Tip 0321 Mind your fingers on your rigging
Most kayaks have handles near the edge of the sides and or rigging clips for your rudder pullies, clip rings for your seats and the like.
As a novice kayaker, when you paddle you tend to run your hands down the side of the kayak and will catch your fingers on these accessories. It hurts and you will only do it a couple of times before you learn you are paddling incorrectly. This is where your strapping tape comes in handy to strap up your finger nails!!
Tip 0322 Hydration as you go
We can't stress enough how important it is to hydrate often whilst kayaking.
Many people do not realise the effort that is put into paddling your body weight, provisions and the kayak through the water.
We have seen many fit strapping people that start to falter throughout the trip.
This can end up in a trip to the hospital, not down the creek.
Tip 0324 Research your route
You will be kayaking in remote areas, or areas that not many people go to.
It is easy to get into trouble unless you do some good research. The rule is, you can never do enough!
Map out, if only in your head where civilisation is. Know where the nearest village, town, or farmland is along your route. You may need to abandon your kayaks and make for the nearest place of help.
You can also have a great deal of fun, finding new and exciting areas, that hardly anyone has been to or seen.
Tip 0323 Plot your vehicles each end
If you are kayaking with someone else or a group, think about plotting a vehicle at each end of your planned route. This helps in two ways. One you won't need to worry about tides so much and two, you can go further distances and explore more areas.
Remember to take the right vehicle keys with you, it has been known that someone has left the wrong keys at the wrong end!!
Tip 0325 Customising your kayak
There is always improvements you can make to your kayak to make life more enjoyable and less hard work.
The paddle strap is handy to have and saves your paddle heading off downstream as you get in and out of your kayak.
A small rope tied permanently to the front or rear of your kayak helps in recovery or just securing whilst on a break.
Two piece spare paddle, is invaluable, especially if you are more adventurous and going on the white waters.
Rod holders, rudder pulley rings, fluid bottle holders, luggage netting, you name it, it's out there or you can modify yourself by improvising.
The limit is only you mind. You can even take an umbrella and use it as a wind sail if you get tired. Extra padding for your seat and this can be either stuck to the kayak before the seat is secured or inside your seat.
Tip 0326 Getting rid of "Numb bum"
One, you simply stop for a well earned break and rest or get out and have a leg stretch.
Two, and this is on the go whilst still paddling. Just push all your weight through to your toes, lifting your rear slightly from your seat and keep this pressure on for around 30 seconds if you can.
This will rid you of your "Numb bum" and you can carry on. Not sure why this works and we are open for discussion on this at our forum page. We are sure there would be a medical reason here.
Tip 0328 Kayak camping
If you like us are keen campers, then the chances are you will have a second/small tent for these type of adventures and we recommend here that small is good.
You really need to keep your carrying weight to a minimum and light weight everything is the key. Although obviously remember that after an exhausting day of paddling or exertion, will mean that your body temperature can drop very quickly as the sun goes down. So dry layers and warmth are going to be a must to have in your kit.
Even at a leisurely pace you will feel more tired than usual so remember that when you get to your destination, the exertion hasn't quite finished there, you still need to get your campsite sorted and sustenance to replenish your body for the next stage.
Tip 0327 Lengthy trips
As you get more into it and or try out longer distances this brings on a whole new level to kayaking and with this brings overnight camping and along comes with this more provisions and more careful planning.
Again research is the key here but our main tip here is to approximate your speed to kilometres per hour. We work on a comfortable 6 km to the hour at a leisurely pace on non tidal waters.
Some of you will travel a lot slower and others will want to travel a lot faster. But at our pace in our rigs, we can maintain this leisurely pace constantly and this allows us to take our time to enjoy the scenery, wildlife and take plenty of photographs along the way.
Tip 0329 Things can go wrong
No matter how much or how long you kayak for, things can go wrong and like in tip 0320 what to take with you, we thoroughly recommend you have some sort of backup plan or means of contact whilst out and about kayaking.
Make sure you leave details of your route and how long you are going for and always allow for the unexpected.
You may become unwell, exhausted or have an accident that stops you from kayaking back or further.
Snake, spider bites, heat exhaustion, step on a stingray barb, you name it any number of things can happen out there.
Buddy up or going with a group will reduce your risk of being left stranded.
Tip 0330 Draw a map
As mentioned many times within this website, planning and research is the key to any successful travel adventure and we always recommend "orientation" as high on the list for travel.
Our top tip here is to always draw a map of the countries/places you intend to visit. This gives you complete familiarisation of the areas you plan to travel around. It helps with planning your route also, as you get to realise the scale and cover the geographical points needed to understand how long it will take you to navigate and if it is at all possible to cover in the time frame allocated.
This will also take the visual appearance of looking at a map into another dimension and you will be amazed at how different an area appears once you have physically drawn out your planned travel routes.
Start off with an outline map of each of the intended countries you wish to visit. Look at the natural borders of each country be it ocean, landlocked, mountainous or baron regions. Mark out your intended border crossings or point of entry to each country and see what works best for you.
You will soon see why each country has it's own natural borders and learn more about the history of why, where and when they came to be. This also helps in understanding the varying cultures of each country and why the customs are so varied even in close proximity.
Of course you may just want to fly in and out of each country and not be so concerned with the physicality's of getting from one country to another but we still highly recommend you become familiar with each country to fully immerse yourselves into the exciting world of the seasoned traveller.
The added advantage of this tip is that should circumstances change, be it for extended travel, weather or change of route for example, you will be more prepared and more relaxed about alterations to your travel plans.
