Some of us are spontaneous travellers, eager to venture to any place we can with minimal notice. Some of us are veteran planners, scheduling every activity and element of our vacation until every minute is jam packed. Most of us though lie somewhere in between the two extremes, taking some time to plan the basics but leaving some room for flexibility. Regardless of how much you like to plan or leave things up to chance, there is always some basic research to consider to familiarize yourself with your intended destination.
When travelling to a different country, be aware that you are travelling to a very different place. That could mean laws and regulations that you are not familiar with, a culture that you do not comprehend, a political system you have no experience with and a language you cannot speak. It is very important that you do some basic research to familiarize yourself with the dynamics of the place you are visiting. This could save you some practical problems but also some major legal issues as well. Look at any traveller warnings or special announcements put out by the Canadian government on a regular basis.
You are travelling to somewhere near the equator, so it is bound to be hot and you should pack all of your shorts and sandals, right? Well, not necessarily. Climate is dependent on a multitude of factors, and just because you are travelling ‘down south’ doesn’t always mean it is going to be hot and humid. Research climate trends online, paying careful attention to the seasonal differences and special cautions you should be aware of (such as hurricane season, or monsoon season). Pack accordingly, but always be prepared for a sudden cold, wet or warm snap, just in case.
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by Stephen Joseph [Stephen Joseph-Kids Apparel]
Be prepared to learn a little bit when you travel, particularly in the way of languages. Many countries around the world do not have English as a primary language, and although many people in tourism are increasingly able to speak it, do not expect that everyone you encounter will be speaking the same tongue. Even those who do speak English often have a limited understanding.
Learn a few basic words in the native language of the country to help you get around. If you are planning on taking the road less travelled, purchase a translation book or electronic translator before you leave. Even when travelling to English speaking nations, do some research on local dialect and slang, particularly if you are going to a local market or small town. This knowledge will not only endear you to the locals but could also save you some time or money.
When researching your destination, learn all about the amenities the site has to offer along with the activities and excursions you may be interested in. Find more about your destination here. If you are travelling within set monetary parameters, make up a budget of expenses so you know how much money you expect to spend. Like any budget, plan some flexible funds in case you need an unexpected cab ride or want to purchase some local wares. While you are planning your budget, explore different options for what you can see and do while you are away.
Before booking a hotel, research the location and what is around the accommodation. Consider how far your excursions are, how you will travel there, and what restrictions the hotel may have regarding flexibility. To find a method to choose an accommodation click here.
Once your accommodations are set, start planning what you want to do. Read traveler reviews to learn about activities, food options, and the best places to engage in your favorite pastimes.Be sure to record prices, opening/closing dates and times, addresses and possible transportation options. This minimizes any issues when you arrive at the destination and allows you to travel to and from activities without issues. If travelling extensively on foot or by car, consider buying a map before you leave. While they don’t give the best perception of a place, looking at and planning routes on a map will alleviate stress when you are at your destination.
Finally, in the new age of electronics, people are constantly carting around plug in devices. Did you know that many countries not only have different plug-in prongs but also have different voltages? That means your hair dryer or other heat producing devices are a no go. Most two pronged chargers will work with a simple plug in adapter, but if you want to bring a three pronged device you will have to invest in a voltage convertor. Be sure to read the product information for your beloved electronics before you plug them in using any form of convertor. Always do research regarding electricity before you leave and purchase convertors long before you depart to save money.
Any traveller would benefit from some knowledge about the place they are going to visit, particularly if it is your first visit. A few hours spent doing some very basic research will save you plenty of time and stress during your vacation. It is always a good idea to look up the country you intend to visit on the Government of Canada’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade website that can answer many questions regarding specific destinations. Go to the website.