SharedKey: Property Sharing Just Got Easier!

Are you in need of a weekend getaway but tired of arguing who gets to use the family cabin? Do you co-own a family rental, and you’re getting calls asking about which plumber to use, who booked the location for next month, or if there’s enough toilet paper? Luckily, SharedKey makes the nitty-gritty aspects of homeownership simpler to manage. While helping families in over 30 countries, this unique application takes the stress out of sharing a property.

“SharedKey has been developed as a private and secure solution for the millions of vacation property owners around the world. For owners of rental and home exchange properties, SharedKey is a great way to share all of the logistics, instructions and other details after a booking has been made.The result is an easy, positive and rich experience for all users,” says Mattea Spradling, Account Executive at Everything Branding

What Is SharedKey?

Anyone can try out SharedKey with a 30-day free trial

Chris and Eric Thrall vacationed at their grandparents’ log cabin in the Canadian Rockies for decades. As their families grew larger and the cabin became a shared property, scheduling and maintenance conflicts began to come up. With only virtual calendars as an option, the Thrall brothers created SharedKey

SharedKey is a centralized online system that provides a communication hub for co-owners. In addition, owners can post house rules, a schedule of occupants, a notice board for supplies and even recommendations for things to do in the area. By keeping everyone on track with lots of details, SharedKey promotes greater harmony between owners and family members. Sharing property among family, friends and guests is now simple and easy.

How Do You Use SharedKey?

SharedKey promotes family harmony and fun vacations

With a 30-day free trial, SharedKey offers a $49 pricing plan for one property with unlimited members and guests. Anyone can sign up on the website link or download the mobile app for complete access while on the go. On the platform, users post reminders for maintenance work, cleaning requirements, and create an information book for any important contacts or emergency services. Also, users have access to their personal booking calendar, which helps avoid scheduling conflicts and manage event planning. SharedKey can even help you be the perfect host by providing customized directions, a personalized welcome message, a list of activities to enjoy in the area and a virtual guest book for visitors to sign.

Why You Should Use SharedKey

SharedKey helps take the stress out of co-managing a residence or planning a vacation at a family rental. The application is also useful for managing your own home and for times when you’re hosting a get-together. When signing up for SharedKey, property information is only open to owners and their selected guests. Also, the program uses SSL certification to ensure an encrypted connection for each time you log in or record personal data, which makes SharedKey a secure system to use among friends and family. 

SharedKey can reinforce sanitation rules and correlate booking times to maintain adequate social distancing, which also helps keep COVID-19 regulations in mind. So try out this unique application for your next family vacation or trip. It makes communication much more efficient and easy to do.

~By Virtual Marketing & Communications Intern, Laura Vo. Laura’s a Public Relations Major at Kennesaw State University and has a passion for supporting great causes like Go Eat Give.

Best Travel Books of 2020 That You Need To Read

With several countries still closed and vacation plans coming to a halt, the need to travel is at an all-time high. If you are looking through old travel pictures, feeling nostalgic about places, or still trying to plan a trip for the near future, you’ll definitely get the travel blues. The pandemic has everyone on the edge of their seats, and eager to book the next flight out of town. However, who says you can’t scratch that travel itch while in lockdown?

Books are a fantastic medium to introduce yourself to new worlds, cultures and people, all from the comfort of your own home. Even if you’re not an avid reader, lounging on your patio, book in hand, while sipping a refreshing drink, is a great way to unwind or easily expand your knowledge. With the pages transporting you to a new world and life, this pastime takes your mind off of any current worries you may have.

Specifically, travel books take our imagination on endless miles that’s just as transformative as a physical journey. While self-quarantining, pick up a travel book to transport yourself to unbelievable locations, or simply cradle your wanderlust and be inspired. By the time traveling is safe again, you’ll have ideas for your next hike, drive, or even bike!

Here are a few travel books I recommend for the summer of 2020…

Hidden Places: An Inspired Traveller’s Guide by Sarah Baxter

Hidden Places: An Inspired Traveller’s Guide by Sarah Baxter. Illustrated by Amy Grimes.

Hole-in-the-wall places can be as unique and fun as going to the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. Author Sara Baxter is a travel journalist who wrote for Wanderlust Travel Magazine and The Telegraph. From her travel experiences, she compiled a list of the world’s most beautiful and unknown destinations for people to discover. From ancient gateways to underwater monuments, Hidden Places instantly transports its readers to cities with meaningful stories. The Black Forest in Germany, the Turban Oasis in China and the Kaisertal Valley in Austria are a few examples.

From the USA to Ethiopia, 25 countries are illustrated through colorful pages and descriptive details. For your next awe-inspiring view or moments that’ll take your breath away, check out this travel book.

Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

travel book
Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

This charming memoir tells the story of an Australian woman with a great fear of the ocean. But one day, the man of her dreams decides to voyage across the globe on his small boat. To save her relationship and conquer her fear, she takes the plunge and sails across the Pacific for one year. While traveling, they encounter tropical landscapes, welcoming natives and have thrilling adventures. 

Love with a Chance of Drowning is an irresistibly, funny tale about the risk and rewards of living and the need to get out of one’s comfort zone. It’s a great read for someone wanting to overcome their travel fears!

