Posts Tagged ‘travel tips’

  • 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.

LUGGAGE

  • To take a backpack or a suitcase? Often this will be a personal preference but I have only ever travelled with a backpack unless on short trips. I find it easier to get around with, particularly in places that have only stairs and not a lift. As well there are times that a suitcase will simply not be practical.
  • A backpack with a small separate section down the bottom of the pack is handy for carrying your shoes, dirty clothes and toiletries to avoid your clothes getting smelly, dirty and wet. Those using a suitcase without a divider can use a piece of cardboard.
  • When packing your luggage roll your clothes rather than fold them, you will have more space that way.
  • Packing cells are a fantastic way of keeping your luggage sorted and surprisingly they take up very little extra space. You can buy them at most travel shops.
  • You only need 3 pairs of shoes. Sneakers for lots of walking, thongs (flip flops) for shorter amounts of walking, beach etc… and for the ladies a pair of ballerina slippers which can be used both during the day and if you go somewhere a little fancy at night. Wear the sneakers on the flight to save luggage space. Don’t take hiking boots unless you’ll actually be hiking.
  • Think laterally:
    • Some outdoor clothing stores sell reversible polo’s and jumpers if you want variety but need to keep your luggage small.
    • The same stores also sell pants that have zips on the legs to turn them into shorts.
    • For those who are going on long camping trips thermal tops can be versatile. In places such as Africa where the nights may be very cold but the days hot a thermal top can be used as a PJ top overnight but also worn first thing in the morning until it warms up. Polyester will likely make you sweat and will very quickly start to smell. Instead buy a 100% woollen thermal.
    • A nice sarong can be used for the beach, as a wrap when going out in the evening if not too cold and as a shoulder covering (providing its not see through) for any sites you may visit that requires shoulder to be covered.
    • When packing clothes for cold weather consider high performance warm weather gear that dries easily and weighs next to nothing (gore-tex, polypropylene and nycott). This will take up a lot less space than bulky clothes.
  • Ensure you have at least one pair of clothes that cover the shoulders and knees for those visits you make to religious sites otherwise you may not be allowed in.
  • A little black cardigan is the most versatile item of clothing you can take.
  • If you need to take your own towel use a micro fibre one. Not only do they dry quicker but they take up much less space.
  • Don’t waste space with big bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Take travel size ones and buy what you need when you arrive and then as you need it.
  • Rather than washing your hair everyday use a spray on shampoo (available at any hair shop). Goes on like hairspray, wait 2 minutes then brush. Almost as good as if your hairs been washed.
  • A small round hand cream container is a good item to safely store your jewellery in.
  • Use a combination padlock to keep your luggage safe. A key is easier to loose.
  • Are there things that you might only use once or twice and if so is it worth carrying them around for the whole trip? Consider buying them when you need them and then giving them away.  
  • Take a supply of assorted zip lock bags; they will always come in handy.
  • ALWAYS pack your own bag, you need to know what is in there when passing through customs. Pleading ignorance simply will not work.
  • And remember…pack light!

HEALTH

  • Be very wary of water in some countries where water is unchlorinated or has poor sanitation.
    • Avoid salad because if it was washed it will likely have been with local water that is not suitable for drinking.
    • Unless you want a nasty case of the runs don’t add ice to your drinks. Frozen water does not kill bacteria.
    • If buying bottled water ensure the seal is intact as some places will sell old bottles filled with tap water.
    • There are various methods of water treatment such as filters and  iodine tablets.
  • Eat wisely, particularly in third world countries.
    • If it can be cooked, boiled or fried that’s safer but make sure it is cooked thoroughly.
    • Thick skinned fruit that can be peeled is generally safe.
    • Avoid unpasteurised dairy products.
    • Be wary of seafood especially shellfish especially in places like Africa and South-East Asia unless you saw it being caught (and in the ocean not some of the dirty delta’s and rivers).
    • Be wary of food stalls.
  • If on large tours be vigilant with hand washing and use hand sanitisers. One person with a cold or gastro bug can quickly spread through a bus.
  • Be aware that some anti-malarials can increase risk of sunburn. Slip slop slap!
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a risk with flying, more so with a long flight but can occur on the shorter ones too particularly if you are in the higher risk category (taking the oral contraceptive pill, smoker, overweight, age and certain medical conditions). This occurs when a blood clot develops in one of the deep veins in your leg. A risk associated with DVT is that part of the clot breaks off and travels to the arteries in your lungs which can be potentially fatal. The treatment for DVT consists of blood thinning medication that needs to be monitored closely with regular blood tests. This can be very complicated when overseas and more so if it was to be a long holiday. Prevention is better than cure!
    • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol! Long flights plus alcohol will dehydrate you and this increases your risk of developing DVT.
    • Try and walk around the plane every one to two hours and in-between those times do leg exercises. This will encourage circulation in your legs.
    • Compression stockings are very useful for encouraging circulation and can be purchased at pharmacies.
  • If travelling in countries known for malaria, avoid perfumes, use insect repellent and sleep under mosquito nets.
  • Don’t touch local stray animals. They may have rabies which, if you are bitten, requires immediate medical attention.

When planning a trip it helps to read about the experiences of others. This not only aids your preparation but provides you with practical advice, tips, do’s and dont’s, avoids and must’s. In reading reviews there are four things I look for.

  • Are the writers objective?
  • Do they include practical advice?
  • Are their criticisms petty?
  • How well travelled are they?

Initially my travel blog was a way for family and friends to keep in touch and read about my adventures but I have decided to add to this. My aim is to have a travel blog that includes my experience with the destinations, attractions, tour companies and accommodations I’ve seen and used as well as tips and advice about all things travel related in order to provide readers with some of the information I wish I could find when I was planning a trip. I hope in my reviews I can provide an impartial and informative account of my experiences and in addition provide you with suggestions and advice. My overseas travel experience began in 1999 and since then I have toured and backpacked my way around the world visiting 25 countries in total, staying in hotels, hostels and camping. I’ve learned that you get what you pay for, you get out what you put in and you should always travel with an open mind. I have listed the countries I’ve travelled below and if you have any questions about these places or any other travel matter I’ll try my best to help you out. Whether your new to wanderlust or have worn out shoes I hope you find this blog category both enjoyable and helpful. Happy travelling!

  • United Kingdom
    • London
  • Western Europe
    • Belgium
    • The Netherlands
    • Germany
    • Austria
    • Switzerland
    • Italy
    • Lichtenstein
    • The Czech Republic
    • France
  • Africa
    • Kenya
    • Tanzania
    • Malawi
    • Zambia
    • Botswana
    • Namibia
    • South Africa
  • The United States of America
    • Hawaii
  • Asia
    • Singapore
    • Thailand
    • Malaysia
    • Vietnam
  • New Zealand
  • Fiji
  • Canada