Monday, October 4, 2010

Ten top tips to travel smart

Travel smart
1. Copy your passport and driver’s licence: take a photocopy and keep them separate from the original or take a photo of them and keep it on your phone. Do the same with your travel insurance documents.
2. Stay covered: Make sure you know exactly what your travel insurance covers (regarding medical and emergency assistance) and that the policy will be recognised around the world. In some countries, if they don’t recognise the insurance underwriter, they may not admit you to a hospital. Make sure your insurer has a 24-hour assistance phone line. Program the help number into your mobile.
3. Shoot your luggage: have a photo of your luggage and any valuable items stored on your phone to show to someone who doesn’t speak English if they get lost.
4. Suitcase saviours: wet wipes and hand sanitiser are invaluable. Gaffer (electrical) tape can be used to repair luggage, hold up mozzie nets or repair shoes. Pack a sarong, to use as a sheet, towel, pillow case, head scarf or shopping bag.
5. Stay in touch: sign up for a free Skype account to call people using the internet, or purchase a local SIM card for your phone, but you’ll have to get a new card and number in every country you visit. Alternatively, buy a SIM card aimed at travellers such as TravelSIM ( Keep the card and use the same phone number every trip.
6. Cash & carry: pre-paid credit and debit cards offer the most convenient form of travel money. Visa is the most world-widely accepted. Even in techno-savvy Japan you’ll find that you can’t use many ATMs – always look for the Cirrus or PLUS logo.
7. A good book: load audio books or podcast radio shows into your iPod.
8. Adaptors and batteries: For iPods, digital cameras, phones, laptops and camcorders, carry a power adaptor and rechargeable batteries. Don’t lose the charger or cables, they are hard to replace overseas.
9. Good nights: travel with an inflatable neck pillow for long-haul flights, ear plugs and an eye mask.
10. Stay well: essential medical kit items include cold and flu pills, painkillers, throat lozenges, band aids, laxatives, something to stop diarrhoea and vomiting, antiseptic cream, eye drops and antihistamines. Tea tree oil soothes itchy bits and doubles as an antiseptic and anti-fungal. Take enough prescribed medications to last the trip, and a copy of the prescription and a letter from your doctor explaining why you need them. If you suffer from food allergies carry ‘food alert’ translation cards (see And don’t forget a spare set of specs and your prescription just in case.

Picture is guests of MV Orion on a zodiac cruising the coast of the Kimberley, WA.

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