Government travel advisories

How seriously should we take government travel advisories? I think it depends how familiar you are with the places you travel. I am always apt to check advisories for places I have never visited and of those that I know have whacky weather or political strife. Travel advisories offer information on important travel issues such as crime, security, laws, customs, entry requirements and health conditions.

If you aren’t on top of it, entry requirements can change in a heartbeat, like new airport fees or passport restrictions. I was just researching a trip to the Dominican Republic and discovered that upon arrival you are required to purchase a $10 USD tourist card when going through immigration. There is not a bank machine and they don’t take credit, so if you don’t have $10 USD in cash, you’re out of luck. Definitely a tidbit worth knowing.

Health checks are always a must, especially if you are traveling to regions with limited health care or unique diseases that you only hear about on late night TV documentaries. This website, Global Health Map, uses Google Map technology to pinpoint all sorts of health issues. It is very up to date, often more so than the official government sites.

At the end of the day, be smart and safe, don’t throw cash around or eat food off a dirty counter.

Government Travel Advisory Sites

Prep your car for airport abandonment

If you are heading out of town and leaving your car at a snowy airport, make sure you have all the gear to get it running upon return. Here are some handy things to have in the car or in hand when you arrive:

1. Deicer spray- Buy a small jar of deicer for your key lock. Even automatic locks get jammed in frigid temperatures. Attach the deicer it to your key chain or pack it with your car keys in your suitcase – whatever you do don’t leave it in the car!

2. Winter coat, boots, gloves and warm clothes – don’t overload your suitcase if you are traveling somewhere hot, simply leave them in the car.

3. Jumper cables – if your car sits in the cold for a long time, these may be a life saver.

4. Full tank of gas – it’s always a good idea to leave your tank full at the airport because filling up is the last thing you want to do after a long flight but it’s even more imperative in cold weather because it can prevent the gas lines from freezing.

5. Other great items to keep in the truck include: Blanket, ice scraper, small shovel, flashlight, winterized windshield washer fluid, extra set of windshield wipers, flares, tool kit, tire chains, tire gauge, spare tire and changing equipment, first-aid kit.

Winter’s coming, watch the weather

People are simply obsessed with weather because they want to know it’s always worse somewhere else. For those of us of us who travel in winter, we pay attention to the weather so we know what to expect when we deplane. With winter conditions around the corner, here are some ways to keep track of weather conditions around the world.

Know the weather of your destination

When you make assumptions about the weather it always seem to be the time you get caught in a rainstorm. Checking the weather of your destination before travel is a great way to pack your bags appropriately and prepare for any possible flight delays. The Weather Network in Canada offers detailed forecasts across Canada but also to many popular destinations . Check out the airport forecasts links for information on any airport delays due to weather.

Other good places to look for weather updates:

Weather at your fingertips

If the changing weather is very important to you, why not arrange updates right on your cell phone? Here are several companies that offer weather updates for your cell phone: