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Planning for the Possibility of Problems While Traveling

Taking a trip, especially one overseas, can be very exciting. But you should not let this excitement get in the way of properly planning your trip, as there are lots of things that could cause you problems on the trip and you should be properly prepared for them.

Here are some things you should be prepared for:

1. Running Out of Money Overseas
One of the biggest nightmares you could face is unexpectedly running out of money while you are overseas. But there are many things you can do before you leave to prevent this from becoming a problem.

First, find out how much things cost in the city you are visiting before you go there. Do not assume that the prices of food and transportation are the same as where you live. Once you know the prices of things, you can budget accordingly.

Also, some countries charge entrance and/or exit fees upon entering or leaving the country. Find out if the country you are visiting does this before you go.

In many countries, retailers no longer accept credit cards that do not have a security chip. If your credit and/or debit cards all use magnetic strips and you cannot get a version of them with security chips, then make sure that you have alternative means of paying for things.

Finally, keep in mind that in some foreign countries credit card use is limited. So, always make sure that you have plenty of local currency on hand to pay for things.

2. Unexpected Emergencies
No one ever plans on getting sick, injured, or becoming a victim of some other unfortunate set of circumstances, but it can happen. It’s important to be prepared. Start by securing a backup source of funds to cover an unexpected expense overseas. Those hesitant to tap into savings if necessary should consider researching loan options, particularly those which can be applied for online.

Make sure that all your vaccinations are up-to-date and that all your prescriptions have been filled. Next, check to make sure that your health insurance will cover you while you are on your trip. If it does not, then you should strongly consider purchasing supplemental health insurance.

When traveling overseas, you should also be prepared if your passport becomes lost or stolen. Make copies of them before you leave, taking one set with you in your luggage while leaving another set with a loved one back home. You may even want to consider making digital copies of them so that you can store them on your phone or on another device.

Finally, just to be safe, you should register with your embassy upon arrival. If some emergency occurs in the country, the embassy would then be able to contact you so as to provide you with help.

3. Electronics Issues
It may surprise you to know that not all countries use the same electrical currents and sockets. The time to discover all this is before you leave.

If the country you are visiting uses a different electrical current, some of your travel appliances — such as hairdryers — may be useless. So, plan accordingly.

Most modern computing devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops can adapt to different electrical currents. But check to make sure that yours does before you leave. Even if they do, you may still have to deal with different electrical sockets. Find out before you leave what kind of sockets you will need and see if you cannot purchase an adapter(s) at an electronics store before you go. If you cannot buy adapters before you leave, find out where you can buy them while on your trip.

What problems have you ran into while traveling? Comment below!

Advice

Butterflies Before Boarding – How I Cope As A Nervous Flyer

Why do so many of us struggle with air travel? I like to think the human condition acknowledges just how insane it is that our tiny bodies are catapulted into thousands of miles in to the air. It’s not natural, it’s physically impossible to do effortlessly, we’re not made for it… and yet, here we are. In the past four years I’ve traveled to more than fifteen different countries around the globe, and all that being said, I am STILL absolutely, 100% a nervous flyer.

I look at the girls who are fabulously collected, relaxed and asleep before takeoff with such jealousy, I’m sure my eyes actually turn green. How can anyone be so chill before takeoff? Meanwhile, my heart is racing at the speed of light, I’m constantly checking my phone for reassurance that there is some time left before the wheels leave the ground, I’m listening to relaxation music at full blast. Yep, I’m that girl!

Regardless of how much of a nervous flyer I am, I have picked up on a few handy tricks to find some zen before, during and after boarding. Here are some basic tips I’d like to pass along to my fellow nervous flyers!

Flight Attendants Should Be Your Emotion-Regulators

It always blows my mind to know that there are thousands of men and women who spend their work days thousands of miles in the air. Knowing that there are capable, professional workers who manipulate transportation and accommodation on daily flights around the world gives my heart peace.

So with that in mind, next time you’re in the middle of a patch of turbulence mid-flight, see how your flight attendants react. Hint: they probably won’t AT ALL. Seeing the calm and gracious attitude of the flight attendants midair will give you the zen you need. I once heard a flight attendant say to a passenger: “We all want to get home safe and sound here, too. So don’t worry. I would never, ever risk our lives on a career like this.” This is the quote I go back to over and over again when I’m feeling the anxiety of flying build.

