With summer and the new year almost upon us, people look to planning an overseas holiday. Country-Wide writers have some tips for travellers.
When heading to Asia there are a number of things to take and do to make the trip easier.
Before you leave, google the top 10 scams in the country you are going to.
Most counties have money machines so eftpos and credit cards enough. If travelling with family take several eftpos and credit cards for different bank accounts as cards can be swallowed by machines or lost.
Tell your bank when and where you are going and returning.
Even though it is the age of Google, borrow or buy a guide book especially if it is more than a week in one country. Great for last minute cramming on the plane as you head to a country you were in charge of doing the research on.
Don’t take too many clothes as they are cheap to buy.
Bangkok even has alcohol-free hotels which is a form of purgatory for jaded tourists stopping off on their way home.
Take a cake of Sunlight soap and travel clothesline, but in many places a kilogram of washing will be done within 24 hours for about $2-and it will be nicely folded.
Take a cellphone and buy a sim card as soon as you can after arriving. They are cheap and very handy especially in cities which have Uber or when internet is needed. Some countries like Sri Lanka require a copy of your passport for security reasons before selling a sim card.
A computer is handy along with a power adapter and a multiboard for charging more than one device. Hotels and many guests have plugs to fit New Zealand plugs but often not many.
Be careful going on boat trips. Check that they are reputable and have enough lifejackets. On a boat trip in Vietnam the engines cut out in a choppy seas and we discovered there were only about 12 lifejackets between 40 people. A Japanese chap selfishly grabbed a lifejacket for himself and left his girlfriend without one. Maybe she was the better swimmer or knew the engines would start again.
Asia isn’t big on lighting even in some of the better hotels, so pack a light bulb or at least a head torch.
Pack a torch for each person for temples and at night. Even the best hotels’ grounds tend to be poorly lit.
Take the obvious: a good medical kit, sunblock, shampoo and conditioner, mosquito repellent, hand sanitiser, wipes and lip balm. A chiller bag with a thin slicker pad is handy and carry loo paper when travelling as toilets can be hard to come by.
Tampons can be difficult to buy especially in countries like Sri Lanka. Take extra as they can be another form of currency. Alcohol can also be hard to get in some countries especially in Muslim areas. Bangkok even has alcohol-free hotels which is a form of purgatory for jaded tourists stopping off on their way home.
Guide books will warn of having sarongs or appropriate clothes to cover bare legs and shoulders. Before entering a temple you need to take off your shoes so a pair of socks with a thick sole would be handy especially when you have to walk along hot paving stones with monkey poo. If there are a lot of temples in one spot slip-on shoes save time.
Take several hotel cards or get the guesthouse owners to write down in their address and a landmark to show taxi drivers. Write your phone number or hotels on young children’s arms.
If going intrepid allow for China’s national holiday week from October 1-7. The Chinese move around China and Asia making travel and finding accommodation a little more difficult.
If flying through Singapore there and back consider staying in a resort on Indonesia’s BinTan island. The ferry which takes about 50 minutes leaves from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. The terminal is close to Changi airport, a taxi is the easiest and quickest way. If time is not an issue take the metro then a bus or wait for the shuttle bus.
- Next issue: Travelling Sri Lanka