It’s pretty easy to make your dreams of a tropical vacation come true this winter. Many parts of the globe that girdle the Equator are tranquil, safe, and relatively inexpensive right now. So how about Thanksgiving in Aruba, or Hanukkah in Hanoi? Here’s a few suggestions to make your tropical travels safe and sane.

You don’t even have to leave the United States if you don’t want.

Don’t want all that hassle with passports and dengue fever shots? Then visit balmy San Diego out in California, or the always-warm Florida Keys. And don’t forget the Gulf Coast — there’s great intercoastal fishing down around Mobile in Alabama. And it never freezes there.

Know your history.

Why would it matter to know that Cambodia is a former French colony or that Singapore belonged to Great Britain until just fifty years ago? Two reasons — first, if you know some French you can get along fine in Cambodia, as well as being guaranteed plenty of English speakers while in Singapore. Plus if you demonstrate knowledge of their past struggles with colonialism, the people do become a bit more welcoming. And generous tips don’t hurt, either.

And do bring your own suntan lotion. Because in the tropics they hardly sell the stuff, and it’s almost always an off-brand!

Categories: Travel