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Useful Tips for Travelers
Here are some useful tips and information we thought would be very helpful when traveling to Domestic and International Destinations. If you need more information or if you have a tip you'd like to add, please contact the Travel Advisor found on the upper left side of each country page.

   

Be sure to check our "Links" section which provides great links for Visa Information, Travel Advisories, Driving in Europe (maps and directions), Vaccination Requirements and more.

    AIR TRAVEL
   

Chamomile for Jitters - Nervous passengers might consider taking a few chamomile tea bags for the journey. They are tiny, flat, lightweight, and a double strength brew acts as a natural sedative. Unlike various travel tablets available, chamomile will enable you to relax without leaving you heavy headed and drooping all over your neighbor. Just ask the flight attendant for the hot water when tea and coffee is offered.

     
    You can't avoid jet lag, but with a few tips you can minimize it. Leave home well-rested. Change your watch to the local time at your destination and begin acclimating yourself to that time. On the flight, drink plenty of liquids, eat lightly, and rest. If you are going east, a three hours' sleep during the transatlantic flight will help you function when you land. Heading west, it's best to take just a short nap so you can get a full nights sleep when you arrive. On arrival, stay awake until an early local bedtime. If you doze off at 4 p.m. and wake up at midnight, you've accomplished nothing. Plan a good walk until early evening. Jet lag hates fresh air, daylight, and exercise.
     
    When buying airline tickets online, call the airline to get advance seat assignment immediately if no seat assignment is given. If you arrive at the ticket counter without seat assignment on an overbooked flight, you probably will get bumped off the flight and forced to take a later flight - which can be several hours or even a full day later. Due to overbooking, getting seat assignment in advance can reduce the risk of getting 'bumped'!
    CAR RENTALS
   

What kind of credentials and driving record do I need if I am renting from a foreign country?
Most car rental agencies have their own individual requirements for each country.
In the U.S. and Canada, drivers must present a major credit card and valid driver's license. Both must be in the driver's name. Some non-U.S. locations require an international driver's license. When booking online, see the terms and conditions on your confirmation page or e-mail for information on your specific pick-up location. If you experience problems, I suggest that you contact the car rental agency via their customer service email on their website with questions regarding your specific information.

    MONEY & EXCHANGE
   

Here are a few money tips that may help you when traveling to a foreign country or to the USA. 

1) Traveler's Checks are not a good idea anymore. They are totally useless for paying for most meals, hotels, taxis, shopping or anything else. In smaller towns, people may not even know what Traveler’s Checks are. If you cash them in at a bank or exchange, you are charged an extra fee and received a lower exchange rate. Times have changed. Traveler’s Checks are just out-dated. 

2) Don’t change your money in the USA before traveling abroad. Very few US banks offer a favorable exchange, you won’t find many US Exchange Offices and smaller town banks can’t even exchange currency. You will almost always get a better rate in a foreign bank or Exchange Office. Try to avoid changing money in any airport or in your hotel – it’s the most expensive place. Take some small US bills ($5s and $10s) and when you arrive pay the cab driver and tip in US dollars until you can get to a competitive exchange outlet. 

3) Your best option for obtaining money is the ATM. In major cities and many small towns it's now pretty easy to find ATM machines that access the accounts of US banks on the major ATM networks. The exchange rates are good. So keep the cash in your checking account and replenish your supply from there. Keep in mind that there will be a daily limit that may be lower than it is in the US -and there will be a fee – the good news is that it is usually quite low - but you may want to shop around because ATMs fees vary drastically.

4) Credit card cash advances are easier in some countries than others. However, your credit card company usually charges a ridiculous interest rate for cash advances, so it is best to use your credit card for your purchases and hotel charges only.

5)
Check Exchange rates and get an “FX Cheat Sheet” that allows you to create and print a currency converter table before you take your next trip! Visit http://www.oanda.com. The “FX Cheat Sheet” can be found on the left side of the home page under “Travelers”

    PACKING
   

The goal of this section is to let you how to pack everything you need for vacation in one carry-on bag.
Smart travelers plan to wash clothes during the trip. Make sure that your clothing is fast drying – polyesters and nylons are perfect. Bring little packets of Woolite or other hand-wash detergent so you can wash in the sink of your hotel.

Plan to take 3 separate outfits (including undergarments). All clothing should be based on one color scheme so you can mix and match. For example one black shorts, black skirt, black pants can go with 3 different tops – and you can mix and match to make up to 9 different outfits! Just bring some costume jewelry to formalize or brighten things up. Shoes? One pair of walking/hiking shoes and one black dress shoe. It really works! I traveled for 3 weeks with just the items I listed above and went from formal dinners in Istanbul to hikes though the Taurus Mountains.

