It’s good to be back from a fabulous trip to Peru where we visited Machu Picchu and other Inca Ruins. We then spent 8 days in Buenos Aires, including a 2-day side trip to incomparable Igauzu Falls.
But, more on that later.
After this trip I thought I’d like to review a few traveling tips for those considering foreign travel. So today will be a “solo-sode” we me sharing from my multiple travel experiences and then more particularly on my recent trip to South America.
After all, the Next Chapter with Charlie is the place to discover how you might more knowledgeably move on to your next chapter—even it if it’s a little1-3 week holiday.
Before You Leave
- Highly planned
- Loosely planned
- Accommodations: Hotel, apartment or Airbnb
Packing: You are allowed 50 lbs check-in
- International flights allow you one check-in bag that cannot exceed 50 lbs. That is heavy!
- So, Pack as light as you can
- Know this: You will always pack too much shit! In this last trip the weather forecasts predicted cold in Peru and warm in Argentina, seemingly requiring two different types of clothing.
- 3 pants max; 1 jacket; 1, 2 sweaters max, t-shirts, 2 nicer shirts, 7 underwear and socks. All different colors. That way you still have cool outfits. I’m into clothes.
- Let’s talk about Electronics: adapters vs. converters AND a an international power strip that allows three plugs and a USB port
- Computers: notebook vs. iPad or I take both, iPad is easier to vary around town for me to write.
- Backpacks??? I’m not into them. They make you look like a tourist; unless it’s a very small backpack
- Be sure that your wallet, fanny pack or passport holder that hangs around your neck is RFID. [EXPLAIN]
- Protect your passports: store in a safe if you can: a few countries require that you carry you past passport although in the last four years I have visited 20-30 countries and never needed to carry one
- Carry wallet and phone in your front pockets to avoid pickpockets
- Make copies of all documents and cards: Passport, driver’s license and credit cards. Copy front and back
- Books: electronic is the best or small light books
- Emergency bag if luggage is lost: CRITICAL
After You Arrive
Get your Bearings
- Understand where you are and the distance to places you may want to see. I’m not a car guy so I use taxi’s, ubers or mass transit when I can figure it out. Mostly I walk: 4-7 miles per day.
- Make out a brief itinerary for your stay. I can be as simple as the places you want to visit each day.
- I like to find a local café to hang out. I try to make a friend at a local café shop. I work it so I get the same server every time.
- For the best trip be prepared to walk about 5 miles each day
Adapt, Adapt, Adapt
- Don’t get pissed when they rake forever to give a check at a restaurant—YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR IT. Meals are to be savored, not devoured, esp with good company. In the US we seem to be hard-wired to do everything in a hurry. Especially eating. We often don’t even sit to eat or we eat on the job.
- Tipping is different in every country—from nothing to about 10%
- Ask a local what is expected
- Try to act like a local. Dinner is often very latte in Latin countries. Restaurants generally don’t even open until 6 or 7. 10-11 is the busy time. So if you make a 7 o’clock reservation you will be either alone or in a very parse crowd. Depends on how you feel about night life.
Make “Nothing You Have to Do Days”
- Plan days with no agenda. Sleep late. And just walk around your neighborhood. Or, go out alone without your traveling companion for a different experience. My wife goes shopping and I go to coffee bar to write or read or chat with the staff. It keeps us from killing each other.
- Be led by your gut
- The food
- Machu Picchu
- Structures: stone temples with no mortar
- The tragedy of the Spanish Inquest
- Sacred Valley and Maras and the salt mines
- There are two districts that are recommended by the travel guides: Palermo and Riletto. We stayed in Palermo but... So I would suggest you stay in the district called Centro: it’s the city center. Otherwise you taxi for 10-20 minutes to get to city center, so why not just stay there?
- Unless you have special plans I think 3 nights and 4 days would be plenty in Buenos Aires. It’s a big city of 13 million people
- Plan one night and 2 days to go to Igauzu Falls. It was the highlight of our trip: 1.7 miles of falls that drop 2-300 feet and you can get about 100 feet away from the crashing of one of the falls.
- Journal daily
- Sometimes a sleeping pill can help you get acclimated to the new time zone
You can get more information and regular updates from Charlie at thenextchapter.life