Are you planning a trip? Whether you are traveling to an exotic, international destination or just heading off to your neighboring state, Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern," offers the following tips to spice up your travel plans:
* Create a story. Decide whether you plan to really travel or to just relax. Traveling requires a plan, so book one with a storyline. Taking a train from St. Petersburg to Venice on the Orient Express or biking through the French wine country constitutes traveling. So, be adventurous on your next trip.
* Eat local. As a general rule, it is often safer to eat the local cuisine than it is to opt for American dishes in other countries. Chefs typically have safer food-handling practices when it comes to food products they are more familiar with.
* The happy-face rule. Finding a great restaurant is no secret. Look for restaurants with lots of happy customers. Try camping out on a street that has several restaurants, and observe which restaurants had the most patrons with smiles. You can also check out chowhound.com or andrew-zimmern.com for added guidance.
* Safeguard your stomach. Most people don't want to waste their vacation days feeling sick, so it is important to use common-sense practices alongside some extra hand washing and antibacterial usage if you're on the road. Additionally, I often carry Pepto-Bismol for some extra peace of mind to relieve symptoms such as nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach and diarrhea.
* Spend smart. Try to purchase your event tickets, museum passes and train passes ahead of time. You can book restaurant reservations, car services, tours and the like in advance as well. This way, you can avoid long lines and even get some money-saving deals.
* Stay protected. Give photocopies of your credit cards, passport, driver's license and other important documents to a trusted friend, or leave them in a safe place at home. Also, keep important phone numbers, such as embassy and hospital numbers, handy for the city in which you are traveling.
* Head off the beaten path. When most people go to Europe, they choose to visit Italy or France. Look instead to the next country. I like Belgium, for example, because it is so much easier to navigate minus the crowds.
* Make your trip kid-friendly. Keep your own food or drink handy when traveling with a toddler as well as some Ziploc bags for snacks, soiled diapers or anything else you may need. And don't forget the Children's Pepto!
* Be prepared. Be sure to keep everything you need with you. The extra five pounds that I schlep around everywhere, which includes everything from Pepto, an extra book to another pair of shoes, is worth it. I know that when I need something I have it.
Written by : NewsUSA