Monday, September 21, 2009

News and Tips from My Monthly Newsletter

couple in robes

1) Travel Alert for India

Warnings about terrorist attacks during Indian holiday season. Alert expires on 10/30/09. more
2) Get Best Seats on the Plane
- Don't travel on Fridays and Sundays.
- Bribe the gate agent.
- Dress like a mensch more
3) Top Travel Scams and How to Avoid Them
- Hotels that lie about proximity to beaches, airports etc. (check location in Google Maps)
- Dangerous knock offs, such as pharmaceuticals.
- Money changers.
- Taxis. more
- New scam in Thailand: Jet ski rentals companies that charge for questionable damage. more
4) More Untested Tips for Avoiding Jet Lag
- Wear loose footwear
- Eat dried cherries.
- Spend 20 minutes in direct sunlight without sunglasses upon landing at destination.
- Eat carbs to sleep, and fats and protein to stay awake.
- Allow one day to recover for every hour time difference you experience. more
5) Best Smartphone for International Travelers
The BlackBerry Tour 9630 lots of features but lacks Wi-Fi.
6) Detritus, Flotsam, Jetsam
- Swine Flu Prevention in France: Government asks people to stop
greeting each other by kissing. more
- World's Weirdest Foods: Pig blood cake, grasshopper (with or without legs), snake wine (Tasty: I can vouch for it), donkey.
- Top Beaches for Shark Attacks: Hong Kong, South Africa, Costa Rica, Brazil. more
- Little Bakery of Horrors: bread sculpted to look like body parts. Not for the squeamish. more
More News
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One Day at the Travel Clinic

Solo tourist

Cholera, plague, typhoid, typhus, river blindness, rotavirus, norovirus, hantavirus, head lice, hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, chikungunya fever, dengue fever, diphtheria, and dysentery. This was just a sampling of the ailments I could encounter on an upcoming four-month trip around the world. According to the experts, I wasn't supposed to eat the food, drink the water, or kiss the women. Walking barefoot and swimming in fresh water were definitely out. Still, there was one thing I dreaded more than any ghastly Third-World disease: the pre-trip visit to a vaccine clinic. 
Eight weeks before my departure date, I found myself in the waiting room of a Boston clinic. While the patients around me chirped excitedly about their upcoming trips, I focused on my breathing. Deep full inhalation, long slow exhalation.

Finally, a woman in a unisex lab coat called my name and hustled me into her office.
"So, where are we off to?" she asked. 
"Venezuela, Greece, South Africa, Thailand, Australia, Vietnam, and possibly Burma, Cambodia or Laos," I said.
"How exciting. Must be nice to get so much time off."
"Actually I just lost my job."
"Oh," she said, recoiling as if I had already contracted some communicable disease.
She struck a few keys on her computer and announced with glee that I'd need seven shots. Better yet, I couldn't get them all in one visit, or even two. I'd have to come back three times.
Next, she printed maps highlighting the malarial zones for seven countries on my itinerary. On several maps, she noted which drugs to take in case I contracted an exotic case of the runs. In Cambodia and Vietnam I'd take Ciprofloxacin. In Thailand, it would be Azithromycin. By the time the woman finished with me, I was afraid to leave my apartment, never mind the country.
Visiting a travel clinic will likely not be the most enjoyable part of your trip, but it's still a necessity.
- To find a clinic near you. 
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel health info
- World Health Organization travel health info.

- List of 58 scary diseases you can contract while traveling
- Tips and common sense for avoiding food poisoning.
- Customs officials in foreign countries use tougher health questionnaires.
- Twelve tips for healthier travel.