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By The Virtual Tourist
Get on local time ASAP
While travel may be about freedom and fun even the most spontaneous of explorers often establish some guidelines for themselves. With this in mind the highly experienced travelers and editors of VirtualTourist.com share the standards and practices they've set up over the years.
1. IN A LOT OF PLACES TOILET PAPER IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT
The travelers who know this rule learned it the hard way: always, always keep at least a small amount of toilet paper on hand (the same goes for toilet seat covers, which can be even harder to find). Paper goods companies now make lightweight mini-rolls you can keep in a pocket.
2. ACT AS A GUEST, NOT A CUSTOMER
Few qualities anger locals more than a stranger with a sense of entitlement. While you may not be used to things like siesta or eating your dinner late at night, a healthy respect for regional customs will make your trip infinitely more enjoyable.
3. ALWAYS SCHEDULE IN SOME ALONE TIME
Traveling with friends and family can be a great way to get to know each other better ... and that's the problem. An hour or two a day during which everyone is on their own can really keep the peace.
4. AVOID PEAK SEASONS
Nothing will jack up the price of travel, make finding hotel rooms more difficult, or guarantee long lines like traveling during prime travel seasons. Unless you're going for some kind of seasonal event (like Mardi Gras or Octoberfest) go in the off-season.
5. TAKE HALF THE STUFF AND TWICE THE CASH
The fun of travel is getting away from it all and that includes possessions. Taking less and budgeting for more is a great way to truly feel unburdened.
6. KNOW HOW YOU ARE GETTING FROM THE AIRPORT TO YOUR LODGING BEFORE YOU GET THERE
Between jetlag, new languages, and general airport confusion, it can be shockingly difficult to figure out how to get just a few miles to your hotel without being ripped off or taken to the wrong place. Take care of this when you first buy the plane ticket so you won't even have to think about it.
7. ESTABLISH GROUND RULES WITH YOUR BOSS BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Nothing is worse than getting on the road and then realizing your boss has no intention of letting you relax. Conversely, the expectation that you will never be far from your BlackBerry may be yours alone. A quick talk when you ask for the time off is a great way to make sure you both stay happy.
8. Never eat near the Eiffel Tower
Many feel that if you can see the ticket booth of a major monument from a restaurant, you're too close. Travel just a block or two in any given direction and you'll be amazed at the difference in price, quality, and elbow room of the area eating establishments.
9. GET ON LOCAL TIME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Even if it's just for the first night, allowing your body to stay on your hometown time makes it very hard to get over jetlag. The sooner you get on the local schedule the better, so even if it feels like two in the afternoon, if it's time for bed in your new location, hit the sheets!
10. YOU ONLY HAVE TO KNOW TWO WORDS IN THE LOCAL LANGUAGE
No one expects you to be able to recite poetry in the tongue of your destination but "please" and "thank you" are certainly doable. What feels awkward and intimidating to you will seem charming and sweet to shopkeepers, hoteliers, and other business people.
© VirtualTourist.com, Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.
Travel | Top 10 Easy Rules of Traveling