Monday 28 November 2011 | By Maria Boskovski |
Here's 14 things that you should know to avoid problems and maximise your time abroad:
Thursday 3 November 2011 | By Maria Boskovski |
Print your entire itinerary and flight tickets/confirmations and store these with your passports. Try to avoid relying on Internet access.
Always be patient and polite. The person you’re speaking to could be the difference between getting a flight that night or having to spend it at the airport.
Do your research. Destinations like Thailand and India often offer accommodation and food at half the price in off-season, with little change in weather.
Have local currency when you arrive (preferably small denominations). Exchanging money at the airport when you land is generally expensive. If you do have to exchange at the airport, shop around if possible. The first one you encounter is likely to be the most expensive.
Sit at a bar and strike up a conversation with the bartender. They usually know a lot about the town, have lots of great tips and might introduce you to some locals.
Understand that you never have time to see EVERYTHING, and be okay with it. By seeing less, you’re often experiencing a whole lot more.
You’ll never regret learning at least some basic expressions of the language. If possible, sign up to a language course when you arrive. It’s usually a great place to meet other travellers, too.
If you’re on a long bus trip and there’s a break, make sure you keep an eye on the driver – when he/she gets back on the bus, it’s most likely time to leave.
Don’t keep all your cards and cash together. In the unfortunate incident of having something stolen, this will help you avoid losing both.
Keep a “promise book” with you (even if it’s just the back of your travel journal). Use this to help you keep the promises you make to the people you meet on the road (e.g. sending the photo you took of them). Be good to your word.
Take every opportunity you can to plug your electronics in and keep those batteries charged.
Know well in advance the visa requirements for all your destinations. Some can take weeks to obtain.
Bring a sarong with you. It’s light and can be used for so many things, like covering yourself in holy places, as a towel and as a beach/park blanket.
Bring ziplock bags. They‘re great for holding things together, storing damp or dirty clothes, as well as potentially messy items like suncream and moisturising lotion.
Younger children in particular aren't likely to recognise and remember significant family moments. Here’s a list of tips and activities to make your family holiday memorable for them, as well as memorable (and peaceful) for yourself.
Works a ‘treat’
Particularly for lengthy flights and car rides, children may get restless and tired. Keep them entertained by packing a small bag of affordable toys of different sorts (appropriate to their age). Each half hour to an hour, present them with a new toy. It’s likely to keep them amused and well-behaved. Don’t forget to pack some snacks, too.
Rested, not restless
If you’re travelling by car, try to take a 20 minute pause every two hours. Look out for parks and rest stops. A change of scenery will be nice and refreshing, and it’s important to stretch when sitting for long periods of time.
Buy an inexpensive disposable camera for your child to carry around during the holiday. When you get home you can create a memory book from your child’s perspective. They make lovely keepsakes!
Buy a postcard or two for your child at each destination. Writing stories or moments on the back of postcards will help them remember their holiday. Get them to include the date and place names too. You can punch a hole in the bottom corner of each postcard and place them on a key ring, for a fun way to document their trip.
Get them involved
Wednesday 2 November 2011 | By Maria Boskovski |
Go through your holiday plans with your child or children before you leave. Show them travel brochures or photos in books or on the internet. As you make your way there, point out buildings, parks and places. Share your excitement with them.
Tourists and travellers are often major targets for criminals. You may be culture savvy or a terrific globetrotter, but there are people out there who make a living thieving the valuable possessions of vulnerable foreigners. Here are a few tips to help you keep your belongings safe.
Watch out for pick-pocketers
Pick-pocketing is more common than you think. When out and about, always keep your wallet, phone and other valuables in your front pockets, and be conscious of them at all times. Try to avoid crowded places, and be aware of people getting too close for comfort. Placing rubber-bands around your phone and wallet will make it more difficult to remove them smoothly from your pockets.
Carry a ‘fake’ wallet
Your own safety and well-being is more important than your possessions. If someone threatens to harm you in a mugging, your best bet is to hand over your wallet. Carrying another wallet in your back pocket containing a small amount of local currency is usually a good idea. You can hand over the ‘fake’ wallet, and wont lose important cards or a lot of money.
Travelling may be tiring, but try to avoid falling asleep on public transport. You’d hate to wake up to find that someone has helped themselves to your belongings. In the instance where you’ve got no other choice but to rest your eyes during your 10 hour flight delay, keep your bag on and under you. Take the time to make sure that none of your possessions are accessible.
Make like a local
Study the map before you arrive. Roaming the streets with your hand held map and a backpack may attract some unnecessary attention. Try to blend in with the locals as much as possible. When visiting poorer countries with high crime rates, it might be an idea to leave your iPod earphones out of sight when you’re strolling through town.
It’s understandable - you’re on holiday and you want to have a good time. Drinking sensibly however, generally allows you to make wiser decisions. You don’t want to see a wonderful night turn to disaster after stumbling back to your hotel via unfamiliar streets.
Keep a note in an old shoe
Particularly if you’re staying in a hostel or motel, take a pair of shabby looking sneakers and keep some cash tucked away inside. If your room gets robbed and your possessions are swiped, chances are your shoe will still be there with enough money to sort yourself out and make the next move.