Casey Carr ('01), an award-winning filmmaker and owner of Globe Trek Productions and general manager of Sharon Carr Travel agency, grew up in his family's travel business. He's traveled to all seven continents and offers these tips to ensure that your next vacation, business trip or excursion with friends goes smoothly:
- Attitude is the key. Remember that not everything is going to be perfect when you travel. Things sometimes just happen, but don't let it ruin your entire trip. For example, if your luggage gets lost, or you have to reroute due to weather, be flexible and go with the flow. Travel is an adventure. Sometimes, hiccups make for great stories.
- Pack light and leave room in your luggage for souvenirs. No one will notice or care that you're wearing the same shorts for the fourth day in a row, and laundry is easy to do overseas or have done for you.
- Keep photos of your passport and other important travel documents on your cell phone as a backup in case they are lost or stolen.
- Don't bring expensive jewelry on the trip, and don't flash large amounts of money while you're out in public.
- Protect yourself from identity theft. Don't leave computers, notebooks, cameras or receipts just lying around your hotel room while you're out.
- If you're going somewhere in the Third World, bring along some Cipro is case you get a stomach bug, which is very common.
- About cameras: You can't go wrong with Canon DLRS and a couple of kit lenses, a wide and a zoom and name-brand memory cards. And, remember that most cell phones have incredibly powerful cameras. If you're shooting video, do your audience a favor and stabilize your shot with a small tripod, or by simply pulling against your camera strap.
Elaine Nunn Schoch ('99), editor and founder of Carpe Travel, a travel website, says that just because you have children doesn't mean you can't travel.
"If you traveled often before having children, learn to adjust your time management to include your children's needs," she says. "Kids have to use the bathroom frequently, and hurrying them can make the situation worse. And they also like time to explore."
She offers these tips to keep family vacations safe and memorable:
- Set realistic expectations. There's so much stimulation for children from just being in a new place that they don't have to have the entire day scheduled. Plan a morning activity, then spend the afternoon at the hotel pool, or the beach if one is nearby, so the children can just play. During the evening, do another activity if the children are rested.
- Keep an emergency travel card containing identification, emergency contact information and the name of your hotel inside each child's pocket, pinning it to the pocket if necessary. If you're traveling internationally, the card should be written in both your native language and the language of the nation you're visiting. Children could also wear an identification bracelet.
- Older children should know your cell phone number, home address, name of your hotel and other vital information. If they are too young to remember names, point at the logos on the hotel and help them describe the logos.
- Suitcases, backpacks and clothing displaying your children's first names or last names may be cute, but they can also prompt unwelcome attention from people looking for an opportunity to start a conversation with your children. Leave personalized things at home while you're traveling, or personalize them using your children's initials only.
- Germs don't take a vacation. Packing over-the-counter remedies for headaches, diarrhea, cuts and scrapes, sore throats and other conditions. And pack enough prescription medication in case you are delayed in returning home, keeping the medications close by in your carry-on bag.
- You can't always leave the laptop and your work at home, but removing the layer of stress from the office allows you to focus on your family and create memories that you and your kids will treasure. Limit time spent on work while on vacation to a set day, or a set time each day, and let your family know that is your dedicated time to work and try to stick with that time allotment. And instead of pulling out a tablet or other electronic device to occupy your children, try giving them cameras, journals or coloring books to record the vacation.