Look at you… breaking all the rules on your first overseas trip! But some rules are made to be broken, and these travel rules are it.
If you’re heading overseas for the first time there are so many checklists, rules and guides that it’s easy to get carried away. It’s understandable, you’re heading into the unknown and it is better to be prepared, it’s always essential you have your passport and visas in check and you will be more comfortable if you have the right gear. However, there is a product sold for just about every need, and before you board the plane with every travel gizmo ever conceived take a look at our anti rules.
Don’t buy Travel Clothing
Heading on a safari in Africa? Or perhaps a day trek in Bali? You won’t need a safari suit, or even zip off trousers, you also won’t need hiking boots. Consider what you would wear doing the same activity in Australia and take that – your board shorts and runners will do the job just fine. You will need Aerogard though and sunscreen and it’s far easier to take them from home then find them in a Turkish market.
Take One Adapter, One power board
This one’s simple, taking 3 devices that will need charging? Take one adapter and one power board. Just ensure it’s a high quality power board that will accommodate different wattage’s of different countries.
Shop for travel adapters here
Avoid Currency Converters
Do your research on this one – have a look at what the best option is for the country you are going to and also look into it with your bank, but in our experience one of the best methods of handling currency conversions is to simply use our normal savings card and withdraw money at an ATM as soon as you arrive in your destinations airport, then as you need it afterward. This is convenient (no extra work at all), banks usually only charge a flat rate fee per transaction and you get an on the spot exchange rate. We work to the theory that we take about $500 – $1000 cash out at once to limit the transactions you need, but that does of course depend on where you are and how secure it is to be carrying large amounts of cash on you. One thing to always keep in mind however you organise your currency though is always have local currency on you before leaving the airport – and having USD$100 on you can get you out of some sticky situations (here’s looking at you surprise Visa in Indonesia and speeding fine in Africa)!
Take as much luggage as you want… so long as you can get it where it needs to be! Image via Samsonite.
Take as much as you want
… as long as you can carry it! Ok so this one’s a little sneaky as it is in line with advice we’re all well versed in – but seriously, if you’re heading to a resort in Hawaii and there is door to door transport on each end, take as much as you want, or as much as the airline will allow, we’re all for it! If however, you will be in a situation where you need to pick up your own bag, make sure you can. And we’re not just talking about being able to carry your pack if you’re backpacking, consider yourself hailing a cab in NYC or Rome and trying to get 2 oversized suitcases in the tiny boots on your own without getting run over, you need to be able to lift your bag on your own. And if you’re travelling in pairs or more, your combined bags need to fit into whatever transport you have arranged on the other end.
Our favourite oversized suitcase for over packers is 81cm Cosmolite (it’s so light you can probably still lift it with 13 pairs of shoes and a brick or two inside)
You can use your phone
Yes roaming charges are outrageous and we don’t recommend that avenue. In many countries though data sim cards are super simple to get and inexpensive, even if you’re only somewhere for a couple of days it’s a very viable option. Make a phone store you’re first port of call.
Ditch the guidebooks
They are a handy place to start your research, whether it’s online guides or our trusty Lonely Planets, but consider this, are your favourite places in your city listed in the local travel guide? Probably not.
These guides are fantastic for learning about major attractions and how best to navigate them, they are not so great for ‘hidden gems’ and restaurants and bars though. Do some research before you go and write down your must do’s. Do these in the first couple of days as you settle in and get a feel for a place. Along the way ask your hotel staff, the staff in the museum and people you meet along the way to share their favourite places – then go there. And if all else fails, jump in a cab and ask them to take you to their favourite restaurant.
Staying secure doesn’t have to mean a money belt! Image via @pacsafeofficial
Ditch the money belt
Go on, the thieves are on the lookout for it anyway! Again, this is dependent on where you are travelling to so do your research, but for your typical tourist trying to avoid being pick pocketed is a matter of blending in and being alert. Organising your valuables from top to toe in money belts and magic socks is like a beacon to a well versed thief.
Scenario: you are in a rush to pay for your melting Gelato so you stash your purse back in the front pocket of your handbag (not its usual spot), you then get to the Duomo and go to get your purse to buy your ticket only to find it missing – you panic, you frantically throw your bag on the ground emptying the contents everywhere only for it to fall out of the front pocket where you stashed it twenty minutes ago. Classic Tourist.
Things get lost, forgotten and taken when you break from your routine. The best thing is to stick to your routine as closely as possible; we do recommend the following tips;
- First up, take photos of your passport and credit cards and email them to yourself. Stolen passports and credit cards can be solved very quickly if you have copies in your email so don’t panic.
- Take your usual purse or wallet but empty of all non-essential stuff before you leave.
- If you’re purse or wallet is valuable in itself take a less expensive one with a similar layout
- Don’t take your passport and extra credit cards out with you unless it’s safer than leaving them behind or unless you need them that day.
- Likewise, don’t carry all your cash if you don’t need to
- Your handbag should have basic security, such as a zip to close it or an internal zipped pocket – It’s great to stick to your usual handbag if possible, if security is a real concern (and it is if you are visiting lots of tourist attractions each day) then anti-theft handbags are great, choose a design that replicates your usual handbag the closest.
- Men should not carry their wallets in their back pockets – break this habit before your travel, your side pocket is much more secure.
- If you change your wallet and bag or both – make the change a few weeks before you go so everything is seamless by the time you’re on holiday.
- At the end of the day, where there are large groups of tourists there will be opportunistic thieves. Lost passports and cards can be solved, cash is upsetting, but again not the end of the world; the most upsetting thing to lose usually is a phone or camera due to the photos. Back up your phone’s photos before you go and if you’re taking lots of snaps along the way, back those up every couple of days. If you are robbed, it shouldn’t ruin your holiday – it’s happened to the best of us, and if it hasn’t, well they just haven’t ventured far enough off the beaten track yet!
Pacsafe are unbeatable when it comes to finding the right anti-theft solution – find the right solution for you here
Neck pillows will make or break you. Image via @cabeautravel
Pssst – here’s a little known secret, they give you pillows on the aeroplane
Not that you would believe it with the number of brightly coloured neck pillows hanging out of everyone’s backpacks at the airport. It is true, so a neck pillow is not actually an in-flight essential. And we will save you the $40 you might be tempted to spend on one of the bean filled versions at the airport – they are a nuisance to carry and they are uncomfortable. They will be in the bin at the other end, we promise. Before you gleefully cross if off your list though, neck pillows do have their use, and we can’t recommend (certain) ones enough. The pillows on the aeroplane have questionable hygiene, so there’s that, and they actually don’t make the best neck pillows. They do make great lumbar pillows though! If you consider that you will be sitting up using this pillow anything that has big bulk at the back will simply push your head forward into a very uncomfortable position, here are our neck pillow essentials;
- Your neck pillow should have a pliable (foam) back to it, be flat or ridged at the back or be inflatable. That way there is no bulk behind your neck but you can rest your head to the sides to get some rest without resorting to taking a nap on your neighbours shoulder.
- Your neck pillow should be able to easily be packed into your luggage – if it doesn’t fit, forget it. Spend the extra money to get one that folds or squashes down, or a less expensive alternative is an inflatable one.
- Neck pillows are actually far handier beyond the plane – car trips, long ferry trips and train trips, now, none of these places actually do offer pillows and you will feel mighty smug with your hot pink neck noodle at midnight on the bullet train.
Cabeau neck pillows are the best – in case you missed it, I hate neck pillows, but Cabeau one’s are fast making me a convert!
So there you have it – our rule breaking travel rules!