Here is a list of travel tips, scroll to the bottom to see the # 1 tip.

Immigration woes


Check all visa requirements for the countries you will be visiting.

Ensure that you have all the vaccination certificates that you need.

An international driver’s licence is required in countries outside the SADC area. You can get this at the AA, carry your local licence with you as well.

Permits are needed to carry firearms and ammunition, in some countries permits are needed for hunting knives.

If you need to transit via USA airports, make sure you have at least 2 hours before connecting flight, customs and immigration takes ages!

When driving in some countries be prepared to go through checkpoints (not just at border points), so keep your paperwork ready at hand.

Most countries require your passport to have at least six months remaining on your passport to enter – check it now.

If you have dual nationality you must leave and enter South Africa on your SA passport.

If your passport gets stolen, report this to the nearest police station. Take the report to the South African Embassy.

Make copies of your important documents and leave these in an envelope with a friend at home. Also keep pictures of these on your phone or tablet. These being…

-drivers licence

-Birth certificate



-Health insurance/Medical aid cards

-Emergency contact details

Carry a pen with you, there are always forms to be filled in.

Before booking, zoom in on the area around the hotel/resort on Google Earth to check everything about it that you can including how near it is to the beach / shops etc.


Your home and car


Buy ‘realistic’ looking artificial food and leave on display near kitchen window – looks like you’re home

Switch off the geyser and gas pipes and switch alarm on.

Arrange for somebody to empty the mail box.

Don’t leave your home in darkness, don’t leave just one light or have every light left on – use timers for lights.

If you plan to rent out your home for tourists check your tenancy agreement and home insurance first!

Disconnect the car battery,




Statistically it is far safer to fly than to drive.

One of the scariest and most dangerous airports to land in, in the world is at Paro airport in Bhutan, with no radar, a short runway and mountains.

Flying into New York at dusk has an amazing view from your plane window, especially with a good sunset and skyscraper lights.

Save time and hassle at airport security by placing your change, wallet, phone and belt in to a bag and place in to your hand luggage beforehand.

If flying in to London Heathrow airport, try to get a window seat on the right hand side of the plane, you’ll get stunning views of the city.

At airport security, if possible, choose a line with fewer families, they usually take longer to deal with.

NEVER visit the toilet on board a plane without shoes (not barefoot or just socks), it may not be water on the floor!

Want a taxi at the airport? Don’t wait in the arrivals area, go to the departures area where taxi’s drop people off!

For cheapest flights, consider flying on a Tuesday or a Wednesday… most people fly at weekends and business travellers on Mon & Fri

If you are ever on a plane that is refuelling, leave your seat belt unfastened should you need to evacuate the plane fast!

Stay up-to-date with live departure board apps on your phone (but make sure you have a connection!) at the airport.

Check with your airline or agent if you could stopover at the connecting city free of charge or for little extra.

If you prefer a particular brand of tea, coffee, soup or hot chocolate, bring some on board and ask for hot water and a cup

Wear an over the neck passport holder to hold passport, money and cards or shirt with a pocket should you need to evacuate the plane quickly.

When reserving seats for two, choose the aisle and window, if nobody takes the middle you then get a full row.

Watch your arms, elbows and feet if sitting in the aisle, some cabin crew are dangerous with their trollies!

Interior aeroplane air is very dry, stay hydrated – drink plenty of water while on board – Electrolytic drinks are highly effective too.

Exercise such as jogging, cycling or swimming, even for half an hour can help improve circulation before a flight.




Spot your case more  quickly on the airport belt either by buying one which is quite unique, or decorating one yourself.

If travelling with someone, place some clothes in each other’s cases, should one of the cases get lost or delayed, at least you both will have some clothes

.Stop your soft case looking like it has done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson, line it with lightweight but firm cardboard.

British Airways is launching a home bag check-in service. A baggage handler will come to you, weigh your bag, security seal it and take it to be loaded.

Pack less stuff, most things can be bought at the place you are going to. You do not need masses of clothes.

Roll your clothes instead of folding, this saves on space and clothes get less crumpled.




Ramp up your scenic photos by adding other people into view. It will help create a sense of scale.

Rise at sunrise to have the best attractions with smaller crowds. It’s also a best time for photos due to soft diffused light.

Don’t ruin perfect photographs by displaying the date stamp, especially if you intend on getting some developed / printed.

Skiing this winter? Now you can hire self-tracking drones to film your every move (and fall) using your smart phone’s GPS and Bluetooth!

Be cautious if someone asks you to take a photo with their camera / phone, it may be damaged and they then blame you for it and demand money.

Be even more cautious of asking someone to take pictures of you, they may disappear with your camera or phone.

Buy a few SD cards for your camera and change them daily, so if your camera is stolen, at least you haven’t lost all your photos.

Take extra care if taking ‘selfies’ in a city or near a road – thieves on bikes / motorbikes may snatch the stick.

Make some photos interesting by taking them of landmarks or landscapes at various angles as well as straight on.

Unless it’s to create an effect, photograph people close up with the landmark behind or they’ll be too small to see.

If travelling between states, take photos of place signs at each location to identify where photos were taken.

Most modern hotel TVs now have SD card readers or USB sockets so it’ll be easier to check the quality of your photos.

Some ramps around hotels resemble ski slopes and would be dangerous to use, check with the hotel and ask for photos.

Take plenty of pictures and a large SD card, it is always better to select from a larger number of photos than be left with little choice.

Use a fast shutter speed (or sport mode) on your camera to take better shots of the landscape from a moving vehicle (NOTE! NOT IF YOU ARE THE ONE DRIVING!)

