I’ve kept much of my Central America trip open to allow fluidity and an opportunity to truly be present in the moment. Even though I’ve traveled to about 12 countries, I learn something new every time I travel. Here are a few lessons I learned even before I took off:
1. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Seriously, what an amazing credit card! Did I mention that there are no foreign transaction fees? In addition, they also grant you access to 900+ airport lounges all around the world via the Priority Pass. If you ever have a long layover, you can eat, drink, sleep, or simply hangout in these lounges. Lesson learned: Make more use of this amazing card and make sure to bring the Priority Pass Membership Card everytime I travel.
2. Flying to Guatemala: So as I mentioned I tried to keep my Central America as open as possible. I only purchased a flight to Guatemala without an exit trip. I thought I was being more flexible and spontaneous than my usual Type-A self by leaving it open. However, I learned that there are a few things that actually need planning like an exit trip from Guatemala. I tried checking-in online, but the website stated that I needed to check-in at the counter. I made an attempt to check-in at the counter only to discover that I couldn’t because I didn’t have an exit plan. Oopsies. If you choose to stay in Guatemala for more than 90 days, you will need a visa. I never planned on staying that long, but apparently the ticket agent couldn’t read my mind. I jumped on my iPad and used Kayak to help me buy my ticket. Lesson Learned: Purchase a ticket to AND from Guatemala.
3. Travel Backpacking: I planned on only bringing my handy dandy Tom Binh 40 L Travel Backpack along with my purse. I’ve had my luggage stolen/lost when traveling abroad, so I thought that this would be the way to go. When I got to the counter to check-in, not only am I surprised that I have to buy an exit ticket, but now I also found out that I had to check-in my 40 L Tom Binh Travel Backpack because it was over the carry-on weight limit. I may have panicked a little bit as I had the ticket agent assure me about a thousand times that my backpack would make it from SF to Guatemala City. Did I mention I also had a 42 minute layover in Panama City to get on my flight to Guatemala City? To say that I was a little bit nervous about this tight layover was an understatement. I would be gone for about 3 months and if my backpack didn’t make it then what would I do? I whispered to myself, “Be flexible.” Lesson learned: For Copa Airlines, your carry-on can weigh no more than 10 kg.
I’m a travel PT by profession; however, in between assignments I integrate my passion for service, learning, and global travel. I just started a YouTube channel to document my travels through Central America. Come join me in my journey. Follow me on IG @TheVagabondingDPT, Twitter @AprilFajardoPT, YouTube @TheVagabondingDPT, and my FB Page @TheVagabondingDPT.
The little guy, Dino, featured below was gifted to me by my former co-workers at St. Mary’s Hospital. I promised them that I would bring him along on all my travels, so you’ll be seeing him around. #TheVagabondingDPT