4.18.2012

.Needed: Traveler's Wisdom.

A big realization hit me today as I finished packing for our two week trip to Malaysia..

..we are complete newbies when it comes to traveling!

Adam and I left the country for the first time in February when we took a winter vacation to Iceland.
You would think this prepared us and provided us with the much needed experience to then fly 24 hrs to Malaysia stopping for a connecting flight in Dubai..right?

Wrong!

Our trip to Iceland was truly the easiest vacation ever. I'll break it down for you:

- 5 hour flight
- Everyone speaks English
- English is written on all signs in airport as well as menus
- Shuttle buses provided to get anywhere and everywhere in the city
- Hotel had restaurant inside
- Tour day provided
- Food was delicious and affordable
- Shopping was a breeze
- 6.5 hour flight home

Too easy! There was not one issue, concern, or conflict the entire week while in Iceland. We feel fortunate to have had such a wonderful time but it was almost too easy, does that make sense?

Adam was given the amazing opportunity to travel to Malaysia on a business trip for 2 weeks and spouses were also invited. We spent almost a year going back and forth between the pros and cons of going on the trip and every time, had a split decision: Adam was in, I was out. 

I will not lie, I am scared. After deep thought and prayer, I came to a conclusion: I rather be scared with Adam by my side then be home scared and worrying about Adam.

This brings us to tonight, less than 48 hours until our plane departs from JFK.  

I made a rather detrimental mistake by reading every single word of this and this--rookie mistake I'm sure. Many of my worries have been calmed though thanks to A LOT OF PRAYER and receiving vaccines for Hepatitis A, Malaria, and Typhoid. These were the vaccines recommended for people visiting Kuala Lumpur, the country's capital, where we will be for two weeks.

Something else hit me today as I was folding laundry..

..this blog has 794 followers, surely at least 1 person is a travel "pro" and will comment leaving me something of worth whether it be encouragement or great advice.

So here I am asking YOU for help, for wisdom, for advice, for comfort, for encouragement..

I NEED YOU! 

Have you ever packed food in your checked luggage?
What are some tips to surviving 24 hrs on a plane? 
What medicines are available and efficient to prevent motion sickness/make you sleep?
Besides refraining from tap water and street food, what other precautions should we take regarding our meals?
Do we need to rinse our toothbrushes out with bottled water?
Did you suffer from "traveler's stomach" aka diarrhea?

There are so many more questions I could ask..I would truly love feedback from you about your experiences traveling around the world. Lord knows I need more positive reinforcement!

My fingers are crossed I get at least 1 of you 794 readers--please please please, HELP!

Happy Living--Happy Traveling
and remember
--Little Things Bring Smiles--

P.S. A very sincere thank you goes out to my parents who will be taking care of our dog Colden and for my in-laws who will be continually checking in on our house and property. It is a relief knowing our pup and home are safe and sound.

P.S.S. In exactly thirty minutes I leave to pick Adam up at the airport from his other business venture to Vegas! Oh happy day!

20 comments:

  1. Hey Kate!

    You guys are going to have an amazing time! Take advantage of all of the amazing sights and experiences you are going to be handed during these 2 weeks.

    Some words of advice from the medical front are...

    Make sure you get up and walk on the plane every few hours-this will keep the blood flowing.

    Also be a aware of ice and fresh fruits and vegetables that may have been washed with local water. Try to not to eat anything that wasn't cooked basically in front of you.

    I am not familiar with Malaysia and the reputation of the water but if it's anything like Mexico I would recommend rinsing your tooth brushes with bottled water. Also, make sure the bottled water isn't bottled from the tap, which it sometimes can be.

    Have an amazing time and take lots of pictures so all of your blog followers can live vicariously through you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1. Don't worry
    2. Don't take food. Each country has rules about importing/exporting food - even if for your own use.
    3. You will be staying at a business/tourist friendly hotel. They speak English. They also have international food and bottled water.
    4. Just use your common sense and you will be ok. The Malaysians haven't died from eating their food :-)
    5. take your camera everywhere.
    6. Don't hold hands in Dubai.

    ReplyDelete
  3. -Dramamine will help you with motion sickness. It also will put you out like a light. Even the non-drowsy type tends to make most people lethargic/kind of out of it.
    -Someone already mentioned this, but make sure you get up and walk around in the plane a bit.
    -You might want to take one of those spa/sleep mask things to wear over your eyes when you are trying to sleep, as some people might have their reading lights on.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Tip #1...enjoy it!!
    Tip #2....meclizine or benadryl will work great for motion sickness/sleep
    Tip #3...enjoy it!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. -If possible take the first few days easy and don't try or do anything to crazy as your body is adjusting.
    -Use bottled water while brushing your teeth and be careful with shower water to not get it in your mouth because of parasites.
    -Enjoy the culture and beauty of a different country.
    -As hard as it may be try not to worry a lot because this will create more stress on your body and give you worse symptoms as far as traveler's stomach, trouble with sleep, etc.

