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Seasons Travel News and Tips

Do the research so you'll know the particular risks you face. Know the local laws and abide by them. Register your whereabouts with the Embassy if you are staying longer than two weeks or are in a particularly dangerous area.

Backpacking

Backpacking is an enjoyable way to experience nature and access remote terrain. The folks at Camp Trails offer the following tips to help you get started. Study a map or guide to know the terrain you'll be hiking and estimate the time it will take to arrive at your destination. Pad your estimates with extra time to account for delays.

Obtain necessary permits and reserve campsites in advance, and check local regulations to avoid fines. Know the area's weather patterns and accommodate for time of year. Always be prepared for the worst weather. Remember, it's very easy to perspire, even in the winter, so dress appropriately in layers and be prepared for changing conditions, temperature changes at higher altitudes, and evenings. Avoid wearing jeans or cotton clothing. Wear polypropylene, wool or other breathable materials that wick moisture away and dry quickly. Always pack rain gear.

Get to know your gear before heading out. Seam-seal the tent and familiarize yourself with its design and set-up. Learn how to operate your stove so you're not caught in the dark or the rain trying to figure it out. Know what you can carry and how long you can carry it without straining yourself. The pack shouldn't weigh more than 25 percent of your weight, so take only what you need.

Arriving Tips

Whenever you arrive in any country, whether it be by boat, plane or whatever you are vulnerable. You have all your cash, cards, documents and anything else valuable on you right at that moment. It is even worse if you have never been there before and look like you haven't, there are always people who are willing to "help". Every precaution you take will help to avoid any potential problems. After all you do not want someone to "help" themselves to your belongings, when you have just arrived. Here are a few tips that should help.

Before leaving for your trip, try to get some prior information as to the rough layout of the airport where you will be arriving. This will help, to have a vague sense of where you should be going and where the taxis are located etc. Whenever possible, especially in certain countries we recommend taking either the airport limousine, or a hotel pick up. Never take a taxi that seems just to be hanging around, offering its services when there is a taxi queue available.

Try to keep your wallet and valuables safely secured in a handbag or in one of your hand luggage. Change some money into the local currency before you depart. This gives you one less thing to worry about, and will stop you from pulling a large amount of money out at the airport arrivals. Keep a small amount of this local currency, easily accessible in a pocket or something, and away from the majority of your well earned money. You will need sufficient for the ride into town, a tip (perhaps) and a little for unforeseen needs like toll ways or a bottle of water.

If you have not been able to find anything out about the airport that you are visiting then ask one of the airline staff, or the government tourism booth (if they have one at the airport) for some assistance, or tips on the best way of travelling. Most countries really are very safe, but in others it is really very advisable to take to take as many precautions as possible. No matter what, the most important is that you have a great holiday.

How can I protect my safety while traveling

Dress conservatively and try to blend in. If you are in an area with groups of people hostile to the United States, and there are many, avoid clothing or other items that openly label you as a U.S. citizen. You might be safer if they think you are a Canadian. Take care when choosing your hotel and transportation providers. If you haven't left your valuables at home, leave them in your hotel's safe. Don't draw attention to yourself, avoid wearing flashy jewelry and don't display large amounts of cash. Carry only enough cash to make it through the day and leave the rest in the hotel's safe.

Avoid traveling alone. Be careful about sharing your traveling plans with strangers. Stick to the main roads and avoid taking shortcuts down narrow alleys and/or poorly lit streets. Always be aware of what is going on around you. Only use taxis, tours and other transportation services with official markings. Only select transportation from official pickup points at transportation hubs. Be very careful if you are asked to sell or part with your personal items. Many countries have restrictions on items foreigners can sell or give away and you can get into serious trouble for violating those laws.

Never accept gifts or packages from unknown parties. Don't accept items from locals to carry out of the country and deliver or mail to someone they know. Approach any "special deals" with caution, especially if you have to go off the beaten path to get them. Know the laws about exchanging money. Only use official exchange facilities since this is another area that can get you into trouble fast.