Tip 0241 Carry small change on arrival
Our top tip here is to make sure you have some small denominations of local currency on arrival of the country of destination.
When you buy your currency from your foreign exchange office, ask for a few small denomination notes. Also try and familiarise yourself with the notes and colours.
There will of course be some countries that you will only be able to exchange once arrived but in general try to have a few notes already exchanged for entry and in your pocket, not wallet.
Unless you have an immediate transfer organised from your point of entry to your accommodation, you will need currency for transportation away from your port of call.
The last thing you want on arrival is to pull out your entire travel money and start pulling out strange notes, trying to work out which notes you need to pay for your ride or for a coffee at the station.
Tip 0242 Know the conversion rate
Take time pre travel to work out exactly how much your converted money is worth.
So many people get this wrong by rounding up or down to the nearest $10 and end up giving in tips more than the cost of two or three days worth of meals and drink.
A little research into how much local travel costs pre travel will stop you getting ripped off in your transfers. Ask friends who have been there before.
Always negotiate your fare before you get in your transfer vehicle.
Tip 0243 Not everyone's a mathematician
Being a math guru has its advantages but not everyone can do the math quickly. Even the old school peeps like us who were brought up knowing our "times tables" by heart, will have a little trouble in conversions. This is because we can all get a little flustered on arrival to a new country with differing customs and the excitement of the moment.
The simple fact is, on arrival to nearly all points of entry, "you will get badgered" as soon as you get past customs. Remember, many countries rely on their tourism as the main source of national income. So from the moment you step on land, you are fair game.
Our top tip here is, on purchase of your foreign currency ask for a "converter slip" and have this readily available to refresh your pre travel exchange rate research.
Another top tip to consider on arrival, if you are feeling a little overwhelmed and badgered by the locals, is to "take five!" Find a seat or a coffee shop, sit down and relax for a while. Look around and see what is going on from a distance. Work out your next move and enjoy the commotion that is happening all around you.
It is great fun seeing how the system works and you will then start your immersion into the whole travel experience.
Having a level head and seeing the bright side of it all will start you off on the right foot instead of thinking I don't like this country or its people right from the get go!
Tip 0244 Street money
We mostly travel for enjoyment and as a time to relax, unwind and to forget about the stresses of normal life.
You really have to leave at least 1% in the tank and be a little security conscious or street wise. Just think pre travel about how you go about your day in general.
You wouldn't take out a wad of cash when you're in the local bar back home and reel off a couple of AUD$100 bills and give them to the barman and say is that enough! So why do it when you're travelling?
If you have a safe in your accommodation, use it. Try not to take large amounts of cash with you when you go out on a daily basis. If you have to take all your cash with you, spread it out into smaller amounts around your person.
Work out how much you will need for the coming day ahead and keep this money as your main wallet.
Tip 0245 Cash or card
Many people are undecided on how much cash they should take and/or should they just use their credit/debit cards whilst travelling internationally.
There is no real better way and everyone is different. There is still a generation of people that only use cash and this is fine but here you really need to consider how much cash you exchange. Of course you can always exchange back on your return but you obviously lose out on the exchange both ways.
Again here, research is the key and try to work out a daily budget on what you intend to spend on getting about, food, drink, excursions, markets, gifts and the niceties of holidaying abroad.
Personally we use about 70/30 split, being 70% on the card and exchange 30% for flash money. We have a great tip for using most of our cash up by the end of the trip and show this in our next tip 0246 Payment at the end.
A great tip here is to make sure you inform your credit card provider of your pending trip. Many people forget this and find after a transaction or two that their card is stopped causing all sots of problems.
This is a safety measure for your benefit. Having a transaction at home at 6 am in the morning and another the other side of the world at 6pm the same day will flag up and with world time zones you can almost make a transaction 12 hours difference and show up at the same time.
Think about having two different types of credit cards with you, as some places will take one type, others will take another. We have often found this and have had no problems by doing this.
Another good tip here is to exchange a modest amount to cash to get you through the first one or two days of your destination, then exchange your money in the country you are in. Generally you get a better deal.
Some countries like foreign currency notes and prefer these to their own. You have to be able to think on your feet here but often you will get a really good deal.
Also research what currency is used mostly "preferred currency", or you could find yourselves double exchanging! Many countries and tour operators prefer say US Dollars and will not take anything else.
Tip 0246 Payment at the end
One of our best tips for using up all your foreign currency, especially if you are not planning on going back there again.
If you're staying at a resort try and arrange a slate, or a pay at the end bill. This way you can use part cash, part card payment which will save you on exchanging more currency at the end of your travel and stops you ending up with a load of foreign currency in your drawer when you get home.
Tip 0247 Shop around
You would think a dollar is a dollar! Not at all.
You might be surprised at the differing exchange rates available that are being offered out there and you only need to go to a couple of different foreign exchange companies to see this for yourselves.
