The Wild Pair

Posts Tagged ‘travel advice’

SPRING AHEAD, FALL BACK

In Travel Tips on April 6, 2009 at 7:37 pm

wall clock. twelveWe are now on Daylight Savings time. Just about the only thing we’ve been able to save lately is time, but, when you think about it, time may be more valuable than money. Money can, as we have all seen in the Madoff debacle, be swept away by someone else. Money can evaporate in the vagaries of the stock market. But your time is your own, and no one can take it away from you. You can spend it as you please and you own each second. Here are some of the Wild Pair’s thoughts on ways to maximize your time.

1.Your Internal Clock

It is important to know that you have a clock inside of you that is not the same as the one ticking on the wall. You may be a prisoner of the latter, but the former is yours to control. Play with your inner clock. Try getting up an hour later than usual, or spending a morning in bed. Take a walk for one hour and five minutes instead of one hour. When you go on the road, enjoy a lingering meal in a restaurant if you are usually a fast eater. Get used to being master or mistress of your clock.

2. Getting Timely Bargains

Looking to book a flight on Southwest Airlines? If you do it several weeks in advance, the fare can be half of what it is the week before your trip to see the folks. Searching for a cheap vacation? Plan to travel outside of peak season. Instead of sighing about the high cost of travel, make sure time is on your side. Act in a timely fashion to grab the great offers.

3. Time to Look at Currencies

The U.S. dollar is bouncing around like everything else these days, but don’t assume you know its value against foreign currencies. Go to www.xe.com/ucc and check the value of the dollar NOW. What the dollar was worth a year ago may bear no resemblance to its value today. In countries like Hungary, Turkey, Iceland or Argentina, time is definitely on your side: the dollar has 30,40,50 or even 60 per cent more purchase value than it did l2 months ago.

4. Your Time and God’s Time

Whether you are religious or spiritual or decidedly secular, you surely know that you may want something to happen NOW, but it happens in its own time. Instead of fighting this, relax into it. If you are attempting to sell your house, you may bust your chops marketing it, but no one buys. And then, one day, the house is ready to sell, and bingo, a buyer shows up. One way to master time is to step into the big picture: things happen when they are supposed to happen. Accept this. Instead of banging your head against your keyboard when you try to find a date when you can use your air miles to get to Lima, take a deep breath. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, but relax and check back with the airline often: a seat will open up for you on American Airlines. You’ll see.

5. Waiting and Acting

Whenever you use the phrase “when I have time,” stop and think about it. You have the time right now. No matter how busy your life is, you can make time for what you want to do. If you are saying to others,”I’ll travel when I have more time,” stop. Make the time. This spring. This summer. This fall. You are in command.

6. Acting in a Timely Fashion

Shakespeare tells us that Hamlet was a procrastinator. He almost drove himself nuts with his inner dialogue. If something need to be done, do it now. If you dread clearing off your desk, decide to undertake the task tomorrow. If a hotel has an offer that is only good for a week, don’t wait until a week and one day. You’ll just kick yourself in your cargo pants. You know the old maxim: don’t put off till tomorrow what needs to be done to day. What doesn’t need to be done today you can put off till tomorrow.

7. Timing the Cycles

You can’t time the stock market. You can’t time the weather. But you can time your time off. If you feel burnout coming on, get away before it happens. An ounce of intervention can prevent a pound of pain. Travel. Change your scene. Do not wait until you are leveled to crawl your way back to happiness.

8. Counting Time

In Guatemala, in the world of Maya ceremonies, there is a man who is the official Counter of Time. Every day, he recites the days and hours of the Maya calendar. He acknowledges the power of the days, the energies that protect that power, and the place of humans in the eternal calendar. He gives thanks, offers candles. You can be the counter of your time. Do a quick scan of your birth, the first day of school, your first love, first car. Think of your wedding, your dad’s 80 birthday party, the surprise party your friends threw for you. Acknowledge each. Give thanks for each. Do it often. Know that your life has and will continue to be marked by special times and memorable occasions.

