The Travel Diary

Month: July 2014

5 Tips – Traveling To New Countries?

Thinking of traveling to a new country in the coming months? Here are some simple and easy suggestions to help make your upcoming travel plans as seamless as possible~

1. Be sure to factor in any time zone differences. Do your research ahead of time to ensure you’ve properly planned for your arrival time, with regards to transportation and length of trip. If your flight departs from New York, New York at 6am EST, and you’re facing a 7.5-8hr flight to London, be sure to account for the 5hr difference in time (zone) between the two locations. Thus, you’re actual arrival time will indeed be 6/630pm in England, as opposed to 1/130pm NY time. This may sound elementary, but new travelers may overlook this, miscalculate, and find themselves stranded at an airport because they’ve given the shuttle service the incorrect time.

Additionally, you’ll also want to consider lengthier trips, like Australia for example, which can be as much as 14hrs ahead of the US EST. With layovers, this could potentially eat into desired vacation time for overall length of planned trip. You may find yourself spending almost your entire first and last day in the air. Therefore, you may want to consider booking a 14 day expedition, as opposed to a 10 or 11 day trip. You want to make sure you have ample time to cover everything you have planned, so you don’t have to cut back/out certain tours, excursions, etc. Simple, yet useful tips to help make your trip a success.

2. Electrical outlets can vary from country to country. Be sure to do your homework beforehand. It’s also a wise idea to buy the necessary adapters prior to departure to ensure access to charge cell phones, or other smart devices. Don’t always assume they’ll be a 3 prong outlet waiting for you at the hotel. Yes, it’s true that many resorts can provide you the necessary equipment, but I wouldn’t personally make a trip across seas depending upon someone else for my computer and phone charging access and capabilities. I also recommended that you have cordless battery chargers, and other cordless goodies (that are battery operated, plus bring ample batteries) to aid in your time away from home. Don’t get caught separated from your world because you’re short the proper necessities to keep you connected.

3. Find out about local cuisine in the area. This is important if you are journeying into rural territory. It is also critical that you do your research if you are traveling with young children especially, who have certain allergies. Remember, you’re going to be less familiar with menu items and native dishes, so you need to find out how area items are prepared. I’ve discovered that often times waiters/waitresses have no idea what ingredients are used in dishes (other than the basics,) so this can lead to a slew of questions for the chef, or the sound of an allergic alarm going off…leading to a doctor or hospital visit in a foreign land. This would totally stink in the the middle of your family/single/friends vacation! My recommendation is to read reviews on area restaurants before hand, and map out a plan. This will enable you to avoid wasting good time in search of places to eat once there! Of course you may need to inquire further upon visiting, but at least you can have a running start.

4. Research the laws and customs of the country you’re heading to. What’s considered “okay” in your home country, may indeed be frowned upon elsewhere. There are many things to consider including, dress codes, hand shakes, appropriate ways to dine, and so much more! You certainly don’t want to offend the residents of your temporary host country, nor do you want to find yourself phoning a friend from the local authority’s office. Be smart!

5. My last quick tip is to pack your “must haves.” It may be difficult to find your favorite shampoo, body creme or razor abroad. If you are traveling into an area that’s off the beaten path, a local run to Target may not be an option. Think about where you’re venturing off to, and what specific items you just can’t live with out while away! Pack wisely!

This concludes my 5 quick tips! I’d also suggest you consider other items like rate of currency exchange, location of hotel/resort/villa in regards to tourist areas or places you plan to visit, and lastly to set a specific budget. This will eliminate you finding yourself in a financial pickle by the time you return home! Happy traveling friends~

Stay tuned for more great info!!!


Niagara Falls, Ontario

Money Mini Mart/Currency Exchange

What To Know Traveling Between Locations….

We live in an ever evolving world! What was the case ten years ago…or ten days ago for that matter (at least when it comes to technology..) may not be the case today. So what should you consider when preparing for your next solo mission, annual friends trip, or family getaway via automobile?

1. Research city, state and country laws regarding cell phone use while driving.

Do you know the rules regarding cell phone usage, while operating a vehicle for your entire state, and the upcoming locations on your travel agenda as well? While one state may require hands free, another may not. To my surprise, I found that the laws can even differ from city to city within the same state. To avoid getting a hefty ticket, it’s important to do your homework in advance.

