Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

  • 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.
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  • Take a couple of packets of noodles or muesli bars etc… if you’re arriving at your accommodation late at night. You might find you are hungry and room service is not available. Just don’t forget to declare them at customs.
  • Many hostels and hotels offer all you can eat breakfast. Unless otherwise indicated, save yourself some money and consider taking a piece of fruit and making yourself a sandwich for lunch.
  • Alternatively, pop into a local supermarket or deli for lunch. Many stock hot food or you can get a bread roll and some meat.
  • If eating out, look at where the locals eat. The food here will often be much better than the tourist haunts.
  • Some countries, like Spain, will place bread or appetisers in front of you. This is not always free so if you don’t want to pay, don’t touch it.
  • Other places such as Italywill charge you more for your coffee if you sit down, so unless you actually want a leisurely hour, drink it at the “bar”.
  • Tip varies from country to country so be sure to find out what the custom is before you dine.
  • Find out what the local specialities are and try them. You will discover a whole delicious world out there.
  • As I mentioned in my health post, be careful when eating in third world countries. Cooked well, no ice, no salads and be wary of seafood. Also be very cautious of food stalls. They smell delicious but the cooking and cleaning techniques will often leave you unwell.
  • As a traveller you will often find you do not eat as well as you do at home. Junk food often becomes a staple which will leave you feeling run down. Many hostels have cooking facilities so if you’re travelling for a while take a small empty container (a filled unlabelled one might not make it through customs) and once at your destination fill it with some cooking oil so you don’t have to carry a big bottle with you. Take a list of simple quick meals that you can easily make. This will save you money as well.
  • Avoid headaches and cramps by keeping well hydrated. A lot of site seeing and walking will deplete your fluids more than normal particularly in places like Africa.
  • Travel forums such as the lonely planet, world nomads, travellers point and virtual tourist are a great way of finding out what the everyday person thought of where they went as well as getting loads of tips and advice. On some of these websites they provide you with the opportunity to ask locals questions about where you’re going such as safe areas to stay in, good local nightspots, places to eat and sights worth seeing.
  • When looking for accommodation I search using a hotel or hostel booking website that lists thousands of accommodations. Then I always use trip advisor to read independent reviews from people who have stayed in the places I’m looking at. Many reviews include photos. Keep in mind that some people are completely unrealistic about what is and is not acceptable accommodation. If you pay for one star you should not expect four star! There are also reviews for attractions and restaurants.
  • While web based flight agencies often quote cheap airfares, places like flight centre will actually match the quote and they do all the work for you including organising visas and providing invaluable advice.
  • Don’t limit yourself to tours. A lot of countries now offer a hop-on-hop-off way of exploring. Generally a bus will pass through a town every second day and you notify them (online) in advance if you require a seat. That way you decide how long you’ll stay in one place. There are also rail passes available or the option of flying between countries (obviously this depends on your budget).
  • If you’re booked on a tour or going to a special function plan to arrive a day earlier in case there are delays in your flight.
  • Research the weather of the places you plan on visiting. It would be so disappointing to book your trip and arrive only to find it’s the rainy season, monsoon weather or a grey winter.
  • Consider travelling when there are beautiful seasonal changes ie: March/April in Japan to see the cherry blossom, early spring in South Africa or Western Australia for the vast display of wildflowers, autumn in Switzerland to see the magnificent array of colour on the deciduous trees etc…
  • Don’t plan your trip around only the cities. There is much to see in the country and in small towns.
  • When planning your itinerary:
    • Use a travel book and the internet to do your research but also talk to people who have been there before because they will know what is worth seeing and what isn’t. Just make sure you ask them why they didn’t like something because it might not apply to you.
    • Allow some flexibility (unless you’re on a really tight schedule).
    • Be logical in your planning – avoid backtracking – and be realistic. There is no point in adding destinations to your list that you will barely see just so you can say you’ve been there. Aside from giving you a lengthy detour, it adds expense and cuts down on time you will spend in another place.
    • Consider flying in to one country and out of another rather than doing a round trip.
    • For longer trips, plan for rest periods. I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. Constant sight-seeing is tiring and a half or full day of lounging in a café or a park can make a huge difference.
    • Don’t overload yourself on cathedrals and museums inEurope. Believe me you will get sick of them if you do too many!
    • Look beyond the frequented sights for something a little different ie: a bike ride tour of a countryside, day boat trips, hiking, night time walking tours, markets etc…
    • Find out what days and times tourist sites are open (most places close for one day of the week).
    • Write out your itinerary list using excel (makes it easier to work out a budget). You will be ready when you arrive with estimated budget and know you have back up sights to see in case of unexpected hindrances like weather, public holidays and unplanned closure of sight-seeing places.
    • Look for tourist cards (ie:Londonpass) that offer entry into a certain number of tourist sites at a discounted price.
    • Don’t be afraid to use public transport to get around. Just remember where you need to get off at the end of your day.
  • Research festivals and celebrations that might be occurring at your destination. There is nothing as exciting as taking part in a community or national celebration in another country.
  • With this is mind, if there are festivals occurring at the time you plan on visiting be sure to book your accommodation in advance or you might be sleeping on the street. ie: Most cheap accommodation inMunichis well and truly booked out come Oktoberfest.
  • Be aware of laws, cultural differences and customs in the countries you plan on visiting. Not only is it wise to respect another’s culture in some places you could be arrested for blatantly ignoring cultural traditions. Just because you are a visitor there does not mean you will be let off lightly. This can be as simple as not taking photos of law or military officers and their buildings.
  • If you plan on driving overseas your own licence may not be enough. Make sure you get an international drivers licence before you leave.
  • Know the emergency number of the country you are visiting, you never know when you might need it.
  • If you plan on undertaking any activities such as sky diving, white water rafting, scuba diving, riding a moped etc… make sure your travel insurance covers you for this (many don’t).

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