Travel Advisories (updated 1/10/2018

< State Department Traveler Advisories by Country

Search Posts

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Should you carry a portable carbon monoxide monitor on your travels?

(Written by Bill League of Travel Buddies)

Maybe. Many people do, but is that more of a reflexive response to recent stories of people dying from high exposure to the toxic gas carbon monoxide (CO) while on vacation, a personal experience, or just a 'better safe than sorry” prudent attitude? 

I did a bit of research preparing to write this post. Most US public accommodations are required to have monitor alarm systems in their hotel rooms, as do apartments, If you go on a cruise, the industry has adopted similar standards.
Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:
  • Dull headache.
  • Weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Confusion.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Loss of consciousness.

(Carbon Monoxide (C) is different from Carbon Dioxide (CO2); both are gases, both can be toxic, but the incidences of CO poisoning are greater. It takes a very high concentration of CO2 to cause symptoms of poisoning. Click here to read a clear lay person's explanation of both)

I explored the CDC website for the incidence of CO deaths in the US. There is a study conducted in 2014, covering the years 1999-2010*. Over those 11 years, there were 5149 deaths from CO. Annualized, that worked out to 430 deaths per year. The incidence of deaths was significantly higher for those over 65, with men having twice the death rate than women over 65 per 100,000.

However, the risks seem relatively insignificant from a statistical perspective. Of course, this risk might now be so small because we have raised the awareness of the issue nationally and have passed several regulations requiring these monitors in certain types of accommodations. 

So, what does this data mean for you and I while traveling overseas? It probably depends on where you venture and you risk-taking nature; hence my comment “Maybe”. One issue The Travel Buddies will seek an answer to is whether the hotels we are booked into for our tour routinely have CO monitors in our rooms. Any followup on this topic will be based on our personal experience. One can reasonably assume the standards may well vary across regions, cities, and quality of hotels as well as your mode of travel.

What are you willing to pay for such a monitor, portable enough to be practical? I did find several battery operated monitors on Amazon. I've linked to one unit reasonably priced at about $17.00 with dimensions of 11”x 7”x 3” weighing 5.6 oz...about .02 % of our allowable carryon weight limit of 16 lbs. It's still a bit large for the type of lightweight packing we have in mind, but an almost insignificant portion of our weight limit.

There are always trade-offs. Is your piece of mind worth giving up the carry on packing space for other items?

If you know of an alternative that has a smaller footprint, please share your find with us in the comments section below.
Related Links:

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Trip Tips: Planning Your Adventure!

 If you have not done much traveling as a tourist overseas, you may have some reservation and apprehension breaking your comfort zone. How to get from here, the US, to there, Europe, and what you want to see while there. Well, it boils down to where you want to go, how long can you stay, how you want to travel, what time of the year should you go for those special countries you want to take in. You want to miss the crowds if possoible, right? In other words, it takes some planning, with a capital "P",

 I really like Rick Steves travel advice. He packs light, "wears the world like a loose garment" and over 30 years has traveled four months out of the year for pleasure as well as for his business. Here is one of his video lectures that take at least part of the mystery out of the entire process, called, European Travel Skills: Trip Planning. Might as well start at the beginning and listen and watch a pro. This video is about 45 minutes in's worth every minute.

If you find this video useful and have not already subcribed to our blog, please do so! We'd love to have you join us as we navigate Europe!

Claudia and Bill

Related Links:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Growth of our "System"

How are you all doing! It's supposed to be spring here in NC, but when you wake up to snow and cold temps, you know something is amiss!

While I have been busy putting all the technological pieces of our blog puzzle together, Claudia has been feeding useful travel tip information to me from various sources. We are on our way to having a good site packed with useful tips!

Claudia has been obtaining more information on international airline travel and how to navigate that complex system easier, and gems on how to dress and what to take while on our flight. So please check out the Links page as well as Trip Tips sections for more details! We are extremely excited about this new "turning the page" and starting new chapters in our life stories! Here's one her picks this week...What 11 things not to wear going through airport security

Meanwhile, I have created several pulldown menus to help the pages stay clean without scrolling halfway to Belize to find something useful with built-in search capabilities! We added a menu system for each country we will be visiting. They will begin to flush out the details as our trip nears, and especially document the best of each country!

We created a Facebook group called, Travel Buddies Excellent Adventures!, and a newly inspired Facebook page called, Travel Buddies Excellent Adventures Store, where we plan to market our own branded Travel Buddies apparel in the near future! So, if you have access to Facebook, please stop by and join each! The Group will be non-commercial, while the Store will be a small commercial venture. I wanted to physically separate the purpose for each.

The big task completed this week has been the installation of a chat system. The icon is found at the bottom right corner of each page.

Thanks for joining us. We appreciate your support!

On behalf of Claudia, we wish you peace of mind and lots of adventure! Stay healthy, in the new day of the Sun!


Links mentioned in this post:
FB Sites:
Travel Buddies Excellent Adventures! Group

Travel Buddies Excellent Adventures Store

The tech end of things (all free with limitations, of course, but they work for our purposes) (for our emailing system) (for menu building)
Zendesk (for chat system)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Our very first video! Welcome to Travel Buddies!

Well, we've finally done it! Created our very first Travel Buddies video! It is found in the right column of our blog. It's a modest effort and as we practice making more, we'll get better at it.  This is our welcome video and introduction to us, The Travel Buddies!

If you are receiving this post through an email you will need to click the link provided to view the video.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Stuff vs Adventure

Stuff vs Adventure
 We all know when we get to the age Claudia and I are, that having too much stuff can be more of a burden than a blessing...that there are other aspects of life and living that have much more meaning. 

Family is one. Another of the major joys in the world is to experience what this world has to feed that desire, to scratch that "itch".  Something else that gives us great joy is giving a part of ourselves to something bigger; causes that are our passion. 

In the linked article, this author talks about spending your discretionary money on having life experiences rather than just buying more stuff. Claudia and I are in agreement that to find a way to help others when in another country is to follow that passion as well as a new experience.

Claudia's passion is animal welfare. She would like to find time, whether on this trip or a future trip, to volunteer at an animal shelter for a day or two, or whatever the schedule permits. As an old social worker that worked with troubled youth, I'd like to find a way to volunteer for a day or two helping troubled kids, or at least share my experience with the staff of one of those organizations. The setting doesn't matter, the activity doesn't matter.

Don't let a language barrier stop you from adventure or following a dream...more over, make it the reason, not the excuse.

Read this article, The 1 Thing You Should Be Spending Money on to Be Happythen answer the following question for yourself. Share your dream...share it with us! Make it become a reality!

What's your passion, what's your dream?

 (Humm, just planting a seed here...wonder how many of you would like to be part of a special group trip to follow your passion? We agree on a European destination, do some sightseeing and spend time there as volunteers. We all do not have to have the same passion and volunteer interests. In fact, the more variety the better the trip! Let us know what you think?)

 If you haven't done so already, sign up to follow our posts!

Good Day!

Bill, Co-Creator of Travel Buddies Excellent Adventures!