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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.


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.

  • Krista Whitley - 10 day Galapagos Adventure Tour - May 2024
    Pablo (our guide) is the Steve Irwin of Ecuador and Karen at Galakiwi offered 24/7, 365 concierge customer service. Truly an exceptional experience from booking to completion that left our family with new life long friends. I cannot recommend Galakiwi highly enough!
    Krista Whitley
    10 day Galapagos Adventure Tour - May 2024
  • Melanie Eustace - 6-day Land Galapagos Tour, January 2024
    A big thank you to the team at Galakiwi for making my holiday in the Galapagos the most incredible experience I could have ever wished for. I thought I had missed out completely when my flight from Miami got canceled but Laura rescheduled everything in Ecuador for me and arranged for me to catch up with my group without missing out at all. Pepo our guide did a superb job and every day was even better than the one before, except the last one when we had to go home ?. From beginning to end every single member of the Galakiwi team was incredible. I couldn't recommend this 6-day Galapagos holiday or Galakiwi highly enough. I will treasure all the wonderful memories of the Galapagos.
    Melanie Eustace
    6-day Land Galapagos Tour, January 2024
  • Murray - Family Tour - 2023
    I would give this trip six stars if I could. This was my second trip with Galakiwi, the first having been with a small group of adults none of whom I knew before the trip. This trip, I requested a custom itinerary for myself, my adult daughter and her husband, and their bright and very active kids aged 7, 10 and 12. The staff did a great job seeking out activities suitable for us, some of which I'd done previously and some I had not. We were even able to book a surfing session. Pablo Valladares was our guide on the first trip and I requested him for this tour because of his outgoing personality, encyclopedic knowledge about the islands, and obvious deep love for the place where he lives. I cannot recommend Galakiwi highly enough. In addition to all the above, Galakiwi offers a land based tour so you sleep in a hotel every night and not on a boat. What could be better?
    Family Tour - 2023
  • Michele Lemay - Galapagos Private Customized Tour - Feb 2023
    Galakiwi provided our 7-person group with outstanding, professional services throughout the 13-day customized tour. From the expert advice during the pre-trip planning to the booking experience, the efficient on-site logistics, the exceptional, highly knowledgeable guides, and the excellent family-run quality hotels, everything was perfect. It was the experience of a lifetime that our group had dreamed of. Galakiwi is a superb team all around.
    Michele Lemay
    Galapagos Private Customized Tour - Feb 2023
  • Kurtis Siegle - 10 day Galapagos Adventure Tour - May 2023
    I learned so much and had so much fun! It was an adventure I will never forget!
    Kurtis Siegle
    10 day Galapagos Adventure Tour - May 2023
  • Alex W - Customized Family Tour 2023
    This was absolutely the trip of a lifetime! We booked a private tour with Galakiwi for our family of 6 - mom, dad, grandma, and three kids ages 7, 10 and 12. From the moment we arrived we were completely taken care of. With three kids we didn't have to worry about getting from one point to another. But more importantly, we were shown the most extraordinary places and wildlife. We hiked a volcano, surfed, and snorkeled with sharks and giant sea turtles and sea lions! Our guide Pablo was so caring and related to everyone in our group so well. He made changes as needed in the itinerary to give us the best experience every day. And he taught us so much. He truly loves these islands and the plants and animals who live there, and his enthusiasm and curiosity were infectious. We felt like we were being let into a secret garden that only Pablo knew about. Our only regret is that we didn't stay longer! There is so much to see and do.
    Alex W
    Customized Family Tour 2023
  • Heidi - 10 day Galapagos Adventure Tour - 2023
    Galakiwi is the way to Go-lapagos! Super organized, anticipating every move and connection in a well choreographed professional manner. Great gear was at our disposal, excellent food served by all of their partner restaurants and caterers. Pepo and Paulo were excellent local guides that we all felt lucky to have lead our adventure, They provided clear insight on the fragile ecosystems that are the gems of the Galapagos and explained Ecuador's cautious development of sustainable tourism in the region. Special visits to the Tree House, meeting their moms and Tim's kids on the last day made it a truly special visit.
    10 day Galapagos Adventure Tour - 2023
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