Category Archives: Travel Tips

For the Stranded Traveler

While traveling home for the holidays, I experienced some unexpected delays and wound up being at airports or on airplanes for a total of 24 hours. While delays can (and usually are) frustrating, there are several ways to make the best of the situation.

Two people hugging

1. Be nice. This is important, as it can help you get to your destination more quickly. After my first delay, some of the people on my canceled flight began throwing fits. Literal fits. With stomping and screaming. Yes, it’s annoying, yes, you have places to be, but there is nothing you can do about the canceled flight. When rebooking with a ticketing agent, know that they’re trying to help you, and that screaming in their faces will probably not persuade them to get you the best deal possible.

Emily and Josh with umbrellas

2. Be prepared. It can be difficult to know what exactly to put in your small carry-on item, but maybe a snack or two wouldn’t hurt. Also a change of clothes. And all of your chargers. You can buy things in the airport to help you get through your newly extended layover, but everything is way overpriced. Fact: I spent $9 on a small bag of almonds.

Hands on a wall

3. Make friends. I’m an introvert, so this step was challenging. But, when you and everyone on your flight missed their connections and have to spend the night in the Subway restaurant in the San Francisco Airport, you bond with each other. And that’s a good thing, because you meet interesting people and the time goes by more quickly. Bonus: sometimes they buy you pastries.

Hong Kong Airport

4. If you’re lucky enough to be in a cool airport, walk around. Mainly, it helps to pass the time, but some airports make an effort to provide interesting spaces for travelers. For example, the San Francisco airport has a sort of sports hall of fame throughout the gates that people can check out.

Josh and Emily sleeping

5. Try to sleep. Unfortunately, sleep was not in the cards for me, but I know that I would have been much happier by the time I reached my final destination had I been able to get some shut eye. Luckily, I was arriving at home, but if you’re going to a new place, a lack of sleep will only add to your disorientation.

FTH wishes you safe travels during this holiday season!

-ERV

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Travel Tip: Foreign Currency

I had several questions regarding money after my last post, and so I wanted to give a little more insight on the topic of dealing with money while in foreign countries.  First of all, working in the local currency can be a bit difficult, especially if you are trying to convert to your native currency while bargaining with an antsy vendor.  To avoid spending to much, or a stressful interaction, I try to travel with a currency converter cheat sheet, it is much easier to look down at a piece of paper then to have to do mental math and then translate it to a foreign language.  This is one that I had while traveling around Peru:

US Dollar to Peruvian Sol Cheat Sheet

US Dollar to Peruvian Sol Cheat Sheet

Also you should look into the cities you are traveling to, and see if ATM’s are easy to come by.  In most places I have been there are ATM’s available, including a four day boat ride up the Amazon to a floating market.  If ATM’s are readily available then you should carry only small bills and a few larger ones.  Keep in mind that many places no longer accept travelers checks or give you a big hassle for them.  Many stores accept credit cards, just be sure to tell your provider you will be traveling outside the country and also check your account activity regularly to ensure that no one stole your credit card  info.  Have fun and go explore.

-JDB