    Have a wonderful time :) May the Lord bless your journey, I will be praying for you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. 1. Having traveled through Dubai, be prepared for a search when you exit the plane before getting into the airport (wear shoes that you can get on and off easily).
    2. They have a Dunkin' Donuts in the Dubai airport - once you make it through security, get yourself an iced coffee. They accept U.S. dollars. :-)
    3. Having lived all over the world, don't use the tap water to brush your teeth at all - use bottled. It's just easier.
    4. Ditto the fruit and ice comment above - always ask for your drinks to come without ice, and in a bottle (with straw) is even better.
    5. It's only 2 weeks, you're going to be tired (beyond tired), but not as tired as you will be when you get home. BUT...enjoy every.single.minute of your time there and HAVE FUN!! Don't worry!! We lived in Indonesia and LOVED it. :-)

    Can't wait to hear all about your trip!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't have any travel advice for you, as the only other countries I've been to are Spain and France, and I remember my biggest obstacle there was the tiny Parisian shower. I have been to Hawaii, which is a loooong flight (10 hours total, with a layover in Phoenix), but I'm sure nothing like your flight to Malaysia will be. Just try to get as much sleep as you can, and bring some facial towelettes for when you start feeling grimy! Oh, and have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Honestly, I've traveled out of the country many times and you will always feel a little bit scared/unsure :) Something about being in another country just feels...odd and somewhat unwelcoming.
    TIPS: Watch a movie! For some reason that always helped me...For sleeping and sickness, wear ear patches. They are supposed to help with nausea but they always put me right to sleep...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi!

    I've traveled to Australia from Scotland (where I'm from, which is 24 hours and it was fine. The plane will normally have lots of things to keep you entertained. I always travel with a book or two to keep me entertained and I also have a Nintendo DS which eats up the hours. If you have a smartphone you could download a few games onto it to play when your phone is in Airplane mode. I recommend Peggle and Plants vs Zombies as these are fun and pretty addictive.

    I don't really suffer from motion sickness or having trouble sleeping so I can't really help you with that one.

    I know that in the UK you can take food in your hand luggage when you're going to your destination (You may need to bin this if you don't consume it before your connecting flight in Dubai, they normally don't let bottled food or water through security in most airports) but on the way home I wouldn't recommend taking any meat or veg in your hand luggae or luggage. Snacks, such as chips or candy should be fine.

    Stick to bottled water and I'd be careful with fresh fruit as it may have been washed in tap water. Rinse your toothbrush in bottled water too. In regards to food I don't think you should have too much trouble with it. If you are trying to avoid flour (which contains gluten) you may have some problem with sauces and soups but I'm not entirely sure if Malaysian cuisine uses a lot of flour in its sauces or soups (I wouldn't imagine it does).

    Other than that, have a fun time. Travelling to an unknown place can always be worryinh and stressful but this is usually unfounded. I haven't been to Kuala Lumpar but I have been to Singapore and if they are anything like each other you'll have a great time. Also Singapore felt very safe to me and the people were very nice and spoke good English.

    Have a lovely time and I look forward to seeing the photos when you come back. You could maybe have a look on Lonley Planet or Rough Guide to get some ideas of what to see and do when you're there. They'll also have a lot of hints and tips about food etc.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have never been on a flight for 24 hours but have traveled a lot in my life by plane and car.
    1. Take things to do; cards, movie, music, books...
    2. Chew gum during landing and take-off. Helps with ear pressure
    3. Try to relax and enjoy the trip. After all this could be a once in a lifetime experiance plus your hubby is home!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh, I just thought of this. If you plan on using your debit card just be sure notify the bank. I worked in banking for many years and an out of country purchases throws up a red flag which could cause the bank to freeze your card. If you let them know then they are aware.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hope you both have a great time in Malaysia :)
    I'm not an expert traveler or anything, but here's what I'd suggest based on my experience (hope it reaches you in time to be helpful!):

    -I wouldn't bring food. Some countries have very strict rules about this, and its easier on forms to just say you're not bringing anything than to explain what you've brought (or lie and risk getting caught!)
    -For the plane ride - depending on your airline, there may be in flight movies you can choose to watch on the back of the seat in front of you - which are a great time sucker. I usually just bring my ipad in my purse because it has music and games and I don't like to lug around heavy stuff through the airport while travelling.
    -I don't have problems with motion sickness, so can't help you there. I have taken melatonin to help adjust my sleep schedule, and its been great. It won't put you to sleep if you try to stay awake, but if you take it when you want to fall asleep and actually try to sleep its great for getting rid of jet lag in a hurry. Should be available at a drug store or grocery store pharmacy.
    -Avoiding tap water can be trickier than it sounds - we usually try to avoid things that have come into contact with tap water and not been cooked, including salads, fruit/vegetable for which you eat the skins, and ice.
    -I don't know anything about the water condition in Malaysia, but when we go somewhere where they suggest not drinking tap water, we also brush our teeth/rinse our toothbrushes with bottled water. You get used to it pretty quickly!
    -I've been travelling a lot since I was little with my family, and only once have I personally gotten traveler's diarrhea. My family always brings Imodium though, and if you take it right after diarrhea it will help out a lot - usually stops any more from occurring. Should also be available at a drug store or grocery store pharmacy.
    -Make sure you have an debit card that works. I don't ever use one here, so I always have to go make sure I remember my pin if I'm going to travel on my own or for work. ATMs tend to be a better deal than exchanging currency at the airport or a bank. It'd also be good to notify your bank that you will be travelling.

