1. Leave scanned copies of your passport, travellers cheque numbers and insurance details with a trusted person who can assist you if the need arises. Be sure to carry a spare copy in your luggage as well.
2. Seek doctor's advice for topping up your immunisations, especially if travelling to third world countries. Preventions require much less pain than cures!
3. Make a note of the address and contact number of your country's embassy and the telephone number of the police in every country you plan to visit. Be sure to keep them on your person at all times. You never know when you might need it.
4. Buy comprehensive travel insurance. For the sake of an initial outlay it is better to be covered. You never know what you might need to claim for.
5. Forward your travel itinerary to a family member and arrange to contact them at regular intervals. Stick to this arrangement. Your silence will serve notice that something is seriously wrong, whilst the itinerary will make it easier to trace your movements.
6. Single women should consider buying a cheap band of gold to wear as a wedding ring, especially if travelling alone. This will go some way to deterring unwanted attention from men.
7. Raise money for your trip by selling unwanted possessions on the internet or at a garage sale. The money generated from these activities can go directly on a holiday 'treat' like a massage, meal or day trip.
8. Thoroughly research the places that you plan to visit and compile a list of must-see sites. This will guide you on how many days to spend in each destination and ensure you don't miss the best of the city's attractions.
9. Book an appointment with your dentist if you have not visited one in a while as practices abroad can be very expensive, difficult to find and vary widely in quality and hygiene.
10. Collect perfume or aftershave samples from glossy magazines and department stores. This will not only save space in your luggage, and reduce the risk of bottles spilling over your clothes, but will also provide you with a nice range of fragrances to choose from on your travels.
PACKING FOR THE TRIP - 2
1. Pack your luggage to a maximum of two thirds of its capacity. If you fill your backpack completely you will have no room to buy any souvenirs.
2. Pack sensibly for the destinations you plan to visit. Don't take skimpy outfits to countries where women are expected to dress conservatively. Similarly don't pack jumpers if you plan to spend all your time travelling through tropical places.
3. Take older clothes that can be discarded along the way. When it comes to shopping you will be glad of the room, and if you buy new clothes the chances are you won't ever wear your old ones again.
4. Consider basing their selection of clothes around a specific colour scheme. This will reduce the amount of shoes and other accessories they will need to bring, whilst giving you more room in your luggage to buy new ones.
5. If flying in pairs, split your clothes between both sets of your luggage. This will ensure that you at least will still have half of your stuff if one of the bags goes missing.
6. Pack your socks and underwear into separate mesh laundry bags. This will allow you to gain easy access to these every day items without having to disrupt your suitcase too much.
7. Pack your jewellery into a lipstick carry case. It makes them very easy to find and prevents them from getting lost in hard to reach parts of your luggage.
8. Tie a durable ID card to the outside of your backpack clearly stating your contact details. Place another one inside your pack on the top layer of your clothes. In the event of loss this will significantly increase the speed and likelihood of your luggage being returned to you.
9. Secure your luggage with sturdy combination locks that can link your zips together. As an extra precaution wrap a long piece of cord around it a couple of times and clip a couple of safety pins on to the zips. It will help you identify your luggage if ever confusion arises and the safety pins will always come in handy on your holiday.
10. Take a photo of your pack before leaving home and carry it in your daypack. It will come in very handy if you need to find lost or stolen luggage in countries where you don't speak the language.
USEFUL ITEMS TO TAKE - 3
1. Always take a sarong with you. It can be used for many purposes including as a towel, bed sheet, picnic blanket, curtain, scarf and pillowcase. It can also be used to cover your legs or shoulders when entering a temple.
2. Take your pillowcase with you. It will possess far less bed bugs than many of the other ones you sleep on will have, is handy for carrying stuff in and provides a little piece of comfort if you are feeling homesick.
3. Sandwich food bags are not only useful for carrying your packed lunch they are also great for keeping important documents like your passport waterproofed or storing small items like lip balm, make up and hair bands.
