My best travel advice of 2017

As you know from a recent post, 2017 was a banner year for me.  In my varied adventures, I learned a lot, picking up tips that translated into several travel advice posts throughout the year.  One of the genuine rewards of this blogging endeavor is to share the knowledge I’ve picked up. Hopefully, you’ll find it a helpful resource.

As 2017 now rapidly comes to a close, here’s 3 Score’s best travel advice.

How to travel with friends

You know the drill – you and a good friend, or close-knit group of pals – have a great wine-fueled dinner.  The next thing you know, you’ve  booked a trip to Zanzibar.  On the strength of a referral,  a Travel & Leisure article, or simply hazy in-the-moment enthusiasm.  It doesn’t have to be an exotic destination – or spontaneous decision – to be the best bonding and shared experience of your life — or not.

Travel with one dear pal or a half dozen can open a Pandora’s box of unexpected tension.   Some smart contingency planning is called for, in addition to the common sense of respect and responsibility.  Lastly,  the critical need for on-the-fly flexibility – and allocating joint expenses –  will go a long way to ensure a treasured shared memory.

Quality sunglasses – don’t leave home without them!

sunglasses on table

We all want to look glam on our travels, channeling Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O, or the starlet in her Ray-Bans (affiliate link).  But there is solid scientific evidence that sunglasses are more than a snazzy fashion accessory.  They are critical to eye health, especially as we age.

Quality sunglasses needn’t be expensive but they should:

– block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays;

– have Polarized lenses;

– be large enough to offer adequate protection, especially on the water.

Prescription sunglasses are definitely worth the money and there are options that won’t break the bank.  Hint: don’t forget to take along a copy of your prescription in the important documents – they follow international standards so if you need to replace sunglasses during your travel, having the paperwork on hand will prove to be a godsend.

5 Travel Essentials at 60+

TUMI nylon pocketbook in beige

Quibble if you will as to whether a cashmere poncho fits exactly into the ‘essentials’ category.

Personally, I think it is one of those luxuries that holds it’s own in the ‘must-have’ category of travel accessories. It ‘goes everywhere’as a stylish cover-up, a beautiful combination of form and function.

Another essential is a cross-body bag.  In my case, the one pictured above.  It is short on fashion-flair, long on practicality.  It fits a ginormous amount of stuff, from passports to iPads, and the front compartment holds credit cards and phone for secure easy access.  Go ahead, pshaw. It’s the sensible shoes of travel pocketbooks and I’m sticking with it.

What you need to know about REAL ID

 

picture of New York State REAL ID driver's license

Much has been written about REAL ID, the initiative of the Department of Homeland Security,  mandated by Congress in 2005, to establish security standards for driver’s licenses when used for ID purposes, such as domestic air travel.  

The souped-up license is designated by the star in the upper right corner, so it will be easy to identify as you pass through security. Otherwise, your regular driver’s license is fine.

The deadline for compliance is October 2020 so it isn’t tomorrow’s worry, but for we travelers, if you don’t have a compliant license already, it’s a good idea to put it on the 2018 to-do list.

Travel Insurance – When you need it (and when you may not)

car on winding road

The question really comes down to affordable risk.  What are you willing to lose if for whatever reason you don’t take the trip?  Will your medical coverage be adequate in the event something goes awry?

My rule of thumb is that travel insurance is not worth it for the economy plane fare that is in the near future (a few weeks out).  I’ll play the odds that I’ll take the trip, and accept the loss if something happens.  It doesn’t seem worth it for even a small add-on. Further, I find the pitch at the end of each online transaction a bit of a hustle.

That said, a longer, more expensive trip, usually booked much further out, is a different calculus in my mind.  I’m much less willing to put several thousand dollars on the table without some protection against the “s*it happens” rule.

As ever, read the small print so if you do buy into a trip insurance plan you know exactly what will be covered.  You don’t need any surprises in a time of stress.

3 Score has a lot of answers but certainly not all; some things remain a mystery. Please add YOUR best travel advice in the comments below and thanks!

Cheers and happy trails,

Jane

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