Today’s high-tech communications have made the world smaller. Many can enjoy overseas travel. It is important to remember that traveling frequently does not mean you have to travel well. Unknowingly, I’m still dismayed at the number of travelers who fail to address two of the most important sins of traveling: lack planning and lack sensitivity. These 2 points were further broken down into the 10 Commandments to Wise Travel.
The 1st commandment of wise travel is to ensure that you have all required travel documentation organized at least one month before your departure date. This includes travel insurance, passports and tickets. If you’re a frequent traveler, it is worth investing in a passport/document holder to ensure that all documents are kept together. If you book flights with travel agencies or tour companies, they may give away cheaper versions. Also, you might want to notify your credit card company that you plan on visiting certain countries. Credit card companies will now suspend cards for any change in spending patterns. This is to prevent credit card fraud and increase safety precautions. It may sound like I’m stating the obvious but it is important to make sure you have all the necessary documentation in order to start your trip off right. Any mishap could have an impact on the entire journey.
The 2nd Commandment of Travel is that you arrive at your destination in enough time to check in and to clear customs before the flight. This applies to international flights from the United States that arrive at airports 3 hours early, and Australia and New Zealand 2 hours early. The world has changed dramatically since 9/11. Security procedures are more rigorous and you can’t just breeze through security and customs. Book a taxi to take you to the airport. Please make sure the booking is made at least one day or two before departure. Also, if you’re being taken by a friend/family member, make sure to confirm a pickup time the day before. To our shame, my husband (and I) broke this rule during our last trip. We had failed to book our taxi from the airport the previous night. We weren’t worried at first as we don’t live too far away from Kingsford Smith International Airport. Although we thought we had enough time to book our taxi we realized that our call coincided in the taxi driver switchover so we couldn’t get a taxi until the last minute. This caused us stress, almost costing us our flight.
The 3rd Commandment tells you to pack your suitcase well, coordinate your wardrobe and keep it organized. This seems to be an all-too common mistake for women. It is best to avoid wearing clothing that cannot be coordinated in 3-4 different ways. Your main items should remain in the same colour as your scarf. Add some colour to the ensemble by adding a scarf, or jewelry. Knits make great travel companions as they wrinkle much less than wovens. They are also easier to wash, dry and clean. When folded, a light-weight, good quality pashmina should be taken with you. This can be pulled from your bag and used when you travel. You should keep your shoes to a minimum as they add weight to the luggage. You should have one pair of everyday shoes and one pair that is good for walking. Another pair should be used for formal occasions. Don’t wear “skyscraper” heels. They won’t hinder your mobility or cause any damage to your spine.
The 4th Commandment says to take good care of your body during long flights. Water is essential, even if that means more trips to the toilet. Alcohol intake should be limited. An aircraft’s pressure environment is very drying. You should keep your skin moisturized and clean throughout the flight. Foundations and powders can only clog pores. I cannot stress enough how much guided meditations can be enjoyed on an ipod. It helps to reduce jetlag. Make sure your clothing is comfortable and has enough stretch to cover your arms, legs, waist, hips, and crotch. Take a break and stretch out every now and then. A long flight can be exhausting. You’ll feel less tired and more energetic.
The 5th Commandment requires you to keep a travel log or journal. You will be able to save your experiences and pass them on to your friends. Not only will you keep track of your visits, but also the names and addresses to any amazing restaurants or eateries. You can take many photos and compile them into an album. This will help you keep your memories alive long after the trip is over. This will make it easy to go back to the same place, shop, restaurant, or recommend it to friends.
The 6th commandment tells you not to rudely or insult waiters, waitresses/waiters, hotel staff, and cabin crew during your travels. This is an important point. This is a crucial point that you must remember. Although it may be satisfying to vent your frustrations when you’re exhausted, irritated, and frustrated while on vacation, these people will hold your comfort and food in their hands. Although it is fine to voice your grievances, be assertive and show respect for the person that you are speaking with. Never resorting to sarcasm nor humiliation. If necessary take the matter to a superior. You should communicate the problem aggressively. Otherwise, you can expect defensiveness and resentment. If the problem is not solved, then you need to ask yourself if it’s worth fighting for. If not, save yourself the irritation and allow your mind to let go and move on.
The 7th Commandment is about having as authentic an experience in other countries as possible. The purpose of traveling is to expand your horizons, explore new lands and have fun. Find out about the culture and festivals in your destination before you go. Find out the places that locals frequent and the best places to eat. Explore the region’s cuisine and listen to the music. Learn some phrases in the local language. Research the history of the country. The results can be very liberating. You will have a deeper understanding of the country you are visiting and their people. This will enhance your travel experience tenfold. The world wouldn’t be so divided if there were more people who did this.
The 8th Commandment states that you should perform random acts and kindness on your travels. Don’t expect any reward if you encounter a fellow traveler in distress. If you have what it takes to help someone else, the reward will be yours. If the situation is small, you can still make a positive difference by making a small gesture to help. If the situation seems serious, get help. Remember that the laws karma are still valid.
The 9th Commandment asks you to be sensitive about the ecology, culture, and history of any land that you visit. Imagine for a second that foreign visitors to your town litter the grounds, destroy the vegetation, insult your neighbours, and show a gross disregard of your customs, culture, and traditions. While this is not an ideal scenario, it is something that travelers can do when visiting foreign lands. Be extra careful when you’re traveling in a group.
The 10th and last Commandment of wise travelers is to enjoy and savor each moment of your travels. Keep in mind that the world is beautiful and blessed, and you should be grateful for the opportunity to travel it. It is important to live in the moment when you travel wisely.