More little travel tricks

Following on from this post a few weeks ago, here are some more tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way:

  • Check out your route on Google Maps before taking cabs, especially if you’re alone or in a country where they might take you on the scenic route! Note down main street names and even ask the driver to take you via certain streets to let them know that you know where you’re going. I often take map screenshots on my iPod.

  • In addition, if you’re a lone female in a cab and you feel uncomfortable at all, fake a phone call and even state the taxi number if you can read it, e.g. “Hi Bob, yes I’m in the cab, should be there in about 10 minutes.”

  • Remember that most commodity items will be cheaper almost anywhere else in the world than New Zealand. Of course, there are exceptions everywhere but generally you will find what you need so there’s no use in overpacking.

  • If you’re in a city for a few days it might be worth investing in an unlimited 3 or 7 day train/bus pass. You’ll have more freedom in moving around, won’t have to keep taking out cash to pay for tickets, and you can do a good deed if you leave before it expires by passing it on to somebody else.

  • If you have a daypack you might have to check it in when visiting certain sites and museums. Carry a small fold out carry bag to transfer your valuables into when you check your daypack.

  • Look at bookingbuddy.com, priceline.com and hotwire.com for great hotel and flight deals in USA and Canada.

  • Ask locals for directions – sometimes there’s a little trick for getting from A to B that you couldn’t possibly know about but will save you plenty of time.

  • Call ahead to confirm that venues are open, especially in South America and Paris! Sometimes places just close for no reason.

  • Buy local magazines for suggestions on special events, restaurants and gigs. Some will have discount vouchers too.

  • If you use your iPod or iPhone as an alarm and you’re staying in a hostel dorm, put the device into a cash belt and strap it around your waist overnight to avoid it falling out of bed and possibly disappearing forever.

  • Carry several locks with you and also a luggage security cable. If your backpack/suitcase doesn’t fit in a hostel dorm locker you can lock your valuables in the locker and then secure your backpack/suitcase to a fixed item in the room with your security cable.

  • Take a Dyna band away with you so you can do some basic resistance exercises on the road.

  • Take the time to do your research online. For example, you can plan to be in a city for a certain special event, or you can arrange to visit museums on their free or reduced entrance fee days.

  • Use Twitter to find out information about the cities you’re travelling to. I’ve connected with some awesome people who’ve given me great tips, and I’ve even met up with some of them.

  • Join Couchsurfing.org. Even if you don’t want to host people or surf their couches, you can sign up to receive notifications about things going on in cities you visit. I’ve met some amazing people through this and have been able to attend events I wouldn’t have known about. And some of them for free!

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