Mindfulness, Meditation

It seems like the cliche suggestion to put out there, but download an app or two that will assist you with finding a moment of mindfulness. There are lots out there. Find some guided meditation resources. Download a playlist of peaceful music, or even create your own “comfort” soundtrack that makes you feel cozy and at home!

Sleep!

What better way to cope with flight anxiety than to not have to cope with it all? So yes, if you can knock yourself out… do it. Whether you time your flights so that you’ll be zonked and ready for some precious shut eye on departure (red eyes can be AMAZING for a nervous flyer!) or you dose up on melatonin or a doctor prescribed medication- do what you need to do. Try to have your eyes closed as soon as you are comfortable and before you leave the boarding area.

Schedule It Out

If sleep just isn’t possible for you… you’re not alone. One of my favorite ways to pass a flight that stresses me out is by creating a schedule for myself. Something about giving myself something to “do” every minute of the trip gives me peace of mind. So, yes, am I the crazy person who schedules each hour with movies, in flight games, reading, close eyes, drawing, magazine reading, etc. in between in-flight meals and snacks? Yes, yes I am! But I’ll tell you what, it passes the time by!


To my fellow nervous flyers, I commend you! We don’t let our anxiety stop you from jumping on that plane and seeing the planet. There’s a great wonderful world we need to explore. We just need to remember that our discomfort is absolutely worth it in the end!  

Do you consider yourself to be a nervous flyer? How do you cope?

Advice Will Work for Travel

Traveling For Business? Here’s How To Make The Most Of Your Free Time In A New Place

Traveling for business might be one of the best perks with working in a corporate, 9-5 job to a female traveler like you and I. We look forward to dipping our toes into new territory. We start counting down the days until it’s time to hop on a plane for another adventure. However, with the limited amount of free time that comes with traveling for business, it can be hard to invest our time and energy into explorative experiences. With this in mind, we wanted to share some tricks for making the most of your free time when traveling for your day job!

Research Quick & Easy Transportation

Because time is one of the toughest resources to find when business travel, be sure to look into transportation to and from the airport or your hotel. What is the easiest solution for getting to and from your main hub? Is it an Uber ride? Or is public transportation cheaper and just as easy? Could you rent a bike? Nailing down exactly what is the quickest way to get around your location will get you more bang for your buck.

Look Into City Passes Or Day Tours

Many larger, international business cities feature city passes and day tours for visitors. Get the most out of your time and money! If you happen to be working in a city with hop-on, hop-off busses, have fun jumping around the city while exploring. Most day tours also pre-book popular museums and tourist spots. Avoid the headache of booking everything on your own or having to spend your precious time waiting! Booking a city pass or day tour might be a business traveler’s secret weapon.

Know What’s The Best Of What’s Around

If we haven’t preached it enough, research is your best friend. If your business has booked your hotel for you, use Foursquare to find great restaurants, sights and more nearby. We’re huge Foursquare fans for its visual platform. You can see pictures and reviews of worthy pitstops in your free time. Another idea is to research Instagram specific locations and city specific hashtags. We’re always adding drool-worthy #dametravelerin(entercitynamehere) on Instagram. So, feel free to do some Dame Traveler hashtag stalking! Add your favorites to your “saved” Instagram page or carry them over to Google Maps so you can see just where you are in relationship to your favorite locations.

Use Your “Down Time” To Your Advantage

If you have a spare hour or two to yourself, invest in your experiences in your location. We know that after a long day of work, expelling more energy can sound like the last thing you want to do. However, if you truly want to experience a place that you’re visiting, it’s so important to use your down time to your advantage. Should you have an hour free for lunch, go through your pre-researched locations and see what you could sneak in. If you have your mornings free until 9 am, beat the crowds and go see the sight that’s on your bucket list. Take advantage of every free second you have… even if it’s first thing in the morning or late into the evening.

Extend Your Trip (If Possible)

If you’re able to, add a day (or two) or book a red-eye flight out of your location. Adding an extra couple of hours for you to explore your location while traveling for business is an awesome idea! Extend your trip into the weekend, if you can. Fly out on Sunday evening instead of a Friday afternoon. Of course, this all depends on what your company allows. But take advantage!

Attend A Meet-Up

Research local meet ups in your location. It’s a great way to get an inside look into what’s fun and well-loved by locals. A quick Google search will find a ton of female-driven traveler meet ups. If you can squeeze in a lunch with a local guide or with another woman traveler, you’ll feel closer and more connected to where you’re visiting!