And now, just smile and have a good time.

Bon voyage and happy seconds, minutes and hours from The Wild Pair.

You Are A Travel Ambassador Every Time You Hit The Road

In Travel Tips on June 22, 2008 at 6:56 pm

There doesn’t seem to be any way to discourage people from traveling. The Wild Pair is delighted to discover that no matter how many annoyances and inconveniences travelers face, they don’t stop buying tickets. Even when the price of airline seats goes up and services go down, planes are flying at capacity and airports are jammed.

The benefits of travel are obvious to all of you–expanding your mind, having thrilling adventures, meeting people, changing your habitual environment, taking time out from work and responsibility, challenging yourself, enjoying life–but have you ever thought of yourself as an ambassador without a portfolio? Here are some tips from the Wild Pair about how to step into that role.

1. Being Label Conscious

None of us like to be typed, and certainly not stereotyped, but people do it all the time. They label you by your country of origin. “He is an American,” or “She is Brazilian.” It’s important to be aware of this, because your behavior helps others to determine what they think about your country. If they like you, they tend to generalize and think Americans or Brazilians as likeable.

2. To Err is Human

Everyone makes cultural faux pas. It is inevitable, even if you are well-meaning. So it always helps to find out about cultural norms in advance, and apologize if you make a mistake and are chided.

Instead of getting defensive, apologizing shows you are willing to learn. It earns you good will points, and makes people think well of the culture you come from.

3. There Is No Comparison

People want to think their city or country is admired by others. Even if they are plagued by poverty, crime, natural disasters or manmade disasters, they love knowing that you find good things about the place they live. Try not to make comparisons to “what we have back home.” A compliment to one’s city or country is, to many people, like a compliment paid to them.

4. Investing in Bonds

The more contact you have with locals, the more they have an opportunity to get to know something about your country. If you’re eating around a campfire at night, sit next to someone you don’t know. If you’re hiking with a group, don’t just stay with your mate or travel partners. Get to know people in the place you are visiting. They will really appreciate it.

5. They Like Me, They Like Me

There has been a lot of ink lately about the bad image America has abroad. It doesn’t matter what end of the political spectrum you are on–but you can be patient, explain your point of view, ask people what they think. Every time you engage, share your opinions and really, truly listen, you allow folks to look behind the headlines and see that Americans are real people, with awareness, conscience, patience, interest in others. If they like you, they will begin to see that they may not like American policy, but the American people are a different story.

6. Sharing is Caring

Wherever you go, you can’t assume that people know a lot about where you come from. They may know a lot about American music and movie stars, but your home town is probably off their radar. Bring photos from home. The more they learn about you, the more they are apt to like you and the country you come from.

7. Turn the Other Cheek

If you encounter people who are hostile to your country, don’t get angry. Listen. Listening is the most powerful tool you have, because it shows people you respect them. Present your views in a clear, reasoned way. Remind them that you may not agree, but it is good to hear each other out and learn from each other.

8. You’re Not Mrs. or Mr. Moneybags

Some people may assume that all Americans are rich, because America is a wealthy nation. You are never obliged to give handouts or cough up money because it is expected of you. You may wish to buy from people who really need money, or make donations to charities. You may choose to return home with souvenirs and gifts for friends that you purchase during your travels. What you can always give–whether you buy or not– is attention, fairness and respect.

9. Be a Blender

If people greet each other with folded hands, try to do the same. If they cover up, make sure you are not showing a lot of skin. If they don’t drink alcohol, try to forego it. If they speak quietly, adjust the volume of your voice. Your blending behavior is an unspoken way of telling people you respect their ways. It reflects well on you and your country.

10. So There You Are…

If you follow the tips above, you are already an ambassador for your country. You will create good will wherever you go, and show what generous, open-minded people your countrymen and women are. If enough of you are ambassadors, it can affect the way America is perceived in the world, and create opportunities for peace and cooperation.

