Get Organized

Get organized. Once you understand the basics, you can travel with confidence and skill.

Let's get organized…

So you want to travel abroad. Great idea! I love traveling and showing you the world.

On this website you will find all the information to get organized, tips, links and resources you'll need to plan and go on a great trip.

Once you understand the basics, you can travel with confidence and skill.

Good times are there to be enjoyed, and setbacks can be the beginning of great adventures. It's all in getting a good mental attitude and keeping an open mind.

First thing I found out was that traveling to anyplace in the world takes roughly the same skill set as traveling to Europe.

  • It might take longer to get there and cost more (or less as the case may be.)

  • A travel visa might take longer to obtain.

  • There might be a lot less people that speak English.

  • And the cultural and language barriers might loom large.

But with a little intestinal fortitude, a good guidebook and a little help from Uncle Dan, you can get organized and go almost anywhere.

I assume you like independence and freedom and wish to travel at your own pace. Following a group tour is not your thing.

You want to meet real, ordinary Europeans as well as other foreigners; perhaps share a drink or meal with them, and generally get to know them. You want more than just visiting another church or castle.

You're might be on a tight budget, and need to keep costs down. There are lots of ways to save, especially in dealing with accommodations, dining, and transportation.

Let's start to get organized:

  1. Learn about the places you want to visit.

    Go to the library or bookstore; visit the travel section. Check out not only the guidebooks, but also those big coffee table picture books.

    Most libraries have many travel DVDs.

    Travel magazines are a must. Check back issues, if possible. You can get lots of great travel ideas there.

    Try an all inclusive free web directory for many more ideas.

  2. Remember, a guidebook is just a tool to get you started when you don't know what to do next. If you need a room, meal, or site to visit, a good guidebook can help.

    Asking a local can get you a better deal and more accurate information. Check the travelers' grapevine for the latest info. These are skills you will learn as you travel.

    Planning is good, too much planning is not. I like to get as much information as possible on a country before I go and try to gain as much knowledge of the language as I can.

    This is not for so much for planning purposes, but to be able to ask better open questions of locals when I get there. It also makes navigation through the country a lot easier.

    Here are some Helpful Tips To Know Before Traveling Abroad.

  3. Why do you want to go?

    Do you want to see the scenes sights? Meet the people? Discover the history? Find a party? Do you want be someone? Go, because everyone else is going? Get a tan? Shop?

    It's important that you understand your interests and desires.

    Fortunately, many places including Europe can satisfy the wishes of many kinds of travelers and tourists. Travel stress, unexpected weather, or stolen gear can dampen a trip. But these can easily overcome with the good times that always seem to return.

    Go with an open mind, be flexible. Set a realistic schedule. Be willing to adjust old ways to a new place.

    Remember it's someone else's country you are visiting. It's up to you to be a good guest and adjust to their way of life.

    Why travel if you expect everything to be like home. Expect The Unexpected. Accept The (sometimes) Unacceptable.  Get organized.

  4. When should you go?

    I try to travel during the shoulder season, which is May, June, September, and October in Europe and Asia. South of the Equator I go in January, February, and March. It's worked very well for me.

    Most people need to travel in the summer. The weather is the hottest, the sites and scenery are all stunning and available, the beaches are hopping, and the tourist industry is in high gear. Yet it can be too hot, expensive and crowded.

  5. How much time do you have?

    Two weeks, two months. New Zealanders have been known to take two years off to travel, since they have so much distance to go and can work in other British commonwealth countries.

    Usually it depends on how much money you have to travel with and if you can work abroad. Sometimes it's depends on how much time you can get off work. Longer is usually better.

    Short trips to faraway places usually end up a blur of jet lag and confusion of new customs, currency and languages.

    Avoid trying to see it all. Big mistake! Get organized. Slowing down is critical in good travel.

  6. Where should you go?

    I have many travel pages on places you may want to visit.  This will help you get organized and create a list of countries you want to go to now and in the future. Should you take a tour?

    Talk to friends, co-workers, neighbors, people you meet in line at the grocery store. People who travel love to talk about it. They can give you great tips and maybe an address of relative or friend of theirs to visit.

