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Rapid Travel Chai: International Travel Bootcamp - FTU DC 2013

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Rapid Travel Chai: International Travel Bootcamp - FTU DC 2013

  1. 1. If your aspiration is a lie-flat bedyou can always stay at home
  2. 2. International Travel BootcampStefan KrasowskiRapid Travel ChaiTravel Fast and Smart…Linger Only in Memories
  3. 3. ItineraryHow I travelPlanningMiles and Points Beyond the Same Old, Same OldTipsWould You Go To…A Few of My FavoritesBonus: North Korea Q&A©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  4. 4. Who am I?I lived in China for 8 yearsI work in international businessMy wife is a ‘good sport’…sometimesI plan obsessivelyI travel fastI come back exhausted©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  5. 5. Friday : leave work at 5, Atlanta to Dubai nonstopSaturday: arrive 8 pm, drive to Abu Dhabi, bed at midnightSunday: drive to all 7 Emirates (541 miles) , 8 pm flightMonday: arrive 6:30 am, drive to office7 Emirates, 24 Hours©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  6. 6. Tunisia Roadtrip (4 Days)1 Tunis2 Carthage3 Kerkuane4 Dougga11, 12 Jerba6 El-Jem7, 8 Tozeur9 Matmata10 Tataouine5 Kairouan©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  7. 7. Planning©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  8. 8. Is your goal the award or the destination?Award the goal:Major cities and tourist destinationsFocus on glitzy flights and chain hotelsCan lower out of pocket cost(if pretzels in the lounge = dinner)Destination the goal:The world is open to youMiles and points do a lot…but not everythingSome destinations unavoidably expensive©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  9. 9. AirWikipedia’s airport and airline pagesAir Pass hassleBudget airlines: skyscanner.com and whichbudget.comHard to book airlines: lastminute.co.uk and travel agents©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  10. 10. RailGreat in East Asia and EuropeAdvance bookings can be difficult and deceptive(RailEurope vs SCNF)Research the heck out of rail passesOvernight trains save time, save hotel©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  11. 11. BusBusiness class services in South AmericaBeware the near empty bus that is ‘leaving soon’Your stuff will be either with you or with someone elseEat gummies on long rides©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  12. 12. TaxisHail taxis that are movingTaxis for day tripsIndia’s airport prepaid taxis©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  13. 13. DrivingExhilarating or stressful? (mind the backseat drivers)Driving on the left is surprisingly easyDriving a manual on steep streets isunsurprisingly hardIDP is often technically required,seldom checkedTaking in hitchhikers?If the car goes kaput…©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  14. 14. Rental carsCan be the most economical optionBest US booking tools limited overseas – try AutoEuropeBeware ridiculous mileage limitations – try 3rd-partyBeware toll pass, required/‘required’ insurance, othergotchas (Avis/Budget fx fee scam, anything Dollar/Thrifty)The ‘i’ countriesWhere’s the Executive Aisle?©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  15. 15. HotelsDon’t stress – too many options to make a perfect choicetrip advisor – brainstorming , verifying, ‘sandwich rule’booking.com, hotels.com, and local sites (zuji.com in Asia)Mom & Pops are genuine (and that can mean many things)Don’t be afraid to walk-up©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  16. 16. Miles and points beyond thesame old, same old©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  17. 17. What’s a good flight award?It’s not just about long-haulShort, expensive flights are great awardsAfrica, Pacific, South America flights – few alternativesto pricey flights©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  18. 18. Some offbeat flight awardsStar Alliance:Copa in Central AmericaEthiopian and South African for AfricaAvianca Taca for northern South America, Tam for Brazil while still in StarTurkish Airlines for Eastern Europe, Central Asia, AfricaOneWorld:Avios for Australia (Qantas), Europe (Iberia and Vueling),Russia (S7), southern South America (LAN)SkyTeam:Tarom for Eastern EuropeAeroMexico for Central America and even Europe and AsiaChina Eastern + China Southern for trips around Asia, especially Central AsiaDelta + Air France to Europe via Dominican Republic or HaitiDelta seasonal JFK flight to Prince Edward Island, Canada©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  19. 19. Hotel awardsExpand to Intercontinental, Carlson, Best Western, Choice HotelsInternational locations often much better than USYou can still earn airline miles at many local hotels –Delta alone partners with 31 hotel groupsIn small towns you’ll often pay for rooms and love it – try B&Bs!©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  20. 20. Elite statusCarry all your frequent flyer cardsCarry hard copies of key benefitsExpect disappointment…and pleasant surprises‘Easy Come, Easy Go’©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  21. 21. Tips©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  22. 22. Passports (for US citizens)Get the large passport bookGet a passport card for land & sea & backup IDEnroll in Global Entry/NEXUS/SENTRI andadd to airline profiles for TSA PreCheckScans and copies©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  23. 23. Visas (for US Citizens)166 countries Visa Free or Visa on ArrivalSources: Henley & Partners, Wikipedia©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  24. 24. Visas (for US Citizens)Information online is often wrongtravel.state.govBeware rules to apply only incountry of residency (Russia, Nigeria)Permits – when the visa is just the start(India’s Protected Area Permits and Restricted Area Permits)10-year India and 3-year Russia tourist visas availableMust pay Argentina reciprocity fee online in advanceYes, you need a visa for Australia – eta.immi.gov.au©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  25. 