Do shop around! The banks and foreign exchange kiosks set out all over the place are not the only places to get a good deal. Did you know your main Post Office will also have a foreign exchange area too.
Believe it or not you can get a good rate straight out of the ATM's when in the country of travel but obviously calculate and allow for your specific fees and conditions.
Dependant on how much you need can also have a bearing on your rate so be clear in what you are asking for and you will also be able to negotiate.
Companies will price match if you are insistent on using your preferred company.
For certain amounts you can get an internationally booked rate specifically agreed for you at the actual moment you are there. Currencies fluctuate every minute of the day, many companies will not change their rates as the currencies change unless it benefits them, so you may only get the rate that is advertised on their boards.
Tip 0248 Watching the markets
This is high risk but you can make a killing if you know, follow or are willing to gamble on the world markets.
As you already know currencies worldwide fluctuate throughout the year and even some countries have trends. If your pending trip is far away, then you just may be able to get a good rate if you plan your foreign currency exchange date.
You only have to look recently at the recent Brexit situation to see what we mean here.
If you are flexible with your destination, you can also make a killing as currency devalues you get more for your dollar depending on where you are travelling to.
Remember to factor in on an early exchange date, that having your currency early in your pocket means no interest on it in the bank.
Tip 0249 Get Insurance
Trust us on this one. You need adequate travel insurance.
Be it personal, vehicle and or equipment as well as for the family. Insurance is a must have.
Apart from taking that extra worry out of travel, insurance will inevitably be used at some point of your life, especially if you intend to travel a fair bit.
Top tip here also is do your research and shop around. Finding the cheapest quote is not necessarily your best option and you really need to study the fine print and get the cover you need pertaining to your own special set of circumstances.
There are very few regular travellers that have not needed to call on their insurance at some point in time and if you think you are one of the lucky ones who decides on travelling without insurance, it is only a matter of time.
Piece of mind goes a long way whilst travelling also and knowing you are covered will be worth the costs alone.
Many countries around the globe do not have the necessary facilities within short distances and those that do, charge a premium. Having an accident, falling ill or worse whilst travelling will and does have extremely high costs in recovery or treatment.
Tip 0250 Check what you are covered for.
This is as important as getting insurance in the first place. Fine print can be deceiving or very lengthy and in jargon that is far from comprehensible at the best of times.
Our top tip here is to write down what you want cover for and actually talk to a representative of the company that you purchase your insurance from. It's all too easy to get cheap insurance on line and not actually know exactly what you are covered for.
Don't leave purchasing your insurance until you travel! Insurance is also for events leading up to your departure date. You may need to cancel due to ill health or have an accident that prevents you setting off on the predicted day of travel. Many things could change or go wrong that you will be eligible to claim for.
When you get your policy, take time to read it through, or at the very least, make sure it reads as you have been told for your original questions.
Using you credit card when you purchase your travel, air ticket or package deals will not always cover you for what you think they will. Again the fine print here needs to be looked at very carefully.
You may think you are covered for the whole trip, only to find that part or only the first leg of your trip is covered. There may be limitations on your travel, that makes further travel or return travel very difficult to achieve or find you have overstepped these limitations and the policy no longer is valid.
Tip 0251 Annual/multi trip insurance
These insurances are good for regular travellers but again, you must be careful on what you are covered for. Annual travel insurance doesn't necessarily mean you can travel the whole year constantly.
We welcome discussions on our forum as to the best types of insurance you can get for long or extended periods of travel.
Tip 0252 Travelling for over three months
You really do have to be careful on Insurance for over three months. Find out if your cover is for constant travel or multi trips. You may be allowed three trips within one year but not three trips spanning 3x three months at a time.
There are specialist long term travel companies you can speak to, that will put you on the right track.
Tip 0253 Am I covered for this?
Extras whilst away are a big problem and many of you may decide you want to say, go off-piste so to speak. Many insurance companies list a whole group of extras that cover many additional activities that you may want to take part in but they won't and can't list everything.
Be aware of extreme adventure tours and random one off's, that you will definitely not be covered for and be very wary of tour operators disclaimer forms.
Again you will be told anything to get you to go on or do these little extras and why not, after all they want your money. Just be careful out there and think before you jump!
Tip 0254 Consult your GP
It goes without saying that if you have any old or existing medical conditions that you are concerned about regarding your pending travel, take a trip to your local general practitioner not only as a precaution but as a safe guard and peace of mind.
Your GP will let you know whether or not to inform your insurance company of your condition or if there might be any reason that you may have to cancel or delay.
Let your GP know the length of travel you intend to take and your destinations or countries you will be visiting during your whole trip.
Your GP will also inform you or prescribe any medication that you will need for your trip and advise you on any vaccines you will need dependant on the area's you are visiting.
