sights uncovered
Travel with Tessa

Top 10 Tips
Guides – Wi-Fi – Tipping – Airline Quirks, and More

  1. Tipping: Find out from the hotel manager, your tour company, or locals whom you encounter, what the tipping etiquette is in the area that you are visiting. It varies greatly from one country to another, as well as from one region within a country to another.In less developed areas, it may even be inappropriate to tip. In some countries – such as Japan – it is considered part of one’s job to give good service. Sometimes our tips were politely declined or seemed to cause embarrassment.
  2. Tipping in hotels: People like to be appreciated for good service. I have taken to leaving a small tip daily with a note (if I know some of the language) thanking the maid for keeping our room neat and clean. This way I get outstanding service daily, and the staff knows that I recognize and appreciate their service. If breakfast is included, I tip every morning rather than at the end of my stay.
  3. When renting a car ahead of time, contact your hotel and ask where the closest car rental agency is, unless of course, you are renting at the airport. Cities and suburbs can be bigger than one thinks and you want to avoid the inconvenience of having to trek across the city.
  4. I recommend always traveling with several hundred U. S. dollars.You never know where your travels may take you. Don’t assume things always go smoothly. Flights get redirected due to weather; buses and cabs break down in remote places; ATMs run out of money! This happened to us in Iguazu in Argentina – when the ATMs had no cash for three days – following a public holiday. U. S. dollars are welcome in most places, and sometimes you may even get significant discounts in stores and small hotels that are happy to be paid in cash in and U. S. D.
  5. Credit Cards: Always take more than one credit card when traveling and don’t carry them in the same wallet. If you are a couple traveling together, make sure that you take at least one credit card in each of your names.Five days into our most recent two and a half month trip, my husband’s ID was stolen in the Equifax breach. Fortunately, I was carrying two completely different cards, which were in my name.
  6. ATM’s: One of the best places to obtain local currency is in the arrival terminal of the airport when you reach your destination. Even there, however, check that no one is standing close to you and run your hand over the machine where you insert the card, punch in your code, etc., to make sure there are no parts attached to the machine that could be scanning your information.
  7. Guides: Want a great guide or driver? Contact the manager of the hotel or B and B where you’ll be staying. The smaller ones in particular have fantastic contacts. Our very best guides and drivers have come from this source, and we have made some lifelong friends. If I speak the language and we happen to have a particularly good cab ride, I’ll ask the cab driver if he’d like to be our driver for a few days. We’ve had some amazing experiences using this approach in Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Bali, and India.
  8. Airlines and Multiple Carriers: Traveling with multiple airline carriers can present some challenges. Make sure that you check the baggage allowance and rules for each leg of the journey in advance. Go online or call the airline, and if necessary, pay in advance (and make sure that it’s printed on your ticket) to carry additional weight or bags. If you wait to pay at check-in, it causes delays, and you can be charged whatever the person in charge decides that they feel like charging, depending on their mood that day
  9. Airline Seating: Airlines partner with one another, so pay attention when booking online to check each leg of the flight: Example: British Airways and American Airlines. Make sure to call each carrier separately and confirm your seating. If necessary pay the extra to get a decent seat.Don’t assume that because you chose a seat online when you booked your ticket that the airline won’t change it, especially if you paid a bargain fare. Also, they have a new trick when they make changes to the schedule that may only involve a 20 minute earlier or later departure:Somehow they manage to drop your seat allocation in the process, so be proactive and check. Airlines ain’t what they used to be!
  10. WIFI: When you arrive at your hotel and get the WIFI code from the front desk make sure that you use THAT CODE only and not a similar one. Example, if it’s ‘Downtown Hotel Flower’ – don’t log onto something similar such as ‘Downtown Hotel Flower Lobby.’ The second one could have been set up by hackers. Don’t stay logged in to the hotel Wi-Fi. Log in and log out again each time that you use it. Shut off the ‘Auto Join’ – on your Wi-Fi to avoid exposing your phone to hackers