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    Posted September 9, 2013 by
    Fareesa
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    100 Ways to Travel Better: Your tips

    My Cheat Sheet for Smarter Travel

     
    As an avid international traveler since the age of 6 months old, with a passion for wandering around as a vagabond, I find myself uneasy if I do not have some sort of holiday booked at all times. It came as no surprise to my parents that as soon as graduation from university hit, I packed my bags to live an expatriate life in Hong Kong. I would like to consider myself fearless when it comes to travel, with the more untouched a place - the better. Having abused my passport immensely, here are a few of my tips for enhancing any travel experience.

    *Noise Canceling Headphones - One of the world's greatest inventions, using them (especially on long haul flights) are necessary. I love my Bose Quiet Comfort headphones, and once that switch is pressed on, its bye bye crying babies and airplane cacophony. Watching movies and sleeping soundly for hours is so much better!

    *Street Food - SureTripAdvisor, Zagat, or a Michelin Guide, recommends great dining spots, but the way to my heart..I mean stomach.. is through an intake of street food. In every country I visit, I make it a point to ask at least 3 cab drivers of their favorite street food hotspot. And on many occasion they have driven me straight to their local joints. I have never been disappointed! From eating savory pad thai off the street (literally) in Chiang Mai, to the juiciest shawermas in Amman, I have had my favorite dining experiences from Cabbie recommendations as opposed to any written guide.

    *Carry around the essential medicines - Maybe its because I'm the daughter of a doctor, but no matter which country I travel to, I have been taught to always keep Benadryl, Cipro, Imodium, and motion sickness medicine like Dramamine handy. On many instances its saved not only myself but others from a ruined vacation.

    *Invest in a DSLR camera - Though this is the age of camera phones and instagram, nothing can beat high resolution images. Ten years from now, you'll wish you had more than overly filtered phone images. My photos have inspired dozens to travel, as have others inspired me to travel.

    *Resident Rates - In a couple of countries I've visited, hotels have different rates depending if you are a local resident or a tourist. I have been able to enjoy up to 90% off at the top 5 star luxury hotels, because I have had a local friend book for me. And when you are doing something like an African safari, luxury is crucial.

    *Dont dress like a tourist - I cringe every time I see a fanny pack. Its the people that look like tourists that will get harassed most by the street vendors or get pick pocketed. I dress like I would normally and not as if I am vacation (even on the plane, you never know who you'll meet). Even though its not ideal. I keep my camera in a purse rather than a case, as it will draw less attention to the fact that I have a camera. Also, you'll love photos you are in much more when you're not dressed in sweats.

    *Human Recommendations - A person can Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor all they want, but there is nothing like getting travel trips from people who have tasted the fruit. Asking friends on Facebook for tips has always been helpful, and on every occasion I have gotten great recs after posting my status as the travel destination (many times also people being there or having friends there)!

    *When traveling in Asia, avoid monsoon season. Hitting the beach in torrential rain is no fun.
    This iReport is part of an assignment that we created with Travel + Leisure:  100 Ways to Travel Better: Your tips
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