4. Portable doorstoppers take up little space in your luggage but provide you with extra peace of mind and security whilst sleeping in your room.
5. Lavender oil can be used as a substitute to body deodorant. It can also freshen up your clothes and hair, is a good antiseptic for cuts and scrapes and when you are feeling tired or stressed its aroma can really lifts your spirits.
6. A small torch is handy for when staying in remote areas, cities susceptible to power cuts, or dark campsites where the toilets are situated some way from your tent.
7. An inflatable pillow or small bean cushion can be a godsend during uncomfortable transit journeys, or in hotels where the bedding is inadequate.
8. Early starts are the bane of travellers particularly when taking international transits. Investing in a small, battery powered portable alarm clock will help to ensure you wake up in time. Oversleeping can severely set you back, especially when in destinations with poor or infrequent transit links.
9. Bring a voice recorder. They take up little room and are ideal for recording verbal descriptions, times, dates, places, sounds and people's names whilst out and about, rather than relying on memory and writing them down later.
10. Always travel with a tough ball of string. It can be used for running repairs to your backpack, as a makeshift clothesline or for tying bulk items such as shoes to the outside of your luggage.
WHILST IN TRANSIT - 4
1. Check in early at the airport. Missing your flight can be very costly both in terms of time and money.
2. Always carry a clean pair of socks, underwear, t-shirt, toothpaste and toothbrush in a day pack. If your luggage gets lost you will at least have a change of clothes to wear until you can buy some more.
3. Pre-book your first nights accommodation at your new destination. If you arrive late at night due to transit delays you will be grateful that you do not have to find a place to stay.
4. If prone to travel sickness, take anti-motion sickness pills about 15-30 minutes before your departure as the pills will not provide any relief if consumed after the sick feeling has started.
5. Periodically swirl your hands and feet, stand up, stretch and if possible walk up and down the aisle. This will keep your blood circulating, stop your joints from stiffening up and stave off the threat of deep vein thrombosis.
6. On planes always ask for exit seats. You get more legroom, it is easier for you to move around without disturbing others, the toilet is right next to you and should you require them the cabin staff sits directly opposite you.
7. If travelling alone on buses establish a dialogue with your driver. They are less likely to drive off and leave you stranded if they are aware of your presence.
8. If you want to be alone in a train carriage place your belongings on at least two other chairs and avoid eye contact with anyone that walks past your door. This will give the illusion that you have company. You might also consider upgrading to first class as generally you will be more comfortable and less likely to be disturbed.
9. Keeping your body hydrated by drinking lots of water and refraining from consuming alcohol, caffeine and sugar will help your body accustom to the air pressure and reduce the effect of jet lag or motion sickness.
10. Whilst flying apply a good quality moisturizer to your skin. This will prevent the cabin air from drying it out. Also wear glasses instead of contact lenses. Cabin air is drier than you may be used to and can cause unpleasant irritation to your eyes. If the air gets too dry for you breathing through wet paper towels will help.
WHILST IN YOUR ACCOMMODATION - 5
1. Ask for a room located in the middle of a hallway. Those situated near exits are more likely to be targeted by thieves. Also never leave the maid service tag on your door when you go out. It will announce that you are not in the room and may invite thieves.
2. Split your money into at least 4 bundles and hide each one in different parts of your room. In the event of a robbery you are less likely to lose all your money.
3. Spend some time perusing all the tourist literature available in the reception area. There is usually plenty of information on display as well as a range of promotional discount coupons for local attractions, activities and restaurants.
4. Try to establish a rapport with the employees on reception. They are a fountain of local knowledge. A relationship like this can significantly enhance your stay.
5. When in a non-English speaking country if the hotel's receptionist speaks English ask them to book your next accommodation/day trip/taxi etc for you. This will save you the problem of having to communicate with someone whose mother tongue differs from yours.
