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The Funky Traveller

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Travel Tips

Here are a few ideas to help your trip go more smoothly:

Before you go
  • Research the area you are visiting via libraries and internet
  • Make sure you know all about travel, insurance, money, health and safety etc.
  • Ask any questions on travel message boards (see links)
  • Get a hotmail address if you haven't already got one (make sure that all your email addresses and copies of important documents are up there)
  • Make sure you get the correct vaccinations if going to places affected by disease
  • Make copies of all your important documents (passport, visas, insurance certificates and medical info)
  • Make photocopies of city maps where you are going
  • Line your backpack with chicken wire (to prevent razor slashers)
  • Make sure you have a copy of your traveller's cheque numbers somewhere safe (and on hotmail)
  • Break in new hiking boots (a good pair shouldn't need too much)
  • Check the weather where you are going
  • Allow time in your itinery for plane delays and cancellations
  • Try and learn the local language before you go
  • Arrange to meet fellow travellers in specific places via message boards
  • Check whether USD or sterling is best for travellers cheques, and whether Amex or Thomas Cook is more widely accepted in the countries you are visiting.

What to take with you
  • Guidebook (Lonely Planet or Rough Guide recommended)
  • Passport, traveller's cheques, copies of other documents
  • Maps (or photocopies)
  • Money belt
  • Small cash denominations hidden in your luggage or on your self (dollar bills are accepted in most places)
  • Good hiking boots that are comfortable
  • Camera (try and find out price of film where you are going it may be cheaper)
  • Memory Cards for digital camera (bring lots of small ones)
  • Disposable camera (back up if other camera gets stolen, also good for busy towns where good camera would be at risk)
  • Binoculars
  • Small alarm clock
  • Batteries
  • Small hand torch
  • Small calculator (useful for checking exchange rates)
  • Penknife (keep in main luggage)
  • Self-adhesive hooks (for mossie nets)
  • Mosquito net
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sun cream (factor 15 at least)
  • Sleeping bag (small and compact)
  • Travel towel
  • Strong string (for washing line)
  • Selotape
  • Sewing kit (include safety pins)
  • Small first aid kit (plasters, bandages
  • Antihistamine cream
  • Water purification tablets
  • Syringes
  • Talc
  • Small scissors/tweezers
  • Rehydration mixture
  • Aspirin (good for altitude sickness)
  • Headache tablets
  • Diarrohea tablets
  • Antisceptic wipes
  • Tubi-grip bandage (useful for affixing passport to arm or leg)
  • Universal bath plug
  • Small mirror
  • Cup and cutlery
  • Vitamin pills
  • Malaria pills (if going to a malaria infected area)
  • Yellow fever vaccination form (may be required in some places)
  • Small backpack (for everyday use - better if inside is fully sealed)
  • Notebooks (for keeping diary and contacts)
  • Pens/pencils (buy packs of pens when visiting poor areas, as they can be a good gift to children rather than money)
  • Ear plugs (good for noisy hostels and transport)
  • Fluid toothpaste (needs no water)
  • Soap
  • Clothes (unless going to a nudist colony! Bring layers, e.g. shirts and t-shirts, good for changeable weather conditions)
  • Thermals (if going somewhere bloody cold)
  • Fleece jacket
  • Hat (keeps the sun off your head)
  • Gloves
  • Spare shoes (lightweight e.g. old trainers/flip-flops useful for evenings if boots need airing/drying)
  • Walkman/I-Pod
  • Padlocks for bags and for hotel rooms
  • Cord bicycyle lock (useful for locking backpack to seat of train when asleep)
  • Lip balm
  • Playing cards
  • Sunglasses
  • Plastic bags (good for dirty washing etc)
  • Reading books (buy cheap books that you can exchange with other travellers if going for a long time)
  • Addresses of friends/family at home (useful if sending postcards!)
  • Fake Wallet and fake or expired credit cards (hide your the rest of your stuff in a money belt)
Tips for the Road
  • Take it easy the days before you fly (if going long haul)
  • Avoid tap water in poorer countries (even when brushing teeth, use bottled water instead
  • Avoid wearing jewellery and expensive watches (as they may attract unwanted theives)
  • On long trips/excursions make sure you have an overnight bag with bottled water, toothpaste, any medication, toilet roll, deoderant etc.
  • Take taxis at night in towns if going more than 2 blocks (check with your hotel what the trusted companies are)
  • Place something like a bottle against your hostel room door encase someone tries to break in
  • Never accept a package from anyone (don't even offer to look after someone's bag unless they are people you know well)
  • Don't buy drugs abroad unless you know the person before hand (Quite often police and drug dealers work together to trap tourists)
  • Know what the local penalties for possession are and consider whether it's worth the risk.
  • Avoid salads and peeled fruit in poorer countries
  • If you feel sick or have an upset stomach it might be dehydration, particularly if your main drink is the local beer, make sure you also drink plenty of water or fruit juice.
  • Avoid ice in drinks in poorer countries
  • When arriving at high altitude (above 8000ft) for the first time, lie down for a couple of hours and don't over-exhert yourself on the first day. Avoid lots of alcohol and drink lots of bottled water and coco-leaf tea (if in South America)
  • Always decide on a price before getting into a taxi
  • Taxi's are normally cheaper way from airport entrances
  • Always reconfirm internal flights 2 or 3 times before you fly
  • Arrive 2 hours before all flights
  • Put spare cash in boots incase you get mugged or carry a fake wallet with fake credit cards, some varying note denominations including USDs
  • Always check tour operators and flight operators before booking them (ask other traveller's and in local bars)
  • Always demand to see your hostel room before you book it (check it has running water and what time the hot water is available)
  • If travelling alone, arrange to meet other travellers along the way (internet message boards and traveller pubs/bars are the best place to meet people
  • Spray insect repellent on clothes when out aswell as arms, neck and face. At night spray window frames, mossie net and any limbs that might touch the edge of the net.
  • If travelling on bus (they store luggage on top), try putting your backpack in an old potato sack to make it look less appealing.
  • If you are in a crowded place with your backpack try moving backwards and forwards, this will make it harder for anyone to slash your pack
  • Eat sensibly, don't try all the local cuisine at once, your stomach won't be use to it, rotate between local cuisine and more recognizable dishes
  • If you don't speak much of the local language write down some key phrases on a small piece of paper or small notebook so you can refer to it at any time
  • Avoid wearing dark colours in mosquito rich areas
  • Be aware of, and respect, local customs (for example dressing conservatively in Moslem countries)
  • Make sure you are familiar with the customs requirements for entry into a country, some places have strict embargos on the transport of food goods e.g. fruit, meat etc. and quite often heavy fines can be issued if you take things into the country by mistake
  • Clean your credit cards and wallet before you go, it has been researched that 95% of ATM machines in the UK and Europe may have small traces of cocaine in them which can be easily transferred to your cards, its unlikely you'll get a death sentence but it may save you some awkward questions.
  • Avoid taking in fruit or any other perishable food stuffs into New Zealand, they commonly fine anyone doing this about £90
  • Avoid getting paralytically drunk in unknown cities, you'll be an easy target for theft or worse

    REMEMBER all of this is a guide, taking into account the worst possible scenario. Even in some of the poorest countries you can still obtain most of which is on this list. However if it is imported it may be more expensive. If you would like to add to this list please email us with your suggestions.

    If you would like to suggest a tip email us

Information kindly provided by The Funky Traveller


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