How to Survive Sickness While Traveling

by Alex Schnee
( December 18th, 2014 )

Sick When Traveling

I’m fighting a minor cold this week on the road (it is that time of the year) and as I wait to move into my new apartment in Italy. I’m hunkered down at a B&B, trying to drink a ton of fluids and feel a little bit better before I head off to Prague on Christmas. As most of us know, traveling while sick can be one of the worst complications you can run into. Not only can it kind of ruin your time in a place, but it can also make your traveling companions miserable around you.

Here are some things I’ve found help me when I’m fighting a cold while traveling:

Rest

Yes, I know. It’s the last thing you want to do when you’re in the location of your dreams. But there are ways to make sure that you have some time to recover and to still enjoy where you’re at. Duck inside a café for a half hour and treat yourself to a hot chocolate or sleep in an extra hour or so. You’d be surprised how a little bit of extra time taking care of yourself can really add up and can make you feel better.

Fluids

This kind of goes without saying, but you would be surprised how hard it can be to sometimes get the amount of water that you need when you are traveling. The best way to make sure you are is to make it a priority—say that you have a bottle of water every couple of hours and make sure that you carry one around with you. Make sure that you try and drink bottled water while traveling, even if you are in a place like Europe where most the water is fine (ask me about it some time—I have a good story about parasites). Better to be safe than sorry!

Check out a pharmacy.

Finding what you need at a foreign pharmacy is never a given. Different products that we take advantage of in the States are simply not available or harder to find in other places. If you can, see if you can take any medicine you might need with you and think about what you will need before you head out. Most places will have your basic needs (tissues, hand sanitizer, cough drops and medicine), but it might not hurt to carry them along with you if you know you are going to have a cold on that plane ride.

How have you dealt with a sickness while traveling in the past?

Image courtesy of epSos.de.

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Eating, Drinking, Dancing: New Year’s in Italy

by Alex Schnee
( December 16th, 2014 )

Fireworks Italy Naples

New Year’s Eve is just a magical night in general, but certain countries have traditions that make their celebrations different and worth thinking about booking a trip for. I’ll be in Vienna on New Year’s this year, but I know a lot more about the Italian traditions and what they like to do to welcome in the New Year. Here are some favorite Italian customs that you should think about checking out:

The Festa di San Silvestro

Italians have a saint for everything, and New Year’s is no different. The festa usually consists of eating a lot of really good food—Italians love to think that the next year will bring prosperity. Along this line, it’s tradition to take part in some of the cotechino (a stuffed pig’s trotter) and to pour yourself some prosecco. Food is such a large part of Italian culture, and families usually pull out all the stops to bring in good fortune.

Dancing

Italians also love to put on some good music and enjoy a dance or two (or ten, depending on how early in the night everything starts). Don’t be afraid to hit the floor—you’ll pick up on the steps soon enough, and more and more traditional dances have been starting to be replaced by modern moves. Dancing has always been a huge part of the culture since the Renaissance, so it makes sense that entire piazzas are devoted to having a good time moving your feet.

New Year Italy

Where Should I Go?

There are celebrations in every town, but the major cities like Rome, Naples, and Bologna offer some of the best fireworks and the largest groups of people to enjoy over the turning of the year. However, every little town and village tends to have a celebration. In fact, some of the best festival food for San Silvestro can be found in places that are smaller since they have their own local spin on the desserts and drinks. The small town of Montepulciano usually has a roaring bonfire in addition to some of the fireworks.

If you’re looking for a night sky lit up, the big cities are your best bet. Naples has an amazing display every year—just make sure to watch your purse and have a buddy with you when you are enjoying the spectacle. Anywhere you choose to visit, you’ll want to stay up until sunrise. For Italians, that’s the official beginning of the New Year.

Have you ever been to Italy during New Year’s?

Images courtesy of Pug Girl and felicito rustique, jr.

 

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Accepting Your Budget When You Travel

by Alex Schnee
( December 11th, 2014 )

Budget Travel Generation Y

It’s funny how the older you get, the more you start to crave the finer things in life. I remember when I was the young twenty-one year old, bright-eyed innocent that was fine to sleep in airports and to spend my days slightly uncomfortable traveling. That’s part of the adventure, right? You look back on those days and you think about the not-so-great things as a rite of passage. Like, yes, I conquered the eight-bedroom dorm and lived to tell the tale.

Now, as the wizened twenty-three year old I’ve become, my tastes and what I am willing to withstand have definitely changed. I’m completely convinced that the apartment I choose here in Europe will have my own space—I’ve discovered that I’m too old for roommates and that I need time alone to work. I’m frankly considering never choosing the dreaded eight-bedroom dorm again since sleep has become a much more important reality when you’re constantly on the road. I’ve also learned to take it easier on myself in general.

Some travelers’ tastes never change, but for the majority of us, the more time and money we have, the less we are willing to put up with uncomfortable situations. I’m still young as a Generation-Y traveler, and I’ve come to accept that with the budget I have that it will be a while before I can switch from hostels to hotels and I’m not constantly watching my bank account.

There’s a certain freedom you have as a young traveler—you’re expected to be poor and to make the most of your time this way. There are no expectations on the quality of where you need to stay; you’re certainly not trying to impress anyone because most likely the people whom you are traveling with are as poor as you are. But the truth is that sometimes it can really be frustrating—sometimes that freedom can be the very thing that defines your experiences and what you will go and see and enjoy. I remember being in Rome a few months ago and wanting to delve into a plate of pasta. However, I couldn’t afford to treat myself to a nice dinner in the city, and I’ll never forget my first taste of terrible pasta in Italy. It was truly, truly awful.

It’s a double-edged sword having the experiences that you want and knowing that you are sticking to a budget that you can deal with.

When did you decide that you are no longer willing to put up with the cheapest option when you travel?

Image courtesy of Images Money.

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