Offer Up A New Location Your Lunch Meeting

This trick goes a long way! Should you be able to have a lunch meeting other than a boardroom, suggest a change of location (and be sure it’s a place you’re dying to see). Maybe it’s that cute coffee shop you saw on Instagram, or a restaurant near a park or sight you’ve been wanting to see for yourself.  You can even suggest to have a picnic or a walk and talk chat! Suggesting a location change will also allow you to share a new experience with your co-workers.


Do you ever find yourself traveling for business? How do you make sure that you’re getting the most out of your time in a new place? We’d love to know! 

Traveling For Business
Advice Budget

18 Ways to Save Money for Travel

Whether your goal is to travel full time or just to travel more, you need a certain something to get started. Yes, I’m talking money, honey! Here are some of my suggestions to help you save money for travel experiences of your dreams.

  1. Sell Your Old Junk: Maybe your closet is full of clothes you don’t wear anymore or you have old electronics laying around. Sell your stuff at second hand stores, a yard sale, Poshmark, Let Go, or eBay!
  2. Money Saving Challenge: ” My personal favorite money saving trick is the 52 Week Challenge. It’s such an awesome concept and easy to do! On week 1 you add $1, on week 2 you add $2, on week 3 you add $3, and so on. By the end of the challenge you end up with an extra $1,378! Creating and achieving a budget goal is so much fun.
  3. Pay Yourself For It: Say you land free tickets to a concert, an amusement park, a sporting event, etc. Even though the event is free, you can take the amount it would’ve cost (example: NHL hockey game = $70) and put the price of that ticket into a savings account. Another example would be if you want to go out for lunch during the week, but end up eating what you packed. You can take that $15 that you would’ve spent on lunch and save it in a separate account or jar. It adds up quickly!
  4. Freelance Writing: What was once a hobby that I used to do for free, now brings in a nice second income to fund my travels.
  5. Delay and Walk Away: Work on those impulse buys! Yes I know, way easier said than done, so try this. Give it a few days, and if you’re still thinking about that cute dress or craving that delicious meal at your favorite restaurant, go for it! You’ll be surprised how often you end up not even thinking twice about it.
  6. Drink Less: At $10-15 per drink, that can easily double or triple your dinner bill. I’ll usually get one (if that) then sip on soda water with a ton of fresh squeezed lime.  Sometimes I find myself craving that more than a cocktail. Not only have I lost weight since doing this, but I’ve saved a lot of money skipping the drinks on most occasions.
  7. Cook: Your dining out dollars go a long way in the grocery store.  Don’t get me wrong, I write about restaurants in addition to travel, and I love going out to eat.  However, it adds up! Going out to eat is a great way to catch up with friends, but those $10-20 takeaway lunches and dinners you’re getting alone throughout the week can be pretty unnecessary and pricey. Buy a few go-to items and pack your lunch for work.
  8. Find Free Events: In my hometown, it seems like there are always free events going on, especially in the summer! You can see a free live band instead of a concert or see a play in the park instead of a movie. There are so many free options such as free comedy shows, festivals, dance classes, outdoor movies, art galleries, and more! Do some research and find some free fun in your city.
  9. Miles Credit Cards: Get a miles card! I originally applied for it when I was preparing to travel to Europe to avoid transaction fees (my bank charged 3% on each purchase, so this is a great perk alone), but since having the card, I’ve received multiple free flights and a generous amount of cash back! I use the Venture Card because there isn’t even an annual fee, but you’ll want to research various cards to find the best one for you.
  10. Garden: Ok, a bit random but think about it. Fresh produce can get expensive and you can easily grow your own lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, herbs, and more which will save you a pretty penny on your grocery bill. Even if you don’t have the space, a simple windowsill herb garden of basil, parsley, and mint that can be added nutrients to salads, shakes and more.
  11. Look For Deals and Coupons: When my friends, family and boyfriend plan something fun like a comedy night, a jet boat tour, kayaking, etc. I search discount websites such as Groupon and Living Social that often have fantastic deals saving you tons of money on activities you were going to do anyway!
  12. PTO: Use your benefits! I see so many people let their vacation time build up and in some cases they lose it completely. Use the time that’s given to you. It’s important to unwind, so you can be fresh and ready to take on new challenges at work. Some of us simply can’t quit our jobs and have to balance our career with our need to explore.  Last year, I traveled to 15 different destinations while working full time, volunteering, freelance writing, and creating my website.  You can, too!
  13. Enough With The $5 Coffees Everyday: If you make your own coffee and skip spending $5 for a fancy shmancy latte, you can save A LOT of money. I went to the extreme and tried to give it up all together. I crack every now and then, but for the most part I don’t drink it anymore. That’s saved me hundreds of dollars every year!
  14. Walk or Bike When Possible: If you’re heading to meet a friend a few blocks away or running up to the grocery store for a few things, consider walking or biking a few times a week. Not only is it healthy, but you’ll save money on gas and it’s better for the environment.
  15. Workout Outdoors: Lately I’ve noticed cities providing free yoga, barre, aerobics, and dance classes throughout the summer.  Don’t be afraid to take advantage of that. In addition to the free workout classes, the warm summer weather make it the perfect time to also explore parks and to check off beautiful hikes on your list. It’s a great way to feed that adventurous side of yours for free.
  16. Meet with a Financial Advisor: There’s a company in my city called the Establishment, where they offer free financial advice in a series of classes.  You’ll leave feeling motivated to start planning your finances for future expenses and travel!
  17. Be Smart When Traveling: My friend once called me and said “I found 50 cent round trip bus tickets to NYC, so we’re going.” How amazing is that?! Sign up for deal alerts, research the best days to fly, what airlines offer stopovers, and more! You’ll eventually be surprised to discover how affordable travel can be.
  18. Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Better: This is a common misconception. When I was in Salerno, Italy with my two girlfriends we went to a small, family owned restaurant called Casa Rispoli. They’re not used to getting tourists in that area and wanted to provide us with a 7 course tasting menu of their finest, local dishes. Now, I’ve previously mentioned I write about food, critiquing dishes and restaurants for local publications. I’ve tried many fantastic meals, but this one takes the cake! Fresh seafood, creative ingredients, specialty items, a pour of champagne…for just $30! It was, until this day, the best dining experience of my life, and it didn’t break the bank!
Advice Solo Travel

