penny more, but I'll get a commission that helps me run this blog. Please see my DISCLOSURE for more information.
Last weekend, I attended the 2018 DC Travel & Adventure Show in Washington, DC. I look forward to attending each year for many reasons, but mostly to hear about travel tips and trends for the coming year.
This year, I attended the show on both days and as usual, had a blast! I got to listen to some great travel experts, meet a lot of people, and more.
Here’s are my 3 top takeaways from the featured travel experts who spoke at the show. (There’s a bonus, too – be sure to read all the way to the end!)
1 – IN TODAY’S VOLATILE WORLD,
SAFE TRAVEL IS POSSIBLE
It seems like every time I see or read the news, the coverage focuses on the latest violent crime or terrorist attack. “If it bleeds, it leads” as the saying goes in the news industry.
Although we are living in trying times, it is possible to travel safely if you are smart and take some precautions. Here are some tips from the experts.
When traveling anywhere (especially abroad), safety is especially important. Knowledge is power, so it’s always a good practice to check U.S. State Department travel warnings before heading to a destination. However, don’t let these warnings deter you from traveling.
Be sure to thoroughly read and understand travel warnings for your destination. Many warnings apply to very specific parts of a city or country.
– Peter Greenberg – Emmy Award-Winning Investigative Reporter and Producer and CBS News Travel Editor; Host of The Travel Detective
PROTECT YOUR VALUABLES
Immersing yourself in your destination can enhance your experience – as well as your safety. Popular destinations attract tourists and tourists attract pickpockets and thieves. There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself.
- You will be less likely to be a target when you blend into your surroundings. For example, instead of wearing a fanny pack, a baseball hat, and/or carrying a map (both of which SCREAM tourist), dress how the locals dress and use the GPS on your cell phone instead of a map.
- Make a photocopy of your passport
- Contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know where you’ll be traveling
- Safeguard your money (cash & credit cards) by not keeping them all in one place (one pocket, purse, bag, etc.)
- Consider using an underclothes necklace for your cash & credit cards
- Carry just enough cash for the day
- Men – put a rubber band around your wallet before putting it in your FRONT pocket (the rubberband adds friction, making it harder for someone to easily get it out of your pocket)
– Angel Castellanos – World Traveler, Travel Expert, Writer, AngelsTravelLounge.com
PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
Identity theft is more and more common and those who steal your identity get smarter every day. To combat the threat of identity theft when you travel, there are some precautions you can take.
- Utilize a VPN (virtual private network) such as ExpressVPN (app) when accessing your email, bank information, etc. The VPN masks your identity when on public WiFi (Check out ExpressVPN)
- Carry your passport in an RFID wallet (radio frequency ID)
- Put each of your credit cards in an RFID sleeve
– Angel Castellanos
PROTECTING YOUR HEALTH
You’ve probably heard that you should get travel insurance to cover trip cancellation and interruption, but did you know that you should also have medical evacuation and repatriation insurance? “Don’t leave home without it,” says Peter Greenberg. In the event that you get sick or injured while you’re on vacation, the expenses related to your transportation to a medical facility and your treatment can add up quickly. Having medical evacuation and repatriation insurance is crucial. (TravelGuard and MedJet are two good alternatives.)
Be sure to carefully read and understand your policy before buying it so you are 100% clear about what is covered and what isn’t.
– Peter Greenberg
Keep copies of your medical information (blood type, allergies, medications you’re on, etc.) as well as your health insurance information with you. Better yet, swap information with your spouse or travel buddy.
– Angel Castellanos
2 – NICHE TRAVEL IS GAINING IN POPULARITY
Many people go on a trip and end up being a tourist more than a traveler. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. To enhance your experience, consider niche travel.
What is niche travel? you ask.
Simply put, it’s travel planned around hobbies and passions (cooking, music); destinations (Europe); demographics (singles, families, senior citizens), or types of travel (cultural, historical).
For example, if you love to cook, you can take a culinary tour where you explore a region while taking culinary classes from local chefs.
Small group tours based on common interests creates camaraderie among the group members, creating an extraordinary, inspirational trip.
– Pamela Haack – President, Strada Toscana
3 – TECHNOLOGY CAN MAKE TRAVELING EASIER
You already know that your phone is good for photos, but its good for much, much more than that when it comes to travel.
Here are a few technology tips that will help you take your trip from good to great.
Use these apps:
- Mobile Passport app (available on iOs & Android) – helps you breeze through customs
- Google Translate – helps you communicate with people who don’t speak English
- Transportation apps (Uber, Lyft, MyTaxi) – helps you get from place to place
Buy a Local SIM card:
- Helps you avoid data roaming charges in Europe
BONUS: UP & COMING DESTINATIONS IN 2018
Peter Greenberg recommends:
- Portugal (great beaches, low cost of living, Michelin star rated restaurants)
- Faro Islands (between Iceland & Norway; best place to see the Northern Lights)
- Chile (desert, Patagonia)
- Malta (1-1/2 hour flight from Rome)
- Baja, CA – (great wine – 75% of the wine exported to France comes from Baja; less expensive than Napa Valley)
- Rwanda (nothing like it used to be!)
Angel Castellanos recommends:
- Umbria (half as crowded as Tuscany; amazing food; hilltop villages)
- Mongolia (an unspoiled, incredibly beautiful destination)