Try not to be too fixed in your choice of route and time frames. Many people set out on their adventures so focussed on their original plan that they don't allow for any change or deviation. This can lead to missing out on a whole heap of places that are just around the corner from you.
Always try to leave some flexibility in your itinerary, especially if you travel for more than a couple of weeks at a time.
Tip 0333 Know your Longitudes, latitudes and altitudes
This is a handy tip and often forgotten when travelling over long distances.
Longitudes, latitudes and altitude have obvious differences and the main ones being temperature, time and oxygen, or the lack of. These all have bearings on travel.
Forget these at your peril. Being aware of these can make for a very enjoyable travel experience.
Get into the habit of knowing your seasons as well. Combined, you can avoid many issues you might come across when travelling.
Tip 0331 Distance is a variable
It is very difficult to judge distance as a relative time factor. For example, it doesn't necessarily follow that to get from A to B by road takes on average one hour to get 100 Kilometers on a straight clear run.
Many areas worldwide have varying levels of infrastructure, and cannot be compared to that of one's local origin.
Developing countries in particular can be an unknown quantity and a great deal of research should be taken on getting your timings for travelling correct.
At the same time, out of date information can be deceiving and care should be taken to find current travel routes you intend taking.
A good example would be a route that takes 4/5 hours by a vehicle now, could have taken several days a year or two prior. Some routes may only be travelled by train a few years ago and now have a highway, cutting the travelling time in half.
You can begin to see how good planning and research will enhance your travelling experience, giving you more flexibility to your travel.
Our top tip here is if you have a strict time schedule, try to familiarise yourselves with the countries you intend travelling in. This will get you further quicker but will give you more time where you decide to stay.
Tip 0332 Timings. How long and when
Remember there are two types of timings when planning and researching your travel adventure.
How long you go for and what time of the year you go. These are both linked.
Many people forget these timings, especially when they see a bargain or a special deal.
This should be an important factor in your planning. If you have a longer period of time allocated for your travel, think about this in the route you take. It may be better to go clockwise rather than anticlockwise, or start in the south first and end up in the north.
An obvious one here is that hemispheres are opposite and heading to the equator and past can help in your timings.
Tip 0338 Take a business card
Grab a business card from your accommodations reception, this has many advantages and not getting lost is a good one for a start.
Many taxi drivers will not understand your translations of where you are staying and having a business card will save you a lot of time and money, trying to get back to base.
Many places business cards are like an introduction and letting restaurants etc know where you have come from can be rewarding. You may get discounts or free transfers back to your accommodation.
You may not always reap the benefits but your accommodation can which helps balance more affordable rates.
Tip 0335 Type of backpack
The type of luggage you take with you can be the difference between an easy experience or a difficult one. Choose carefully!
We will go into more detail in a featured section of this website soon.
Basically there are only a few ways to look at the type of luggage you really want to be hauling around with you.
If you are travelling anywhere on foot without pavements, or for periods of time with your main luggage, then a backpack is the only way to go, unless you are prepared to pay for transfers to and from everywhere you go.
Luggage/suitcases with wheels are really only any good for one or two destination holidays, or well organised tours.
Tip 0334 Bargains can be expensive
Think about the bargains you pick up!
You may get a really good deal on flights for example but your accommodation costs are expensive.
Picking up a flight that arrives late evening because it is cheap may cost you an additional night in accommodation you hadn't planned for.
Arriving at a destination when your connection has closed can cost you more in taxi fares than your saving for your main travel.
Flying out of a local regional airport may cost you more, on the other hand catching a flight from the city may be more affordable but incur additional costs in time, transfers or parking.
Check on savings made by flying out from a different airport. Often it is cheaper to take several flights to your destination rather than a direct flight but spending long periods of time for connecting flights could cost you any savings made on a deal, rather than a straight through flight.
Try and use the same airline for your connecting flights also. They have an obligation, should any problems arrive with your connections.
Tip 0337 Get a local map
Whenever you arrive at a new destination, we highly recommend you pick up a local map.
Most airports and central stations have free tourist maps and our top tip here is to also pick up a local map from your accommodation.
You not only get a free map but a lot of local knowledge from staff.
You may already have a guide book with you but these local maps are current and full of information. On walkabout they are handy to keep in your pocket and less weight to carry than a thick guide book.
This will also stop you getting lost! We hear so many stories on our travels of people getting lost and spending hours walking around trying to find their accommodation that was just around the corner from them.
Local knowledge is the key to time management.
Tip 0336 Less is best
The more you travel, the more you get to realise, you really do not need much to drag around with you. We have mentioned this before in the website.
Experience is probably the only way you learn this and a great tip here is prepare a check list and tick off what you didn't use on your last travel adventure.
We will have a check list section for every type of travelling you may come across and will be able to download for your particular needs. This will include spaces for additions and is as a guideline only to help you narrow down or reduce your clutter.
Tip 0339 As the crow flies
This tip is for Hanoi in particular but comes in handy in many countries where traffic regulations seem a little lapse.
It really is quite simple, just head in a straight line and vary your speed according to obstructions in your path.
This does take a little getting used to but before you know it, you will be crossing major intersections with ease.
Having lived in the centre of London most of my youth, I found this tip easy to relearn.
We must add that extreme care should be taken at all times.
Tip 0340 Join in
You will have more fun if you join in. It is easy to sit on the sides and just be a bystander but from our experience, you get so much more from just joining in with whatever is going on.
Offer to help with the cooking, work a street stall, play a street game, show a magic trick, dance with the locals, be a fool for once, lower your inhibitions, it's fun.
Obviously don't be obnoxious or imposing but suss out the situation and just be friendly.
You get more information and are accepted or welcomed easier than being a loner.