LET’S GO !
I started off in January 2008 to find out what our world was all about. Im a KIWI and like all kiwis (New Zealander) we love to travel and now it is September 2009 and Im still on the road.
Let me just add that all the opinions expressed are mine and mine alone as every traveller has different experiences.
It was in late July 2009 that I decided to set up a website and put all my information down as I start talking with people and 1hour later I am still talking. So to tip number 1. If you are thinking of doing the same thing, get help! Putting up a website is not easy as all the advertising out there would suggest. I was fortunate enough to get help from a program that I found on the internet and to them and the patient people I work with I am finally up and running, but still learning as I go. Thanks Guys!!!
I hope you enjoy reading my information and get out there and do it.
BEFORE YOU EVEN LEAVE HOME…
Make sure to check out which ones you need to get at least 6 months before you plan to leave as sometimes you require a series of injections. Im amazed at the number of English that go to Spain and dont get a Typhoid course. All the sewage along the coast of Spain goes straight into the ocean, where they just happen to be swimming every day.
Are you on medication? Get stocked up on as much as you can and dont forget that important letter from your Doctor in case you are ever pulled aside at the border and have to explain the drugs you are carrying.
Packing has got to be the biggest problem. What is the climate going to be like where you are going and pack appropriately. Having said that everytime I set off I have to pack for both cold and hot climates. I dont stay in one place to long, unless it happens to be Tulum, Mexico. Really, at the end of the day it comes down to common sense and you can be like the rest of us, ditch stuff when you have no room left in the backpack. But one of the best ways to get heaps in is to roll your clothes up.
Its no big deal as long as you keep aware of what is around you. Walk like you know exactly where you are going. Opening up a map in a busy shopping street is usually OK but lets everyone around know you are a tourist thats lost. Remember there is always someone watching. I only ever do this in cities I know are safe like Vienna, Austria. Before setting out write down the information your need on a small piece of paper, that way it looks like you are just reading a note.
If you are on a budget then I say good luck to you. It can be so hard to stick to and you end up not seeing as much as you want because you cant afford to do it. I have paid for dinner for many a backpacker simply because they have gone over the budget for the country they are in. Blow the budget, it is better to eat healthy while travelling and do some research on the true cost of food and travel in the countries you plan to visit. For example, 1 person to eat either KFC of McDonalds in Austria it will cost you €6. And also remember Europe is expensive and the more north you go, the more it costs. ( That includes Ireland )
KEEPING IN TOUCH
I always email to New Zealand and let people know where I am. There are also lots of roaming worldwide sim cards out there. I now have 3 phones, ( yes I know thats ridiculous! ) 2 laptops, (even worse ), and enough cords to annoy me everytime I go into my backpack. Over the next 2 years I will get that sorted!
Yes, dont leave home without it. Thats just plain stupid not to have travel insurance. If you can afford to travel, you can afford insurance, although, Believe it or Not, I have meet a few who havent taken out insurance, and Im sorry, but I think they are idiots and I dont give then the time of day. Get responsible before leaving because you are going to have to look out for yourself and buddies while you are gone!
Yea, dont forget to send one to MUM. Seriously, people do love to get them and posting postcards is usually simple. On the other hand, posting parcels home can turn into a big problem. Sometimes I have taken things through 3 countries before being able to locate a Post Office. Hostels are not always helpful in this area, and other times they just simply dont know where the nearest Postal Office is.
Check before leaving home as to wether you need a visa in your passport or as to wether they can be purchased at the border. Most of Europe involves just a stamp in your passport which will give you ninety days in all EU countries. Dont assume that because New Zealand doesnt need a visa for a certain country, that Australia wont need one also. Before flying into Panama you have to puchase a tourist visa. These are not available at Panama City airport and you will be turned back. They cost approx. us$10 and are sold at the departure airport. Canadian and American visa requirements are also different. For New Zealanders travelling in South America is for the most part easy but keep an eye on Ecuador as they change their visa requirements on a regular basis.
GENERAL TRAVEL TIPS
- Always carry a drink bottle with you. When you go to theme parks they usually have fountains outside the toilets where you can refill them. Saves having to queue up and saves money. In all countries it is best to check if you can drink the water and if so then drink it. I have seen people unnecessarily buying water in London.
- Always get a map and if you are good at getting lost like me then take the address of your hostel/hotel with you so if you have to get a taxi your know where your are going back to.
- If there is a group of you travelling then in the USA it is sometimes cheaper to all pitch in and get a rental home. This is quite often the case in places like Orlando.
