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Travel Smart

Traveling is such an amazing adventure.  New places.  New cultures.  New perspectives.  Like unwrapping a bow-topped present, excitement swirls in the travelers eyes as each destination unfolds with picturesque scenery, indulgent food, curious cultures or profound perspectives.  However, with all the wonder to be held, the reward of traveling is equally accompanied by the risk of traveling.  Below are some key steps you can take to travel SMART.  Most are common sense and all are necessary to insure that you have the best possible experience.

Strategize

Have a plan and be prepared should something go wrong.   Keep copies of your passport and travel documentation on hand and preferably accessible over the Internet: email them to yourself.  Obtain travel insurance, register your travel with the embassy and know what to do should the unexpected occur and you lose your passport or money.  You don't need a 20 page action plan, but general knowledge of what to do in a sticky situation is a must.

Monitor your surrounds

Always keep a sharp eye out for what is going on around you.  Unsuspecting tourist make the easiest targets.  If a street doesn't look safe to walk down, don't walk down it.  If someone looks suspicious, avoid him or her.  Awareness of what is happening around you is fundamental in circumventing unpleasant situations.

Act like a local

Picture snapping, map toting tourist equals bulls eye.  It's best to try to blend in with the locals and look like you belong or at the very least, are comfortable and at ease in your location.  You can still take photos and look at the map, just do so discreetly and exude confidence to ward off anyone looking for an easy target.

Read Up

Learn some key phrases if you are traveling to a destination where a different language is spoken.  Only a small effort is required to learn some respectful terms and essential requests in another language.  "Thank you" and "Where's the bathroom?" are good places to start. 

Keep reading and learn from previous travelers and situations.  In Ecuador, for example, pickpockets like to work in teams.  One distracts you while the other takes your lunch money.  In most circumstances  it's the little old lady or least suspecting guy on the bus.  Knowing this method of operation will help when you are monitoring your surroundings.

Take only what you need

This rule starts with packing.  It's best to leave jewelry, unnecessary electronics, and anything that you don't want to risk losing or being stolen at home.  After you've reached your destination, leave the things you did bring in your hotel room or the hotel safe unless you absolutely need them.  Take only enough cash for that particular outing and as the old saying goes, don't put all your eggs in one basket.  In more modern terms, don't put all your credit cards in one wallet.

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  • Kath Silvester, New Zealand - 10-day Galapagos Adventure, May 2017
    The x-factor with Galakiwi's tour, being land-based, is the insight you get into real life on the Galapagos. This was what lifted our trip beyond the expected 'trip of a lifetime' to see the natural sights of the Galapagos, to a really meaningful (though short!) experience in another country and culture.
    Kath Silvester, New Zealand
    10-day Galapagos Adventure, May 2017
  • Jamie Jacobs, November 2015 - 10-day Galapagos Adventure Tour
    While I knew I would enjoy the Galapagos, the trip with Galakiwi became for me the highlight of our South American travels.
    Jamie Jacobs, November 2015
    10-day Galapagos Adventure Tour
  • Alison Gray, New Zealand - 6-day Land Galapagos Tour, March 2016
    We had a great land-based trip with Galakiwi -it as fun being ashore at night and wandering among the wildlife and with the locals in the street. And staying on an extra couple of days gave us time by ourselves but with full support from the Galakiwi team when we wanted it. The best of both worlds with a great professional approach. Thanks heaps as they say in NZ!
    Alison Gray, New Zealand
    6-day Land Galapagos Tour, March 2016
  • Chi & Jay, New Zealand - Custom Ecuador & Galapagos Wedding Tour
    We just wanted to write a quick note to say a massive thank you to everyone in Galakiwi who have helped make this trip so memorable for us. Everyone had a great time and really enjoyed it.
    Chi & Jay, New Zealand
    Custom Ecuador & Galapagos Wedding Tour
  • Chris Urquhart, Canada - 10-day Galapagos Adventure Tour, June 2016
    We spent a month in South America and our time in the Galapagos was the highlight. There were new delightful surprises multiple times a day. Our guide, Pablo, shared his enthusiasm with us and kept us entertained with great stories and fascinating information each and every day. The land based tour from Galakiwi was definitely the right choice. We have spoken to others that took ship based tours and we feel that we made a great choice with Galakiwi. It was the trip of a lifetime!
    Chris Urquhart, Canada
    10-day Galapagos Adventure Tour, June 2016
  • Duly Lee, USA - Custom Galapagos Family Tour
    I had been planning a trip with my family for ages, and when the idea to go to Galapagos emerged, I thought what a better place to reunite with family and induce some very needed bonding opportunity. The fantastic natural setting was super conductive to this goal, but if it wasn't for GALAKIWI's immaculate service and attention it wouldn't have happened. So thanks to you guys for everything!
    Duly Lee, USA
    Custom Galapagos Family Tour
  • Larry Katz, USA - 10-day Galapagos Adventure Tour, December 2015
    We are three couples with different interests and abilities, but the trip was great for all of us. The activities were a blast, our guide was top-notch and everything went just as we had hoped. We really loved it and would highly recommend Galakiwi to anyone thinking of a land-based Galapagos trip.
    Larry Katz, USA
    10-day Galapagos Adventure Tour, December 2015
  • Rachel Mundy, New Zealand - Galapagos Biking Tour
    The Galapagos mountain biking adventure trip was an amazing experience. Having to dodge a giant tortoise in the middle of the road is not something that happens every day. A great way to see these beautiful and unique islands in a slightly more detailed way.
    Rachel Mundy, New Zealand
    Galapagos Biking Tour
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