Gluten Free On-the-Go

Gluten Free On-the-Go

Stepping up to a falafel cart in Jerusalem was thrilling, especially when I asked the owner to make the falafel how he likes it: with everything on it. I could identify only three of the ingredients he added to my falafel, but that is the charm of experiencing local cuisine. Unfortunately, the excitement of enjoying local cuisine while traveling turned to fear when I learned that I needed to eat gluten-free foods due to Celiac Disease. However, you can still enjoy traveling the globe and trying new foods while living gluten free. Here are some suggestions for gluten-free travelers to make vacationing more about experiencing than worrying. Do Your Homework Before leaving on vacation, take time to do some research. Look into the local cuisines of the places you will be visiting. What are the most popular dishes and their ingredients? If you are traveling where there is a language difference, what are some short phrases you can use to ensure you are selecting a safe option? Getting a head start can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and confused when ordering—especially if there is a language barrier or a vague menu. Have a Backup Plan Sometimes there aren’t safe, gluten-free options where you are—and that’s okay! Taking snacks and on-the-go meal options can be a great backup plan if local cuisine options aren’t gluten-free. This can make going out on all-day excursions less about worrying and more about soaking in adventures. Use Your Resources There are several websites and phone apps that can guide you to gluten-free restaurants and entrée options. Gluten-Free Restaurant Cards from CeliacTravel.com. This app allows...

Wrinkle-Free with Room to Spare: Packing Tips Every Traveler Needs to know

Packing is often viewed as a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. A few simple adjustments to the way you fold and pack your clothes will keep them neat and wrinkle-free while taking up less room in your luggage.  Shirts Lay out T-shirts facedown on a flat surface. Fold the sleeves back, smooth out the wrinkles, and then—starting with the hem—roll it up. For dress shirts, fasten all buttons and lay it out facedown on a flat surface. Fold back the sleeves. Fold up the bottom third of the shirt, and then fold the top of the shirt so that it overlaps the first fold. Smooth out wrinkles. Pants Fold jeans so that one leg covers the other. Lay it on a flat surface and smooth out wrinkles, and then roll it up from bottom to top. With dress pants, fold one leg over the other, then spread on flat surface and smooth out wrinkles. Fold in half once—top to bottom—smooth out wrinkles, and then fold again. Skirts and Dresses   Lay skirts and dresses on a flat surface and smooth out all the wrinkles. Fold lengthwise then fold up from the bottom. Fold up again if necessary. Putting it all Together After folding your clothes, don’t put them into your bag right away. Tightly pack socks and undergarments into your shoes, and then set them on the bottom of the bag. On top of that, lay down the heavier rolled items like jeans. The next layer should be the lighter rolled items like T-shirts. The final layer should consist of the folded items, so they are close to...
Conversation Tips for Travelers

Conversation Tips for Travelers

Traveling can sometimes feel uncomfortable and lonely. But using these firsthand conversation tips from experienced travelers can help you feel comfortable talking to almost anyone. Get out of your Comfort Zone “Approach people and ask about local places to go. People won’t bite; they are nicer than you think.” —Taylor Ottesen (India and Europe) “If someone looks lost or confused, offer assistance. It can lead you both on a fun adventure.” —Kate Herrod (Italy, Austria, and Spain) “Be bold. There’s not much to lose, so initiate conversation! I felt lucky to speak English while traveling because most other travelers I met knew English to some workable degree.” —Carly Landgrave (India) “Don’t let language barriers prevent you from interacting with others. It’s amazing how much you can communicate with charades.” —Gene Tessier (Europe and Jerusalem) “Strike up a conversation [with others] in line, on a train, or even at a tourist attraction. People are people no matter where you are.” —Jessie Comoletti (Dominican Republic) “Most people are pretty friendly but wouldn’t take the initiative on their own. . . . Most people I’ve encountered in traveling (especially if they’re traveling too) are very open to conversation.” —Taylor Madsen (Senegal, England, Belgium, Luxembourg, Fiji, France, and New Caledonia) Start Basic “Weather, family, and local history are usually pretty safe [topics]. Try to be sensitive to politics, religion, finances, or anything too controversial. . . . Unless that’s the local norm, they are people, not your travel entertainment.” —Kristina Southam (Europe and South America) “Asking questions is a great way to spur a conversation—whether it be about something cultural, like what a particular symbol or gesture...
Keep Your Phone Safe while Traveling

