By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I'll be going on a bus tour on August 16. Do you have any suggestions on how I can make my trip problem-free.

A: "The adventure begins when the plan fails," advises author Bruce Northam and adds, "blurry plans provoke adventure." In a nutshell, expect the unexpected.

Regardless how much preplanning occurs, uncontrollable forces such as unruly weather can prevail. For instance, once while visiting Florence, out of the blue a torrential downpour hit us at the San Lorenzo Mercato. We were sopping wet but managed to see another side of the locals.

Before setting out on your journey, you may wish to consider picking up a copy of Northam's newest book, "Globetrotter Dogma: 100 Canons for Escaping the Rat Race & Exploring The World."

Packed with personal anecdotes and insightful quotations from New York cabbies to singer Willie Nelson to a Fijian coconut farmer, readers will surely get a kick out of some surprising kernels of wisdom. For example, there's the Confucius quotation, "When you go to an inn let it not be with the feeling that you must have whatever you ask for."

Aside from Northam's offerings, there are other tips that can aid better travel. One concerns money safety. Avoid poorly lit ATMs. Carry as much cash as you need and leave the rest in the hotel safety deposit box.

If you use pockets, use front pockets and keep the pocket fastened with a safety pin otherwise try using a money belt.


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All text & photos 2004.