Bon Voyage!


ABOUT THE WILD PAIR: Ellen Barone and Judith Fein,

They’re smart, sassy, savvy, award-winning travel journalists and photographers and now they’ve joined forces to become THE WILD PAIR, bringing you cutting-edge information and tips on how to turn your next vacation into a life-enhancing experience.

© Ellen Barone and Judith Fein. All Rights Reserved.

Staying Safe On The Road

In Travel Tips on May 22, 2008 at 6:35 pm

The Wild Pair believes that if you are aware and prepared, travel is not only safe but good for body, mind and soul. Most destinations in the world are so dependent upon tourism for their economies that they go to great lengths to protect their visitors. So, if you feel that someone is watching out for you when you travel, you are probably right.

There are, however, scams and lousy customer services that prey on the good nature and open-heartedness of travelers and are in the business of bait-and-switch. There are also crooks at home and abroad, and we are confident that the karma wagon will roll over their toes when it makes its rounds.

Here are a few insider tips on how to protect yourselves, your belongings, your wallet and your sanity when you hit the road.

1) EYES IN BACK OF YOUR HEAD

When you go through security at the airport, you are probably so busy taking off your shoes and tucking your lotions and liquids into zip-lock bags that you take your eyes off your personal belongings as they bump along the conveyor belt. Have your shoes and plastic bags prepared ahead of time, so you can watch your precious cargo when it leaves your hands. Sticky fingers can whisk away the things you need most—right under the noses of the TSA workers.

2) MORE EYES IN BACK OF YOUR HEAD

See “Eyes in Back of Your head.” The same is true when you retrieve your checked luggage after your flight. Set down your carry-on bag, attachÈ case or small dufflein front of you, not behind you, as you wait for your luggage to arrive. It’s much too easy for The Nasties to grab and run, especially since many airports no longer have officials looking at your luggage claim receipts as you exit the baggage claim area.

3) IF IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

Howard Johnson is currently making an offer to travelers, and, in our opinion, it’s thumbs down all the way. If you are looking for a reasonably-priced place to stay and go to their website or call them, they offer to give you a free night’s stay if you can find a better price on the web. It’s not hard to do, and you’ll probably be eager to collect that free bed in a city of your choice. But what follows is a labyrinth of rules and regulations so that the offer is virtually worthless. No, no, Howard Johnson. You can do better than this.

4) CAMERA BLUES

When you buy a digital camera, it’s important to find out if it is “all weather” or is weather sealed. If it is not, you may find that water, snow, humidity or even a loose hair can get into your camera. And then, when you try to take a picture, you find out that the camera is dead.

Canon’s expensive 5D is a wonderful instrument–provided you don’t spill coffee on it, get caught in the rain, or try to use it when it’s too muggy outside. You may be lucky and have no problema, or……your camera may be irreparable. And Canon does not stand behind it. You will have to shell out money for a new camera or a refurb, and that means thousands of dollars squandered. So ask in advance: is it weather sealed?

5) PEACE AT ANY PRICE

If you want to sleep soundly at night, buy trip interruption/cancellation insurance, and get insurance in case anything is lost or damaged on the road. If you try to collect on a claim, it helps to have original receipts to prove the cost of your expensive purchases. You will probably never get back the full price of your belongings, but you will get compensated if you can prove the items were lost and have kept receipts for their purchase.

6) IT’S OKAY TO TELL THE TEACHER

Remember when you were in school and it was a no-no to snitch on other kids? Do you have a lingering distaste for denouncing wrongdoers? When you are traveling, it’s a MUST to report any yecchy behavior to authorities. Tell the hotel manager, the police, the airline representatives. If it involves theft, have them write down the incident and give you a copy (always report the incident to the police whenever possible; this will be helpful and sometimes mandatory for insurance claims). If it is a case of inappropriate behavior, report it. Travel is a service industry and professional are there to provide service. They will generally be sympathetic and helpful.

