Travel Tips from our members:
Use the hotel safety deposit boxes for your valuables including your passport, extra funds and other important documents. Bag snatches and other theft is common worldwide so only carry with you the minimum you need for that day. If you have to replace a passport while on tour you will have to leave the tour and fly to the nearest embassy to apply for a new one, at your own cost. This process can take 3 to 4 days.
When Cruising, plan carefully when packing your carry-on Luggage. Often your luggage is not delivered to your stateroom until later in the day so you may want to prepack bathers or a change of clothes so you can enjoy all the activities on board without having to wait for your suitcase to be delivered to your stateroom.
Register your travel plans – Whether you are travelling overseas for leisure or business the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommends that you register your travel plans with Smartraveller.gov.au before you leave Australia. This helps the Government contact you or your family in the event of an emergency.
Always have a currency converter handy. Ideally download an App like XE on your smartphone or do yourself a cheat sheet and keep with you at all times. Many currencies have multiple zeros so very easy to make a mistake and very easy for someone to rip you off. Take time before you go and learn the basics. This will make handing over any money far less stressful when you are confident of its value.
If your travel insurance cost less than your deposit then take it out straight away. You will pay the same whether you take it the day of booking your holiday or the day of departure. Why not be covered completely for the same cost. Many people leave their insurance until the last minute and find they need to claim for cancellation. Most deposits will be non refundable however, and closer to departure your full payment will likely be 100% non refundable
For the ladies, consider travelling with a small over shoulder bag that fits your passport/boarding passes, pen, Credit cards and money inside, that way it is easier to keep on you while on a flight as well as easy to grab each time you need to present your documents. This is especially important if you are travelling on your own, so you won’t be worried when leaving your seat. This can stay with you throughout the duration of your flight.
Packing Cells are a great way to keep everything organized, easy to find things in your luggage and to then arrange in your hotel room or cruise cabin. They come in different sizes and are not only for organizing clothes but can be used for camera gear, shoes, toiletries, electronics etc. We sell them in our office for $15 for a set of 3 different size packing cells.
Pre pack your common travel items and leave in a travel bag inside your suitcase. Keep everything you take with you on holidays so you don’t forget anything. Ie travel size toiletries, alarm clock, eye mask, small binoculars, notebook & Pen, extra charger, noise cancelling headsets for flights, calculator, travel adapters, zip lock bags, left over foreign coins/notes, hat/beanie etc.
Pack a coffee thermos so if you are late to breakkie before a touring day you can top up with coffee, grab something from buffet and go! Also great if cruising, fill your coffee and head out to tour or for some relaxing on deck. You will never leave home without it again.
When in port during your cruise you are likely to have limited time. Make the effort before you leave to find out what’s hot on your port stops so you can make the most of these opportunities to see some wonderful places and enjoy new experiences. It is too late once your ship sets sail again.
Ladies should always pack a pashmina or scarf as they come in handy for many things. They will keep you warm on the flight, provide protection from the sun, you can use as a sarong, cover up when visiting temples and of course always handy to wrap your more fragile items in your case.
Relax and enjoy the ride, things probably will go wrong but that is part of the adventure, don’t get stressed and ruin your holiday and most importantly, don’t take it out on the people around you who are most likely just trying to help. It will all get sorted at the end of the day.
Enjoy the moment!
If you are travelling to a country that offers reciprocal medical benefits you will still need travel insurance. You need to cover in case of an emergency prior to or during your journey. After you arrive at your destination you will only be entitled to essential treatment, anything above that is only covered with adequate travel insurance. Don’t get caught out with this, it could be a very expensive mistake.
If you have been buddied up with another Solo Traveller then take time out before you settle in your room to discuss preferences in regards to Shower times, TV, Lights on, wake up times and anything else you feel is important in ensuring a happy buddyship for the duration of your stay together.
Always carry ear plugs with you, you never know who you will be sitting next to or even who you might be sharing a room with! They don’t take up any room at all.
Be mindful of the suitcase you choose for your cruise, if it is too fat it will not fit under your bed or in the closet so it will be left in the open, in your very small cabin.
An insulated/travel mug with a lid will keep your coffee hot as you laze by the pool. Fill your travel mug at the beverage station or buffet and you won’t have to worry about spills.
Buy a multi country travel adaptor. No more worries about what adapters you need to bring on your holiday as this one piece covers them all. Never travel without it.
Try and learn a couple of useful phrases before you go in the language of the country you are visiting. This is not only polite but it can keep you safe and save time. You will also enjoy a more cultural travel experience.