25. MoneyCash is still king – be like a first date, crisp and cleanSchwab debit cardCarry a cheat sheet of fx ratesChip and Signature cards more convenient than no chipChip and Pin cards worth for heavy Europe travelers –Andrews Federal Credit Union GlobeTrek Visa® Rewards©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  26. 26. Handy credit card benefitsCiti ThankYou – worldwide auto rental CDW,even the ‘i’ countriesChase – several cards have trip delay coverageDiner’s Club – lounge access, airport shuttles in BrazilDiscover – accepted all over China via UnionPayMany international airlines have US credit cards…but the cards usually suck©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  27. 27. TechGet a VPN – WiTopiaEncrypt your computer – TrueCryptPrepare to be offline – Google Maps App offline mapsUnlocked phone + local SIM card©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  28. 28. InsuranceInsure yourself, your trip, or your stuff?Annual or per trip?Credit cards often insure your trip and your stuffI insure myself – GeoBlue Trekker Choice annual planinsubuy.com , travelinsurancecenter.com©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  29. 29. HealthSee a travel nurse – plan ahead for vaccinesCarry International Certificate of VaccinationYellow Fever vaccine requirementsMalaria pill tradeoffsKnow generic names of medscdc.gov/travel©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  30. 30. SafetyThe Rapid Travel Chai ‘3 Ds’ of Travel SafetyDon’t be:DrunkDruggedDebauchedEspecially when you don’t speak thelanguage or know the legal system©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  31. 31. LuggageBackpack = maximum flexibility, bag never leaves youWheeled = less flexibility, sometimes more comfortConvertible = good at nothingChecked luggage = asking for trouble©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  32. 32. PackingGo to onebag.comUnless you are going to the moon, you are not going tothe moon©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  33. 33. Would you go to…©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  34. 34. Would you go to…(the basics)Go/no go ethical dilemmaLonely Planet Thorn Tree forum for researchRisk is an individual determinationGovernment ≠ PeopleMind local customs but don’t get obsessedDon’t wear shorts or sleeveless shirts©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  35. 35. Would you go to…DictatorshipsOften safe for tourists that follow the rulesCovert journalists, missionaries, aid workers, etc bewareRequirements to book with approved travel agentsIdeas:North Korea – like being on another planetTurkmenistan – megalomania to the maxZimbabwe – Victoria Falls is spectacularDisclaimer: these are broad stereotypes, every country and trip should be individually considered©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  36. 36. Would you go to…Muslim countries(if you are non-Muslim)Wide diversityFollow the rulesWomen get lots of attentionIsraeli stamps in passports?Ideas:Tunisia – Ancient Rome and Star WarsBorneo – cultural and biodiversity in 3 countriesSaudi Arabia by transit visa – stay tuned!Disclaimer: these are broad stereotypes, every country and trip should be individually considered,‘Muslim countries’ defined as countries with majority Muslim populations©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  37. 37. Would you go to…high crime countriesGet out to the countrysideAvoid drug traffic routesDaylight is your friendParty somewhere elseIdeas:Mexico – Yucatán has everything but drug trafficVenezuela – Angel Falls and the RoraimaSouth Africa – safaris and country townsDisclaimer: these are broad stereotypes, every country and trip should be individually considered©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  38. 38. Would you go to…‘failed states’Lack of government vs lack of safetyArmored car approach vs low keyKnow your contingenciesRead “Little Bunch of Madmen” by Mort RosenblumIdeas:Haiti – rebirth on top of rubbleBangladesh – 24x7 sensory overloadNepal – tourism keeps humming alongDisclaimer: these are broad stereotypes, every country and trip should be individually considered,‘failed states’ is a nebulous term, see the annual Foreign Policy Failed States Index©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  39. 39. Would you go to…conflict zonesWhat is your motivation?Will you endanger yourself or others?Widespread vs localized conflictIdeas:Iraqi Kurdistan (I have not yet visited)Disclaimer: these are broad stereotypes, every country and trip should be individually considered©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  40. 40. A few of my favorites(that you may not have considered)©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  41. 41. A few of my favoritesNorth America:Prince Edward Island – Anne of GreenGables and church lobster dinnersMexico City – food, museumsCaribbean-ish:Haiti – the great citadel of the Americasin Cap Haïtien and Port-au-Prince reborn©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  42. 42. A few of my favoritesCentral America:Nicaragua – volcanoes galoreSouth America:Bolivia – arsenic lake at 14,000 ftVenezuela – inspired film UP©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  43. 43. A few of my favoritesEurope:Georgia – heart attack-inducing foodBulgaria – Sofia and Rila MonasteryMiddle East:Iran – confounds expectationsAfrica:Tunisia – Ancient Rome and Star WarsNamibia – #1 on my travel list©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  44. 44. A few of my favoritesEast Asia:Japan – so aestheticChina – every province like a countryCentral Asia:The ‘stans – collect ‘em all!South Asia:Bhutan – Shangri-LaSri Lanka – so varied, so compact©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  45. 45. A few of my favoritesSoutheast Asia:Thailand – exotic Asia turned up to 11Pacific Ocean:Palau & Peleliu – Rock Islands and WWIISolomon Islands – WWIITasmania – a lot in a little package©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  46. 46. You have the toolsYou have the opportunityYou are the travel 0.001%What will you do?©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved
  47. 47. Thank Youstefan@rapidtravelchai.com@rapidtravelchaifacebook.com/rapidtravelchaiflickr.com/photos/rapidtravelchairapidtravelchai.com©Stefan Krasowski, All Rights Reserved