Japan: Leaving a job overseas

As someone living a mere ferry ride from the coast of Japan, I've been hearing a lot of debate among ESL teachers as to whether they should leave the area or not. Italy has offered a free flight home to their citizens living in the area, and other countries have issued warnings to leave at one's own discretion. It takes a certain amount of planning and effort to find and secure a job overseas, move your things there, and get settled. Some people would think it mad to leave when there is no direct threat looming. However those closer to… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (2)  | March 23, 2011
Category: Asia, Travel Safety, Volunteering Abroad

Are trusted traveler programs worth it?

I regularly fly through Houston’s IAH airport when I’m returning from travel to Central and South America, and lately, I’ve been running into brochures for the Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program. Enrolling allows members to speed past those horribly long immigration lines, and check in at a kiosk instead, currently available at 20 airports in the United States and Puerto Rico. So far, because I’m not into giving the government more information than is absolutely necessary at any given time, I haven’t signed up. You enroll online, which seems easy enough, and pay a $100 application fee. Then, you must… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (1)  | October 8, 2010
Category: Air Travel, Travel Safety

Packing light girl-style

[caption id="attachment_10007" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Lightweight female travel"][/caption] As you may have noticed, Rolf is currently in the midst of traveling around the world with only what he can carry in his pockets.  He's got a toothbrush, a change of underpants, and an iPod Touch to do his blog posting from, as well as some presumably bulging cargo pants pockets.  I did see one blog post on his round-the-world-as-a-lightweight diary, pointing out that replicating the experience for women would be majorly worth a go. There are a couple of things that women have to deal with when traveling that men don't,… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (6)  | September 7, 2010
Category: Female Travelers, General, Simplicity, Solo Travel, Travel Gear, Travel Safety, Vagabonding Advice

Are you seeing the whole road?

I got stopped by the police last night because my flashlight was at half-power. Specifically, my car had a headlight out. I couldn't see the whole road, and the road couldn't see much of me. The officer wanted to make sure I knew, because people often overlook their lack of illumination. It's easy to do. You can get by with one headlight, streetlamps mask the outage, or it's not fully dark yet. Travelers and would-be travelers: Are both your headlights working? Are you seeing the whole road? When one goes out, who can you trust to tell you? (And hey,… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | July 28, 2010
Category: Travel Health, Travel Safety, Vagabonding Life

The US State Dept unveils an all new travel site

After a year of collecting suggestions from over 32,000 people, the U.S Dept of State has unveiled a completely revamped source for travel information, travel.state.gov. While most Americans may only interact with the Bureau of Consular Affairs when they obtain or renew their passports, their charter also includes assisting citizens who fall victim to crime, accident or illness in other countries, or just want to cast their absentee votes in US elections. They "deal with events and issues that have a personal impact: birth, death, marriage, adoption, child custody, citizenship, and relocation to another country" and they manage the visa… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (2)  | May 27, 2010
Category: Travel News, Travel Safety, Working Abroad

Demystifying Mexico travel warnings

With the current war on Mexico’s drug traffickers erupting into violence in certain border towns, some folks with travel plans to Mexico are confused about whether to keep them. Here are some tips on how to study up on the current situation and the likelihood of events affecting you on your travels. Check travel warnings from the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. The most current one, issued on March 14, advises delaying unnecessary travel to parts of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua states (with details on which towns and why). Even if vagabonders may not be traveling… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (10)  | March 19, 2010
Category: North America, Travel Safety

Tools and tips for immediate post-earthquake travel in Chile

After the 8.8-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck central Chile on the morning of February 27, the country is focusing on cleaning up, getting aid to affected regions and attempting to return to functionality. What do you do if you’re traveling or scheduled to travel in the country? Citizens of the United States are encouraged by the U.S. State Department to register with its travel registration website to receive updated information on security and travel within Chile. For U.S. citizens in Chile without Internet access, it’s suggested that you contact the U.S. Embassy in Santiago (tel. 56-2-330-3000). Canadians in… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (3)  | March 5, 2010
Category: South America, Travel Safety

Survival: Don’t count on the helicopters

The recent Machu Picchu rescues succeeded admirably, but in most emergencies there won't be a helicopter ready to whisk you to safety. Whether at home or abroad, you have to be prepared to rely on your feet. Be prepared to walk to the nearest gas station, through a pitch-black subway tunnel, or down the fire escape. Through waist-deep monsoon rain in Trivandrum, out of New Orleans, or across the Brooklyn Bridge on the most horrific day of your life. No matter where you are, at any moment there's the chance of becoming a refugee. We have to be careful not… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (3)  | February 10, 2010
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel Health, Travel Safety

Handy skills every traveler should learn

Apart from time, some money, and an open mind, the act of traveling doesn't really require much from the traveler. Still, there's always an incident where I find myself saying "I wish I knew how to do that". Here are some skills I wish I learned before I started traveling: Tying knots. I used to think that knots were mostly for scouts - until I was forced to deal with an uncooperative clothesline. For clear instructions on how to tie knots, visit AnimatedKnots.com. Apart from having an animated tutorial, the knots are categorized based on use - such as boating,… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (5)  | July 22, 2009
Category: Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Travel Safety, Vagabonding Advice

Safety Tips for Danger Zones

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Money belt"][/caption] While many intrepid backpackers talk up the joys of traveling to "dangerous" countries, it still pays to be exercise some good sense.  New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristoff assembled an excellent list of safety tips.  Some of the humor is very tongue-in-cheek, such as his advice on dealing with terrorists. One tip I would add is to have a copy of your travel insurance policy on hand, with the policy number and international phone number highlighted. Even just buying travel insurance is something many travelers forget to do.  An Australian government website has… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (2)  | July 10, 2009
Category: Travel Safety, Vagabonding Advice