Travel lessons - from Books & Suz

Texas Travel Blog

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Books:

I've read 3 books of world travelers (as well as regional ones): 

  1. Adventure Capitalist (3 years by car)
  2. One Year Off-  1 year (of which 6 months was in Australia), 3 kids (ages 9, 7, 2)- this book was hilarious.  We love it!
  3. WorldTrek (written by a Woodlands family which I haven't finished) - 1 year around the world, 2 kids (ages 12 & 13)

Learned so much:

Pay a taxi to lead you in or out of a city- America is only a 232 years old and cities developed in an organized manner.  Most cities in other countries are much older and developed in more complex ways.  Very confusing.  GPS is most helpful.

Attempt to meet up with friends or friends-of-friends along the way so you can interact with locals.  Sometimes a concerted effort is required to meet locals.

Get English maps in advance.  Take good travel books and language phrasebooks

Forget Traveler's Checks.  Antiquated- nobody accepts them and they'll send you to a bank instead.  Use ATM cards for local currency, U.S. dollars in small denominatins, and credit cards.

Homeschooling is a commitment during travel.  The older the kids and the more independent the study, the better the chances of "road schooling" success.  English books are hard to find- take enough with you.  Kids become verocious readers during travel (lots of wait time).

Stores close all day Sunday in many places, as well as afternoons for siestas

Don't arrive in a new place after dark

Internet access & good walking shoes- critical in continuous travel (making plans on the fly)

Use the concierge in large, reputable hotels to book extended tours

Tours are the best way to get a first look in a new city - city buses are wonderful, inexpensive tours

Kids need plenty of food- traveling with kids requires much time and flexibility

It can take months to learn to relax and not be a Type-A traveler

Sometimes money talks.  Sometimes offering that money gets you in trouble.  Ask a local "helper" if a tip would help in a certain situation before you offer.  Or lay a small tip in your lap without saying anything.  Showing confusion may help.

The less luggage, the easier.

Don't take pictures of people without asking, unless you're discrete.  They may require "payment" afterward.  Or they may feel as if their "spirit" was stolen.  It's best not to take pictures of any Military people or establishments.

Some samples in grocery stores in some countries are not "free".

Certain locations are known to be "unfriendly" to RV's or travellers in general.  By researching in advance, one can avoid those locations.

 

Just got these tips in from Suz, one of my 2 best friends, currently in Kosovo.  She was in Iraq and all over, setting up Women's Services Clinics, etc.  Just an amazing world traveler!  Here are (drumroll...)

Suz's Excellent Travel Tips:

"Okay, there is some definitely craziness going on here...but man....is this going to be the experience of a lifetime!  These are huge plans.  You will see and experience so many things.  The kids are going to have something to refer to for the rest of their lives. 

I guess the only advice I can give you is to really document what you see and do

  • Speaking from experience, all the places I've been are beginning to run together and I forget what was special about each activity. 
  • It becomes a real chore, but keeping a journal or thorough blog is so important. 
  • Make sure the kids really do this too...their little pea brains will dump out lots of this information as they get older and fill it with stupid stuff...like math!

The other thing I would advise is to make sure you don't push the trip too hard

  • You've got tons of plans.  Just make sure you take the time to enjoy the places where you are and get to know them more than what a guidebook tells you about them. 
  • Go hang out in a neighborhood park
  • Sit at the local coffee shop
  • Stroll the streets and enjoy the "feel" of the place. 
  • Again, Barry and I have very different perspectives on how you "do" a place.  He wants to do everything.  Not only everything in the guidebook, but also the stuff I love doing...visiting neighborhoods and acting like I live there
  • At some point during all our trips, I stop doing guide book stuff.  We separate and then meet back after he's seen yet the 5th museum.  Whatever!  He’ll usually find me in a coffee shop or pub...getting to know people
  • Just make the time to really enjoy the place."

 

 

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