Holiday Travel: 9 Top Destinations for Passport Health Travelers December 12, 2014 By Cait Hartwyk Leave a Comment Mumbai, India Over the past two decades, Passport Health has helped our clients travel successfully to nearly every country in the world. Whether the destination was Switzerland or Kiev, Shanghai or Mumbai, Sao Paulo or Mexico City, Passport Health has been there to provide travel vaccinations, medications, and crucial health tips. On the ninth day of our holiday travel tips countdown, here are nine tips for safe and healthy travel to the locations Passport Health clients have visited most frequently over the years. 9. Brazil Brazil is a beautiful country with incredible diversity of cultures, landscapes, and activities. Host to the Olympics and the World Cup, Brazil is quickly becoming a hub for tourists of all types, especially Passport Health clients. Tip: Brazilians are generally friendly and enjoy chatting with most anyone. It is customary for individuals to kiss each other on the cheek when meeting. Don’t let this greeting put you off! Many cultures have different greeting customs; adopt this one while in country, and you are likely to gain some new friends who will appreciate your willingness to try something new! 8. Costa Rica Since Costa Rica stabilized politically a few decades ago, it has become a bastion for eco-tourism. Although the well developed metropolitan areas provide plenty of culture, consider a true adventure such as zip-lining through the high jungle. Tip: The water in Costa Rica is generally safe to drink, but be sure to check whether this holds true for the specific districts on your itinerary to make sure you don’t make a serious mistake. There are also many food street vendors in the country, and these road-side stands are considered to have some of the best food in the country. However, even though sanitation standards are generally high here, always be careful when partaking in street fare, and opt only for well-cooked choices. 7. Nigeria Despite this Western African nation’s problems, Nigeria is a beautiful country with many opportunities to help and learn. The Niger Delta region in the southern area of the country, in particular, is a truly amazing sight. Tip: When traveling to any less developed nation, like Nigeria, having certain vaccinations is highly suggested, and in some cases even required. In Nigeria’s case, Hepatitis A and B, polio, typhoid, and Yellow Fever vaccinations are highly recommended and even required in some cases. In the case of Yellow Fever, it is often mandatory to carry a ‘Yellow Card’ with you to prove that you have received the vaccination. Do not forget this card! 6. China Including a wall that can be seen from space, China has so much history and so many cultural sites to delight any traveler. Must sees include: The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Huangshan mountain range. Tip: While tour groups are a good way of seeing some of the amazing sights like The Great Wall or the Forbidden City, they aren’t always the best option to truly experience the local culture. Consider planning well in advance and going on your own excursions to the countryside or even around the cities. Be sure to do your research to avoid any issues, but you are likely to have some truly memorable excursions this way. 5. Vietnam A rich history and beautiful sights bring a great deal of tourists to Vietnam every year. A country that was once on the list of places to avoid has become a great location for many types of tourism. Tip: Cities in Vietnam can be intimidating and overwhelming at first. Traffic (both foot and vehicular) tends to be quite dense in the more populated areas. Stay calm and be very aware of your surroundings when crossing any roads. Vietnam has more lax rules when it comes to traffic, so expect a bit of chaos on the roads! 4. Peru From Machu Picchu, the Nazca Lines, jungles, and rivers, Peru has endless sights to fascinate a tourist! Even if you are less adventure inclined, metropolitan areas like Cusco (the gateway to Machu Picchu) and Lima (the capital) offer innumerable tours of interesting sites. Tip: Peru, like many developing countries, offers a wide variety of means of transport. Buses or combis (vans turned into quasi-buses) offer inexpensive and easy transport around the cities, and bus maps are fairly easy to access online. If you’d prefer something cozier, taxis and mototaxis are easy to find and fairly inexpensive as well. If you choose either of these options, know that haggling isn’t just a suggestion, it is practically mandatory. Establish the fare with your driver before starting the ride. If you can’t agree to a price, let him or her go as there will be another taxi right behind, ready to pick you up. 3. Thailand No trip to Southeast Asia could truly be considered complete without a visit to some of the locales in Thailand. With amazing cities, beautiful temples, and fantastic beaches, this country is a must-visit! Tip: That being said, beaches can pose their own hazards. Don’t underestimate the power of the sun (especially on cloudy days). Between 10am and 3pm, ultraviolet rays are at their highest levels, meaning that sunscreen is highly important. Wear sun-protective clothing and always use sunscreen with a high SPF. A tropical sun like Thailand’s will be very intense, so extra care is needed. 2. South Africa Safaris are just the start of South African adventures, and Johannesburg and Cape Town are not to be missed as well. South Africa is full of rich history to explore as well as sights you just cannot see anywhere outside of the African continent. Tip: When getting ready to go to South Africa (or really any country), be sure to account for the time of year. Johannesburg can be hot from October through March, and is more mild the rest of the year. Cape Town is generally warmer, but can get windy and chilly at nights. Be sure to do your research and pack accordingly, as it may be challenging to purchase missing items when you are in the country. 1. India The Taj Mahal is just the beginning when it comes to trips to India. A person could spend weeks in cities like Mumbai, traveling the Ganges River, or just seeing the countryside. India is also the gateway to the Himalayas offering quite a bit of climbing, spiritual, and adventure travel options. Tip: One of the most important pieces of advice for travel to India (as well as China, Brazil, and Vietnam) is to be sure your visa is in order before arriving in the country. Foreign nationals need to start making visa arrangements at least three to six months before departing. There are often additional fees and documentation required for a visa to India which will take time to procure. Be sure to plan, and budget, accordingly. What is your top vacation destination? Comment below or on the Passport Health Facebook page with your thoughts.