages. 4) I have found that finding a hotel and asking someone at the reception desk for the toilet can be a lifesaver. 5) Most toilets in hotels and restaurants are not on the main level. The most common location is down a flight of stairs. The next travel tip is about water. 1) Europeans think of bottled water as sparkling or carbonated. So, when you buy a bottle of water look for “Natural”. Or ask if the bottle is still, flat, or without gas. 2) Be on the safe side and buy a bottle of water when you get to a new location. Then ask if the tap water is safe to drink. In places like Finland and Scotland, you will be told that the water from the sink is better than that in bottles. Other places like Paris and Rome have public fountains that can be used to refill bottles when walking around the city. 3) Bring a reusable bottle with you when traveling. 4) Hydration is key to getting over jetlag quicker and sleeping better. So, make sure that you drink enough when traveling. The next travel tip is about packing. 1) No matter how long you are gone, pack everything in your carry-on bags. 2) You might be laughing at number 1, but hear me out. I recently had my luggage lost for 2 weeks while traveling to Europe. I finally got it back, but I had to buy new everything while on my trip. Talk about stressful! 3) If you cannot make everything work in your carry-on, perhaps you are traveling to two different climates. Make sure to pack your essentials in your carry-on. By this, I mean things that are difficult to buy when outside the US. My most expensive purchases when not having my luggage were for undergarments. So at the very least think about how you would purchase new items in your destination if needed. 4) If you need to check your luggage, take at least two pictures. One picture should be of all your items before they go into your suitcase. The other picture should be of the top of your suitcase before you zip it. This way you can fill out the paperwork for the airport easier. 5) If you still are not convinced that you should only be using carry-on luggage think about your means of transportation in your new destination. You might have to carry your bags through a city or up several flights of stairs. Even suitcases with four wheels are not easy to pull on cobblestone streets and sidewalks. So be mindful of what you can carry if needed. Finally, here are some other tips for you to consider when traveling 1) Most airports have free WiFi. Just look for the signs as you get off your plane. 2) Don’t eat meals on the plane. The best way to get over jetlag is for your body to be hungry when you land. You will literally “break your fast” when you eat at your destination. This will help your body reset to your new time zone faster. If your flight is over 12 hours bring your food. All the meal options I have been offered are not things I would recommend. Use your flight to drink water! 3) Bring a small bag that can fold up and be stored in your purse or backpack. Most stores in Europe do not give you a free bag when you make a purchase. This is especially true if you do any food shopping. Bringing your bag will save you from having to buy one each time. 4) Wear layers on the plane. I always wear a longer sweater and scarf so that I can use them on the plane as a blanket or pillow for overnight flights. 5) Bring your headphones, noise-canceling if possible, to use on the plane. This way you can watch movies or block out noise from other passengers if you are trying to rest. 6) Bring your eye mask for overnight flights. Blocking out light and allowing your body to rest, even if it is not fully sleeping, will help you feel more refreshed when you get to your new destination. 7) Know that everything will not go perfectly. The more you can plan the better you will be at making a change or sending an email to your travel advisor. Even without my luggage I still had an amazing trip. I did everything I could and the only thing left to do was enjoy where I was. And I did just that!