Keep Your Phone Safe while Traveling

With the rise of smartphones and more phone networks becoming available overseas, most travelers are bringing their devices with them abroad. Unfortunately, this has increased opportunities for thieves to steal phones and information from tourists. Here are some tips to keep your phone safe while you travel abroad. Invest in a Phone Case This may seem like a no-brainer, but having a good-quality phone case really helps prevent broken phones. There are also businesses that provide screen shields to prevent cracked screens. When you’re traveling, your phone will go through extra wear and tear, so added protection is a wise idea. Don’t Put Your Phone in Obvious Pockets Your pants pockets and backpacks are the first places that pickpockets might target, so make sure you keep your phone in a place that’s hard to access. Treat your phone as currency; in many places, your phone is considered very valuable. Also, don’t flash your phone around, especially if it’s an expensive one. If you make it obvious you have expensive electronics, you will be more likely to have it stolen. Don’t Put Your Phone on the Table A common thief strategy is to place a newspaper on the table over your phone and then pick it up, taking your phone as well. In general, don’t leave your phone unattended anywhere. Use a VPN With the rise in smartphones, another valuable thieves target is information in your phone. Often, networks are not secure, leaving your phone vulnerable to attack. To combat this, get a VPN, a virtual private network. This sets up an encrypted network, which helps keep your data safe. NEVER...

Done Deal: 6 Tips for a Successful Bargain

To a first-time tourist, bargaining can be intimidating, especially with a language barrier. Here are six techniques and tips to remember when bargaining.   http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ 1. Know when bargaining is appropriate Some countries frown upon bargaining, while others embrace it. It also depends on the location and type of stores. In places like supermarkets, food markets, and department stores, bargaining usually isn’t allowed. Places where bargaining is acceptable are flea markets, outdoor markets, street vendors, and areas designated by signs for bargaining.   2. Don’t settle for the initial price Many vendors raise the initial price mainly because they either expect you to bargain it down, or they’re trying to get more money out of foreigners. Either way, don’t settle for the first price, or even the second or third. Ninety percent of the time, you will be able to lower the price.   3. Talk to the vendor Particularly in China and Indonesia, vendors will be more likely to lower the price of the item you want if you have a conversation with them first. Part of the bargaining process is to enjoy each other’s company. If you show the vendor that you understand the culture, you will likely get a better price than if you just haggle prices.   4. Use the “walk-away” method This method is a very good one because it will cause the vendor to panic. If the vendor gives you a price and you feel like the price could go lower, make a move to walk away. The vendor will usually lower the price in an effort to keep you interested. Remember, the...

Hostels: Do’s and Don’ts

Sure, hostels are a great way to travel. They’re cheap, easy to find, and safer than couch surfing. But hostels can also be shady—there’s no knowing who’ll be sleeping in the bunk next to yours. That being said, staying at a hostel can still be an enjoyable, comfortable, cheap, and safe experience if you consider these simple do’s and don’ts. Don’ts Don’t leave your valuables lying around. Always keep your valuables out of sight. If the hostel you’re staying in has lockers, use them rather than locking your valuables in your suitcase. Depending on the hostel, lockers come either with the admittance fee or with an extra charge. Don’t carry too much cash with you. Split up where you store you money in case one of your suitcases, or your wallet gets lost or stolen. For example, you can keep your bank cards in your wallet and some emergency cash tucked away in your suitcase. Don’t pick the top bunk. Sleeping in the bottom bunk will make it easier to get in and out of your bed. Keep your luggage close, and use any outlets close to the floor to recharge your electronics. Don’t be shy. All of your roommates are fellow travelers, just like you. If you can, find out more about them—who they are, where they came from, and where they’re going. You may end up making some friends you can keep in touch with. Do’s Do your research beforehand. Websites like hostel.com can help you find a hostel that’s within your price range, close to your travel destinations, and accommodating to your personal travel needs. You...