Over the years, I’ve picked up travel tips from fellow travelers and created my own to suit my style of travel.
I admit, I tend to over pack – so I won’t mention how I pack. However, when it comes to logistics and day-to-day items, I have a few tips to share. Hope my tricks will help you one day!
1. Scan important documents
Before I leave home, I scan all of my personal identification documents; passport, driver’s license, ID cards. These PDF files are then stored online; Cloud drives, Hotmail/Gmail/Yahoo mail accounts, etc. This way if anything happens, and as long as I can access a computer, I will have these proof of my identity for the embassy or any authorities.
In addition to this, I make photocopies of my passport. When I don’t feel comfortable walking around town with my passport, I’ll just take the photocopy along with me while I leave the passport in the hotel. Travel agents in Ushuaia, Argentina and many other places require copies of your passport when you want to make travel arrangements. This way they can make a photocopy of my photocopy and I don’t have to worry about having my passport stolen if something bad happens to me on the streets.
2. Save PDF copies of travel itinerary and tickets online
Any and all e-tickets and e-visas I receive, I make PDF files of them and store them online AND in my external hard drive. Prime example, a friend traveling with me in Argentina misplaced the hard copy of her Argentinian reciprocal fee receipt. I knew that we have to show a hard copy when we cross the border to Chile. So we went looking for a place with internet access and a printer. Then she had to try to remember the Username and password, in order to log in into her account with the Argentinian government to reprint the document.
With the large number of online accounts we each access and different password requirement by each institution, it’s challenging to remember everyone. Especially with accounts that are created for one reason and only one reason and are hardly used. Save yourself the hassle, use CutePDF or something similar to generate virtual copies of your documents.
3. Bring along an external hard drive or a flash drive
Regardless of the length of time, I always, always travel with an external hard drive and/or a flash drive (in addition to many memory cards for my cameras). They come in handy as I store all my travel documents and itinerary as discussed above. I also prefer to backup my photos as soon as possible in case anything happens to my camera’s memory cards or (touch wood) it get stolen. If you subscribe to a Cloud service, make good use of that when traveling.
4. Pre-determine the banking facilities at your destination
As spontaneous as I want to travel, I still need to do a little research in advance.
When I thought to visit El Chalten in Argentina, all arrows point to the fact that there is only ONE ATM in town and that there is a high likelihood that when I arrive on the weekend, it will be out of money. So typically when I find an ATM with cash in it, I tend to max out my daily withdrawal limit to save on paying fees and to avoid running out of money.
At the end of the day – CASH is King, everywhere.
5. Pay attention to the labels on electrical outlets
Before getting on an airplane I usually look up which type of electrical sockets are available at my destination – so I can bring the appropriate plug adapter. Also, it’s a good idea to check what voltage they use. North America, Japan and Taiwan use 110v. Whereas most of Europe, Asia, South America and Australia use 220v.
When I chose to carry extra electronics on my 2013 Epic journey, I had to pay extra attention. The camera battery charger, laptop and phone are capable of converting to 110V or 220V automatically – it’s typical these days and all I have to remember to bring are the various outlet adapters per that country. However, I failed to pay attention to the clearly labelled outlet which said it is 220V – when I plugged in my electric epilator, I saw a flash of the ON/OFF indicator and soon after I had to declare it’s Time of Death. It was sad as I had to revert to using a simple shaver for my legs and armpits – Sorry about the overshare. Luckily, I discovered waxing service was not too costly in South America and Asia!! YAY!
Please avoid repeating my mistake. Read labels and think before plugging in.
A little precautionary effort can make the difference when unexpected incidents occur.