Always carry your “cannot live without” items with you in your carry-on luggage. This includes medication, jewelry, money/cash cards and other valuables. If you can, try and take a clean set of clothes in case your luggage does not make it back the same time as you do!
I would like to provide the tip this time around as a number of us got caught out on our recent Giving Back tour. I always travel with a couple of stubby holders so I can keep my drinks cold and also they make great gifts for the guides that we use along the way. I arrived in Chiang Mai and realised I had forgotten my stubby holders and therefore spent valuable market shopping time looking for them. They are very rare items outside Australia 🙂 Some lucky travellers (Jeanette) found them in the markets in Siem Reap but a little too late I’m afraid for use during the holiday. (Annette)
Always put your contact details on the inside of your suitcase as bag tags can easily be ripped off. (Diane)
This may seem obvious but “Obey the Law”. Consular assistance cannot override local laws, even where local laws appear harsh or unjust by Australian standards. (Annette)
This is a great tip we received this time and many people have been caught out recently with this.
When travelling overseas make sure you have a pin number for your credit card. There are many places in Europe that will not accept a credit card unless it is secured with a pin number. Please see your bank before you leave to have this activated if you have not already done so. (Marie)
Always take a variety of ziplock bags with you as they come in so handy for wet clothes, snacks, different currencies, exploding shampoo bottles and much much more. They also dont make noise when you are shuffling around your suitcase and annoying your travel companion. (Lucy)
Grab a couple of ‘money’ zip lock bags from your local bank, put a small amount of cash in each and put a bag underneath the insoles of your shoes. Of course you can use the money up in the last few days of your holiday but it is a fantastic place to hide some in case of an emergency. (Bridget)
Prepare a foreign exchange card and keep it in your wallet or pocket. You can use this card as a quick reference when you are in markets, shops, negotiating a taxi etc and need to quickly know how much different amounts are in the local currently and Australian dollars. Here is an example of the card
AUD 1 = Euro 1.60
12 20.00 (Jennifer)
Always pack a sewing kit and wind onto a piece of cardboard, or similar, threads matching the colour of each of your outfits. If you have an accident with any article, you will be well equipped to mend with the right colour thread. (Sandra)
When travelling to any hot country I always take a stubbie holder. They are light and take no room and difficult to get outside of Australia. Has always been the envy of my travel mates.(Gary)
Always leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends along with copies of passports. If anything does go wrong its is good for people to be able to find you quickly. If you loose your Passport having a copy will expedite getting a new one. (Lorraine)
When travelling overseas I always pack a 4 outlet power board – you can plug in four items with the one overseas adapter; ie, phone, camera, hair dryer, jug, whatever. (Sandra)
I always have a Pom Pom or bright ribbons on my suitcase handles so as it comes around the carousel it is very visible. The Pom Pom was given to myself and friends for all our cases when we where going to Tasmania as a group. No looking just grabbing any case as it came around with a Bright Red Pom Pom. I still have the same Pom Pom years later but have added a leather Gum Leaf from another trip with friends and also my original Ribbons. I can always spot my case. (Doreen)
Pack Light. Often you can get what you need far more cheaply or same cost as your home town so travel light and buy what you need as you need it. For example if you are planning a hiking trip in Nepal you will find your gear half the price if you buy in Kathmandu. Do a bit of research before you leave, most items can be bought as you need them. (Josh – winner 2 x movie tickets)
At the airport, watch for your suitcase as it appears on the carousel. Don’t hang back and wait for the crowds to disperse – you might find that someone else has already taken your bag in the meantime. (Margaret – winner2 x movie tickets)
When travelling overseas pack a bicycle chain lock. If you ever need to leave your luggage for any reason you can chain it to a seat or to another piece of luggage if one person is trying to watch more than one piece while the other buys coffee or whatever. It would make it extremely difficult to walk off with your luggage, which happened to a friend of mine who was watching two suitcases and a briefcase while his wife went to get coffee. (Sandra – winner 2 x movie tickets )
Before travelling, lay out all your belongings and take photos of your items (make sure to keep a copy of that photo separate from your luggage). If your baggage is misplaced, damaged or stolen, the photo will help you remember what was in your luggage and help prove what items you had when making an insurance claim. (Kitty – winner 2 x movie tickets)
When visiting theme parks or large attractions most people go through the gates and turn right. Next time you go to a theme park go through the gates and turn left to avoid the crowds, you will pass them on the way around.
Don’t put your home address on your luggage tags as people have been known to scout airports looking for addresses on tags as chances are there is no one at home while you are away. Best to put your email, mobile contact, country and state or your travel agent details.