While on a recent assignment that begun in one state, and ended in another country,  I discovered that the laws varied across the board. This particular trip started out in one suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, where hands free use is not required, although it is in other parts, and ended in an entirely different country. I failed to do my research on the rules for the upcoming destinations, and fortunately found out without any major consequences. I mistakenly discovered Pennsylvania’s law, while passing through a toll. A really kind toll worker informed me that I was ”not allowed to use my cell phone while driving, and that I was risking taking back an expensive souvenir from that state if I did” – yep a pricey ticket. Thus, I wisely decided to restrain from use until I made my 1st stop. That prompted me to inquire what the law was for hand held devices in New York, which was the next scheduled stop. If you guessed…  hands free only in that state, you are correct. According to law, the use of a hand-held mobile telephone while you drive in NY is a no no, unless you are calling 911, medical, fire or police personnel in that state. The prize for your “must have,” conversation if you insist, can include a traffic ticket, with a  “nice” fine, and even possible points being added to your DMV record if convicted. Next up, was Canada! Uncertain of their laws regarding cell phone use, I once again decided to postpone having any conversations until I reached a stopping point. I later found out that hand held mobile devices were indeed against the law in that country, while driving also. Therefore, during my Canadian assignment, I postponed talking altogether while in the car. Of course texting is forbidden while operating a vehicle just about everywhere now, as it should be.

For those of you like me, who still enjoy hand held over hands free, this is important information. Of course most calls can wait. I agree with those of you who are thinking, “What’s so important,” as you read this post, but quite honestly, I rather enjoy chatting a bit on the open road in between portions of my lengthy highway stretches. I admit I spend the bulk of the time listening to music, but there are those moments when I have the urge to call someone… just to break up the monotony of the drive. I’m old school, so I actually like for the other person to clearly hear me amidst any background noise, as opposed to shouting into the dashboard during my conversations. What can I say… it irritates me. I’m also not a fan of those bulky, uncomfortable ear pieces either. Just give me a phone, or it can wait! So, if you are anything like me (you prefer hand held,) I would suggest keeping a heavy rotation of best hits in play for the ride, and save the talking for those pit stops and bathroom breaks. If you find that your upcoming travel plans include hands free only states, or destinations that forbid cell phone usage completely, grab a cup of coffee and prep yourself for the ride, minus conversation!

2. What are the laws regarding speeding tickets/fines?

Tickets can vary big time from place to place; i.e. cost of speeding tickets in construction zones (which the highway always seems to have,) certain towns, city’s etc, as well as the laws for minors if you have a teen with you who plans to assist during the drive. Fines can increase in certain areas for those operating vehicles under 21yrs. Know where you’re going, and what to expect. Nobody likes “bad” surprises.

Let me be clear…I am NOT suggesting you plan to break any traffic related laws, I’m simply recommending you do your homework should you accelerate in error, or make any unlawful phone calls by accident. On that note, slow down, and hang up if they require you to! Doing your research prior to, can spare you later trouble. Laws change regularly. You don’t want to find yourself having a conversation with an officer pleading that you, “did not know you couldn’t make a phone call in that city/state/country.”

Have a great, safe, and well informed next trip!

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Driving through Pennsylvania



These Shoes Were Made for Walking…

If these sandals could speak, boy would they have a story to tell. The “travel” year has kicked off to an amazing start in just a few short months (-4 to be exact!) So far they’ve led me to the shores of the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, to the office of a President who oversees the Americas division of an Italian based yacht company, to the edge of the dock… before boarding 3 different exquisite vessels( Ferretti yachts- my favorite,) through the streets of South beach in Miami, into the office of a global real estate company in Atlanta, to witness the splendor of Niagara Falls (including the actual falls,) through a Canadian winery and vineyard, to the seat of a Parisian Crepe Bistro, among other delicious stops, trekking through the streets of Toronto’s business and fashion districts, aboard a trolley, to the table of Richmond Station for a delectable roasted brussel sprout salad during a business meeting, through the doors of friends and family, and across the foyer of a gorgeous resort in Orlando. I’ve danced around monuments in the park, graced the halls of museums in Ohio, walked through the tourism booth in Pennsylvania, and enjoyed a yummy salmon salad in New York! Not bad for the start of the season… I’d say. What’s even more exciting, is that we’re just getting started…and have so much more to see before they get packed away. I guess they’ve now become my favorite pair of shoes for the season. Oh, the others in my suitcase aren’t bad, but probably a little jealous at this point, considering all that these lil puppies have already accomplished. I know..I shouldn’t play favorites, but I’m just saying…I have to consider them my “blessed soles” for the year! Laughing..well, these shoes were made for that’s just what we’ll do.

Stay tuned to find out the likes of where these super sale rack specials take me next!!! Out of all the other amazing designers that dwell in my suitcases and closets, it’s the pair that cost the least, that’s enjoyed the most fun! Thank goodness my mom saw them last winter. A huge #win-Thanks mom!! To be continued…


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