Travel Advice 101
More than 20 years of travel, 87 countries, surely I have picked up a few tips to share.
Here are my travel tips:
• Travel guides tell you the best season to go.... Ignore this advice.... This is the worst time to go.
• Take 'packing list' advice from bloggers with a pinch of salt. They wear the stuff they wear cos it's given to them for free and are paid to write nice things about it. And they have enough money to take taxis to and from everywhere so while I sweat with my 8kg bag thru the back streets of Bangkok, they are in un needed air con comfort. But I once arrived at BKK main station and their taxi to Khao San Rd took 1hr and I got there, walking in 43 mins. Hahah
• Travel Insurance. Do you know how much treatment costs when abroad?? A fraction of your policy and way less than than minimal ammount, where you pay the first 50$/€/£ of any claim.
• Guys, becareful of 'wandering hands' when in Arabic countries.
• Jeans are the perfect travel clothing. Wearing zip-offs are for dutch only.
• Cotton T shirts cost a fraction of these (not so) new fangled quick drying alternatives, which last for ever but all your photos will show you wearing the same 1, 2 or 3 t shirts for the duration of your trip. If you use cotton ones, you'll be forced to buy a few more every now and then.
• Get a skin-head, crew cut, buzz cut, boule de zero. No need for hair dryer, shampoo, curling tongs and NO bad hair days!
• On saving money, the trick is to NOT SPEND ANYTHING whilst you are saving.... no car, no coffee at Starbucks, get rid of ur phone. Unlimited free texting may seem great but you are paying for a monthly plan. Can't live without ur phone?? oh yes you can, 20 years ago, no one had one and life still carried on just fine. Use free wifi, email, skype. Peer stress, advertising culture convinces you that you can't live without a phone. What ever.
• On the road, travel lightly, then you can walk from train station or bus station to your hostel. I never take a taxi (shared/service taxis are different)...there are always public buses from airports or train stations to down town. You just have to find them.
• When you use an ATM, use one that is inside the bank or at least located out side the bank and not some ATM located in an obscure place, like a metro station or supermarket. Reason being, makes getting your card back a whole lot easier, if the machine swallows your card.
• Never ever play cards with locals and if you hear the words 'I work at a casino but it's my day off' get the hell out. You have been warned.
• Learn to navigate. Learn to how to walk the streets as if you are an old hand and not fresh out of school. Do not walk along with your Lonely Planet in your hand. Memorize land marks. Copy the map from guide book to a piece of note paper to take you where you need to go. If you do need to refer to your tablet or guide book, duck into a shop.
Use your legs. Walk everywhere, within reason of course, you'll come across things you would have other wise missed had you taken a bus. Chances are any way that that you need to loose a few pounds any way. And can save a few dollars too. 'Oh it's too hot to walk!' get used to it. 'My bag is too heavy!' travel lightly. A heavy bag will be your own worst nightmare.
• Against mosquitoes, cover up and sleep under a mosquito net. Use deet on areas mosquitoes love, like around the ankles. Forget those anti malarials. You feel feverish, go get a blood test. Locals die from malaria cos they don't have the money to pay for tests or treatment. You do!
• Pack lightly. Everything you will ever need world wide can be found, (except certain medicines).
• The hardest thing of being on the road for a long time is maintaining the enthusiasm. Take a break, hole up in a hotel room and don't go out for a few days. Sit in a cafe, drink shit loads of beer, what ever it takes but don't go round being a tourist. You'll get burnt out. This last tip will be expanded soon.