Sunday, April 21, 2013

Where Can I Get Money?

Most likely you have a check list of things to do when you’re heading to a new country, new city.   On my basic list are items that may be on yours too:     

Learn enough of the language to be polite (hello,  good bye, please, thank you, I’m lost, can you help me).
Acquire adapters so you can keep everything charged.
Set a Google alert so the local news shows up in your in box
Exchange some money so you arrive you can buy a coke or coffee without drama.
Download books, magazines or movies so you have choices on the flight (or waiting for the flight in the airport.)

I just found one more item to add to the list:   Find an ATM that’s nearest to where you’ll be staying or working.  Of course you can ask someone but I am excited that I can look up the location before I leave.  No need to announce to everyone in the hotel lobby that I’m on my way to collect some cash.

Simply use Visa’s ATM locator at:
With just a couple of clicks I discovered that there are a dozen ATM’s within less than a mile of my hotel in Madrid (and I could print out the map showing the exact locations or the walking directions to get to one). One practical note, for the search to work accurately use the street address, not the name of the hotel.

Now my friends about to embark on journeys will know that there are ATMs near the Krelim in Moscow and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Whether your travels are local or global it seems that it's easy to  answer the question:  Where can I get money?   



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Food from home Travels

Last week I wrote about food from home – global brands that travel and become thought of as home food when we’re on the road.    In Dehli or DC, Los Angeles or Paris?  Living there or visiting McDonalds can be food from home.

But that isn’t the only kind of “food from home.”Reading an article in the April 6 edition of The Economist  ( on movement of talent around the world I was reminded that it isn’t just the food of McDonalds, Subway and KFC that spread around the world.    
The article, "Long an exporter of talent, Latin America is now importing it" opens by talking about food following the emigration around the world.  Tacos spread throughout the US, Spanish tapas bars appear in Mexico and Portuguese bakeries pop up in Brazil.  
One way an expat adapts to a new place is through food.  Finding food that's familiar helps us settle into a new environment, make a new home.   And the influx of people from other places whether on vacation or on assignment creates a demand for food from the place of their origins.  Entrepreneurs fill that demand and suddenly, food from home is the new food of the place thousands of miles away.
We travel and so does our food.  What will you look when you arrive someplace new? 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Food from Home

“Is there a McDonalds nearby? That question was posed by a man from India who had just arrived in Los Angeles.  He was there for to make a presentation at the annual IFFTI ( conference.  He explained the reason for his question:  “We just traveled for 24 hours and want food from home.  McDonalds or Subway would be good.”  I just shook my head remembering my delight at finding McDonalds at the Delhi airport.  Food from home! I thought.  How similar we travelers are, wishing to offset the challenge of the voyage with a taste of home and finding ourselves thinking of the same place as our 'food from home'.  Who would have guessed?

While the menus in Dehli and Los Angeles don’t entirely match (LA lacks chicken maharaha-mac and Delhi doesn’t offer a quarter pounder with cheese)  there’s still so much that’s familiar.  McNuggets and fries, Colors and packaging.  In the midst of  a new environment, a touch of the familiar to put us at ease.  Can you imagine  how happy McDonalds or Subway would be to know that a customer from across the world  associates their food with home.

And where did our visitor eat?  Not at McDonalds or Subway.  There wasn't one nearby in downtown Los Angeles.  However, a good India restaurant was just across the street.  Food from home.