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Help and Advice - Travel Tips

However expert you think you may be when it comes to being travel savvy it never hurts to refresh your memory before embarking on another trip away especially if its as a backpacker or a long stint abroad.

Below are a few useful tips and advice, this is never ending and if you have some tips you would like to share then do email us and we will get them included below.

Keep in Contact Back Home

There is now no excuse not to keep in contact with family or friends back home. Make sure that you have established a regular check in period or if you have internet access keep everyone updated on Facebook, or on a blog that you could be writing about your travels. But make sure someone knows when to expect a call back home or updates on Facebook. Someone will then always know where you are meant to be incase they need to contact you in an emergency and also know if something is wrong when you don't call when you are meant to. Don't let it ruin your time away just make sure you check in when you say you will.

Travel Guides

Take an up to date travel guide or if you have a smart phone why not download one of the many apps avaioable, some are free but it can sometimes pay to invest in one from a reputable source since they will endeavour to keep it up to date. This is so important when it comes to timetables for transport and accommodation details with contact numbers, as these can invariably change or a hostel may have closed down since the guide was published.

Keep Hydrated

When travelling no doubt in warmer countries you will probably be more active than usual, so you will need to make sure you stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and other non-caffeinated drinks more often. Try to steer clear of too many caffeinated drinks and don’t wait until you feel thirsty as that means you are already getting dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration to look out for are dried chapped lips, feeling unnecessary tired and dark-yellow urine, so make sure you drink more water if any of these are applicable.

Health Risks

Make sure you are aware of health risks associated with the country or region you are visitiing. Questions that you should ask yourself are:

  1. Are there insect-born diseases that you need to be protected from?
  2. How can you protect yourself from these diseases?

If you are visiting a tropical region where insects and bugs are a problem (especially in malaria-infested areas), use bug netting while you sleep. Instead of leaving the netting to just hang down, tuck it under the mattress, this will help eliminate any bugs from crawling or flying up underneath the netting. ry to make sure the netting is impregnated with permethrin as this will also increase your insect defences.

We have put together some useful information in our General Health Guide explaining what you may need to protect yourself and how to do this. If you are in any doubt make sure you speak with your doctor or specialist travel clinic before travelling.

Holes in the Ground!

Depending on where you are travelling you may find that a normal toilet just hasn't been heard of! You may therefore come across anything from a basic outbuilding to a hole in the ground where you will need to squat. In developing countries you may be lucky to find it is enclosed giving you some privacy but in the main this will not be the case. So do make sure you always have a roll of toilet paper with you as in some parts of the world, it's either non-existent as you would be expected to use your hand or certainly not the soft tissue we are used to back home.

Travellers Diarrhoea

One of the most common illnesses that you may catch while travelling is Traveller’s Diarrhoea . Quick easy advise is to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, eat salted crackers to compensate for salt loss and avoid milk and dairy products.

Footwear

Before you go away think carefuly as to what you will be doing, will you be hiking/trekking, or even just on yoiur feet sightseeing. You will need to choose your shoes carefully and make sure you have worn them in before you go away to avois those dreaded blisters. We think its best to pack some light hiking boots and a pair of sandals at the very least.

Try not to be tempted to go barefoot as the lack of footwear could lead you to be more susceptible to injuring your feet, getting cuts or insect bites. This could give rise to you then requiring a tetanus jab as you might aquire an infection from contaminated sand and soils.

Clothing

Pack light, as its you that will be carrying it! The bulk of your backpack will be your clothes, so take as few as you can, it just means that you will be washing a bit more often, remember to keep in rotation as you won't want to be wearing damp clothes. Or why not take some old clothes and then throw them as you go along. Depending on your finances you can always buy some more and these needn't be expensive.

Travel Documents

Make sure that your passport has more than 6 months to run. Then make a copy of your passport and all your other travel documents. Take a set of copies with you, give another set to friends or family and if you can take another set with you on a flash drive.

Also take a few passport photos with you incase you need them for a visa application to get into another country. This will save you hunting for an elusive photo booth.

Protect your Backpack - Day and Night

As an extra precaution take a cable and padlock with you while travelling abroad. You can then use it at night to padlock your backpack to your bed. It won't stop someone taking the belongings from you bag but it can put off someone from stealing yoir bag. Then during the day make sure that you have padlocked the zips that open your backpack as thieves can easily unzip and steal anything valuable before you know it!

Political Stability

It has become more prevalent recently in the Middle East and other countries in the world where there is some political instability or that they are at war. Read what you can about your destination to help prepare for your trip and check with the Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice by Country to see if there is any adverse advise in travelling to a country or region.

Contact Your Bank

Before you go away contact your bank and or credit card company to advise them where you will be travelling. They can then make sure that your card(s) can be usd in those countries. If you don't you run the risk of your debit or credit card company thinking something is amiss with the card being used overseas and may cancel the card or temporarily suspend it, very awkward if you have a basket of shopping!