Posts Tagged ‘overseas travel’

  • If you’re taking your phone, be sure to organise international roaming before you leave and iPhones need to be unlocked.
  • It’s often much cheaper to buy sim cards overseas than use your local one.
  • At the end of your trip if you have any small amounts of foreign currency hang on to it. You never know when you might return to that country or even have a brief stopover where you might want to buy some food or a coffee.
  • Learn basic phrases in the local language. There is nothing more offensive than hearing someone immediately start speaking English in a non-English speaking country assuming the local person speaks it. Learning hello, goodbye, please and thank-you is not only polite but you’re more likely to be helped or served. Of course it helps to learn the phrase “do you speak English” as well.
  • Walking or cycling tours are a fantastic way of seeing and learning about a city or the countryside and don’t limit yourself to just doing them during the day.
  • NEVER offer to carry another person’s luggage or accept gifts from a stranger. You may inadvertently become a drug mule.
  • Never leave your luggage unattended. It may either be stolen or something put in it.
  • If you have concerns about your luggage being tampered with en route, many airports offer a service whereby your bag is wrapped in plastic for a small fee. It makes it time consuming for a thief to get into and they are therefore they are more likely to pick another bag.
  • Don’t assume your bags are safe once in a hotel room. I always keep them padlocked because unfortunately there are dishonest people all around the world who wouldn’t hesitate to go through your bag given the opportunity. If you are really concerned and travelling in a dodgy place you could use a bag cover (made of steel) and a small cable attached to something immovable. Refer to the following website for more information http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php
  • Read the fine print on your travel insurance documents to make sure you are covered for any adventure activities like skydiving, white water rafting and riding a motorbike. Each company varies in what they do and do not cover.
  • If you’re travelling on a longer journey take a little sewing kit you never know what you’ll need it for.
  • While many travellers love them, many hostels and hotels frown on the use of a sleep sheet because they risk the transport of bed bugs from place to place. Yes it is less likely you will be bitten but they can easily sit on the outside of your sleep sheet and be carried to your next accommodation (and in you luggage). Bed bugs are typically associated with dingy, dirty places but they can be found in any accommodation and this is often the case because of sleep sheets.
  • Join a frequent flyer club. Most don’t charge you and if you travel a lot the points quickly add up.
  • As a shift worker I don’t seem to experience jet lag or at least I don’t feel any different to when I’m working. What I have found helps when I work that may help with travel is a product called Melatonin. It is a hormone naturally secreted in the body and helps to regulate sleep. The tablet form is a synthetic melatonin and may help with jet lag. It can be obtained over the counter from pharmacies.
  • If you arrive at an airport early in the morning and aren’t able to check into you’re accommodation until that afternoon make the most of the airport showers and freshen up.
  • Know how to get to your accommodation before you arrive at your destination. Don’t rely on travel guide maps as they don’t always include small streets and if you want to use the internet at airports be prepared to pay more than a reasonable price. It’s much easier to print out a map before you leave home; this can also be helpful for non-English speaking taxi drivers who can’t understand where you want them to take you.
  • Get a local map as soon as you arrive at your destination. Mark out your accommodation and the places you plan on visiting.
  • Have the number of your accommodation if you need to call them at any stage.
  • Ask someone to write down the name of your accommodation in the local language; you never know when you might need to use it.
  • Know the emergency number for the country you are visiting.
  • If using public transport always remember the name of your departure station so you remember where to get off on your return journey. It’s very difficult otherwise when all the stations (particularly in the underground) look the same and are written in a foreign language.
  • Be aware of how different countries use tickets and public transport. In some places you need to validate your ticket for it to be recognised. If you don’t validate it you risk a fine.
  • Don’t be tricked into giving out your address or phone number to locals in third world countries.
  • In some countries they have been known to use these details to contact your family and falsify a kidnapping for money.
  • Some people who want to immigrate to your country may try to use you as a sponsor if they have your details.
  • There are pickpockets all around the world and they prey on tourists who are distracted or careless. Just be careful; never leave you bag unattended, don’t leave your bag open even if you have it on your person. Try to avoid constantly opening and closing your bag to pull out money, camera and other valuables.
