Travel hacks make traveling easier. JetSet makes learning an adventure.
by ANDRÉ CHAVEZ
note: we do not recieve any $ for the promotion of the products endorsed by Andre.
I like to travel, and I like to travel as much as possible. Some would call it an obsession. I’m always looking for people who want to travel with me, and I’m accepting applications. In the last five years I’ve been to Costa Rica, Tibet, China, England, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Tanzania, Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary, France, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, Cuba, United Emirates, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Spain, Portugal, and New Zealand (in that order).
The more I travel, the more I hear of places I want to travel to next. For me, the most desirable countries are the ones that are the most challenging to get into, and whose cultures are well preserved. I not only learn a lot about the countries I travel in but also about myself. It’s surprising how resilient you are when you have to be.
The next trips I have on my horizon are to Myanmar, Bolivia, and I want to travel through Drake’s Passage to Antarctica. As with anything, you pick up tricks to make traveling easier. The ease with how we can travel now is amazing. The more you do something the better you get. Below you will find some recommendations based on my travels. They may seem ordinary or mundane, but they’re important to me:
Andre’s Travel hacks:
My number one rule: always carry on.
When traveling 3 week to Kenya and Tanzania, despite significant changes in weather ( it was going to be hot in Kenya and cold in Tanzania climbing Mount Kilimanjaro), I carried all my belongings in my carry-on. This included a sleeping bag, base-layer, and technical clothes to climb Kilimanjaro. If I was an artist, and packing for a trip was my medium, I felt like the Kenya/Tanzania trip was my version of Michelangelo’s painting on the Sistine Chapel. I’ve experimented with many bags. I’ve done the backpack thing, but after traveling all day you actually feel as if you’ve backpacked five to 10 miles. I’ve tried duffel bags and roller bags. After a long search, I finally found my bag: Eagle Creek Switchback International Carry-On (www.eaglecreek.com/homepage.html). Eagle Creek thought of everything. I was surprised how much a bag could improve my travel experience. A roller bag is best to use in the airport but challenging to use on cobblestone or while navigating stairs, that’s the benefit of a backpack. The Eagle Creek Switchback can be a roller bag at the airport but a backpack when negotiating stairs, dirt, rough terrain, or cobblestone. It’s the best of both worlds. It’s FAA regulated for carry on (22” x 14”). Eagle Creek makes a lot of other bags that are backpack/rollers. Their customer service is outstanding.
2. Fitted jacket with pockets:
I was recently traveling with fellow Physical Therapist Paul Tucker (mvmtscience.com) in Eastern Europe with a Bogner pullover jacket (which I coincidentally left at his house and have never seen again). The loss was a blessing in disguise, because I took another jacket (Mountain Hardware’s “Monkey Man Jacket”) traveling and my eyes were opened. My Bogner was warm, but it didn’t have pockets, and having multiple pockets made all the difference. The last thing you want to be is one of those people who take five minutes to put all their belongings on an x-ray conveyor belt. When going through security you put everything phone, wallet, etc. in the pockets and glide through security like your uncle Ben gliding back to the dessert line at his favorite buffet. Having a jacket with a left breast pocket is key, this is useful for things when you need quick access: such as airline tickets, metro cards, and passport when going through security and border/passport control for easy access. You’ll always know where they are.
3. Unlocked cell phone:
Using an unlocked phone is like using a cheat code on your favorite video game. It makes it easy to get around and impossible to get lost. You can use GPS, call local numbers, and see nearby restaurants. I use an unlocked phone versus my carrier’s because it’s significantly cheaper. If you get a sim card, find a small local phone shop versus Vodafone, Orange because it will be cheaper. Recently in Spain I got 4 gigabytes of data for two weeks for €10 and that was plenty. Have the person in the phone shop install it because it can be tricky if you’re not tech savvy. Even better is using VPN when you visit countries that censor their Internet, such as China or Russia. VPN routes the server to another country, such as Singapore, so you can get service.
4. If you don’t have an unlocked phone. Google offline maps is the next best thing:
Whether you’re walking around a city or driving in the car this is essential. I was skeptical at first. A few years ago for a Physical Therapy conference, I drove 3,000 kilometers in South Africa from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and rented a GPS because I was afraid to use Google’s offline maps. I put this to the test on a trip to Spain and Portugal. I drove 2,000 kilometers only using Google offline maps and it worked great. Download your offline map over WiFi for the area to which you’re traveling; it’s that easy! Save and star important places, such as your hotel/hostel/AirBnB’s or other area of interests so you can easily navigate them by foot or car. Walking directions won’t work when you use offline maps, unless you start them over wifi, so if you’re good at navigating a map you can find a shorter walking route using the driving directions if you need or didn’t start the directions over wifi.
“I like to travel, and I like to travel as much as possible. Some would call it an obsession.”
5. Ear plugs and sleeping mask:
This should be self-explanatory. You can’t keep a face like mine without beauty rest. Nothing will ruin your trip more than not getting good sleep. I have earplugs and a sleeping mask in my jacket while flying so I can use them anytime. Do not use wax earplugs. I had to go to the emergency room in Spain because a piece of wax broke off in my ear; talk about inconvenient. It cost me €102. You should be off doing other cool things rather than sitting in the ER.
“JetSet is like flying Emirates. It’s a step above anyone else.”
I have an affinity for JetSet Rehab Education for several reasons. First, I was in residency and fellowship with Randal and Jay, and have spent a lot of time collaborating on many projects including a Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy publication, and multiple APTA CSM platform presentations. In fact, we collaborated so much that when we talk in person we have to make sure we know what project we’re talking about.
Second, Jetset is a traveling continuing education company. They already had me at “travel,” but they also have world renowned Physical Therapy speakers from the likes of Irene Davis, Rich Willy, Michael Reiman, Lori Mitchner, Angela Tate, Michael Shacklock, Marcy Harris Hayes, Stephanie DiStasi, and many more. I’m double-dipping: I get to travel and I learn using my continuing education account from work. It’s the best of both worlds. I’ve taken courses in Czech Republic, South Africa, New Zealand, and Mexico. I’ve even pulled into an international Physical Therapy con-ed course in a campervan. Medical doctors travel to great locations for continuing education, such as Aspen or the Bahamas. They take classes all morning and ski or jet ski all afternoon. Physical therapists, on the other hand, find themselves getting con-ed while sitting behind computers or going to mediocre classes at dingy hotel conference rooms. JetSet Rehab Education is putting the fun back into continuing education for Physical Therapists. Your employer pays for continuing education and if they don’t the price of the trip is tax deductible. JetSet has had classes in Hawaii, Las Vegas, Portland, and Cabo. Check out the schedule, because 2019 is going to be a big year with locations such as Cabo, Hawaii, and Austin.
Last, JetSet emphasizes networking with the Physical Therapy Education. You can get away, have some fun, and meet people outside your network. It’s always fun with Jay and Randal. The best thing I can say about JetSet is that it’s an experience, just like traveling on an airline. United Airlines is different from Emirates. JetSet is like flying Emirates. It’s a step above anyone else, and the next is a distant second. Classes from JetSet are laid back in the sense that there is time to get to know the instructors and the food provided throughout the class is always exceptional. Try the JetSet course experience; you won’t be disappointed. #stayafterclass
Contact me if you have questions: email@example.com, or follow me on Twitter or Instagram @dre_rides_bikes
The photos below are all from my travels with Jetset Rehab Education Continuing Education Events.