Unscripted Travel: Antique Shopping Abroad
inJanuary 23, 2013 - 10:26am
My full time passion is that of a “Travel Consultant”. Since many of my clients are interested in antiques and collectibles, I try to take advantage of shopping in unique venues when travelling.
While escorting a group to the British Isles, a destination that is rich with antiques centers, markets and well known fairs, many opportunities were found to explore for alternative excursions.
Antiques events were located in scheduled areas of our itinerary. Instead of paying for often overpriced sightseeing tours offered by the cruise lines, suggestions were made for interesting day trips to destinations offering opportunities for antiques shopping. Frequently, these excursions were far more interesting than scheduled tours.
How does one get to these destinations? I have used several options that have been successful. Car hire services are available and offer a knowledge of local geography. The drivers are experienced. This method can ultimately save you time and money.
For travel that is closer to your starting point, a reliable taxi company may be the answer.
There are car rentals available where you are the driver. If you are not accustomed to driving in foreign countries, this may not be the best choice. Car rentals are pricey and if you become lost, time and money can be wasted.
If you select a car hire service or taxi, have a printed copy of your destination to show your driver. Educate yourself on local geography so you have a working knowledge of the area you are visiting. Always have the name and phone number of your transportation company and hotel available. If venturing out from a cruise ship, be certain when the ship departs and allow appropriate time to return. Check to see if there are any local events that may create traffic problems and delay your return. Always have your cell phone with you and ensure that it is fully charged. Pay phones have become very difficult to locate.
Other needs. LOCAL currency. Don’t depend on ATM machines. You may waste time and money trying to find one and transaction fees are usually quite high. Traveler’s checks are no longer widely accepted and many small dealers do not accept credit cards. Cash is “king” when it comes to negotiating price. You are likely to be in crowded areas, so guard you money appropriately. Always have your passport with you in a foreign country.
A sturdy tote bag, sunglasses, notebook, working pen, comfortable shoes, tissues, Tylenol, band aids, snacks, water and other creature comforts and emergency items can make your day more pleasant.
Locate another “like minded” person to share your adventure and split expenses.
With careful preparations, you’ll have a great excursion, find unique objects and experience the joys of “serendipitous”, unscripted travel.