It’s that time of year again, when winters doldrums have finally taken its toll on your psyche and you begin to experience cabin fever like no other. Sure you’re already traveling around being a travel nurse or travel allied health professional, but that involves work. You need to do something where you are not responsible for anything but fun. Fortunately there is a cure and it comes in the form of vacation! Ever heard of it?
There’s nothing better than taking a little time to recharge your batteries with any sort of escape from your normal day to day business. You could either just take a quick little weekend trip to some nearby locales or take that extended break to an undiscovered destination. Wherever it may be, it is sure to help you beat the blues. Having just returned from a trip to Central America, Costa Rica to be exact… I’d like to share my experience with you.
It’s been a number of years since I’ve had the chance to venture outside of our borders, the last time I do believe I was 10 years old and Deutschland (Germany) was the destination. So let’s see, that would be 23 years since I’ve left this country. (Man, I’m getting old!) Needless to say, a lot has changed in the world since then and traveling has become a bit more difficult, let alone traveling abroad. All these rules about checked and unchecked bags, the number of bags, the cost per bag, the taking off of the shoes and I forgot the clear zip locked back containing 3 oz. liquids and toiletries rule, passports, ID’s… Ahhhh! I’m not complaining, I’m just reminding you. So after 7 hours in the air and 5 on the ground we finally reached our destination; San Jose, Costa Rica! My advice to you is fill out all the forms ahead of time and have your passport ready for that customs agent. Thankfully we were one of the first arrivals into the country and breezed on through customs! Now let the relaxation begin.
Deciding to write about my trip led me to some valuable information regarding traveling abroad. I’ve provided the links below to a couple helpful sites. You should definitely read them thoroughly, you just may learn something as I did. Like, I should have told someone in authority that I was leaving the country. Who knew that this great country of ours cared so much that I was leaving and wanted to know when I would be returning?
So back to my tips for traveling. Don’t carry around your passport. If you can, make a copy of the important parts and your stamp that shows your validation to be in the country. Leave the passport behind in a safe place, whether it be a safe deposit box at the hotel you’re staying at or a safe in your room. Next, do not carry around all the money you brought. If you can, go ahead and get travelers checks and/or exchange your US dollars into the local currency. Again secure any money you are leaving behind. Try not to carry your wallet in your back pocket, buy a money belt or if you must, make sure your pockets can be securely shut or put your wallet in your front pockets.
Being that far south in Costa Rica; about 14 degrees from the equator, I recommend you wear sunscreen, and lots of it!
My last recommendation is to try and familiarize yourself with the native language of the land you are visiting. You are already out of place and nothing can be worse than trying to communicate with others who have no idea what you are speaking. Learning important, common phrases and words will do wonders for your experience. I think I myself will look into getting myself versed with the German language again. Those 3 years of Deutsch in high school are quickly fading, I wonder if that Rosetta Stone program works?
Mostly just use common sense when going to a foreign place. Trust your instincts, but be careful. Travel in groups and do your best to blend in with the community that surrounds you. There are endless tips that I can give… But I’m not here to scare you. After all, you are going on vacation and you want it to be as enjoyable and stress free as possible! So take these few tips about traveling I’ve provided and put them to good use next time you want to rid yourself of the winter blues. Safe travels!