The Only Gaijin in the Village by Iain Maloney

travel book
The Only Gaijin in the Village by Iain Maloney

In 2016, Iain Maloney moved to a rural village in Japan. Maloney, who is a native Scot and now a foreigner or “gaijin” in a small Japanese village, talks about his experiences of trying to fit in and finding acceptance in the Gifu Prefecture. He learns the language, attempts farming, and even grows his own garden, while under the guidance of his neighbors. 

As a travel book, The Only Gaijin in the Village enlightens the readers with aspects of Japanese tradition, history, language and politics that were never highlighted before. It also asks the question, “what truly makes a home?” With his sarcastic humor and unique personality, Maloney describes a side of Japan that is rarely seen and speaks about the positive benefits of immigration.

The Snow Gypsy by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

travel book
The Snow Gypsy by Lindsay Jane Ashford

This novel narrates a story of two women. One searches for her missing brother, while the other hides from the truth of her past. Though both characters seem completely different, fate draws them together and takes them on a journey from London to Spain.

This novel dives deeper into the wildlands of the Camargue to the highest peaks of Spain’s ancient mountains, as both women discover a new understanding of themselves. The Snow Gypsy also plays out relationships among the British, Gypsies, and Spanish, making this travel book thrilling and informative.

Time of Birds: Reflections on Cycling Across Europe by Helen Moat

A Time of Birds by Helen Moat

Leaving her day job, Helen Moat and her teenage son set out to cycle across Europe in the new novel. While this is a story about familial relationships, A Time of Birds also touches on topics of forgiveness, understanding and self-discovery. As Helen and her son pedal through Europe’s great forest and waterways, they make new friends and find a sense of belonging in unexpected places.

This travel book narrates the importance of going to new places, meeting new people and enjoying the little moments along the way. It is a must-read for those wanting a meaningful journey and for keen cyclists!

A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar

A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar

If you’re still nostalgic of your last trip to Italy, then this book is a must-read. Hisham Matar is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, who fell in love with Sienese art more than 25 years ago. A Month in Siena depicts the relationship between art and life during Matar’s month-long stay in the Tuscan city.

With beautiful illustrations, the inhabitants and culture come to life through recollections of food, conversations and artwork. For those who love to learn the history of a city and have an in-depth look at the lives of the people in Siena, A Month in Siena is the book for you.

~By Virtual Marketing & Communications Intern, Laura Vo. Laura’s a Public Relations Major at Kennesaw State University and has a passion for supporting great causes like Go Eat Give.

Greetings to Learn From Other Cultures

In America, what’s a common way for a person to greet someone? A usual “Hi! Nice to meet you!” followed by a handshake is what many would think of when asked that question. What started as a Greek symbol of peace has became an everyday action now, but how do you feel about the new elbow bump that’s becoming commonplace with social distancing?

With COVID-19 still a concern, you may be wary of exchanging physical contact. So instead of the usual universal greeting, why not take a look at how other cultures greet each other? Though the handshake has been a long tradition in American life, learning and trying out different new ways to greet people can be a fun, unique experience, while also helping you build stronger bonds with people from various backgrounds. It may even come in handy on your next business or leisure trip!

1. Bow

bow greeting
In Asia, a bow is appropriate for all social settings.
photo courtesy of TripSavvy

In Eastern Asian countries like Japan and Korea, bowing is a common greeting. Though everyone greets by bowing, the meaning of the gesture can take on different forms. It can symbolize respect, sincerity, humility, and remorse, depending on the context of the situation. Increase the emotion behind the greeting by bowing lower than the other person.

For a Japanese bow or “ojigi,” men should have their hands to their sides, while women would place their hands onto their laps. During the bow, make sure to lower your gaze and avoid eye contact. The neck and back should be a straight line. In informal situations, a 15-degree angle bow is acceptable, but during formal situations, a 30-degree angle bow is expected. In Korea, however, numerous bows or “konsu” are practiced. They vary from casual and respectful, to “belly-button” bows. Each gesture has different guidelines to follow for specific settings a person may be in. 

Check out this video for a more in-depth explanation and the difference between the two cultural bows!

2. Shaking Fist

I tried out this fun greeting, and it’s super easy! Try it out next time you’re with friends!
Photo courtesy by Mental Floss

This greeting of shaking your own fist in the air is common among the Kanuri tribe in Niger. The Kanuri tribe belongs to the Saharan Branch of the Nilo-Sharan, and its lineage traces back to the medieval Kanem-Bornu Empire. As farmers, fishers and traders, it’s common to encounter the Kanuri people in Southeast Niger. Instead of smiling or waving, shaking fists is a formal greeting!

To correctly do this, raise your hands at eye level and then form them into fists. Then, shake your fists while saying “wooshay!” which translates to “hi!”

3. Wai

For the wei, the higher your hands symbolizes the amount of respect shown.
Photo courtesy by Koh Samui Sunset

The wai, pronounced  “why,” is exclusive to the people of Thailand. The wai complements the Thai word “sawasdee” which means hello. However, it’s recommended to not gesture the wai to people who are younger than you, as age plays a major role in social ranking in Thailand. Instead, give them a nod and smile. Use the greeting to say goodbye, to apologize, and to pay respects to spirit houses, temples or shrines!

