2010 Travel Tips

By. Scotty B. Whytsell

Spring has sprung and many of us have been bitten by the travel bug, are suffering from “cabin fever” or just looking for a new adventure. They say in life you should learn from the mistakes of others…or better yet,  your own mistakes! That being said, let me suggest some travel tips that I’ve learned over the past 20 years of traveling (and taken to heart!) to make any trek you venture out on be more enjoyable, less stressful and most importantly…SAFER!

As Spring Breakers and families alike excitedly contemplate their week-long escape from school, the mundane or C-O-L-D weather, a little pre-planning can make a world of difference.  Popular destinations this season include Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs, Hawaii, South Florida (Miami & Ft. Lauderdale), Mexico, Costa Rica and the many BEAUTIFUL islands of the Caribbean.

When it comes to travel planning, the Internet can be your best friend.  Once you have an idea or have made a decision on where you wish to visit, I always suggest researching the local marijuana laws for that particular state or country.  It is VERY wise to understand the laws and penalties before considering consumption, purchasing, possession, and transporting of buds. For travel within the US, the NORML website (www.norml.com) and the ASA “Americans for Safe Access website (www.safeaccess.org) are ideal resources and both provide links to get the information you need.

For those truly adventurous souls that seek to explore a foreign land and culture, I recommend checking out the U.S. Department of State’s website (www.usembassy.gov), where you can select the desired country and investigate. The State Department recommends travelers to contact the U.S. Embassy in their country of destination upon arrival so they may provide services for American citizens when needed. *Remember it was the U.S. that imposed marijuana prohibition literally world-wide through the United Nations, so they have the “official” rules on the matter.  For the “unofficial” scoop (practice vs. theory), I recommend making contact with family or friends that have previously visited the region or contact a tour guide that will let you know how things are done there.  A new website that I recently found (www.localytes.com) can put you in direct contact with a local expert for the region. Befriending a local guide can protect you and reduce costs by offering discounts on hotels, tours, shopping, and dining.

So, you chose your location, priced or purchased your tickets, and now it is time for packing. If you plan on taking the usual electronics and valuables you utilize on a daily basis, PLEASE remember there are “HUNGRY” people world-wide that will never have an opportunity to use or own a laptop, digital camera, Ipod or smart phone.  Locals who cannot operate the technology can sell them for quick cash if you leave the opportunity for them to be snatched. This is where travel insurance can be a sweet relief for you to protect your valuables.  Insuremytrip.com is a website that offers competitive comparison of insurance providers’ plans.

One last note on foreign travel…be aware of your surroundings and dress down! Showing off valuables like money and jewelry when home may make you feel better about yourself or get you a date or mate, but when abroad, this can certainly make you a target for crime.  Use travelers’ checks or, if ATM’s are available, use them and keep only enough money on hand for a day or two. Wads of cash and “BLING” will get you THE WRONG kind of attention! Local police authorities are not even close to being efficient and tourist crime is an every-day occasion in many under-developed countries. Do yourself a BIG favor, leave the stress and unnecessary valuables behind and enjoy yourself!

If this little article can save just one of NUG Mag’s many readers the loss of possessions, freedom or peace of mind…then my job is done! Enjoy your trip and remember there is a BIG World out there…



bringing you that fire! stay tune for more posts.

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