Gavin's Travel Tips
is a list of travel tips that should be useful - often learnt the hard way!
Email to yourself all your important numbers etc., including travelers cheque numbers.
If you loose everything you will always be able to check you email for emergency
When walking around a crowded town or market avoid using a daypack. (Thieves think they
are full of goodies - camera, Walkman, sunglasses and money!)
Avoid wearing a watch or any jewelry.
Always have some money in your pocket that you can give to a mugger.
If possible use your own padlock on your hotel door.
In your hotel room leave a little money that is easy to find and hide the rest very
carefully. Thieves are normally in a great rush and will run once they find something.
Never leave your hotel door open when you are not in your room, even for quick visits to
When traveling by bus cover your pack with a rice sack or similar, so that it looks like
When inside the bus keep your daypack on your lap. At night cuddle your daypack!
When getting off the bus for something take your daypack with you.
Never put a daypack down in a bus or railway station.
If you can at all afford it take a taxi from bus stations and airports. (Think of this
as paying an insurance premium!)
You are most vulnerable when you are on the move with all your belongings. Treat getting
from the bus station to your hotel like a military operation. Know where you are going and
how you will get there etc. Avoid wandering around or taking unnecessary diversions.
If something seems too good to be true, it is probably a trick!
If someone is too keen to get to know you, ask yourself why?
Use your intuition. If you feel something is wrong get out of the situation - don't
worry about looking 'Stupid'. You will look more stupid if you go along with a scam and
If going 'Out on the town' then only take what you need. After a few beers you may not
be as aware as normal!
If you are confronted by a thief then, unless you really know what you are doing, don't
fight back! Most of the muggers will not hurt you unless you give them reason.
- Use a waist money belt for Passport, Travel Cheques and a little cash. (These are not
too difficult to replace, and a thief will expect you to have a 'Money Belt' containing
- Use a leg money belt or other place for cash and credit cards.
Be wary of bathing in slow moving fresh water.
Avoid going barefoot - there are lots of nasties you can pick up.
In the 3rd World the pharmacies will often sell you quite powerful drugs without a
proper appraisal of your condition. Be aware that throwing the wrong drug at a problem can
make the condition worse. Self diagnosis is not easy!
- Make sure you have a reasonable Travel Health Insurance policy.
- If you are insured and become ill then go to a private hospital rather than a public
- Look after small cuts etc. If you let them become infected you could have problems.
- If sick rest so that you can properly recover. If alone ask a fellow traveler to help
you out - most travelers are only too keen to lend a hand.
Eating & Drinking
Choose a restaurant that is busy and order what everyone else is eating! The locals
normally know where the food is good and reliable. The 'Menu of the Day' is normally your
Be wary of ice and ice cream - especially in small or remote places.
Never eat lettuce unless you are very sure of the restaurant. The large surface area
guarantees a good dose of bacteria if it is not clean. Lettuce is also grown on the ground
and is often fertilized with human waste!
Choose fruit that you can peel or wash yourself.
If eating from the street only eat hot, freshly cooked things.
Try to eat well. It is important to keep up your immune system.
- Purify or buy bottled water.
While on the move try to keep the real essential (difficult to replace) items in your
daypack - in case your main pack is lost or stolen.
When based in a city, but going off somewhere for a week or so, leave your main bag in
the hotel and just take your daypack. Obviously you must feel the hotel is trustworthy!
- Make sure that any US Dollars you bring are in almost perfect condition. Torn, marked,
and even old looking bills will probably not be accepted.
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