Extra Baggage: Traveling With Depression and Anxiety

The prospect of traveling to 
unfamiliar countries can be daunting. The same can be said about dealing with
 mental illness — in my case, anxiety and depression.

Combining these potentially volatile 
ingredients can, to those of us who may not have had much experience with 
any, invoke the taste of a potentially deadly cocktail on one’s tongue. Before heading out, I found myself nervously and honestly inquiring to 
no one in particular; “Can it be done”?

My answer, after careful
 consideration, is yes. Absolutely — yes.

To break it up, I’ve made a few points of things that have helped me 
along the road so you don’t have to resort to Google for answers that don’t
 entirely exist like I did!

1. Talk To Your Doctor.

First off, I am (obviously) not your doctor and cannot, therefore, tell 
you what can and cannot be done with regards to your specific condition. They 
will be able to help you whip up some coping strategies and, if necessary, 
figure out a plan for dealing with your medication abroad (if you are taking a
prescription).

2. Figure Out Your Drugs! 

This was probably my biggest cause of concern. Images of running out of 
or losing my medication constantly flashed through my mind. An emotional crisis 
in the middle of a foreign jungle. My poor dorm mates unequipped and unaware of 
how to deal with this black mass pulsing frightening energy from the top bunk
 (Obscurus, anyone?). Allow me to clarify the reality.

To begin with, my doctor was able to extend my prescription by six
 months – three of which were covered by health insurance, while the other three
 came out of pocket (amounting to about $60 CAD all together for a 50 mg daily 
dose of Sertraline, the generic brand of Zoloft). I kept about a week’s worth
in my day pack and the rest in two separate pockets in my main bag. That way, if
 I somehow lost one of my supplies, I would have at least a little bit of time 
to get to a pharmacy. That brings me to another little known point: you can
 easily get many types of prescription medication over the counter in Asia that 
you would usually need to see a doctor for in most Western countries, and for
 about a third of the price. The only thing holding me back from filling my
 entire backpack with a year’s worth of antidepressants was the thought of
 declaring it at customs.

3. Find a Safe Place and Wait It
 Out.

A wise friend and experienced traveler once gave me this advice, and I
 carry it with me as one of my most valuable and well-used tools in the
 box.

Wherever you are in the world, these places exist. Spend a few extra 
dollars and get a private room for a night if you need to. If you need to
 extend your stay in a certain place, do it. Don’t go throwing yourself into a
 New Delhi train station with a head full of stuffing. I once found a lovely 
little cafe with a cat named Moon, mulled wine, and a wood-burning fire place 
during a particularly dark period spent in Northern Vietnam, and I spent a 
large part of my time here waiting out the storm. You all know deep down that 
whatever it is in your head will pass – even when your backwards pain-loving 
mentality tells you it is permanent, deserved, and intrinsically you. Sit 
tight, allow your eyes to glaze over, drool if you must, and wait for the
 inevitably brighter days ahead.