To wai, place your palms together with each finger touching its counterpart. With your hands at the center of your chest, bend your neck toward your fingers. As your neck is lowering, rotate your hands to where your index figure will touch your nose. The higher you place your hands, the more respect is conveyed.

4. Tongue Out

greeting
This Tibetan greeting will make kids chuckle.
Photo courtesy of Home Exchange

Across the globe, children often stick their tongues out when making fun of each other. As adults, we refrain from this as it is considered rude. In Tibet, however, it’s quite the opposite, and is actually a formal greeting. The tradition stems from the 9th century during the rule of Tibetan King Lang Darma. Known for his cruelty and black tongue, Darma is an infamous figure in Tibetian history.

Tibetans fear Darma’s incarnation and stick out their tongues as a greeting. If the tongue is not black, they are deemed not guilty of evil deeds, and are not incarnations of the malevolent king. When you visit Tibet, you don’t have to worry about being impolite since the greeting is actually a form of respect!

5. Namaste

namaste greeting
Namaste symbolizes unity and good energy.
Photo courtesy of Stuff

During this time of social distancing, namaste has become the go-to method across the globe for greeting people. The action is a customary, non-contact form of Hindu greeting predominately found in India. The meaning behind the custom is to welcome guests, relatives, or to acknowledge strangers. It expresses courtesy, politeness and gratitude, while also acting as a salutation and valediction. Derived from the Sanskrit language and meaning, “I bow to the divine in you,” namaste is the highest and most respectful greeting in the world!

To say namaste, hold both palms together with forefingers posing upwards. Bring your thumbs close to your chest. Close your eyes as you bow, and say “namaste” loud and clear. For an example of how to correctly observe this greeting, watch this video from Hemalayaa.

~By Virtual Marketing & Communications Intern, Laura Vo. Laura’s a Public Relations Major at Kennesaw State University and has a passion for supporting great causes like Go Eat Give.

Sustainable Father’s Day Gift Guide

Many malls and shops around the world are still closed, but that should not stop you from shopping for the special man in your life. This summer, shop for products online, that will make dad happy and help change the world! Here are some recommendations for Father’s Day gifts that give back to the community...

Vintage leather toilet bag is handmade and ethically sourced.

Toiletry Bag for Zambia $34.95

A 100% authentic Leather Toiletry Bag that comes in a vintage style, is timeless and useful for when dad is ready to travel again. Each wash kit varies in appearance to be as unique as your loved one. All Moonster products are handmade and ethically sourced. With every Moonster product purchased, a percentage of profits are donated to Tehila, a non-profit organization in Zambia that promotes the prevention of child cruelty.

Order the toiletry bag from Amazon and ship it directly to your dad this Father’s Day.

father's day gifts
Help your family and event planner in Florida.

Ultimate Care Package to Combat COVID-19 $48.50

Send dad a thoughtful care package for his Father’s Day gift, which contains all the essentials he needs to stay healthy and safe. PPE Gifts has created care packages of personal protective gear including a large bottle of hand sanitizer, flushable wipes, two pairs of safety glasses, and several pairs of gloves. Event Services Group (ESG) created PPE Gifts after the coronavirus pandemic completely shut down their event business in Florida. It helps keep their employees working, while also donating much-needed supplies to essential workers on the front lines of COVID-19.

Simply order online at PPEGifts.com and they will ship it directly to his door. Use code GOEATGIVE10 to receive 10% off your order.

For every pair purchased, a pair of socks is donated to charity.

Sock Subscription For The Homeless $57

Need to refresh your sock drawer regularly? Forget the boring black-white-brown socks and look at these fashionable designs! With a Society Socks subscription, dads will receive 2 new pairs of bold and expressive patterned socks each month. With every pair of socks purchased, another pair is donated to charity. Society Socks works with several charities to not only donate socks, but to create a positive change through community involvement.

Gift a pair ($6) or a 3-12 month socks subscription.

father's day gift
Demeter Cologne will transport to you to another country!

Nostalgia Inspired Cologne $36

For something unique, check out this travel and place inspired cologne from Demeter Fragrance Library. Through the limited edition Destination Collection, dads can travel to New Zealand’s fresh green outdoors, walk through the meadows of Ireland, or experience the vibrant nightlife of Cuba.

Demeter also sells fragrant hand sanitizers, and donates them back to the community. They have donated over $20,000 worth of their hand sanitizer to first responders in the Selinsgrove, PA area where they produce their line of fragrances.

Map Mug to Save the Trees $18-24

father's day gift
Color your own Trouvaille Global mug.

Dreaming of all the places you will go to? Color these USA or world map mugs to remind dad of the places you have visited together or would like to go in the future. Each set includes a mug along with a special green ceramic pen to color in. Make the ink permanent after baking it! Trouvaille Global sustainably produces the mugs in Europe. One of the charities they support is Tree Aid. Tree Aid prevents deforestation and promotes sustainable development by helping communities plant and protect trees. This helps them make their way out of poverty and protect the environment for now and for future generations.

Buy customizable map mugs on Uncommon Goods.

father's day gift
Leather wallet that keeps giving back!