- Remember your biggest costs are accommodation and transport so if you are really going to stick to that budget you have to do a lot of forward planning. I don’t as I never know what or where I’m going next. Not everyone likes to travel this way but it suits me down to the ground.
- Beware in London and other such big cities. The cost of accommodation goes up for the weekend, even when booking through hostelworld and hostelbookers. (And other booking engines) This makes it even more important to find a hostel that provides breakfast to keep your costs down, and if it has kitchen facilities then that’s even better
- When you want to eat out just see where the locals eat and follow them. This is especially a great way to find nice restaurants in South America. Let’s face it the locals know where to go to get the best food at a good price.
- Buy from the supermarkets in the area you are staying. If you buy from a street stall make sure it is something you can peel as washing the fruit doesn’t always get rid of the bugs. This is especially true of the grapes in Sth America which have made many a traveller sick.
- If you go to places like McDonalds or KFC take some salt sachets home (hostel) with you. Saves having to buy a packet and they don’t take up any room. I have found a lot of hostels don’t even provide salt for you.
- Always check out the free food box at the hostel. Has saved my buying a few items and is great if you get in very late.
- Suggest sharing pizzas or other quick ready meals with others in the hostel. This way it’s only going to cost all of you a few $$$
- If you are going out on a day trip take a small backpack with water, chocolate bars, nut bars etc..and fruit. I find bananas best as you don’t have to take something to peel them. In having said that I ate so many bananas last year I now hate them!
- If you want alcohol and smokes and you are going through an airport DUTY FREE, yep go get it.
- In Lima airport Peru go to gate 23 if you are a smoker. You have to buy a cup of tea or coffee but you can sit there and smoke for an hour if you want. It’s the only airport in Sth America that I know of where you can smoke. In Europe you can smoke in airports in Spain, Greece and Italy. (In designated areas inside). All others you have to smoke outside.
- If you do a have a good idea on where you will be and when check budget airlines as the further ahead you book your travel the cheaper it will be. I sometimes book flights in the morning and fly in the afternoon. Not all airlines will let you do this but I have found a way around it.
- In the links I have put in it is best to go to flight booking engines first and then go direct to the airline and see what their prices are. Booking engines are great and I’m always using them. I have also worked out how to get thousands of airpoints for very little cost without flying anywhere.
- If you are going to travel heaps and fly lots then join up to get airpoints. Only airline I know of that charges you to join is Qantas.
- A great relaxing way to see all the bigger cities, and especially if you are pushed for time, is to catch a ‘hop-on-hop-off’ bus. They don’t tend to be too pricey and you can get lots of photos.
- OK don’t leave home without flip-flops, camera and spare batteries and the charger, swim suit, goggles, sunglasses and sun screen, book, insect repellent, phone and charger and credit cards. I say cards because if one gets stolen you still have another. A sarong is ideal for the beach, emergency towel and to cover your head and shoulders if going into a mosque.
- If you get bitten by bed bugs the spots can stay for a week. I found using hand sanitizer on them 3 times a day made them disappear in 3 days. Might not work for everyone but give it a go.
- Check with you bank about getting travel cards. Nearly all banks do them now as well as Travelex and can be topped up through internet banking.
- If you have a laptop then never put it in the hold luggage. Keep an eye on it all the time, which I know is hard to do, and carry it in something that doesn’t make it obvious that you have one. Get a travel data USB dongle and download the important ‘can’t afford to lose stuff’ or email it to yourself. I do this with all my passwords.
- Power adapters. Find a good multi adapter if you can. You may still end up having to take a few others but that’s just how it is. There are 9 different power plugs in use around the world. My bag tends to full of them and cords, charges……..Note to oneself, sort them out!! My biggest problem is the different things I have brought from different countries. Phone for when in the USA, camera from Spain, laptops from England, phones from England and the fact that I keep going around the world. If you aren’t doing the same as me then use your own country ones or if you buy from a country you visit sell it off before going home.
- New and just out recently is a dongle to hook to the internet wherever you are in the world. I will post more info when I have it as I intend to purchase on for myself. In the UK I use a Vodafone one.
- Update on that last info; you can use the Vodafone dongle all over the world but it is expensive. Other phone companys also do them like T-Mobile.
- British Airways now charges you if you choose your seat online. £10 for economy passengers and up to £60 for first class. I wont be flying with them very often and if you dont like this idea either then send them an email. The only way to change things is to make a song and dance about it!
- Looking for an internet cafe in a certain place then hit this link. http://www.cybercafes.com
Eat, drink and be merry and I will see you somewhere out there and don’t hesitate to send me a tip. These pages are to help everyone.