Throughout the trip, when the inspiration struck, we would type a few travel tips into our phone. The majority of the tips below came from spur-of-the-moment revelations on the road, now in more organized and long form.
- To save battery power turn off mobile phones - being connected to or looking for the network drains the battery. The same is true for laptops and wi-fi signals. Turn em off.
- When you get to a hotel room, open your computer and look for an unsecured wi-fi signal. You’ll be surprised often.
- Carry two batteries for all gadgets. Though, a computer battery may be an exception.
- If you are using a mobile phone for more than a few weeks in a country, buy a SIM card for a local network when you arrive. It's what the locals use and you would have a local phone number with free incoming calls from home
- If you want to be able to charge more than one gadget at once, get a travel splitter or multiple outlet adapters for each format.
- Always think redundancy - back up often and send home DVDs of your pictures.
- DVDs hold a lot more pictures than CDs for back-up purposes - 3 times the amount. Most internet cafes offer DVD burning services.
- Invest in lots of camera memory (lSD cards, memory sticks). You do not want to consistently be hamstrung by a camera that is full of pictures. A 1GB card with 5megapixel photos was enough for us.
- If you have a laptop, move photos from the camera to the laptop daily. Always leave the room with 2 charged batteries and an empty memory card.
- Take your computer to the Internet cafe and plug it into their network with the Ethernet cable. They will know how.
Europedoesn’t allow this, Asiadoes.
- Wrap your computer in some sort of sealable plastic bag before packing it away. Wetness happens.
- Keep your valuable electronics on your person when in transit. Don't put your computer in a bag under a bus.
- People can’t steal what they don’t see. Limit gadgetry use in public.
- Never, ever miss an included breakfast.
- Many cheap hotels require that you insert the key into a slot in order for the power to come on. While it saves energy, it means you can’t charge electronics while you’re out of the room. Often you can use a business card in the slot instead of a key.
- Don't leave the room for the day without a map, local currency, identification and the room key.
- Try to resist giving the front desk your key when you leave – this is very insecure. Notice that when you return, they will give you any key you request.
- If your hotel does not serve breakfast, remember to go to a store on the way home at night to get something for the morning.
- Unless the city gets full consistently, don't make reservations in advance. Get there; find your favorite neighborhood and then a place to stay.
- If you are going to be in one city for more than a week or so, consider renting an apartment. A kitchen and washer /dryer are so nice sometimes.
- If you know the part of the city where you want to stay, make a reservation in advance for a single night at a hotel in that area, even if it is more expensive. Then, when you arrive, walk around to hotels and find a better deal for the rest of your stay.
- For most major cities, two nights is not enough as it leaves only one full day for exploration. Three nights is usually a good amount if you're on the move. More is better.
- The combination of your padlock is a risk. You may be asked for it if your bags are lost on international flights (they may need to open the bag). Make it unique - not associated with bank accounts, etc.
- When unlocking your padlock for your bag, remember to spin the numbers once so your combination is not displayed for others, like the housekeeper, to see.
- Tear unused pages out if your guidebook.
- In inexpensive countries like
remember to carry small bills and change - go to a bank to get the change you need. Making change is a pain. India
- When wandering a
at night, adopt the moth strategy and go toward the light. new city
- Buy clothes made of synthetic fiber - they are lighter, stay cleaner and are easier to wash and dry quickly.
- Days of the week can start to blend together. The biggest problems happen on Sundays when a lot of businesses are closed and Mondays when museums often close.
- In packing your backpack, make sure you pack it the same each time, giving each item a specific place. When something is missing you'll know.
- Buy a backpack that is built for travel and not camping. The best ones open from the side, allowing access to everything quickly instead of bags that open from the top only - requiring an unpacking to reach the bottom.
- A clean and free bathroom is only as far as the closest McDonalds.
- Take a flashlight.
- In public, you will never be judged or create a spectacle for being too quiet. This is made more difficult with alcohol.
- Look for English language weeklies in cities to find out about events.
- Check local pharmacies for prescriptions that are expensive from home. Beware of fakes in
- Do like the Spanish and have a siesta. Explore for a few hours in the morning, nap in the heat of the afternoon and go back out for the evening. This is sustainable for long periods.
- Only rookies get sunburned. Be liberal with strong sunscreen. Wear a hat.
- When getting up from a park bench, airplane seat or any place where you sat, turn around and look back at the area to ensure you didn't leave anything.
- Use the local mail service to send home items you are not using. Most useful when changing climates.
- Remember that you can’t do everything. Relax, take a deep breath and enjoy what you *can* do.
One of the most popular questions people ask is "How do you pack for such a trip?" The answer is "very carefully", but that doesn't help much. So, we're providing this list for curious people and people who may be planning a similar trip. Keep in mind that we haven't left yet, so this is what we *think* we'll need.
|Zip-off Capri pants||1|
|Long Sleeve (light and heavy)||2|
|Pack Towel (3X2)||1|
|Misc. small pouch||1|
|packs of pocket kleenex||8|
|Elastic Head Band||1|
|Pack elastic hair bands||1|
|Lotion with spf 15||1|
|Inflatable airplane pillow||1|
|Motion Bands (pair) (wrist)||1|
|Pack-It Cubes (Full Cube)||1|
|Pack-It Cubes (Half Cube)||1|
|Backpack (w/ zip-off day pack)||1|
|Pack Towel (3X2)||1|
|Copy of passport||1|
|Copy of Birth Certificate||1|
|Pairs of Eyeglasses||2|
|Padded gadget pouch||1|
|Zip-off long pants||1|
|Short sleeve button down||2|
|Long sleeve pullover||1|
|Underwear - boxers||3|
|Pack-It Cubes (Full Cube)||1|
|Pack-It Cubes (Half Cube)||1|
|Laptop ac adapter||1|
|Palm treo adapter||1|
|Palm treo sync cord||1|
|Earphone plug adapter||1|
|Extra styli for Treo||2|
|Pentax camera charger||1|
|USB SD card reader||1|
|Camera Pentax Optio WP||1|
|Extra Camera Battery||1|
|PalmOne Treo 650||1|
|Extra Treo Battery||1|
|Protective pouch (laptop)||1|
|Sony Vaio T350 series laptop||1|
|Extra Laptop Battery||1|
|256MB SD card||1|
|1GB SD card||1|
|2GB SD card||1|
|Small stuff sack||1|
|Backpack w/ zip-off daypack||1|
|Electrical adapters universal||1 set|
|Shared (both bags)|
|Bar of soap||1|
|Shampoo (4 oz.)||1|
|Conditioner (4 oz.)||1|
|Sunblock SPF 23 (4 oz.)||1|
|Spare Zip Locks bags||5|
|Zithromax (Travelers Diarrhea)||1btl|
|Trans-derm motion patches||1|
|Advil Cold and Sinus||1btl|
|Duct Tape (3 yds)||1|
|Zoomkit photo album||2|
|Mini mag flashlight||1|
|Sawyer insect repellent||2|
|Deck of Cards||1|
|Passport Pictures (extra)||40|
As I mentioned before, this trip to Banff is a bit of practice, both for the blogging and living in a hotel room, etc.
Apparently, we have some things to learn. We dutifully packed our toiletries, including a small dispenser of floss (one of many from home given out by the dentist). This morning I awoke to learn a lesson about what to pack.
First Item: A floss dispenser that actually contains floss. The one we brought contained approximately one inch of floss.
Second Item: More than one toothbrush. Apparently, I forgot mine and had to resort to rather rudimentary methods.
Luckily this is all pretty small in the whole scheme of things, but it goes to show how all the little things can start to get lost in the madness of the final days.