7) TOUTS

So there you are, in Tunis, walking out of your hotel, and a friendly guy comes up to you and addresses you in English. “Do you recognize me from your hotel?” he asks. You squint in the glorious sunlight, and can’t quite figure out if he’s one of the bellmen or waiters. “Sure,” you say open-heartedly. “There’s a great festival going on in the souks (market) today, and I’d love to take you there,” he offers. Wow. What luck. He leads you through the labyrinthine market for twenty minutes and finally ends up at a perfume stall. Where’s the festival? He smiles and says you just missed it, but this is the best perfume stall in the market. If you choose to buy perfume, he gets a cut. If you choose not to buy, he says you owe him money for being his guide. you hate a public scene and pay him off. But you feel really lousy afterwards. He does not work in your hotel. He is a tout.

Maybe you’re in Bangkok, and a young man approaches you and says he wants to practice English with you. You grin, and he falls into step beside you. You walk around the city, he points things out to you, and then he says he has to go and expects you to pay him for his guiding services. He, too, is a tout.

So how do you avoid being tout-ed?

First, make arrangements up front. Ask, “how much will this cost?” If you come to an agreement, fine. If he says it will cost you nothing, clarify by saying, “This is a lot of time for you to be spending with me. Are you sure there is no charge?” Or say, “I do not wish to pay for your services. Do you still want to accompany me?” If he agrees, and you have a pleasant time together, you will probably wish to tip him. If he agrees up front that there is no charge and then demands money, you do not owe him anything. If he makes a scene, you may want to ask a policeman or shopkeeper for help. If he leads you to a shop and waits as you make your purchase, you can be pretty certain he is getting a cut. Trust your sniffer. If something feels odd, it probably is. If it feels sincere and above-board, you may make a new friend. But no matter what the outcome, it’s rarely dangerous and the worst case scenario is that it may end up costing you money.

8) WHEN SKIES ARE GRAY

When you purchase electronic equipment from a dealer online or at an online auction site, always ask–in writing– if it is gray market. This is especially true if the price is lower than it would normally be. If it is a gray market product, it is being sold outside of normal distribution channels by companies which may have no relationship with the producer of the goods. What this means to you is that the warrantee and/or guarantee may not be valid in the U.S.A. Sometimes the product will be slightly different from the version normally sold in the U.S.A. If the price is great, you may decide to buy it anyway. But ask first whether it is gray market, so you have no unpleasant surprises later.

9) UNLOCKING THE PHONE SECRET

When you travel abroad, your cell phone provider probably has you in a stranglehold. They may offer you an international calling plan, but it’s most certainly very expensive–like 2 dollars a minute for airtime. This means your phone is locked, and you can only use it with a plan offered by your provider. The big secret is that you do not have to be bound to your cell phone provider. You can buy an unlocked phone at a phone store or online or from another provider (as of this writing, Alltel sells them). You can take the unlocked phone abroad and buy a SIM card at the airport or in local stores (your hotel will be able to tell you the nearest place). Insert it into your unlocked phone, and you can make calls for pennies. You will be charged the local rate. If everyone starts doing this, maybe U.S. cell phone providers will be forced to sell unlocked phones. Before you buy your next cell phone from your provider, be sure to ask if they sell unlocked phones.

10) BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY

One of the greatest pleasures of travel is walking around the town or city you are in. When night falls, ask at your hotel if it’s safe to walk in the neighborhood. They will generally say yes, or tell you stay away from certain areas. They know the streets, and they can assure that your walk will be pleasant and without hassle.

The chances are that you will avoid most or all of these hassles if you are prepared and aware.

Bon Voyage!

