Recently I went on my first international business trip to Lviv, Ukraine. This is the first time I have been outside of North America since my early 20’s. If anything could go wrong on this trip, it did, and I learned the hard way how to make my travel next time much better.
I must preface my tips below with I never missed a flight and have never had a bag lost, until this trip.
- Don’t count on Wi-Fi working in planes at all overseas. The foreign airline I took (Austrian airlines) does not seem to provide this on any flight. We’ve gotten use to this in the past few years in the US.
- I thought using Wi-Fi while traveling in the US sucked until I went to Europe!
- Exchange money in the country of origin to the place you are traveling! I got to Vienna and they won’t exchange Ukrainian money to Euros!!!
- Get to the airport 2+ hours early before an international flight even if the first leg is to a city in the US.
- Learn to speak common phrases in the language of the country you are going to before you leave. You cannot rely on software translations apps, especially if your cell does not work in the country. People in that country will greatly appreciate it.
- The US allows two carry-ons, but Europe does not! They only allow one, the rest you might have to pay for up to 75 Euros ($83 US dollars) or more for one bag! Even though I could do two carry-ons all the way to my final destination in the Ukraine, I could not do it on the way back. I actually wish the US did the same thing since many abuse this privilege and it makes boarding the plane MUCH longer.
- If your hotel provides a shuttle, call at least one day ahead before. They might not schedule it when you land.
- Count on your checked luggage getting lost or delayed in customs. Always carry at least one day of clothes, meds or anything else you need. Even more days if you can.
- If you use a debit card, make sure you have more than plenty of money on it before you leave the US. ATM machines in other countries do not provide the ability to transfer money. Only dispense cash or transfer money to your phone (not even sure what the latter is). At some ATM’s your card might not even work at all, so it’s better to have a credit card or lots of cash with you! Also, if you use a debit card, you might get socked with big fees!
- Find another cell provider than AT&T. My entire trip I could not use cellular on my phone. I tweeted them about this and all they did was send useless links.
- Make sure to purchase a power converter for charging batteries, running laptops etc. If you forget, airports should have them.
- If you or your company can afford business class on long flights overseas… do it! It’s well worth it… not like first class in the US which pales in comparison. Actually if any company in a foreign country wants me to come work or speak for them, I’m going to insist on it for the following reasons…
- There is plenty of leg room! The seats even go almost flat so you can sleep. They provide pillows, sheets and even a blanket. Your seat even will massage you!
- You get a personal chef that will make anything you like off of a menu. The first flight I had filet minion. On the way back I had a four course dinner that included so much food I couldn’t even eat it all. They will even wake you up for breakfast which was awesome too!
- The bathrooms are about three times bigger than any airplane bathroom I’ve ever seen. In the bathroom they have deodorant spray, shavers, combs, toothbrush and toothpaste.
- They provide noise canceling headphones.
- You get a very large HD TV screen. All movies etc. are FREE!
- There are USB charging ports available.
- You are allowed two carry on items. Everyone else only gets one.
- If you expect to use a cloud service like OneDrive to backup all of your photos while you are overseas… forget it! I had my Surface Pro 3 (Windows 10) trying to do this for the better part of three days for 4.6GB of picture/ video files and it did a very small fraction. I know part of this issue was the hotel Wi-Fi. Lesson learned… still carry enough memory cards for your camera or video camera that you will need. I will mention that backing up all the pictures on my iPhone to OneDrive worked great.
If you have any travel tips, please let me know by leaving a comment.
Before I get a lot of hate mail, this post is aimed towards “some” bicyclists that seem to be not very smart… not all bicyclists. Every so often I take Manchester Ave between El Camino Real and Encinitas Blvd in Encinitas, California. As a driver, I never look forward to this stretch of road since there are many blind turns (see below) and barely enough room for two cars. I worry about a car not taking a turn well and hitting my car in the process. There is also absolutely no shoulder on this road either.
Every time I’m on this road, usually during the weekend, I see many bicyclists on it too. Yes, I know bicyclists have just as much right to be on this road as I do, but there is absolutely no room for both a car and a bicyclist! As you can see from this picture, there is no bike lane either.
When I see a bicyclist on this road I wonder if they have a death wish. If someone hasn’t died on this road it will happen sooner or later. There have been many injuries and I’m sure there will be many more.
