T – Traveling Tips

Do you enjoy traveling? I do. I enjoy every aspect of it. From the moment I book the airline ticket to the moment I am unpacking upon my return home, traveling is my bliss. I believe it’s the aspect of living a different life whether it be for 2 days or 2 weeks that makes traveling such an attractive pursuit for me. And, it doesn’t matter if it is a business trip, a family trip or a vacation, any time I can be in a difference city, sleeping in a strange bed (not like that) or eating different food, I am happy.

About six years ago, I got a new job and was thrilled because I never spent more than three weeks at home. It was so much fun. In a year, I went to Lake Tahoe, New York City, London, Hawaii, Dallas, China, Los Angeles, Arizona and China again.

Then five years ago, I moved to China and for two years, I didn’t travel at all. It was killing me. Especially begin so close to so much that had yet to explore. It was frustrating, but I was trying to start a business in a foreign country and needed to stay put.

But, once that third year hit, I couldn’t take it any more. I had to travel. We started traveling for work. I went to Singapore, Vietnam and Tokyo and my nomadic nature was satisfied.

So, here are my tips on traveling that I have learned over the years. They have helped me travel with less stress and I hope they help you as well.

  1. Book everything as early as possible. I mean everything. Airfare, hotel, car, transportation, dinner reservations, attraction tickets, etc. On a recent trip to Hong Kong with my mom and brother, I booked the cable cars to the Big Budda on Lantau Island. When we arrived there had to be 500 people in line and we walked right past them all because I had purchased the tickets online.
  2. International flights, get to the airport early. You never know what might happen. You can pick good seats on the plan, you can upgrade if you roll like that. If you are like me, I can’t eat on the plane. Long flights and stomach issues don’t mix. I arrive early to enjoy the great choices of food at the international terminal. In Hong Kong, it is the Popeye’s Chicken. So random, but so good.
  3. When you exchange money, make sure you they are just exchanging your currency for the place you are going. I once exchanged RMB into USD and they converted it into HKD first. I lost money on that deal.
  4. Jetlag – I covered this in a previous post. In order to explore the world, you have to deal with it.
  5. Just be patient. When you travel, you are oh so on everyone else’s times schedule. And, if that schedule changes, don’t take it personally. Shit happens. Patience is the best advice I can give you.

So, that is what I have learned from a lifetime of traveling. For me, I can not and will not every stop exploring this amazing world we live in.

What are your best traveling hints and tips?

C – Currency

I have been very blessed to have had the opportunity to travel all my life.  I got the bug when I was 12 years old on a cross country trip with my father and brother.  Every since then, I couldn’t wait to travel on the next adventure.   I have been to 36 states in the US and 12 different countries.  I can deal with trains, planes, subways and taxi’s.  I have even hiked on a few trips.

I can also pick up languages pretty well.  I can ask where the bathroom is in 13 different languages.  So, I would consider that to be a pretty well seasoned traveler.

But, there is one thing about traveling to a foreign country that I just don’t get right away. It is dealing in different currencies.  I drives me nuts.

Now, please understand, I am not a dumb person.  I run a company that deals in three different currencies; US dollars, Chinese RMB and Hong Kong dollar.  It only took me a couple of month living in China before I stopped having to convert everything I purchased into USD.

But, put me in a foreign country, right off the plane and tell me what something cost in their currency, I freeze.  I have no concept of what things cost. And more times then not it gets me in trouble.  

Last year, I was in Singapore.  I gave a masseur a tip that was 3X more then the cost of the actual massage.  I wondered why she kept showed up at my door every night asking me if I wanted another one.

Under pressure, I just can’t do it. I can’t multiply and divide on command.

So, for my trip to Australia, I am starting now.  I am going to get this exchange rate down, if it kills me.  It’s simple, 1 AUD equals what? USD, no RMB.

Oh, hell, maybe I’ll just use credit cards.