For those of you with poor circulation, enter into a discussion of "deep vein thrombosis" and the various things that can be done if flying, even for a short period of time. This is often over looked and should be discussed.
Tip 0255 Allergy alert
If you have any concerns regarding "allergies" or even "dietary" requirements, we highly recommend you contact direct the establishments that you will be frequenting during your travel.
More and more establishments are clued up on these issues and are more than happy to accommodate. Many companies cater for your medical and dietary concerns, from non allergy pillows, mattresses, to peanut, dairy, gluten free and even vegan requirements and the likes.
Of course many third world area's will be less sympathetic and may not have such measures in place but it doesn't hurt to email or contact them pre travel to see what is available.
Most places that rely on tourism want your business and are happy to accommodate where they can and the added benefit of contacting direct is that you start dialogue early and you will be surprised at what assistance they are willing to give.
Tip 0256 Pregnancy and travel
Our top tip here if you are or will be pregnant prior to booking your flight, is to contact your GP and ask of the consequences according to your term stage, then contact your airline to find out what their guidelines are for travelling whilst pregnant.
Be careful and make sure you know where you stand with the airline of your choice as all airlines have differing ideas for allowing pregnant passengers on their flights and you might find refusal in travel. Contact them direct prior to booking to avoid disappointment.
Bare in mind also whilst in pregnancy and travelling, that there may be some excursions, activities or ventures you might be excluded from, as some companies policies won't cater for pregnancy and consider it to be too dangerous. Again research and dialogue is the key to avoid disappointment.
Tip 0257 Travelling with trauma
Having personally travelled with trauma and experienced trauma whilst travelling, I can safely say (excuse the pun) that I can share a few tips here.
First of all please try and respect travel companies and airlines on their policies for trauma issues. Generally most travel operators, running flights, excursions or themed trips, have been in business for quite some time and have seen practically everything. It is highly unlikely that they have not happened across your set of circumstances and have policies in place, not only as a precaution but probably from an incident that may or may not of happened in the past.
Even old or past trauma may have a bearing on your pending travel. If you are planning on scuba diving for example, you will need to discuss your old injury with your dive master to check that it is still safe to dive.
A recent pregnancy, operation and concussion would all have consequences for your ability to fly and may affect your travel. Consult your GP and airline to make sure you are good to go.
Check with your travel insurance regarding any pre travel trauma or medical conditions, to see if you are covered or need extra coverage.
Tip 0258 Beware of third world safety
Out top tip here is, never take the word of someone you don't know over your own commonsense.
Some third world countries do not have the same risk assessments, health and safety policies or equipment checks in place as back home, therefore care should be taken when travelling to and around such countries.
You will be told it is safe, mainly because to them it is safe. You only have to watch a biker carrying 4 meter lengths of metal tubing on their shoulder and 3 children on their lap as they weave through the busy traffic to confirm and remind you that safety isn't a prime concern.
There will be plenty of activities, tours and excursions that offer no safety briefing or concerns for their clients other than to get you to go along and get your dollar in their pockets. The hospitals and medical centres are all littered with tourists that have stretched the boundaries somewhat.
Having said this, try not to be too anal about what you will and won't do. There is danger in everything we do and even back home, we all get on buses without wearing a seat belt.
So our top tip here is to getoutgotravel, enjoy yourselves but just be wary of your situation and what you are entering into.
Tip 0259 Why bother
There are many vaccines available out there for your protection whilst travelling and you may be tempted or choose not to take precaution for whatever reason or beliefs you have. This is your choice and we respect you for it "but"... be aware, there are some countries where you will not gain access unless you have proof of immunisation.
We recommend having the correct vaccine for the particular country you are travelling to and if you are a frequent traveller, some vaccines last for many years.
Falling ill from infection or viral infection is bad enough but also think about falling ill whilst travelling. If you become infected whilst travelling and symptoms begin to occur, your travel will become less appealing, if not cut short or even worse end up bedridden or in hospital.
You will also have to check if your travel insurance policy covers you should you not have taken the necessary vaccines.
Tip 0260 When and what vaccine
You can obviously research what vaccines you need on the internet nowadays but we also highly recommend you taking yourselves down to your local GP. Get advice on your own specific medical history and get the most up to date information for travelling.
There you will get advice on whether you really need to take a particular vaccine or not.
Top tip here is, acquire a vaccine medical record card or book to record and keep track of all your vaccines taken or needed and place this with your passport. This is also handy if you are travelling for long periods and have a change of plans in your destination choice.
If you are planning to travel and do require vaccines, make sure you are fully immunised well before you set off on your travels. Do not leave it until the last minute. Some vaccines need to be administered weeks prior to departure.
Now you might be one who is dead set against putting anything into your body that is not natural and that's fine by us. We would recommend researching the pros and cons of vaccines and I believe there are post infection medicines readily available for use should you contract such a virus or disease. Be aware that there are also consequences attached to these post infection medicines too.