6. Pick up a business card, matches or literature when you check in to reception. If you get lost whilst exploring the city you can use these to instruct a cab driver to take you back to your hotel.
7. When entering a hotel or hostel room for the first time, run the shower for a few minutes, without you being there. This will get rid of any build-up of the spores that cause Legionnaires disease.
8. If your room does not have a safe lock all valuables in your luggage and place it in a cupboard, or on a chair under a pile of dirty clothes. Most in-room thefts are one of opportunity. Do yourself a favour and eliminate the chance.
9. Attach a couple of bells to the zippers of your luggage. It should provide you with a noisy warning if someone tries to open or move it whilst you sleep.
10. After handwashing your clothes hang them up in the bathroom and turn on the hot shower. The steam will help remove the creases and freshen your garments.
FOOD - 6
1. Buying 3 meals a day, everyday, can be expensive so consider self catering for at least one of those meals.
2. If your accommodation offers breakfast stock up on the food items available. After all you would have already paid for them.
3. Food courts in shopping centres offer a variety of eating options at cheap prices.
4. Look out for all-you-can-eat buffets and lunch time specials as these represent great value for money. The menu and size of the portions are often the same as that offered for dinner but will cost you around half the price.
5. Don't be afraid to try street food. It is cooked fresh in front of you, is usually very filling and won't hit you hard in the pocket. If the standard of hygiene is worrying try a vegetarian option first.
6. Eat where the locals eat. There is a reason why they go there. Popular eateries with a large number of local customers are likely to offer high quality, inexpensive food.
7. Remember that ice is only frozen water so if you are in a country where it is advisable not to drink tap water be sure not to ask for any to be put in your drinks.
8. Ask your hotel, or other holidaymakers you meet, for advice on what to eat and where. You might well discover something wonderful that you otherwise would not have come across.
9. If you feel conscious about eating alone take a book with you to read in between courses. It will make you appear confident and relaxed and deflect your attention away from your solitude.
10. Be cautious about accepting food and drink from strangers regardless of how friendly or innocent they might look. Criminals sometimes drug travellers this way and often use sweet children or kindly old people as bait.
SECURITY - 7
1. When walking round a city carry a local newspaper with you. It will make you look less like a tourist, more streetwise and therefore less susceptible to hassle from strangers.
2. If approached by a dubious stranger who asks 'is this your first time here?' say 'no, I work for my countries embassy' and then walk away. It is a safe bet that you will be left alone if someone thinks you have powerful friends.
3. Don't wear clothes that will make you stand out, especially if you are travelling alone. The less attention you attract to yourself the better.
4. Leave the television or radio on in your room when you go out. It will give the impression that you are there and act as a deterrent to thieves.
5. Always keep your room key number hidden. You never know who may have spotted it and realized that you are not there.
6. On beaches never swim in areas that are not patrolled by lifeguards regardless of how well you think you can swim.
7. Avoid wearing ostentatious jewellery. It announces to thieves that you have something valuable and also draws unwanted awareness from undesirable men.
8. If you feel that you are being followed walk into the nearest shop and ask them to call you a taxi, even if you are only a short distance from your destination. It is better to lose a couple of dollars in taxi fares than something far more valuable to you.
9. Don't carry all your money in your purse. Instead sort it into smaller denominations and stash in a variety of places about your personage including your pockets, bra, shirt or shoes.
10. Whilst sightseeing wear your daypack around the front of your body. This will greatly reduce the chances of you being pick-pocketed.
STAYING HEALTHY - 8
1. Carry a well stocked medical kit with you wherever you go. Illness can strike at any time and you will not always be in easy reach of a pharmacy.
2. Always cleanse your hands with antibacterial gel before eating, especially in third world countries. As you will come into contact with millions of bacteria during the course of your day this is the most effective way of preventing yourself from getting sick.
3. Take a plentiful supply of tampons and contraceptives. In certain places you visit, when you need them the most, they may not be easy to obtain, or will be very expensive.
