Monday, November 28, 2011

Giving the Gift of Travel

Some of our favorite and most memorable Christmas presents in the Cinnamon family over the years have been trips.  John gave me a fabulous journey to China one year that stands out as one of my all-time favorite Christmas gifts.  And as our boys were growing up, we often took family vacations at Christmas time too.  Sometimes it was a few days before, but often it was a nice week or so after Christmas.  It gave us a chance to visit new places together as a family.  Traveling can definitely be a family bonding time.  It also is a great learning tool as it can make history come alive and make geography very personal.    

Since there will be a lot of traveling and trip-giving this holiday season, we thought it might be a good time to offer a list of some of our hard-learned travel and packing tips.  First on packing:

·        Place small items inside shoes to save space and protect breakables
·        Use free shower caps from hotels to cover shoes in suitcase
·        Take an extra collapsible carry-on bag in your suitcase to  bring home souvenirs
·        Put distinctive or colorful luggage tags on your suitcases for quicker identification
·        Don’t buy expensive luggage!  Besides the fact that it gets tossed around and beat up by baggage handlers, experts say that thieves often target more expensive luggage to steal or rummage through, assuming there might be more valuables inside.

If you are planning an international trip, here are some things to remember:

·        Check passport expiration date – many countries require as much as 6 months remaining on your passport at the time of your visit.
·        Check to see if you need visas or permits for the countries you are visiting.
·        Check with your mobile phone carrier for overseas charges as these can be very expensive and even turning your phone on can ring up charges.
·        Walk around and drink plenty of water on long flights.  Wear compression socks.
·        Dress NOT to stand out! There are places in the world where it is not appropriate to wear revealing clothing and it is an insult to their culture if you do.  You may be inviting unwelcome attention by doing so.  With the high level of tension in some parts of the world, it is often better not to advertise that you are American either.  Blending in is best.

Here’s hoping that you have a wonderful holiday season and that you find a great trip stuffed in your stocking this year!