Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Guest Post- Jen McConnel: Top Five Travel Tips

Top Five Travel Tips: guest post by Jen McConnel

Travel is wonderful, and I can’t get enough of it. My novel THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY begins with a vacation to Scotland. Like my main character, Lou, I’ve traveled to Scotland in the winter, and I’ve been lucky enough to bounce around to a few other places in my life, too. Some trips have been solo, while others have been with school groups and, more recently, my husband.

Through it all, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve also developed some pretty good tricks for getting by, regardless of where I’m traveling. Here are my top five travel tips to help you plan your next adventure!

1. Bring toilet paper

Seriously. My husband looked at me like I was insane when I insisted on packing a roll of toilet paper in a ziplock bag before our trip to Egypt, but he was thanking me within hours of landing.

It’s amazing how little toilet paper seems to be available abroad, whether you’re in Egypt or Italy. When in doubt, pack a travel pack of tissues and bring it with you in your purse. Chances are you’ll need it at least once before your vacation is over.

2. Exchange money beforehand

First, walking out of AAA with an envelope full of colorful foreign bills will make you feel a little like an international spy or woman of mystery, but beyond that, I’ve found it’s useful to carry some local currency no matter where I go. Many banks and ATMS charge international fees, so why not get a good exchange rate and bring your spending money with you?

3. Hide the money

This is easier to do if you are traveling with a friend or a group, but it can be done alone. If you choose to take my advice in #2 and bring local currency, you also don’t want to be totally screwed if you get robbed. I split the money up and hide it in different places; in my wallet, in my pocket, in the suitcase wrapped in my underwear. Basically, if I do get mugged, they won’t get everything. Make sure you remember where you stash the cash, though, and how much you have; there’ve been a few trips where my husband and I thought we’d been robbed, only to realize our hiding place was too good for us to remember.

4. Have a plan

Make sure you have a list of things you’d like to see before you land. Winging it can be fun, but the few times I’ve gone traveling without a plan, I end up barely seeing anything and going home disappointed. If you have a loose idea of the places you want to visit, you can better prepare to be spontaneous once you’re there.

5. Check the website

This one goes hand in hand with #4. Once you have a plan, make sure you check for up-to date information about admission costs, hours of operation, and holiday closings. You don’t want misinformation from an old guide book to keep you from seeing the site of your dreams!

What are some travel rules you’ve learned the hard way?

About Jen 

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Her debut NA novel, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY, is coming December 2013 from Bloomsbury Spark . Visit http://www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.

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Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Fresh out of college, she’s unemployed and unsure of herself. But when she gets the chance to escape to Scotland with her best friend, it could be the answer to her quest for self-discovery. The trip is not at all what she expected, especially when her tour guide turns out to be the dreamy historian Brian, and together they embark on a hunt for information about Isobel Key, a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century. They set out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but Lou isn’t prepared for the knowledge that awaits her. She must face her own demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.

Flashing between seventeenth century Scotland and a contemporary romance, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY is a mystery that will please readers of all ages.

Learn More

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Thanks to Jen for posting! Hope you all enjoyed!


  1. Good tips, thanks. I want to add something that was a life saver on my last trip to Rome. I lost my passport during the day and had no idea it was missing. Fortunately, I had a tracer tag on it. A waiter where I ate lunch found it and entered my tracker number on the website. I was automatically sent a text message (and an email) with a pickup location before I ever even knew my passport was missing. Lucky for me, I was leaving in the morning for Germany and getting a new passport would have been impossible. Tags are available through mystufflostandfound.com That tag saved my trip from total disaster and I put them on my phone, laptop and almost everything that travels with me now.

  2. You people are very hard working i seen you are regularly updating this blog. keep it up guys. thanks
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  3. I like your tips. I will apply all of this to avoid hassles. Thank you so much! Keep itup guyz ♥

  4. Thanks for sharing these tips! I will be traveling a lot this summer so I have been looking for some additional advice of what I should and shouldn't be doing. I always have some convatec products with me just in case anything should happen while we are travling. Safety is the most important factor when traveling so that's why I keep those with me at all times.

  5. One of the nicest tips I've read is yours Jen. I really don't know what to do if I go travel. This gives me knowledge on how am I going to spent my travel hassle free. Thank you so much

  6. Very fantastic information that you share. I needed it badly. I am a regular traveler and visit Europe. I mostly live at Niagara to niagara ...these sharing will help me a lot


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