Over the course of 4 weeks, we traveled from Cuenca, Ecuador in South America, to Miami in North America, to Amsterdam in Europe, and finally to India in Asia. Then back again. We were in 10 different airports in 5 different countries on 4 different continents a total of 21 different times. I’m done with flying for a while!
We recorded 13 travel videos on our India Trip, but we had a lot of stories that didn’t make it into any of them and we wanted to share those with you. We also learned a few lessons that you might find useful on your future travels.
Air Travel Tips
- Pre-Order Airplane Meals – if you have any special food requirements, such as being vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free, or you have food allergies or you’re lactose intolerant, pre-order your meals for long flights through the airline website. Then protect them with your life! If you fall asleep, there’s a good chance someone will remove your food whether you’ve eaten it or not and if you’ve ordered a special meal, they likely won’t have a replacement.
- Eye Masks – these are very useful when you’re flying at night, but the sun is out. Yeah, I know it sounds strange, but when you fly for 10 hours, your body thinks it’s night even though you’ve flown into the daytime. An eye mask blocks out the sun and any overhead lights your plane neighbors forget to turn off.
- Travel Blanket – we didn’t talk about this one in the video, but we appropriated a couple blankets from the friendly skies that we used throughout our trip as lumbar support, neck support, packing materials and as actual blankets when the air conditioning was cranked up and we were cold. Apparently, you’re not supposed to take the blankets so we can’t endorse this antisocial behavior, but you can always take a small blanket with you that you acquire through less illicit means.
- Noise Canceling Headphones – Amelia bought a pair of these in the Apple Store in South Beach and she says they work great. I wished I had a set on the Air India party plane!
- Power Strip with Universal Adapter – Americans are spoiled with copious amounts of power outlets, but other countries aren’t so generous with them. Ecuador uses the American style 3-prong plug, but the houses don’t have very many outlets. Our AirBnB only had European outlets so we needed our adapter. The India hotels had either European outlets, or outlets that accepted both European as well as American style 3-prong plugs.The universal adapter was crucial, but so was the powerstrip. I have two chargers for my camera batteries, plus two phone chargers, an iPad charger, a fitbit charger and the power cord for our Mac. We needed to be able to charge most of those at the same time. And in most hotels in India, we could only charge while we were in the room. In order to leave the room, you have to take the key or card out of a slot, which shuts off all the power in the room. Nice for the environment and electricity conservation; bad for charging your devices.
- Extra Chargers – if you have a camera or other device with special chargers, take a spare charger with you. Our friend Patrick broke his camera charger and luckily had the same brand of camera that I have so I was able to loan him one of my spares. Same goes for your phone chargers. It’s easy to forget those in a hotel room so it’s a good idea to take an extra with you.
- India Travel Tips – Delhi Belly is a real thing. It’s the Indian version of Montezuma’s Revenge. I had it for 2 of our final days in India when we arrived at the Niraamaya Resort. I think I got it from eating some raw cashews we bought in Munnar. Thankfully, we purchased some supplies in Miami that minimized the effects:
- Charcoal Pills – these are supposed to help with upset stomachs. Eating so much foreign food took its toll on my gut so I used these several times, and they seemed to work.
- Electrolytes – I was thankful to have this after I got overheated on our final day in India. Amelia had been drinking it for several days and she did much better in the extreme heat and humidity.
- Probiotics – we took these for 2 weeks leading up to our arrival in India, as well as during our entire stay there. We took the last pills on our last day in India. There’s no way to know for sure if they worked, but we managed to stay in India for two weeks with only a minor case of Delhi Belly.
- Hand Sanitizer – Amelia is even more of a germaphobe than I am, so she bought WAY too much hand sanitizer in Miami. I wanted her to get one bottle. Instead, she bought four and we only used half of one. She used it more than I did, mainly on her hands, but she also used it to wipe down silverware and glasses.
- Dramamine – if you have any issues with motion sickness, take Dramamine with you because the car rides, buses, boats and trains are all stomach churning experiences. We were very thankful we had some on the ride from Munnar to Kochi.
- AirBnB – there has been quite a bit of bad press about AirBnB over the past few months. Hotels spend a lot of money advertising in mainstream media, so news outlets like to run stories to make more affordable, unconventional, innovative options less attractive to consumers. But we were VERY happy with our AirBnB experience.We were ready to book a hotel in the City Center, but it was so expensive I suggested we cut our stay in Amsterdam short, or look at AirBnb. It was our first time using them and we’re glad we did! It saved us over $1,500! Plus, we stayed in a beautiful apartment with a full kitchen in the highly desirable Jordaan neighborhood that was close to everything.If you try AirBnB, we suggest selecting a place with lots of good reviews, and contact the owners before you book to see how responsive they are. We will certainly be using AirBnB again.
San José de Puembo Hotel in Quito Ecuador
We mentioned the San José de Puembo Hotel near the end of our video and we highly recommend it. We’ve stayed there several times now and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s about 20 minutes from the airport and they offer a free shuttle service. The beds are very comfortable and the grounds are beautiful. The food is good, too. It’s a little more expensive than the Quito Airport Suites hotel we stayed in last fall, but the rooms and restaurant are MUCH nicer.
That’s it for our travel tales and tips. I’m sure we’ll have more of these as we travel around Ecuador and other countries in South America.
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