Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Art of Travel: Part 7 - Arriving to Your Destination

Arrival to your destination is filled with a strange feeling of euphoria. You are excited to be there, yet, you can sometimes feel a bit of discomfort by being in unfamiliar territory; especially if you are traveling to a destination where there is a language barrier.

There are quite a few things that are important to navigate once you arrive into your final destination, and this segment will discuss a few of those items to make your arrival as stress free as possible.
  • Prior to disembarking from whatever mode of transportation you've utilized (plane, train, automobile), make certain that you check the area you were sitting in, to ensure you haven't forgotten anything. There is nothing worse than to lose items while traveling.
  • Keep all important documents close to your body. There are quite a few carrying cases/pouches that are sold whereby you can attach the case/pouch to your waist, or other parts of your body. Incidentally, avoid placing all of your money in the same place (if traveling with money). Keep some money in separate places throughout your luggage and on your body. 
  • Maintain control of your luggage at all time. If you have checked luggage, it is best to go to the restroom prior to picking up luggage from baggage claim, that way you won't have to shuttle all of your luggage into the restroom with you.
  • If you have rented a car, make sure that you place your luggage into the car yourself; be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are traveling alone and/or arrive late at night.
  • If you are using shuttle service or private transportation, maintain control of your luggage as long as possible, and keep your eye on exactly where your luggage was placed. This isn't paranoia, it's being practical, because so many people have similar luggage that it's easy to get your luggage confused with others...which leads to the next tip.
  • Have some highly identifiable luggage tag on  your luggage, so that it is easy to spot. There are a lot of people who purchase brightly colored luggage tags, and even unique luggage itself so as not to be easily confused with others luggage.
  • Once you have arrived at your hotel (assuming you are staying at a hotel), make sure to take several of the hotels business cards to have with you, just in case you get lost. It's easier to provide a taxi driver with the business card for the exact location of your hotel, or to obtain directions if you have the business cards.
  • If you unpack your belongings on trips (I typically don't, I like my luggage to remain packed so that if anything goes awry, it's easy to scoop up and get out - just my thing), make sure to peruse the room first. Check the bathrooms, under the beds, etc, to make sure things are clean and that the other occupants haven't left anything that house cleaning may not have found. 
  • I discourage traveling with valuables; especially to certain destinations, but if you do, make certain that if you utilize the in-room safes, that you check it out prior to placing your belongings in the safe. 
While vacations are supposed to be fun experiences, the reality is that there are unscrupulous people out there that would love nothing more than to separate you from your belongings. I had a purse stolen on a vacation in the Bahamas several years ago, and it made me become even more vigilant in making sure that I am always aware of my surroundings at all times. It had a fairly good out come, as I did obtain my purse back, along with most of its contents, except for my cell phone and about $200 cash. It was a valuable lesson for me, but I learned that it's my responsibility to ensure the safety of me and my personal belongings (friends were supposed to be watching our belongings as some of us danced - clearly that didn't work out too well).

*photo provided by That Chick Té

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