ABOUT THE WILD PAIR: Ellen Barone and Judith Fein,

They’re smart, sassy, savvy, award-winning travel journalists and photographers and now they’ve joined forces to become THE WILD PAIR, bringing you cutting-edge information and tips on how turn your next vacation into a life-enhancing experience.

© Ellen Barone and Judith Fein. All Rights Reserved.

How To Have A Memorable Trip

In Travel Tips on April 22, 2008 at 6:54 pm

TIPS FROM THE WILD PAIR

1) Thanks for the memories

Are you one of those blessed people with perfect recall? You can remember what happened on September 14, 1986 and what you ate for dinner three days ago? If you are not, then you know how elusive memory can be. Sometimes your long term memory lets you down, and sometimes it’s the shorty that is just out of reach.While you are traveling, you think you will remember the moments forever. But, trust us, you won’t. So you can start by making a commitment to really imprinting your trip.

2) A picture is worth a thousand words

If you are a photo hound, you already know this. If you are a technophobe, there is a three-word solution: Point and Shoot. There are digital cameras that are really digital servants–they do all the work for you. You decide what you want to capture, you point the camera, it makes adjustments and calculations for you, and all you have to do is click. When you get home, you load the photos into your computer. You can save them, send them to friends and family, print them out and put them in an album. But, once you get home, there is something you cannot do: shoot things you missed on your trip. So always shoot more than you will need and always travel with more than one memory chip. One of the beauties of digital cameras is that you can look at the photos after you have shot them, and decide what’s a keeper and what needs to be dumped. It’s as simple as selecting “delete” on your camera. We’ll be dealing more with photography in future months, but for now we’ll address the 500 pound beast that may be hiding in your closet: should you use your old, trusted film camera? Our answer is–nope. Film takes up more space in your luggage, it can be damaged when you go through repeated scanners, it costs much more. So make the digital leap.And what if you don’t want to take pictures at all? Of course that is an option, but photos are a wonderful memory aid, and looking at them can make you relive your favorite trips.

3) It’s In The Cards

When you are traveling, you will fall in love with certain hotels, restaurants, parks, museums, inns, canoe paddles in a sports store, songs, dishes, shops, bikes. You think you will always remember the name of your new fave, butä.it’s that memory thing again.Wherever you are, when you like something, take a card or a brochure. Have one place in your suitcase where you keep all the information from the road. When you get home, put it all in one envelope which you label with the place and date of your trip.Then, in the future, when you want to give information to a friend or make a purchaseäit will all be right there, in one place, waiting for you.

4) A Crib Sheet Always Comes in Handy

Always have a small pad and pen or pencil handy. If you’re chatting away with someone on a kayak trip and she recommends a book, you’ll want to write it down. If you’re in the Galapagos and you want to remember information about iguanas or blue-footed boobies, make a note. If you eat a fabulous dessert on a biking trip and score the recipe, you will want to record it in your pad. If you ask a Jordanian how to say “thank you” in Arabic and want to remember how to say it a few hours later, your pad is your crib sheet. They sell very small pads now. Scan the shelves at Office Depot or any of the other office supply stores.

5) The Write Way To Do It

Not everyone is a great writer. There’s only one Faulkner, one Shakespeare, one Moliere. But everyone can write. Even if you have never scribed anything other than a company report, believe us when we say that there is a writer hiding inside of you.Make a commitment to writing something about your trip. You don’t have to be specific. Just agree to befriend your pen.

6) The Joys of Journaling

Maybe you kept a diary when you were a kid. Maybe you scribbled down things you wanted to remember on the backs of cocktail napkins in noisy bars. Maybe you always wanted to keep a record of your life, but didn’t get around to it.Traveling is the time to start, to continue, or pick up an old habit that somehow went missing. A journal is just for you. Maybe no one will ever see it. Maybe you will choose to share it with people. Maybe you will select portions you want to send to friends when you get back home. There is always down time on a trip–waiting for meals, resting under the shade of a friendly tree, after dinner, flying or driving. You already have your little pad. Now all you have to do is write. It doesn’t matter if it’s in full sentences or short phrases. Just write down what you saw, how you felt about it, what you want to remember. The entries can be short. Or long. A few words. Or pages. Just. Write.