4. If you need to use the toilet whilst exploring a city seek out the nearest major fast food chain like McDonalds or KFC. There are usually plenty of them around and they tend to maintain a higher standard of hygiene than ordinary public toilets.
5. When sunbathing apply high factor protection creams frequently and at least half an hour before exposure to the sun. Staying out of the sun between 11am and 3pm will significantly reduce your chances of getting sunburnt.
6. When visiting cold countries wear a woolly hat at all times. As 30% of heat is lost through the head this will enable you to stay much warmer.
7. Applying any sort of alcohol, or lemon/lime juice to mosquito bites will provide great relief, dry up the bite and speed up the healing process.
8. Filling an aluminium water bottle with hot water acts as a very comforting heat source for stomach cramps or cold rooms.
9. Carry tissues or toilet paper with you wherever you go, particularly when travelling in remote areas. You never know when you might need it.
10. Eating lots of yogurt will help to prevent diarrhoea and stomach troubles by introducing healthy bacteria into your system.
GENERAL - 9
1. Talk to other holidaymakers. They are the best source of tourist information and as they come from like minded people their recommendations are generally pretty accurate.
2. When you arrive in a new destination peruse the postcards on sale at the first store you see. This will give you a good idea of what attractions are in the area and help you assess your sightseeing priorities.
3. When sightseeing have a plan in mind. Try to organise your visits in a way that minimises travel time. This will allow you to spend more of your day at the destination and less of your time trying to get there.
4. Maintaining travel blogs are a great way to keep friends and family updated on your experiences whilst abroad. They also allow you to document memories that you can cherish and refer to forever.
5. To transport souvenirs home safely cut a plastic drink bottle in half, insert your items and then tape it back together. This will protect them from being damaged by other items in your luggage.
6. Save the tourist literature that you receive. Pictures or text can be cut out and used to liven up personal travel diaries, or attached as points of reference in letters to friends and family.
7. Check email or surf the web at the local library. Internet access is generally free and the building is usually easy to find.
8. Don't carry too many books or magazines with you as they will only take up extra weight and quickly become tattered. Instead when you need something new to read buy a book from a second hand stores or swap with other travellers.
9. Place dirty clothes in separate plastic bags. This will help to keep your clean clothes fresh and easily accessible.
10. Use an international calling card when ringing home. They can be used from any landline and will be much cheaper than your hotel phone.
VERY IMPORTANT TIPS - 10
1. Before you leave for your trip ask your insurance company or country's embassy for the contact details of approved doctors in all the destinations you plan to visit. If you get sick whilst you are away you will know exactly where to go.
2. Learn the culture and customs of the country you plan to visit and remember that you are bound by their laws. Behave yourself accordingly otherwise you could find yourself in serious trouble.
3. At all times try to look and act confident even if you do not feel that you are. You are less likely to be hassled if you seem alert, look like you know where you are going and do not appear vulnerable.
4. Always inform a friend or family member when you arrive in a new destination and when you plan to leave.
5. Take a mobile phone that is set up for international use. Contact with your loved ones is just a text message away and if an emergency ever arises it could literally save your life.
6. Never carry packages or luggage for another person, especially at airports, bus depots or across border controls. If you get caught with something illegal you could find yourself facing the death penalty.
7. Never open your room door to anyone you don't know. If you are in any doubt as to who is knocking on your door telephone the front desk and ask them for assistance.
8. Never give your passport to police or other authorities unless in the presence of a staff member of your country's embassy. If they request to see your identification hand them a photocopy instead.
9. Looking at maps in public announces to everyone that you are lost. If you need directions don't be afraid to ask a friendly looking local or a law enforcement officer for help.
10. Try and use your credit card at least once a week. In the event of you going missing this will help the authorities to quickly trace your last known movements.
AND THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP OF THEM ALL....
1. Print out this article and take it with you when you travel!
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