    My husband never really traveled before we met, so I think I have a glimpse into how you feel. Don't worry so much about it - you'll have a happier trip if you don't convince yourself it will be a trial :)

    If you have other specific questions, I'd be happy to help you out if I can - email me at jmeigenbrodt at gmail [dot] com :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. love it! Check my blog darling and maybe you wanna follow each other! XoXo

    FashionSpot.ro

    ReplyDelete
  14. I will not be any help regarding Asia, but I have great experience travelling long distances to Europe so here are my two cents about travelling abroad:
    - Set your watch to destination time as soon as you get in the plane and try to follow this new schedule
    - Drink a lot of water in the plane, I mean a lot of water, but stay away from alcohol and caffeine.
    - Try to sleep in the plane, bring ear plugs and a good eye mask (one that allows you to bat your eyes), and, my secret weapon: .....
    - SLEEPING PILLS. No need for prescription, over the counter like Sominex will do the trick. Take one to try to sleep in the plane according your destination sleep schedule. I also keep taking sleeping pills for two to three days after landing to make sure that I will sleep through the night and will not lay awake at 2am (even if I go to bed dead tired I still take one). Do the same thing when you come home and you will totally avoid jetlag.
    - Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place or take pictures of it and keep them in your phone or email them to an email account that you can access from any computer.
    Have fun and enjoy the adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have never been to Asia - my longest flight has been about 10 -12 hours (Alaska and Hawaii from Florida) but all the advice given about walking around and getting some sleep holds true for these flights also. I have been to several countries where they talk about NOT drinking the water and all the advice above holds true there too - don't drink any (shower or teeth brushing), don't eat fresh fruit or vegetables (always cooked). However, my biggest piece of advice is to RELAX AND HAVE FUN! This is an experience of a lifetime, your hubs company would not be sending both of you into a situation that is not safe, so quit worrying! Just use common sense and enjoy! Take lots of pictures and WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU DO EVERY DAY - it is amazing how things will blur together - so by keeping a journal you will be able to remember things better. (BTW, I'm just a little jealous!)
    Hugs -
    Carol

    ReplyDelete
  16. So, I know you've already left for your trip but I just ran across your blog and thought I would leave you some tips for maybe your next big International flight. I travel to Africa alot for work and have definitely learned some rules of the game that are very helpful!!

    Sleeping on the plane and during the trip because of the huge time difference...Tylenol PM works wonders. My first ever trip I had never before taken any kind of sleeping pills and was a little nervous how I would react, but it was amazing! I took them starting on the flight and then would take one every night for the first few nights. I was always able to fall asleep pretty quickly and sleep through the night even with all of the crazy time changes. But when I was back home I was able to adjust quickly back to my normal sleep schedule, I never felt groggy or that I absolutely had to continue taking them.
    Lots of water on the plane...I think someone mentioned this but stay away from caffeine and alcohol.
    EarPlanes...If you have any ear trouble when on a plane there are these things called EarPlanes that you can get over the counter at the pharmacy, they are amazing!!! They just help to equalize the pressure if it's difficult for you to do on your own, which is the case for me...my ears used to always throb during the descent until I heard about these. These are especially helpful if you have many stops along the way during your flight, lots of ascending and descending.
    Medication...like your anti-malarials or anything else you might have to take with you, keep them in their original container. This throws up a red flag if they see a bunch of random pills not in their original containers.
    Toothbrush...yeah, I would do everything possible not to put fresh water anywhere near your mouth so use bottled water to brush your teeth.
    Shaving your legs...I asked our Travel Doc about this one for an upcoming trip we have to Africa and he said it wasn't a big deal to use the shower in the water for shaving your legs. I've always taken Nair with me in the past and I hate every time I have to use it. So, I'm super excited to know that it's totally fine to shave my legs in the shower.
    Sickness...Praise God that I have never gotten sick while traveling Internationally. I always request a prescription of Cipro from our travel doc and also take Immodium AD and chewable Pepto with me just in case. One thing our dr. has always told us about food is, "if you can't cook it, boil it, peel it, forget it."
    Motion Sickness...driving around on crazy, bumpy roads in a hot vehicle always gets the best of me until someone told me about ginger tablets. You can get them at any health food store and they are a must have if you're even slightly worried about motion sickness. I don't know what ginger has in it to help with this but it works! They're these chewable tablets that don't taste real great but just take one right before you get in the car and you're good to go. I take a whole bottle with me on every trip.
    Pack a little emergency kit of band-aids, tylenol, alcohol wipes, tweezers, all that kind of stuff just in case you're out somewhere and something happens.
    This stuff probably won't help on this trip but maybe for next time. I've certainly learned the hard way and didn't pack some things that I really needed and then couldn't find in country.
    I'm super jealous by the way that you're in Malaysia!!!!
    Whitney

    ReplyDelete