    Make flight reservations as soon as you decide on the dates and places you want to go in order to get the best deals.

  7. Who should you travel with?

    Travel is the most stressful experience any relationship can be subjected to, whether it is with friends or lovers. Keep expectations to a minimum. Get organized. Be open, honest and patient. If there is a problem, get it on the table before it ruins a trip.

    I like traveling with and without companions. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. On long trips by myself I always seem to find someone on the road to travel with. It always seems inevitable and a lot of fun.

  8. Passport

    If traveling abroad, get your passport NOW. Stop reading this and apply at the nearest post office if you are a US citizen.

  9. Visas

    Check visa requirements as soon as possible for any nation. Countries in Western Europe and the Far East do not require a visa before you go. Many times you can get them in bordering countries just before you enter. Check online. Get organized. Guidebooks are not always correct about visas, since the rules are changing all the time.

  10. Health

    Travel means there are new foods, new routines, and jet lag. So take it easy at the beginning of any trip. You'll get plenty of exercise. Listen to your body to avoid problems like getting sick.

    Food and water are usually safe in most of Western Europe and many places around the world. Bottled water is always available. For an extended trip a portable water filter (I'll add this link later) is a good idea.

  11. Flights

    Tracking down cheap flights is a daunting task. Rules and prices for airline tickets are changing all the time. They can become the biggest expense when traveling abroad.

    The best way to find lower prices is to go on the internet. Locate a few trusted travel sites and compare prices.

    Again, make flight reservations as soon as you decide on the dates and places you want to go in order to get the best deals.

  12. Pack

    Pack light. Take half the items and twice the money.

    Check each item you bring to see if it's actually needed enough to carry for a few weeks. Get organized. Go through the packing list and load everything into your pack.

    Carry it around for a half hour. Get organized. Go through your items again and discard the less than useful. You can always buy it when you get there, if you really need it.

    Put any liquids like shampoo in their own baggies. Bring extra baggies and rubber bands in any case. It's a big help in keeping things organized.

  13. Transport

    Find out how to take advantage of local transportation.

  14. Lodging

    Accommodations can eat up a lot of your budget. Here are some methods to reduce costs.

  15. Food

    One of the best things about travel is to sample the local cuisines. My suggestion is to ask the locals for their favorite restaurants.

    Go where the locals go. Eat what the locals eat.

    Gather food for picnics from local delis, food marts and supermarkets.

    Remember street food can be a great deal if served hot or at least clean.

  16. Money

    Exchanging money is an important part of travel. Before you go try and get a credit card like Capital One or Schwab Card(I'll add this links later) that does charge extra fees when using the card abroad.

    ATMs are a good place to get money any time with the least effort. To reduce fees, take out larger amounts of money fewer times.

  17. Language

    Learn the simple phrases like “hello”, “thank you” and “goodbye” in the local language before you go.

    If you can, take a language class. At least get your hands on self taught language course with books, tapes, and/or DVDS. Get organized at your local library, where these material can be checked out for free.

  18. Remember, it's your vacation.

    Travel at your own pace and in your own way. Get organized. Reward yourself for being frugal. Splurge on the unexpected. It's stupid to spend so much money to get to a place and forget sampling the local culture. Don't be penny wise, and pound foolish.

Don't try to do it all!

You can always come back for another visit. On the next trip visit other countries on your wish list.

Each trip I learn more and go a little farther:

  • Once I got used to travel around Europe, going south into Africa or east into Asia was a breeze.

  • Then I ventured into the Southern Hemisphere. Starting with the English speaking countries of Australia and New Zealand, I soon found myself mountain trekking in Patagonia in Chili and sambaing in Rio.

  • Finally, it was a quick hop to visit China and Thailand, and I'm sure I'll not be stopping there.

So use Uncle Dan's Travel Secrets to get organized and go!

Here are some important planning tips:

Go to the Page on Get Organized

Choose a Good Guidebook

Go to the Library Travel Section.

Passport Requirements

Passport Application

Visa Requirements

Travel Itinerary

What to Pack for Your Next Trip

Choose a Travel Companion

Change Course - Follow Someone Else's Idea of a Good Trip

Last Minute Travel Bargains

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