How many days of vacation do you get every year? The usual answer is, "Not enough." That being the case, do not leave it to chance - here are three things to research beforehand that could waylay a vacation once you arrive in your destination.
Holidays & Festivals
If an overseas destination is on your agenda, you should consider planning your trip to coincide with local festivals. On the other hand, depending on what your plans are and who’s along for the trip, you may want to avoid holidays because they can mean disruptions in public transportation, closed tourist attractions, and lack of food options. A quick internet search will tell you if you can expect disruptions in your destination of choice during your specific dates.
Two notable holidays:
- May 1st is Labor Day in most countries outside of the U.S. It is usually a day where shops and restaurants close their doors and, in some countries, is a day of demonstrations that historically can turn violent.
- Ramadan is another holiday where you will find the food options limited during the day and minimal activities open in Muslim countries. That said, it can also be an excellent way to experience a culture if you stay with a local family and follow the Ramadan traditions with them.
This is one of the easier events to predict and is not always a showstopper; just because there is an election going on does not mean you have to change or cancel your vacation.
Dig a little deeper and see if locals are contesting the current elections or if demonstrations, riots, and rallies were prevalent during previous elections. Elections can mean demonstrations and protests, so if it looks like that’s the case, then you may want to reconsider your time frame or even the destination.
Where to research elections:
You should always avoid demonstrations when traveling. Often they will be isolated to small areas, and you may not even know they are going on unless you stumble upon them. A rally can quickly and unexpectedly turn violent, so if you do come across one, it is better to turn the other way.
Where you can check for demonstrations:
- The local U.S. embassyand British Foreign Commonwealth Officewill list demonstrations if they are aware of them.
- Local media outlets are a good place to check if you speak the local language.
- The concierge or desk attendant where you are staying can be an excellent resource, though sometimes they do not live in the area and may be unaware of local events.
- Public squares: Demonstration organizers will often post flyers in the public squares where they intend to hold the rally. Their goal is to attract a maximum number of participants, so they will usually advertise the event. This is good for you as a traveler since it gives you the heads up and allows you to plan alternate activities during that particular time frame.
While these are not the only things that can sidetrack a trip, they are easily avoidable with a little pre-trip research and by keeping an eye out once you arrive at your destination. If for some reason you have to cancel or change your travel plans unexpectedly, having travel insurance will soften the blow and can help recoup some of the costs associated with broken travel plans.
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