When traveling to a destination where I know I will be doing a lot of shopping (which is everywhere), I pack a collapsible suitcase or duffel bag in my luggage. Then I pack up all my new stuff and breakables in my carry-on suitcase and fill my collapsible with my dirty laundry.
     

 

Keep a cosmetic bag packed to go. If something is running low, leave a note in it to replenish the supplies upon your return. Also, on an index card list everything you need for a trip, and keep it handy for each trip. That way, you won't find yourself stranded in Podunk without underwear. You don't have to put clothes in plastic dry cleaner bags, just place the bags between clothes to save on wrinkles.

     
   

Pack your extra pair of shoes in a large zip-lock bag. Pack your shampoo and other spillable items in a zip-lock bag too. Then pack 12 extra zip lock bags in various sizes to put soiled clothes, not-so-dry towels, or purchases in, as you move from one locale to another. This helps keep other things clean and dry and also things pack tighter and fit easier; when put in zip-locks you can squeeze the air out.

     
    PLANNING AHEAD
    If you are planning to send postcards to friends and family during your trip, create mailing labels on your computer before you go. Then just pack the labels! This saves space, time and frustration.
   
    Get a Toll-Free Number - You can save a bundle of money when calling home from a hotel, pay phone, or cell phone if you have a toll-free number that rings to your home. Toll-free service is available from many carriers for no set-up cost, with no additional monthly fee, and with low per-minute fees.
   
    Make Copies of Your Passport, etc. - Before traveling photocopy passport, credit cards, driver's license, vaccination certificates, even airline tickets and Travelers Checks. Keep the copies with a friend at home who has a fax machine - and take a set with you in your luggage. Better yet - instead of photocopying all your important documents and carrying them with you, you can scan everything and e-mail the scans to your e-mail account as attachments. Use a web-based e-mail account such as a free hotmail.com account so you can access your documents from anywhere in the world. We suggest you scan your Passport, Drivers License, Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, Insurance Policies, etc. In fact, this is just an all-around good idea! Do it now, even if you are not traveling, in case of fire or theft.
   
    Leave Travel Plans with Friends and Relatives - Before leaving on a trip, make sure that you give all travel information not only to the people or place you'll be staying at, but also several close family and friends where you live. If anything should happen while traveling, multiple people know where you are and have a better chance of getting a hold of you and others who might need to reach you.
   
    MISCELLANEOUS
    Using a Digital Camera? Don't buy expensive memory cards. When your memory card is almost full - go to a camera or Photo Processing shop and ask them to put your photos on a CD. It takes just a few minutes. Then you can delete the photos on the card. It's the perfect way to both store your photos and free up your memory card at the same time. It usually only costs about $5. I have done this from Tucson to Tangiers with no problem.
     
   

When making your trip arrangements - be sure to check out our "Park, Sights and Links" and "TIPS" sections found on our city pages. We are adding Do-It-Yourself Tours that will give you up to 5 days of great things to do during your vacation. It's a free travel guide - print it out and take it with you! Don't leave home without reading this info.

     
   

When traveling in a foreign country, always carry with you a business card or matches from your hotel. You can easily show it to taxi drivers - it solves the language barrier. If traveling with children, make sure each child has one in case they get lost (even if you're not in a foreign country).

     
    Using a Digital Camera? Don't buy expensive memory cards. When your memory card is almost full - go to a camera or Photo Processing shop and ask them to put your photos on a CD. It takes just a few minutes. Then delete the photos on your card. It's the perfect way to both store your photos and free up your memory card at the same time. It usually costs only about $5. I have done this from Tucson to Tangiers with no problem.
     
   

Recreational activities such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking and bicycling place physical demands on your body. These demands increase dramatically at high altitude.
What is High Altitude? Broadly interpreted high altitude is any place above 5,280 feet (1,609km). Durango Mountain Resort's base elevation is 8,793 feet, with the summit elevation at 10,822 feet.
Effects of High Altitude - At high altitudes, everyone is affected to some degree. The effects vary among individuals and a variety of symptoms are seen. Two main differences between the high altitude environment and sea level are decreased oxygen density and decreased humidity, or moisture content in the air. A sudden change in environment from sea level to high altitude can produce nausea, insomnia, diarrhea, restlessness, shortness of breath, and air hunger. Palpitations or fast heart beat, headache, nasal congestion, coughing, increased flatulence or 'gas', easy fatigue and intolerance to exertion also may be experienced.
What to do: DRINK PLENTY OF WATER! Avoid alcohol for the first 48 hours, eat lightly, get plenty of rest, avoid over-exertion before your body can adapt to the lower oxygen and dryness.
Did you know? About three-quarters of the nations land above 10,000 feet is in Colorado. Estimates place more than half of Colorado above 5,280 feet. A good rule of thumb: Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily (e.g. a 200-pound person should drink about 100 ounces of liquid). Ever on overcast days you can get sunburn! Most importantly, have fun!

   

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