23 Mar When travel goes wrong, because sometimes it does

Let's face it, traveling doesn't always go as we expect, despite our best efforts to think ahead and plan our itinerary down to to the minute. Most of us can recall a situation when a train was late, we missed a flight (or in my case, didn't really have a flight and lived in the airport for three days - more on this later), or we just ended up in the wrong place, and these are only the most common of travel inconveniences. The best thing about travel misadventures? They're learning experiences, and they're part of the adventure itself, often making for great stories you'll find yourself telling over and over years later. Read about our very own travel-gone-wrong experiences from the Panrimo staff and how we survived to tell about them! Ellen Knuth - University Relations Manager, Kyoto, Japan   What was supposed to happen: I was supposed to have a nice night out with friends, which I did, but with a slight hiccup. What actually happened:  I was working in a rural area in Japan, but on a long weekend, traveled to the cultural capital of Kyoto to meet-up with some college buddies. After a very long, very late evening of revelry, everyone hugged goodbye and went back to their hotels. Everyone except me, of course. Because I hadn’t booked a hotel. Resolution: With another friend who had also neglected basic travel prep, I got a room. Not in a hostel or business hotel, but in a 24/7...

Read More

24 Jul Travel Safe, Travel Smart

[caption id="attachment_933" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Watch out world, here she comes![/caption] http://cdn.sheknows.com/articles/woman-traveler.jpg Whether your trip is going to last 1 week or 1 year, a safe traveler is an informed traveler. Guidebooks and travel agencies are always good sources of information, but for the most up-to-date info, the following 5 websites are the best sources: 5) The Center for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/Features/StudyAbroad/ The CDC maintains a special section of its vast and informative website specifically for addressing the concerns and questions of study abroad students. With information on everything from country-specific vaccination requirements to how to assemble your own travel health kit, this is definitely one of the first sites you should consult in getting ready for your adventure. 4) Overseas Security Advisory Council: https://www.osac.gov/pages/home.aspx OSAC closely monitors all incidents involving American citizens overseas and is a very reliable source for current warnings or advisories regarding Americans abroad. Though some of their reports and surveys make for dense reading, they are very informative and will give you a good idea of what to look out for. 3) Federal Bureau of Investigation http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/counterintelligence/student-travel-brochure-pdf Though some of the tips might seem a bit overly-cautious to experienced travelers, that’s the FBI’s job! Their guide to traveling safely abroad is well organized and easy to read, it also offers a range of tips on everything from dressing appropriately to protecting your electronic devices from viruses and hacking. 2) Federal Aviation Administration http://www.faa.gov With all of the recent tragedies involving aircraft, the FAA has been even...

Read More

10 Jul Tips on Tipping

In the USA gratuity has gotten a bit gratuitous. You have to wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just go ahead and raise minimum wage again so these poor people don’t have to depend on our pennies and dimes to get by. However, for as ever-present tipping is in America, many other countries don’t operate on the same rules. To avoid inadvertently offending the wait-staff, here are some tips on tipping. http://www.beausides.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Chinese-bellhop.jpg China Outside of the more European sensibilities of Hong Kong, tipping is neither expected, nor encouraged in China. The service industry isn’t trained to expect it and may be confused if you attempt to hand them a few singles. Though some tour services may allow you to thank their guides in this way, don’t feel obligated. Czech Republic Though a common courtesy involves rounding up the bill to the nearest denomination of 10 korun, no one will fault you if you refrain from doing so. (Note that in more international cities like Prague, more and more services expect a 10% tip for services rendered. Blame the tourists.) An important point to remember: tipping on a credit card charge isn’t done. England Tipping is expected and encouraged, but, as would happen in the USA, if the service is horrible you can legally refuse to do so. Keep in mind that, similar to their American counterparts, many service workers are faced with a ‘tip jar’ system, where they must evenly divide their takings at the end...

Read More

07 Dec Wandering Through Wales, Part 1

[caption id="attachment_2330" align="alignnone" width="660"] Fancy a hike?[/caption] For a country represented by a red dragon, Wales is decidedly green. With rolling hills dotted with lochs stretching hundreds of acres, you’d think the dragon would be easily seen. Of course, while the myth of the red dragon may be an inspirational allegory for the Britons victory over the Saxons, the symbol may take its origin from the Romans. It may seem unlikely, but evidence of Roman activity is evident in Britain. Travel the land of the red dragon for a weekend, stopping at Caerleon Amphitheater. You’ll see where Romans congregated for entertainment, as well as a few bathhouse ruins (Romans took pride in their skin). The Caerleon ruins are integral to Arthurian legend: it’s allegedly the place of Camelot. Furthermore, the “round table” featured prominently in the myths may have been inspired by the shape of the Amphitheatre. So you’ll get a taste of medieval history in addition to the Romans. Next stop, Caerphilly Castle, the second largest castle in Britain (after Windsor), and the first to both use water as a defense (think enormous moat) and be built using concentric design. While it may seem insignificant, this concentric design made it easier to access all parts of the castle, in addition to rendering siege machinery useless. What’s more impressive is the architecture: the last remodeling took place in 1322-6, and even then, it was only to make the dining halls grander. As a result, Caerphilly...

Read More