4. Don’t Abandon Your Support.

I love traveling alone. I love being alone.
 Often, when I am experiencing the deepest reaches of my sadness, I believe
 there is no other logical way to move forward than to abandon those I love,
 thus sparing them from what suffering I cannot spare myself.

However romantic it might be to revel in your disillusioned
 independence, dependent on the nature and severity of your illness, this can be 
dangerous and reckless. If you feel as though you are healthy and ready to 
support yourself on that quote-on-quote
 truly-authentic-deletes-all-methods-of-contact-no-wifi-solo-mission, then by
 all means, cool. You be the judge.

Support can mean staying in regular contact with those at home –
something which has become so. incredibly.
easy. The development I can see in communication technology even looking
 back at my 2011 backpacking trip through Europe is in itself mind-boggling.
 Talk to them. Let them know you are okay. By doing this, you are also letting 
yourself know you are okay.

Support can also mean having a travel companion. Traveling with a
friend or loved one can be the best thing ever. It can also be very hard. I
 struggled with this for a while, constantly getting cold feet about leaving the 
country with a partner, before ultimately realizing there is no
”right” or “more authentic” way to travel, such as there is
no definitive “right” or “more authentic” way to live. 
Right now, I am traveling with my best friend. We have had incredible
 experiences, both together and apart, and we have had experiences that have 
tested our friendship. Inevitably, the latter only makes us more patient and compassionate
 with one another in the long run. Having someone with me who knows my
 history (medical and otherwise) has helped me in times when I could not help 
myself, and has been an important stepping stone in learning how to deal with
 my temperamental mind abroad.

5. There Is No Shame In Going Home.

You owe absolutely nothing to anyone. Not even that weird, angry,
volatile part of your brain that is telling you how much you suck for wanting
to “give up.”

Your trip is your own, and, most importantly, so is your health – mental
 and physical. Said you were staying for a year? Most likely, no one even 
remembers this (sorry). Afraid of what your friends and family might think? I
 believe the definition of friends and family quite possibly includes something 
along the lines of “people who generally prefer spending time with a 
physically-present version of yourself over a glitching, pixelated blob on
 FaceTime.”

More important questions: Are you in a constant state of distress? Do
 you need medical attention beyond that of a sketchy Cambodian pharmacy? Are 
you not enjoying yourself anymore? Dude. Get yourself on a 
plane. You can always go 
back on the road. Don’t ever think that you have backed yourself into a corner.
 Ask yourself if you would be blamed for flying home after breaking your leg in
 an unfortunate bungy accident. We all know the answer.

6. Travel.

Maybe — just maybe — traveling will help you in the way you hoped, but 
highly doubted (hey, anxiety!), it would. Maybe it will help your mind see in 
ways in couldn’t before, and help you find a place for the feelings that hurt you instead of burying them under a thin, translucent membrane of 
mundane routine.

Just try letting your mind wander when you are in the middle of a chaotic intersection in Ho Chi Minh City with motorbikes flowing around you 
like water. Crippling anxiety about your job? That you don’t have? Thought
 so. And how can you possibly be depressed when you’re eating the fluffiest 
rabbit-shaped pancakes you’ve ever seen!?!

First of all, you will be continually meeting people who will shine 
light on dark and angry corners you didn’t know you had, in ways you might not 
quite understand at first. These new connections, for me, have been 
integral in helping me recognize myself. You are seeing new things every 
single day. You are tasting foods you hadn’t even imagined existed, learning 
new languages, and deciphering the next currency exchange in this week’s country
 like it’s your day job (it is your day job, basically). Your brain simply 
doesn’t have time to build those black holes like it used to.

Believe me, it will try. And you will have your days. But there is
 something so naturally healing in surrounding yourself with a new environment,
 and new people, every day. You can no longer blame your mood on the dismal
 colour of your apartment walls. The quickness of it all, the force for thought 
beyond yourself, and continual processing beyond your menial daily tasks, 
ensures your mind is elsewhere.

Take a pill. Buy a ticket. Both. Neither. You will, over time, learn
 what works with your body and mind. There is — surprise — no right or wrong 
combination.

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