There are other roads to take to and from the ocean in this area, sure it will take longer to cycle, but isn’t exercise the point? So the next time you, a bicyclist, wants to take this road, I hope you think again. It’s not worth your life!
I know everyone wants a day off, a reason to party, wants so save a few bucks on a product they most likely don’t need, but please try to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. It’s about the men and women who have died while serving in the military.
I served in the military for 6 1/2 years and am very proud that I did. I know our country has issues and could be better but we still live in the greatest country in the world. I feel its everyone duty to give back to make it even better.
It angers me when people do things like burn the flag! If you don’t like it here then I will be more than happy to pay for a plane ticket to send you to a different country! I’ve been to many countries that made me appreciate the United States a lot more. People in many countries don’t have anywhere near the freedoms that we do or the ability to get out of poverty by going to school etc. In the Philippines I meet women that were prostitutes just so they could earn money to send family members to school. I’m not talking about sending them to college, they have to pay just to attend high school.
It also angers me when people do everything they can to get out of their civic duty like being on jury duty. I’ve been on seven juries and take it very seriously. I do this because if there is ever a day when I am a defendant in court, I hope that there are twelve people there that take it as seriously as I do.
Every American should make it a priority to give back to their community every month. There are endless opportunities. I just ended twenty years of founding and running a non-profit group that provided education to help people in their careers to improve their and their families lives better.
So get off the couch and start giving back to make the United States better. If you don’t, you have nothing to complain about!
I created a heavy, rocking CD for someone I knew who was an Army Ranger (Tyler Holtz). Before I could burn it for him he was shot and killed in Afghanistan in September 2012. Sorry Tyler, I hope you have iTunes up there. Here is the list:
Confrontation – Otep
Die Hard The Hunter – Def Leppard
Gods Of War – Def Leppard
If I Were King – Queensrÿche
Indestructible – Disturbed
Sliver – Queensrÿche
Soldiers of Misfortune – Filter
Taliman – Uncle Junkie
These Colours Don’t Run – Iron Maiden
War (The Process) – The Cult
War Machine -AC/DC
War Pigs – Black Sabbath
Warheads – Extreme
Warrior – Kid Rock
Thanks for the great music Otep, Def Leppard, Queensrÿche & Queensryche, Disturbed, Filter, Uncle Junkie, Iron Maiden, The Cult, Black Sabbath, Extreme – The Band and Kid Rock!
Women, before you get upset with me, this applies to males too! So if you are wondering if you are a cat lady, answer the questions below on how you post profile text and/or pictures on online dating sites:
- Do you post pictures of you and animal?
- Do you post pictures of your animal (you are not in the picture)?
- Is your animal your best friend?
- Does your headline/ tag line say “Must Love Dogs”, “Must Love My Dog” or something similar?
- Can you not sleep at night without your animal or your animal can’t sleep without you?
- Do you have to rush home every x number of hours to feed, see or take your animal out for a piss?
If you answered even YES to ONE of these questions… YOU ARE A CAT LADY. Give it up and take your profile down from all online dating sites. You are too far gone and there is no recovery.
Took this picture in Cozumel, Mexico while on a cruise in 2011.
Start your holiday shopping early by picking up this calendar of 12 beautiful sunset pictures (most all were taken in the San Diego, California area). Click here to purchase your copy.
Here is a photo I took at a club in Del Mar, California (where all the pretty people go).
Last weekend I received an email from Vons to get a free delivery from their home delivery service. Since I was stuck working all weekend, I thought I’d save some time and take them up on their offer. I have used their service before when I was unable to make it to the store. Once I went to their website I quickly remembered how slow and difficult using their site is. The following is what I wrote them:
“I’m writing about your shopping online. To save some time I thought I would make an order (not my first time). But it took so long and was so frustrating that I gave up. It would be faster just to drive to the store.
I’m a software developer and know that you are using a framework that is no longer supported and has been out of date for over 10 years!
I might use it when I have to (such as recovering from surgery) but won’t for anything else.”
Here is their reply:
“We apologize for the delay in responding to your e-mail.
Thank you for providing us with the error message you received. Our records do indicate that we were experiencing web site technical difficulties at the time you reported this issue and the matter has been resolved. ”
What? I don’t think anyone actually read my comment. This sounds like an automated response. I don’t think they have a clue on what customer service is at all! The issue is not “technical difficulties” at all, it’s the crappy website design using a framework that has not been used for over 13 years! Hire a new CTO Vons!!!