Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advice from the World's Most Traveled Man

The world's most well-traveled man has some advice for you, and you'd best take it. After traveling to an astonishing 823 of the world's 872 countries, Charles Velay has almost seen it all. He's been stranded in Antarctica with scant supplies (and prayed to survive the stay); he's spent time in caves, on islands, and in untouched locales. The married father of three booked the bulk of his travel between 2000 and 2008, but he still manages to fly 200,000 miles a year.

With that much travel under his belt, super traveler Velay has plenty of advice for those of us who prefer to bed down in a luxury hotel for at least one night. We might not be roughing it in Antarctica, but many of us have the same passion for mysterious destinations scattered across the globe, like Marrakech, Cairo, Jakarta, and Istanbul.

Go everywhere twice.
“Every airport looks less threatening the second time you see it,” Velaytold MSNBC, encouraging travelers to swing by their destinations two times in a lifetime. Luxury hotels are available for discounted rates during specific periods of the year, so by traveling out of season, you can easily book an additional stay in a place you felt you didn't get enough of the first time.

Be friendly.
A smile is international, and even if you don't know a word of the local language, it can ease your transition from the hotel to the trail.

Shrink your belongings.
Your luggage might not be able to get smaller, but your things inside can take up less room if you select the right packing materials. One traveler interviewed recommended compression sacs to reduce the volume of must-haves, and these bags work for anything as long as it's not leather. Have a voluminous gown that you're going to wear at the Hotel de Crillon? Use suction to compress tulle and frothy layers, and you will have more room for accessories.

Turn off your mind.
Velay knows how travelers frequently need to kill time between transfers, pick-ups, and shuttle rides, and there's no need to get sulky when something goes wrong. “To deal with routine travel today, all the hours of waiting, all the delays, the best advice is to just turn your mind off,” Velay told MSNBC. “The great thing is to have an iPhone or a Blackberry that lets you plow through your to-do list.”

Don't panic if you don't have the “right” supplies.
Velay reminds travelers that any “forgot it!” disasters are opportunities to spend time interacting with locals and pick up a possible souvenir.

Pack light.
With per-bag fees and lost baggage, you can easily spoil your travel experience with a luggage problem. Packing light will ensure that you keep your belongings close, and that you can maneuver more easily in your vacation destination. Struggling with overstuffed luggage can be a thing of the past, particularly if you consider how many microfiber, waterproof, and “smart” bags are available to the modern traveler.

Traveling can be tough these days, with near-bursting airports and the threat of cancellation, so it will be to your advantage to prepare bookings in locations that offer you the best package. With luxury hotel deals the world over, you can rough it when you want, and then find the right place to settle down for a well deserved respite from it all. Consider a spa treatment to give you the power to keep on touring that vacation spot the next day. Just don't forget Velay's advice!

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