Wallet for Charity $28

This trendy and company Fair Tribe men’s wallet is embossed with the world map and the phrase “miles to go” onto its sustainable leather. It is made with leather from sacred cows that die of natural causes and vegetable tanning methods, instead of chemicals. Each of their products has a story about the artisan who made it and this one comes from India! 1% of every sale is donated to one of 6 preselected, vetted non-profits of the customers’ choice, and the giving increases to 10% on Black Friday. Choose from charities that provide micro-loans, medical care, food security, environmental and wildlife protections. 

Check out the Fair Trade Artisan shop.

father's day gift
Sydney Duo Nausea Relief Bracelets

Blisslets For Good Health $29+

If your dad suffers from nausea or motion sickness due to flying, riding in the car, cruising, due to medication or even over-indulging during a Zoom happy hour, this is the right Father’s Day gift for him! Fashionable wrist bands called Blisslets discreetly trigger a pressure point on the wrist connected to the area of the brain that regulates feelings of nausea. “We designed Blisslets to be a product people would want to wear: one that worked, felt good, and looked good,” says founder and mom Katie Aparicio.”

Take 10% when you subscribe to My Blisslets newsletter.

father's day gift
Recycled sail cloth carries beverages in style.

Beverage Bags Made of Recycled Sails $75

For a picnic, golf day out, beach getaway or cookout, dad’s will love this gift. Marlin Beverage Bucket Bags from Sea Bags are stylish and durable for any occasion. There is a grommet in the bottom of the bag so the melted ice can drain, while beers, drinks and ice creams remain chilled. The durable bags, totes and accessories from Sea Bags are handmade from recycled sail cloth, in Portland, Maine. Through their unique recycling and upcycling efforts, Sea Bags has helped keep over 700 tons (and counting) of sail cloth material out of landfills. 

Purchase on Sea Bags website.

father's day gift
10% of proceeds from sales of men’s masks go to #HealthyHappyFund

Handmade Masks $10

Masks are not a traditional Father’s Day gift, but an essential to go to work, grocery shopping or the airport! The triple-layered, 100% cotton reusable masks from ChicTweak, New York while also in fashionable prints and colors that men love. 10% from the profit of each purchase goes to a #HealthyHappyFund, which supports the Children’s Village and the International Rescue Committee.

Order your mask for a cause at ChickTweak.

Virtual Tours Across the 7 Continents

Popular destinations across the globe are virtually capturing their highlights, so that people can still travel, even if it’s from the comfort of their own home. Follow us on an adventure across the seven continents, as we journey through some of the must-see places around the world.

Let’s take a (virtual) trip around the world!

North America

Alaska, the Last Frontier. Virtual tours in North America.
Tagish Lake, Alaska

Start at the edge of the globe by taking in the breathtaking sights of America’s infamous Last Frontier, with a virtual vacation by Travel Alaska. Watch the brown bears at Katmai National Park and Preserve, or follow alongside a professional guide as he explores the glaciers at Kenai Fjords National Park.

Continue south and take a journey through the National Parks of the American West. Explore your way through the diverse landscape of Yosemite, the unique water features of Yellowstone, and the great expanse of carved rocksides of the Grand Canyon.

South America

Amazon Rainforest

In South America, begin in Peru with a tour of Machu Picchu. Soak in the ancient culture of the long-ago Incas, and marvel the site’s ability to withstand the test of time. Then, take in the astonishing grandeur of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. Finally, finish your South American tour, with an immersive venture into the wilderness of Patagonia, the famous mountain range shared by bordering Argentina and Chile.

If you have little ones, read with them children’s picture book on travel – Beato Goes To Brazil.

Europe

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland. Virtual Tours around the world, Europe.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Start your European journey on the coast of Ireland, and have your breath taken away by the vertical plunge to the sea that sits just past the ridge of the Cliffs of Moher.

Next, travel to the popular city of London, England, and take in the city sights from the top of the London Eye. Or, immerse your self in the history, culture, and heritage that is encompassed by the virtual tour of Buckingham Palace.

Learn about the history of the famous architectural feat, the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. Virtual traveling does not require a lot of stamina, so you can continue on with a virtual walking tour of the entire city of Rome.

Africa

Learn all about the geography, the people, and of course, the animals of this vast continent, with a short informational video from PBS.

Continue on your journey and view Victoria Falls, one of the biggest waterfalls in Africa, from an aerial perspective. Finally, take a virtual Safari compliments of Asilia Africa. You will quickly fall in love with the native elephants, hyenas, lions, and so many other wild animals.

Asia

Asia is a vast continent and it can be intimidating to pick where to start. The good thing about virtual visits is you can explore all the places you want to from your home and for free! That ways you can pick and choose where you want to go in the future.

Take a walk along one of the wonders of the world – the Great Wall of China. This amazing structure boasts a history of over 2,000 years and is over 3,000 miles long!

In Indonesia, walk through temples, rice fields, or even the famous sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

Continue on westward and travel to Vietnam to experience the world’s largest cave – Hang Son Doong, located at Nha- Ke Bang National Park. 

