Tuesday, 31 May 2016

General Advice!

Having visited several countries now, and with an increasing number of people asking me for advice, I figured it'd be useful to put together some things I've learnt to do along my travels!

ü  Label your valuables: Forever the optimist, I print tiny little labels that have my name, e-mail address and phone number on then sellotape them onto the back of my DSLR and Ipad. Oh, and I take a photo of my address and have it as the first photo on the camera. My logic behind is that if somebody found them, and wanted to return them, chances are they wouldn’t even be able to find out who the photos belonged to for example and thus wouldn’t feel as guilty about taking the items. However, with a contact method attached, the guilt of knowing they could be nice and return will hopefully eat them up and I’ll receive a message in my inbox!  

I need to print a new one of these! With an international dialling code too... Yes, it's currently slightly covered by my DSRL Easy Cover Silicon Skin. Probably the best thing I've bought to protect it from wear and tear!
ü  Carry US Dollars: Yup, I always take around $50-100 cash on me as back-up and in case of an emergency. I find typically, if people are going to accept any currency, it’s going to be USD. It came in handy in particular when I was stuck in Malaysia and my card wasn’t working. It was 11pm at night, a bus had dropped me off at the wrong time and I was stranded in a terrifying location. While the nearest motel was not happy to accept it, after some tears and convincing, begrudgingly she accepted them at an over-priced rate. I was just glad to have somewhere to sleep! Oh also, if you’re in Argentina you can get a terrific exchange rate on the blue dollar (but they're trying to fix their economy so may not be as good as it once was).

ü   Book back seats on planes: For some reason, people always book near the front – in hope of getting off quicker I suppose! But at the end of the day, everyone has to wait for their luggage anyway. What I’ve found with choosing the back of the plane is that often it doesn’t fill up and so if any seats are empty, it’s at the back. I often bag whole rows to myself!

ü  Carry around toilet-roll: This is especially true for South America and South-East Asia. Most places you either have to pay for it, or there is only water to wash yourself – which, if you’re not versed in the practice is not ideal!

ü  Wear a (waterproof) watch: When your phone dies at 4am, and you’re due to get off the bus around 7am you can’t sleep for fear you’ll miss your stop. Get a watch with an alarm clock on to help soothe the worry.

ü  Universal Adapter? I’m slightly torn on this one - Again, with South America and South-East Asia, the plugs are very unpredictable and vary hugely country to country. In fact, even within the country they can vary! In South America no plug I had got online could have covered the amount of different ones we encountered, some I didn’t even know existed. So, while you may want to bring one with you, most of the time you can pick adapters up super cheap at the market so don’t worry too much.

ü  The Sleeping Bag Liner: Yes, something I could not live without it. I urge every traveler to get one of these! Rarely do I actually use them in a hostel if it’s dirty for example (though I had to in Cambodia, grim), instead they come in handy on long bus journeys, sleeping in airports and on flights. I always keep my valuables in my smaller backpack, thus while my big backpack is stored in the hold, I don’t know where to put the small one while I sleep. With a sleeping bag liner, I put it in the bottom and then get into it after. While I’m sleeping, somebody would have to wake me to steal my things! I also always wrap the bag around my foot, just in case somebody decides to slit the bottom and try to run off with it.

Waiting to greet my mum in Singapore!

Well, I hope you learnt something new today. Leave me a comment if you have any questions, or just want to give me advice too!

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