7) A Bump On A Blog

Some folks have caught blog fever. They have found out that they can be published writers by recording their experiences and their feelings and anything else about their lives. Travel blogs are a fabulous way of taking your friends along with you on your trips. You can write blog entries on a bumpy bus or in the quiet of your hotel room. You can think about your blog entries as you hike, bike, eat, engage with people, visit sites, paddle on the water. You can even think about your blog when you dream. We hope you’re not traveling with your laptop (unless it’s really necessary), but you can find internet cafes or internet access in hotels always everywhere. Or, you can choose to stay fully immersed in the travel experience and blog in your note pad–to be transferred to your computer when you get home.

8) Traveling Through Life

When you get back home, your trip is obviously over, but you don’t have to leave your travels behind. If you are a minister, you can incorporate what you learned or observed into your sermons. If you are a teacher, you can pass on the experience to your students. A doc? Maybe you’ll want to tell patients about healing modalities you encountered in exotic cultures, or extol the benefits of exercising on the road by taking an adventure trip. People love to learn, and love to hear first-hand about travels. If you select trip details to suit the folks you are talking to–rather than just give an I-went-there-and-did-this rundown of your trip, you are sure to have a captive audience.

9) Talk Is Cheap

While you are traveling, talk about the trip with your fellow travelers. Discuss what you like, what you are learning, questions that come up, the value of what you are experiencing. Not only does it provide a great way to bond, but it also helps to imprint the memories and impressions by verbalizing them.

10) Padding Through Life

That little notepad is, along with your photos, your best memory aid. Label it with the name of your trip and the date (i.e. Egypt, January 2008). Don’t use it for anything else when you get home. When are 150, take out the pads and the photos and experience your trips all over again.

Bon voyage!

ABOUT THE WILD PAIR: Ellen Barone and Judith Fein,

They’re smart, sassy, savvy, award-winning travel journalists and photographers and now they’ve joined forces to become THE WILD PAIR, bringing you cutting-edge information and tips on how to turn your next vacation into a life-enhancing experience.

© Ellen Barone and Judith Fein. All Rights Reserved.

How To Be A Traveler, Not A Tourist

In Travel Tips on March 28, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Tips From The Wild Pair:

1) The Glass is Always Empty

A fellow travel journalist once remarked that most travel is calculated to keep tourists separate from people who live in the country they are visiting. In fact, tourists generally see the destination through glass. Either they are riding in a tour bus, staring out through a restaurant window or observing the village or city through the well-cleaned windows of a hotel room. The key to becoming a traveler is to see the world directly – not through glass. When there is glass, there is separation. When there is no glass, it’s the beginning of integration. You can touch, smell, hear, feel and interact with the environment and the people who live there.

2) The Teacher Isn’t Looking

When you were in school, you were subjected to a form of torture known as grammar rules. In French, you probably squirmed through the subjunctive. In Latin, you sweated over whether a word was masculine, feminine or neuter. In German, you watched in horror as a simple verb became a concatenation of unpronounceable syllables. You took tests, your papers came back splotched with red ink, and maybe your teacher had a disapproving look when you squeaked out an ungrammatical phrase or–if luck was on your side– a sentence. Here’s the good news: on the road, there’s no teacher, no tests, no grades. When you travel, the goal is to communicate, not to perform or be perfect. You can cobble together sentences formed by words plucked from Mexican soap operas, Rilke’s poems, world music lyrics, Dostoevsky’s novels, bumper stickers, signs, dictionaries, menus or vague classroom memories. The only failure is not to try. A simple “thank you” uttered in a foreign tongue can evoke a smile, a nod, or even lead to a dinner invitation.