Antarctica

Watch penguin colonies up close in Antarctica

Finish your virtual tour around the world on a different edge of the globe – in Antarctica, also known as the 7th continent. To see this snowy landscape, Shackleton 100 has a great interactive map of the whole continent. Additionally, Quark Expeditions has created an online guide for viewers to get to know the animals that inhabit the land. These include but are not limited to Gentoo penguins!

Read about our adventure to Antarctica

Continue the Adventure

If you are looking for more opportunities to see the world from your own home there are numerous avenues to do so. Google, for example, has partnered with entities around the world to create vast galleries of Art and Culture, as well as a unique platform for Heritage Sites that are threatened by climate change. Or if you’re just looking for a day trip, National Geographic has created a gallery of 24 sites, one new place for one new hour of the day.

For even more, check out How to Satisfy Your Wanderlust at Home, here.

~By virtual Marketing and Communications Intern, Jordan Dunn. Jordan is a Public Relations and Communications Marketing Major at Siena College in Upstate NY. She has a passion for writing, traveling, and advocacy.

A Complete Road Trip Guide During COVID-19

Due to the Coronavirus, the closing of numerous states and countries have put a pause in many people’s travel plans. Though it may be a while before the tourism industry takes full flight again, the United States is beginning to ease its quarantine restrictions as states make plans to reopen. That being said, family-friendly, affordable and fun summer getaways can still be enjoyed, while abiding by CDC’s health guidelines. Now is the best time to start planning for practical road trips you and your loved ones can experience, and here are a few tips to keep in mind when preparing for your upcoming road trip.

Heath and safety reminders at Rock City Gardens

Pack An Essentials Bag

An emergency bag is important for every road trip you take, especially during this time. When preparing your kit, remember to gather any over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, Pepto Bismol and Benadryl, so you’re ready to combat any health symptoms you may experience and avoid an impromptu trip to the store. To save money and avoid too many stops, pack granola bars and energy drinks along with other non-perishable foods. 

Your main essentials to pack to help you practice good hygiene and ensure your safety include –  sanitary items such as gloves, wet wipes, at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and face masks. Use disposable gloves when pumping gas or entering rest areas. Wear a face mask whenever you leave your car to protect yourself and those around you. Be sure to regularly wipe down surfaces before and after touching them, and you’re ready to go!

The Ultimate PPE Care Package includes all the essentials you need for travel

Get 10% off Ultimate PPE CarePackage with code: GOEATGIVE10. The ready-to-go travel box comes complete with reusable and disposable face masks (including KN95 Face Masks), hand sanitizer, flushable wipes, safety glasses and several pairs of gloves.

The Riverview Inn is tucked away in the historic Lookout Mountain

Stay In Places Where Social Distancing Is Easier

With new regulations in place, several hotels, Like Extended Stay America and Hyatt, have also implemented new policies on how they will maintain social distancing and sanitize their facility. Familiarize yourself with the guidelines provided by the American Hotel & Lodging Association

Before booking a room, call the hotel or visit the website to see what COVID-19 protocols are in place. When checking into your hotel, also ask to decline housekeeping to reduce the number of people entering your room. Try to avoid densely populated locations that are popular “tourist areas,” such as Las Vegas or New York. Also, now may be a good time to stay at a short-term vacation rental, condo, or AirBnB that will limit frequent contact with others. 

Set ground rules for traveling together

Travel With People You Are Quarantined With

Some say that the best part of a road trip is the company they bring along. When planning for your destination, consider who to travel with. It is best to choose people you’ve been in constant contact with or have been self-quarantining with. Such individuals can be family members in the same house, roommates and significant others. 

Establish social distancing rules that everyone follows before, during and after the road trip. Make sure everyone is on the same page with protecting themselves and potentially exposing others. It’s important to pick people who can earnestly self-quarantine themselves and can guarantee they will not come into contact with others after the trip.

Wash hands after visiting and touching public areas

Disinfect Frequently During The Road Trip

The CDC released a disinfection guide for everyone to follow good hygiene practices for any situation. When making stops for food, gas and resting, bacteria is easily transferred from outside surfaces and to those around you. With your road trip kit packed and ready to go, make it a habit to wipe down the inside of your car and surfaces that you may touch often – such as gas pumps, car door, restroom fixtures, handles, and your phone. Wash hands frequently and avoid touching your face. It’s also a good idea to disinfect your room when checking into your hotel.

Plan ahead and be a smart traveler

Preplan Your Locations and Activities

With several businesses and attractions being closed, there’s a good chance that your typical summer activities are on hold. However, The National Governors Association created a terrific resource to show which states are under stay-at-home orders. For your road trip, prepare for closed theme parks, boardwalks, beaches and parks. Map how many rest stops you may take, and be on the lookout for any toll collection sites that require either cash or card. Also, know which restaurants allow on delivery/carry out, have limited dine-in services, or are reservations only by checking online and calling. It’ll save you the hassle once you hit the road!

~By Virtual Marketing & Communications Intern, Laura Vo. Laura’s a Public Relations Major at Kennesaw State University and has a passion for supporting great causes like Go Eat Give.

Get Your FREE Issue of AllWays Traveller Magazine

If you are looking for travel inspiration and want to start planning your next trip, the first virtual travel issue of the Alliance’s AllWays Traveller’s Journal is out. I’m sure you have lots of websites, emails and magazines enticing you to travel when it is safe to do so.

