The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Travel

If you’re a student who is planning on attending school abroad as part of your studies or you’re being relocated by your company, it can seem daunting to visit a new country for the first time. Looking for some tips and tricks to mastering international travel? We have them, courtesy of Travel + Leisure.

• Hotel business cards: You’ll most likely be spending time in a hotel, at least at first till you can find a more permanent place. Grab a business card from the front desk so if you ever get lost, you’ll have the name and address of the hotel in the local language.

• The six-month passport rule: The expiration date on your passport is deceiving. In the U.S., you can use your passport up to the date listed inside the cover. However, many other countries have been known to deny travelers entry if the passport expires in under six months. That’s because they want to ensure you have a valid passport to get back to the United States in case of travel snafus and unexpected issues. You should always renew your passport nine months before the actual expiration date.

• Credit cards: The best exchange rates are usually within your credit card. That being said, many credit cards will add foreign transaction fees of up to three percent. Do your research on credit cards that don’t have this fee before heading on your trip.

• Fraud alerts. Let your credit card company’s fraud department know the country you’ll be visiting and when. This will prevent them from thinking your card was stolen.

• Credit card chips: In the U.S., credit cards use magnetic strips on the back of the card or chips on the front. In Europe, cards have a chip embedded in them and this is largely the way transactions are conducted, along with a PIN. If your cards don’t already have this technology, seek out ones that do or upgrade your existing card.

• Medicine: Always carry an eye mask and earplugs in your medicine bag, along with pain relievers, antacids, prescriptions, contact lenses and solution, etc. You may not come across a 24-hour pharmacy overseas like you see on every other block in the U.S. Fill your prescriptions before you go.

• Travel alerts: Check the State Department’s travel warnings and alerts, and always print out the address and contact information of the local embassy.

• Charges and Adapters: When going overseas it’s crucial to have the right adapter for your devices. An USB universal power adapter can make your life easier, because you won’t have to figure out power outlets, wattage, and will allow you to charge multiples devices simultaneously. When it comes to charges it’s advisable to pack more than one to be on the safe side, according to our friends at One Bag Travel.

• Data roaming: To avoid international data roaming, go to settings and ensure it is disabled. Sign up for an international calling and data plan if you’ll be abroad for a while.

• Language learning: This one you have to prepare for before you go. Sign up for language lessons with BRIC Learning Systems to connect with tutors in their native countries. You’ll also find this invaluable when learning all about the culture!

The Best Kept Secrets About Travel

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — The difference between a tourist and a traveler is getting to know a culture, according to Karen Gershowitz, writer and travel addict.

Since boarding a plane to Europe when she was 17, Gershowitz has visited over 90 countries and “gained friends and lovers and made a radical career change,” according to her website.

In this week’s Travel Smart, FOX43’s Trenice Bishop spoke to Gershowitz about how to find the “hidden secrets” of travel destinations. She said that travel is all about being open to new things and new experiences. 

Her number one travel tip is simply to talk to people. 

“Be friendly, smile at people, ask them questions, show that you’re interested,” she said.

Second, she said to plan a trip around something you love.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s sports, arts, or if it’s food,” Gershowitz said. “But whatever it is, go and do that and talk to the people who are around you because you’ll mostly find locals and they know the really great places to go, and what to do, and the kinds of places to see.”

Third, she said to pick up a paper and look for local events.

“Look for the festivals, rather than the places,” she said. “That’s where the people will be. They’ll tell you whether the places in the guidebooks are worth going to.”

Finally, she said to enjoy the journey and expect the unexpected. 

Karen Gershowitz is the author of Travel Mania – Stories of Wanderlust, a vivid story of how one woman found her strength, power, and passion.

Redfin Ranks the Most Competitive Neighborhoods

In this week’s interview, correspondent Ole ter Wey talks to climate activist Grace Fong about the importance of climate education. Drawing on her very personal experiences with the impacts of climate change in her home country of Fiji, Grace Fong provides insights into what led her to work for Climate Science, an international organization that promotes comprehensive and accessible climate education for children and young adults around the world.

“Imagine if the politicians that are in power right now had this climate change education when they were in school. That can impact all their decisions they make right now taking into account the whole problem.“

All Aboard the Rocky Mountaineer

In this interview, correspondent Polly Nash talks to fire fighter Cami Schafer about one of the many frightening effects of climate change; the ever-growing threat of wildfires around the world. Last year California was hit by the Dixie Fire, the largest single forest fire in the state’s history. Burning for four months, the Dixie Fire destroyed over a thousand buildings and devastated entire towns. Cami Schafer, who was fighting this fire alongside her colleagues, gives insights into her daily work, her struggles and most importantly, what kept her sane and motivated during the demanding operation.

“You try not to be emotionally attached but you can’t really help it. Those are people’s houses, people’s livelihood, that’s all they have. But then we have to hustle and keep going the next day.”

The Castle on the Cliff: Majestic, Magic, Manoir

Thousands of migrants – of whom, many are children – suffer from deadly heat conditions at the US-Mexico border. As the effects of climate change worsen day by day, extreme weather conditions are causing a high risk of dehydration and death amongst migrants who try to enter the States through the Sonoran Desert.

In order to calculate the deadliest areas in the U.S. – Mexico Border, scientists and researchers used a biophysical model of human dehydration. According to the report made by this model, it was found that most of the deaths were caused primarily by severe dehydration. After organizing the dataset in the regions with the casualties, severe dehydration that leads to death, water loss, organ failure, disorientation and physiological challenges in animal species were linked together for the report.

“We provide the first empirical evidence that the physiological stresses experienced by humans attempting to cross the Sonoran Desert into the U.S. are sufficient to cause severe dehydration and associated conditions that can lead to death. A disproportionately large percentage of migrant deaths occur in areas where the predicted rates of water loss are highest,” says Ryan Long, an associate professor of wildlife sciences at the University of Idaho. Long also underlines the importance of access to drinking water supplies for preventing the risks at the highest rates of water loss during migration across the borders in the region.

Models developed for fighting against climate change and water scarcity unfortunately show us that these type of border crossings will only become more dangerous over time, increasing the already large number of people who do not make it across. Measures must be taken immediately to mitigate this crisis.