3) A Rude Awakening

Ask your guide, waitperson, concierge or just about any local to tell you what is considered rude in his or her country – or in his or her part of your own country! If showing the soles of your feet or patting someone on the head or arguing in public is frowned upon, don’t do it. Cultural sensitivity engenders respect and trust. Knowing the inside skinny on a culture deepens and enriches a travel experience.

4) A Whole Lotta Taking Going On

When we travel, there’s a lot of taking involved. We take pictures. We ask questions. We expect answers. We take advantage of the sites. A real traveler knows the pleasure of giving something back. If you snap a photo, offer to show the subject what she looks like on your camera’s screen. One travel writer we know shoots children with a small Polaroid camera everywhere she goes; then she gives the kids the photos. Maybe you can bring pencils for students, or show pictures of your city or your family. How about a few small tokens from your home town? It’s great to receive on the road, and it’s great to give back.

5) Travel Globally, Eat Locally

If you are in really exotic climes, you know the maxim: nothing raw, nothing that can’t be peeled, no ice cubes, no tap water, nothing that’s been standing around since the 20th century. Beyond these caveats, be adventurous. Munch on a fried grasshopper. Dine on krill. Hold your nose and sample durian. Say yes to caribou chops. Sample eel. You’ll either have a fine culinary experience or a fine story to tell when you get back home. Don’t forget to photograph what you are eating and the fact that you are eating it.

6) Silk Is Smooth, Traveling Isn’t

Things go wrong on the road. Planes are late. Air conditioning fails. Attractions are closed. Travel mates and bugs can be annoying. There’s a downpour as you set out on a hike. Complain once, if you must. You’re allowed one unexpurgated curse, wail, sigh, frown or gesture of frustration. Then move on to solutions and adaptations. A tourist expects everything to work. A traveler is flexible and knows that part of the adventure is NOT having things work as planned. It gives you a chance to test your resilience and deep yoga breathing.

7) Pack A Laugh

When you travel, take along your sense of humor. Humor transcends language and nationality. Humor can come from a look, a mime, a comical gesture, a funny noise, a pun, or any spontaneous act that creates a smile or shared laugh with people in your host country. No matter how foreign a culture is, a bridge is formed by open-hearted (never mocking) humor. Somewhere along the life line, we were taught to stifle our laughs, behave like adults, act professionally. On the road, laugh and enjoy and be your funny, creative, kid-like self.

8) Wonderwoman and Wonderman

A real traveler is full of wonder. She marvels at the smorgasbord of life, beauty, nature, culture and art on our little blue planet. She looks, listens, observes, feels and appreciates the riches of the road. It is not cool to be blasÈ on the road. People with a been-there-done-that attitude are definitely tourists.

9) Permission Slip

A tourist takes things for granted. A traveler asks. May I take your picture? Is it okay if I ask questions about your religion? May I sit at the back of the Zodiac? Have a second dessert? Give your kid candy? Is it all right to look inside your tent? If the answer is no, accept it. if the answer is yes, you have been graceful and respectful and you can be sure it is appreciated.

10) E.T… Call Home

You have given your family and friends emergency contact information, and of course you can call or check e-mail if you’re worried about or missing someone at home. But, to the degree possible, unplug when you travel. Try to be where you are. Try not to be at the office. Every trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Every trip is a chance for adventure, learning, exchange, immersion and challengeäwhere you can be moved to tears or gasp at the beauty of the natural world and the people who inhabit it. When you get off the plane, put away your iPod, Blackberry, spreadsheets and deadlines. Just be where you are. You deserve the total experience.

Bon voyage!

ABOUT THE WILD PAIR: Ellen Barone and Judith Fein,

They’re smart, sassy, savvy, award-winning travel journalists and photographers and now they’ve joined forces to become THE WILD PAIR, bringing you cutting-edge information and tips on how to turn your next vacation into a life-enhancing experience.

© Ellen Barone and Judith Fein. All Rights Reserved.