How to Use Digital Travel Magazines To Plan Your Trip

I personally find it easier to bookmark links, highlight content, and save notes off digital magazines, than printed ones. These often stack up in a corner and I never know where I read about a certain resort in northern Norway I wanted to visit! I keep a notes folder on my Mac, for Travel Research by country or place that I may have read about and may be interested in traveling to. Here I save info and dates about important festivals, sample itineraries, names of restaurants or dishes I want to try, and links to hotels and tour companies. And since the Notes sync digitally, I can add info to each country tab from my phone as I am speaking to a friend and getting recommendations.

Try this yourself. It will save you a lot of time when you are ready to book your trip!

Now Your Free Magazine

As AllWays Traveller is a beautiful consumer travel magazine produced by the International Travel Writers Alliance, that you can download below for free. The overriding aims of the International Travel Writers Alliance are to:

· inspire others to broaden their horizons (not just by traveling)

· encourage diversity, cultural difference and national identity

· champion indigenous populations and local communities

· embrace environmental and sustainability initiatives

The editor, Ann Mealor will be delighted if you could share this issue with your family, friends and colleagues as well.

How to Satisfy Your Wanderlust Without Leaving Home

Research has proven that travel is good for your health and well being. While you may on a staycation right now, this is the best time to spark your wanderlust and start planning your next trip. Here are a few ways you can keep learning about the world, get ideas for your next destination, and support the community.

Watch Live streams on www.facebook.com/HeritageMalta

Take a virtual trip

Many museums, concert halls, aquariums, and zoos are offering free virtual visits so you can enjoy the best views from your living room. You can also live-stream events that are cancelled to the public, such as Heritage Malta Spring Equinox Live Stream. This event marks the special relationship between the temples and the seasons. You can witness the spring equinox online as the first rays of the sun project themselves through the main doorway of the southern Mnajdra temples. Isn’t that cool?

Earnings from The Tour Guy’s new Interactive Virtual Tours go directly towards keeping the passionate tour guides working, and making a living doing what they love the most.  

Order Indian street food from www.chaipanidecatur.com

Try different cuisines

Another great way to learn about a country you plan to visit, is through its cuisine. Order contact free take out or delivery, from neighborhood restaurants serving ethnic food. Try new dishes that you may have not tasted before. Often times, these are mom and pop eateries that survive with very little cash flow, so they will welcome any patronage. You can also buy gift cards from restaurants to support small businesses.

Get wine to your doorstep

You can’t walk around vineyards, but you can still do a wine tour. Cheer on virtual happy hours with carefully selected international wines from family-run wineries. Many wine clubs (including Macy’s Cellar) and vineyards, deliver hand picked selection of finest wines from all over the world right to your door. They also include descriptions so you can sound like a real wine connoisseur at your next party!

Use code “12spies” for free shipping on orders from Georgia-based 12 Spies Vineyards.

Traveling to the yard can be a nice change

Camp out

If you have a backyard or patio, camp out and create a sense of adventure. Play the guitar, roast s’mores on the fire, and cook out on the grill. Set up your travel atmosphere with background music, such as waterfalls or chirping bird sounds. You can also download an astronomy app to see the night sky where you’re at.

Download Calm App for background sounds

Watch and learn

If you are going to be in front of the screen, use this time to watch movies and tv shows based in different countries. I just watched ‘Top End Wedding’ and added a few places to my list for my next visit to Australia!

Watch a foreign movie

Watch this 360-degree virtual reality movie experience of Japan, featuring scenes throughout the country. You can see the sculptures of Naoshima, breathtaking bamboo forests, Geisha performances, sumo wrestling and sushi making.

Read Beato Goes To books www.beatogoesto.com

Read and listen

If you have an iTunes account, you can download hundreds of free podcasts on destinations, travel hacks, trends and more. Personally, I enjoy listening to stories of locals, of how they live and what they believe in. For example “Life in Australia” podcast explores the lives of young refugees living in Australia.

Reading also helps me imagine what it’s like to live in, or travel to other countries. I always pick up an interesting fiction or non-fiction book (not guidebook) about a country I am going to visit to, because it gets me totally immersed in my new atmosphere.

You can visualize places through the colorful illustrations in ‘Beato Goes To‘ series of children’s books, authored by me, and based on actual photos I have taken during my trips.

Have a laugh

One of my favorite things to watch on YouTube is videos of people talking in different accents. It gives me a chance to learn a new phrase or slang, and helps me understand people better when I go visit that country. Plus, it is really fun to practice out loud!

Learn accents from professional vocal coach Madeleine Harvey

Why You Need To Keep Traveling

In the midst of global pandemic, I say this – Keep Calm and Keep Traveling! I am sure if you are watching the news or are on social media, you are overwhelmed with all so much information about coronavirus thrown at you constantly. How do you make a decision to keep your travel plans or stay home?

Think about this… After 9/11, did people stop going to New York?

There are knife, shooting and bombing attacks in Paris almost every year. Does the city appeal to you any less?

Has there been any decline in travelers to Mumbai after a series of attacks over 4 days in 2008?