  • Be aware of the various scams in the countries you plan on visiting. If you’re prepared you’re less likely to fall victim.
  • Most international flights now allow online check in 24 hours prior to your flight. And if you do this you can arrive at the airport 2 hours before the flight rather than 3 hours (check with your airline first to confirm this). Checking in online also means you can choose your own seat.
  • Some people like a window seat for the view but you will be too high to see anything once you’re cruising and half you’re flying on a long flight will be in the dark so it’s pointless for that reason. Others like it so they can lean against the wall but if you have a good travel pillow you won’t need to worry. I suggest an isle seat as you can get up and down without disturbing the other passengers.
  • Seat guru is a website designed to help you find a seat that suits your preferences on your airline. http://www.seatguru.com/
  • Don’t leave any of the tags on your bags from previous flights. This can lead to your luggage being inadvertently placed on the wrong flight.
  • Keep a little pouch for your passport, tickets, boarding passes, GP letter so they are easily accessible and all in one place but always keep it in your bag so you don’t accidentally leave it behind.
  • For Australian residents: If you spend $300 in one transaction on something you will be taking with you overseas (ie: camera, MP3) within 30 days of travel, you can claim back the GST. Just take your receipt and the goods and go to the claim desk once through customs. http://www.customs.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/travellers___english1.pdf
  • At boarding time there always seems to be a rush for the plane. Wait until most people are on, then you can stroll on and to your seat straight away rather than wait in a cue and then sit for 20 minutes while everyone else boards.
  • What to take on board:
    • Take a little refreshment bag on the flight. Include:
      • Chewing gum or lollies to reduce any ear pain during takeoff and landing.
      • Toothpaste and brush for long flights.
      • Deodorant.
      • Hand cream & lip balm (your skin and lips will dry out on long flights).
      • Take all your electronic equipment, including charging cables on board the plane. You don’t want to risk them being stolen or lost.
    • Take all medications (especially prescription) on board in case your luggage gets lost. Make sure you have your GP letter handy to show customs if required.
    • I’ve mentioned the lowepro camera sling (for a DSLR) in another post. This has extra space that I use for my electronic equipment and it can be considered a handbag meaning you can take that plus another bag on board (providing combined, they fall within the onboard baggage allowance).
    • A blow up travel pillow is a life saver on long flights. Get one that wraps around your neck so you don’t wake with pain from sleeping awkwardly.
    • You never know when your luggage may be lost so take a spare pair of underwear & a top just in case.
    • A pair of silicone ear plugs will help block out a lot of noise if you’re a light sleeper.
    • Bring a book and an MP3 player. There are only so many movies you can watch.
  • Before your seated take out the things you think you’ll need and either keep them in a bag under your seat or in the seat pocket. That way you won’t have to keep getting your bag out of the overhead locker and rummaging through it.
  • Most good airlines provide socks and sleep mask to block out light.
  • They should also have water fountains somewhere on the plane. Every time you get up to walk or use the toilet get yourself a drink. Depending on the country you are in you can carry an empty water bottle on the plane but don’t buy an expensive bottle, just a supermarket bottle of water. Many airlines no longer stock bottles of water, only little cups.
  • Remember that post 9/11 you are very limited as to what you can take on board and you can only carry certain liquids (either 50 or 100ml depending on the airline). Check this out before you pack you bags.
  • Many airlines now have USB sockets where you can charge your electronic gear.
  • ALWAYS declare whatever is asked of you on your incoming passenger form. It’s not worth risking a fine or worse to try and sneak something in. Customs officials will not listen to any explanation you have if you ticked ‘no’ when in fact you should have ticked yes.
  • For long haul flights dress for comfort not style. 24 hours on a plane does not feel comfortable in restrictive clothes.
  • Most airports have showers so if you have a stopover during a long flight and there is time, have a shower, you will be surprised how refreshed you feel.
  • Some airports have free wi-fi just go to the information desk to get the password.