Friday, October 5, 2012

Taking a Trip

Sometimes, we all need a vacation, but planning that vacation can turn into a part-time job full of stresses and headaches. Where to go. When to go. What to pack. How to budget. Where to stay. And all those little details from Airport security to Vaccinations.

The best travel tip I can give you is to start planning early. As much fun as it can be to take an impromptu road trip, but knowing which exit to take to see the world's largest wooden nickel can add so much. Likewise it can be useful to know if a big convention is happening before you find out there's only one hotel room available and it's three times the usual price!

Luckily Carnegie-Stout has the resources to help you get started planning your next trip today. We have everything from books to DVDs to recommended websites - we'll even help you pick the perfect audiobook or walk you through loading up your eReader from our eBook collection.

The first step for planning your trip depends on you. Is there a specific time you are able to travel? You'll want to see what to see what the weather is like at your potential destinations. A beach vacation in rainy season is no good, but neither is the peak of tourist season! If you'll be visiting another country, check to see if your visit overlaps school vacations or holidays like our Thanksgiving when shops are closed and everyone is visiting home.

A good guidebook will give you include advice on these topics, as well as tips for getting around, must-see destinations, recommended hotels and restaurants, and more. You can check our catalog for the latest guidebooks by searching in the subject field for: DESTINATION -- Guidebooks. I recommend using the Subject Keyword option.
Click image to see our Hawaii guidebooks.
While a good guidebook can get you started, some topics require up to the minute information. If you'll be visiting a foreign country there are three websites you should visit: the U.S. State Department, the CDC, and the official tourism page for your destination.

The State Department has instructions on applying for a renewing your passport (you can also visit most local post offices to pick up this information), information on tourist visas, and information for travel safety and warnings for Americans abroad.

Likewise, the CDC will tell you which immunizations you'll need, up to date information for local outbreaks or other concerns, how to locate medical help overseas, as well as general travel tips. You'll also want to check that any medication you'll be bringing with you is legal to have in your possession, and likewise some drugs you can buy over the counter in other countries require a prescription in the U.S.

Other online resources you might find useful:
  • Practice your language skills with Mango Languages
  • Check for airfare deals with a comparative site like Kayak or FareCompare
  • SeatGuru has information for meals, in flight entertainment, and where the good seats are
  • World Airport Guides has maps and other information for airports around the world
  • The TSA will tell you what you can and cannot pack in your checked bags and carry-ons
    • The TSA also maintains a blog, which has pictures of all the strange and dangerous things people try to smuggle onto aircraft.
And of course, Carnegie-Stout has books with general travel tips, as well as guidebooks for cruises, traveling with infants and toddlers, and more.

The Smart Traveler's Passport (910.202 TOR)
Budget Travel magazine, one of several travel magazines available at Carnegie-Stout, compiled this book of reader submitted travel tips. While some of the tips are a little out of date (how many people travel with CD player in 2012?), there's still good information. A tip on page 178 suggests bringing bilingual takeout menus when you travel to a country where you don't read the language and need to know if you're ordering chicken or ox heart.

1001 Smart Travel Tips (910.2 ONE)
Fodor's, publisher of travel guides, has a more recent book of travel tips from their writers, editors, and readers. The organization in this book is very clear, and includes sections on packing, flying with animals, trains, and brief information for many popular destinations.

The Packing Book (910.2 GIL)
In addition to some general travel information, this book tells you the best ways to pack your suitcase or carry-on for short trips or long, business or casual. One highlight are the packing lists that you could copy and then check off as you prepare.

Smart Packing for Today's Traveler (910.2 FOS)
Another detailed packing guide with great illustrations for how to select your travel wardrobe for your destination. The author's advice on page 18 is especially useful: "If you can't lift and maneuver your gear by yourself after you've packed it all, edit the contents down to the amount you can mange alone."

If you don't see the information you need for your next trip in this post stop by the library, give us a call ((563) 589-4225), leave us a comment, or check out the other travel posts we have on the blog. Safe journeys, and drop us a post card if you think of it!

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