Do you know about the SARS coronavirus that lasted 2002-2004 in China and Hong Kong (which was an epidemic, not a pandemic)?

Has the cholera that killed over 4,000 people in Zimbabwe in 2008-2009, or the swine flu in India that took over 2,000 lives in 2015, altered your travel plans?

The flu effected 35.5 million in the U.S. across 2018 and 2019, which led to 490,000 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths.

I am sure all of these events did bring attention to a particular place and you may wisely chose not to travel there during the chaos, but eventually things normalize.

Here are some reasons you must keep traveling…

Many summer jobs include working at restaurants, beaches, national and amusement parks.

Keep Your Jobs

Most major airlines and hotel chains have reduced 15% or more capacity, which also leads to internal cost cuts. This may not mean much to you as a traveler, but if you have anyone working in the travel industry – directly or indirectly – they could get affected by lower wages, hiring freezes, and potential layoffs.

Where are recent graduates and college students going to work?

Save Your Investments

If you have investments, retirement funds or savings, they will be impacted too. Not just the travel industry, everyone has an impact from a slowing down economy. We are already seeing worst stock market crashes since 2008.

Don’t Waste Resources

Over the past few weeks, I have heard from countless restaurants, farmers markets and growers from Seattle to Italy about how they have beautiful, fresh spring vegetables and fruits going to waste. We are throwing away perfectly good food, while some are starving.

Think about how much the food industry relies on travelers (as well as locals dining out) to consume produce.

Some mom and pop businesses rely entirely on tourism.

Care About The People

Almost 15 million Americans work in tourism and hospitality—in hotels, amusement parks, art museums, and restaurants—making it the fifth largest industry in the country. Canceling travel and events has a trickle-down effect that harms economies, from locally owned hotels, restaurants, travel advisors and tour operators to the service and frontline employees who make up the backbone of the travel industry and the global economy.

Travel Smarter

Currently, the WHO has no travel or trade restrictions to international destinations. CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. Airlines and hotels are offering a flexible cancellation policy. Travel insurance companies are willing to work with this new threat.

Be an informed and smart traveler.

It is important to realize that our actions and their impact are connected to our own homes, communities and the world. While it’s important to remain vigilant, it’s equally important to make calm, rational, and fact-based decisions. My recommendations include traveling to closer to home destinations, taking shorter trips, opting for refundable bookings, and maintaining proper hygiene at all times (even when not traveling).

  • Go on road trips.
  • Explore national parks and outdoor recreation areas.
  • Rent a camper.
  • Take shorter flights.
  • Wipe down airplane seats and tray tables with alcohol sanitizers.
  • Limit movement on the plane. Wash hands after touching overheads and visiting restrooms.
  • Avoid touching your face and contact with coughing passengers by whatever means possible.
  • Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing.
  • Wear a face mask only if you are showing symptoms.
  • Maintain food hygiene.
  • Get screened after every trip or whenever possible.

Don’t cancel your summer vacations or winter breaks. In fact, use this time to read more about the places you want to visit, choose responsible tour operators, and take advantage of discounts. Use travel agents to make your bookings as they have more leverage on making changes and cancellations, without much hassle to you.

Go Eat Give offers customized itineraries and bookings through our connections with hundreds of small tour operators worldwide. Contact us at info at goeatgive dot com to book your next cultural, culinary or sustainable trip.

Important Tips for First Time International Travelers

According to a recent study, only 42% of U.S. citizens currently have a passport (as oppose to 4% in 1990). More Americans are traveling abroad than ever. If you are someone who is leaving the country for the first time, it is good to do your homework. You are probably getting excited to go on a vacation or work trip, and may have certain expectations about your visit. Perhaps you are anxious about traveling. Following some of my tried and tested travel tips will make your trip more enjoyable, prepare for unexpected situations, have a more positive travel experience.

Temple vendor in Penang

Find out the Visa Rules. Here’s a web site where you can quickly check if the country you are traveling to requires a visa for your nationality. You may nee to apple for an evisa, apply for a visa on arrival, or get one from the embassy in your home country. Depending on the requirements, allow for a few weeks to collect paperwork and apply, so you can have your visas before your trip. Note: some countries may require a visa even if you are not visiting, but transiting through the airport.

Get Vaccinated. If your last vaccination was when you started school, you may need to obtain records or get booster shots before you travel. Certain countries, like Kenya, require you to show your Yellow Fever vaccination papers to enter, while others will give you a list of recommend shots and medication you need. CDC’s website is a good source to check the vaccination requirements by country.

Obtain Records. Most of us get our prescriptions refilled through the pharmacy without seeing the original paperwork. You cannot get a prescription transferred to a pharmacy overseas, so keep a printed copy of all the prescriptions you are currently taking, so you could get refills if needed. Also, carry extra medications with you so you don’t run out.

Traveling in Penang

Get Travel Insurance. Most travelers oversee this, thinking “nothing bad is going to happen.” But when you travel, there are several risks involved, some bigger than others. Travel insurance covers things like a delayed or lost luggage (happened to me countless times), missed connections, delays, trip cancellations, accidents, or a medical emergency overseas. I carry an annual policy to cover all my domestic and international trips.

Read Why Your Travel Insurance Could be Denied.

Know What You Booked. Many people who book their own travels search for best deals online and often miss the fine print. When you book through 3rd party sites (such as Expedia, Orbits), may sure to check what is included. Booking your flights directly through the airline directly may save you extra fees for seat selection, check in baggage, priority boarding, and flight changes. Chances of delayed or lost luggage goes up with connecting flights. Similarly, booking directly through the hotel’s website may qualify for complimentary upgrades and free cancellations.

Check Luggage Rules. I did not know that a carry-on bag size is different traveling within Europe, than it is in then US. Check the airline’s luggage policy, because it can differ based on the type of ticket you purchased as well. Pack and weigh your luggage accordingly. I carry a small luggage scale when traveling to make sure I never pay excess bag fees.

Make Copies. If you lose your passport when traveling abroad, it can take a few days and lots of anxiety to get a new one. To make things easier, make sure to have a copy of the ID page of your passport, tickets, and drivers license. Carry 1 copy of your passport in your backpack (preferably secured with an RFID cover), and leave the original in your hotel’s locker room. Also, it’s good to leave another set of copies of travel documents with a family member back home. 

Pack Strategically. Yes, you are going to pack your clothes, shoes, personal items, etc in your check in bag. But I also recommend to always have a carry on with a spare set (in case of flight delays). Keep a change of clothes and a few necessities.

Do not check in valuables such as cameras, laptops, designer handbags or jewelry. These should always be in your carry on.

Unless you are flying business class, you won’t get many amenities on the plane. Some of my must include are – noise cancellation headphones, phone charges, ear plugs, eye mask, mouthwash or mint, hand towel, hand lotion, warm blanket, and neck pillow. I also carry a refillable water bottle and a few healthy snacks since most airplane food doesn’t appeal to my palate.

Read How To Avoid Jet Lags.

Go Eat Give travelers in Amritsar, India

Dress Appropriately. Depending on your destination, you may have to dress according to local customs. I recommend blending in rather than standing out. Find out what is commonly worn (casual, conservative), and pack accordingly. For long flights, you want to dress comfortably in layers. Long flights often get too cold, noisy and dry. I prefer a t-shirt, warm hoodie, yoga pants and sneakers.

Check Your Finances. Before you leave for your trip, make sure to inform your bank of your travel dates and countries visiting, so they don’t put a fraud alert when you try to use your card in another country. Most businesses around the world now accept credit cards, but some still don’t take American Express, so always have 2-3 different kinds on hand (Visa, MasterCard, etc).

ATMs work well most of the time, but check how much your bank charges for oversees withdrawal and transactions. As a backup, carry some cash because. There have been times when all the ATM’s are down and no one takes credit cards!

Ask your local bank branch for foreign currency. They can order Euros, Pounds or whatever you need at the current market rate, without extra fees.

Keep An Eye At Home. You may be so focused on planning your trip, that you may forget about managing things at home. If there will be no one to receive your mail and packages while you are away, sign up for the USPS Mail Hold program. I also have Ring security camera and home monitoring system that alerts me when someone is at my front door.

Stay Connected. Check with your cell phone provider about international roaming rates. If the price is too high, you can always connect to WiFi hot spots (usually free at hotels, restaurants and cafes) to make phone calls and send texts through WhatsApp. You may also want to download apps for currency conversion, weather, google translate and maps before you leave home.

T-Mobile has the best plans withs no roaming charges, free unlimited data, and reasonable calling rates (around $0.20-.25/ minute).

Protect Your Devices. There will be times where you leave something behind or have an expensive gadget stolen from you. Minimize the risk of losing your personal data by creating a password to access all of the electronic devices that you will be carrying with you, such as phones, tablets and laptops. Turn on their location setting and “find my phone,” so its relatively easier to recover it.

Be a Mindful Traveler. First time travelers often have bad experiences because they are victims of small crimes. To avoid such situations, just be more guarded than you are back home. Watch where you keep your belongings in public places, don’t carry big cameras and lots of cash, tuck your wallet into an inner pocket, watch your surroundings, and don’t attract too much attention.

Read Tips for Traveling Solo.

Stay Healthy. The second most common reason for having a negative travel experience is getting sick in a foreign country. You are in a confided space with other travelers for a number of hours while flying. When you land, hygiene standards may be different or your belly is simply not accustomed to different foods. Give yourself some time by drinking bottled water, and eating at credible outlets. Proactively take Airborne, Vitamin C or multi vitamins to build your immunity.

Read How to Not Fall Sick On Your Vacation.

Woman in Penang

Keep An Open Mind. If this is your first time traveling to a foreign country, know that things are going to be very different than what you are use to back home. Don’t assume everyone speaks English. Learn a few words in the local language to help you navigate.

Follow gender rules, meal times, local etiquettes. Don’t make fun of things or foods that you may find strange. Remember, you are a guest in their country.

It’s always good to read up on the country you are visiting. I find it watching a movie or reading a book about a place also helps me get in the mood and learn about a new place. Make sure these are currently relevant though not historical or fiction. 

Many of these travel tips apply to first time international travelers, and domestic travelers too. Perhaps you are a seasoned traveler and would like to share another helpful tip with us? Tag us with your comment on social media @GoEatGive.