Always ask permission (with a smile) before taking photos of local people, in some countries a small payment will help!

Take a close up of someone wearing mirrored glasses with a reflection of a landmark or another friend in the lens.

Using a ‘selfie stick’ check that the stick is not in the shot and make sure its shadow doesn’t end up spoiling your picture.




In some countries the toilets in petrol / gas stations are extremely basic with no paper, no towels, sometimes no seats and no chain! Take your own bog roll!!

Best to take hand sanitizer with you on trips as many public toilets in some countries have poor or no washing facilities.

In some countries the toilet paper in public toilets (where available) may be found on the wall outside of the cubicle, don’t get caught out.

If you find a pile of newspapers in the toilet, note… These are not for reading, use your imagination.




If camping in a tent NEVER be tempted to place a barbecue/fire inside to keep warm, apart from potential fire risk, carbon monoxide build up may kill you.

Keep tents, sleeping bags and other fabric camping equipment dry by storing them with some packets of silica gel.

Keep camping gear in sealed plastic bags help keep the equipment dry.


Biking, walking, driving


When renting always take pictures of vehicles and equipment in case of dispute when returning them.

Even if the locals don’t wear helmets, always wear one, especially on foreign roads which may have unknown hazards.

In remote, tropical locations, always check your shoes first to ensure no spiders or other insects have climbed inside them!

Archaeological sites usually have no or little shade from the sun – make sure you wear some form of hat and drink plenty of bottled water! Do not forget sunscreen.

Avoid sore shoulders from straps when carrying heavy bags by placing a sanitary towel under your top for cushioning.

It is not just those in the United Kingdom who drive on the left, check out the rules for the countries on the graphic for reference.

Avoid red hot car seats (especially leather ones) and avoid sticking to them by covering them with a blanket while the car is parked.

Some countries have toll roads, and these start just beyond the airport, ask your car hire company if you need change.

If walking on a trail, step down steps sideways to protect your knees from being hurt.

Rent a smaller car which would be more manageable on sharp bends, and tight roads in smaller locations. These will be cheaper too!


Bus and train


If an excursion gets cancelled, insist on written confirmation of the cancellation should you need to claim money back when you return home.

If booking excursions before your trip, don’t assume pick up/drop off will always be from your hotel, check first to save on taxi or bus fares

If you want to sleep on a train, hide any valuables away and pin a note on yourself asking to be woken at the station just before yours.

London’s Tube system runs 24 hours on Friday and Saturday nights. (Central & Victoria lines


Sun swim and surf.


Don’t try wearing flip flops in the sea, chances are you may lose one or both, rather use sea shoes or water shoes.

You can cool down by simply standing in a very shallow part of the swimming pool but remember the sun may be strong so wear sunscreen lotion.

Beware of ‘Aloe Vera men’ who may rub gel from the plant on your sunburnt skin and will then expect payment for it. Do not allow anyone to place anything on your person for this reason.

Look out for chunky beach towel pegs / pins which hold your beach towel on the sun lounger to stop it falling off.

Don’t just rely on the depth markings around the pool, check where ramps or steps are, don’t dive unless it is permitted!

Although some hotels remove the coconuts, don’t sit / lay under a coconut tree – falling nuts can seriously hurt you.

Do not delay applying after sun cream, it works best if you apply it soon after you get burned.


Health and safety (First aid and medical tips)


Take some sachets of vinegar with you – Coral cuts and jellyfish stings should be bathed in vinegar, then dabbed in antiseptic ointment

Alcohol, a frequent factor in accidents and injuries. It often promotes risky behaviour. Excessive alcohol use may invalidate insurance claims.

Tiger Balm not only soothes sore muscles after a lot of travelling but also works as an insect repellent.

If you are feeling that someone is in your personal space on public transport, start coughing and watch them move!

Can’t find dock leaves? Dab sticky tape on the sting, remove the tiny plant hairs, clean the area & rub with dry soap.

For sunburn: Cool some camomile tea, dip a clean, soft towel in it, squeeze dry, and apply to affected skin to cool it down.

Dab toothpaste on mosquito bites – the mint will also help relieve the itching.

Save time and money by buying sun cream and after sun lotion with added insect repellent.

When applying sun cream, do it in layers rather than a massive dollop in one go it’s much harder work to rub it in.

Make a note of your blood group and keep it with you when travelling. Hopefully you’ll never need to use this.

Check the altitude of destinations before you book, if you are asthmatic or have any other breathing problems.

Avoid plane airborne bugs, take a dose of 1000mg of vitamin c prior to travelling and dab tea tree oil under nose.

If you suffer from allergies, check if your hotel is pet friendly, as the room may have traces of pet hair inside it.

In some countries, eating salad, fruit or vegetables that have been washed with tap water may cause stomach problems, check the water quality stats. first !

Always use anti-bacterial wipes or spray on baby cots and high chairs at the hotel and restaurants to avoid bugs.

Take a whistle with you for security… if someone is following you or giving you unwanted attention then blow it.

Use Kinder Surprise plastic toy containers  to carry medication, coins or SD cards when you go on excursions.

Scientific research has shown that drinking carrot juice two or three days before flying can make you feel fresher.

This may work for you… One way to stop hiccups is to pour a sachet of sugar in to your mouth and suck and swallow.

To avoid an encounter with any would be intruders, leave the do not disturb sign on your door when you are out to make it look like you’re in.

Avoid chocolate, soft cheese, citrus fruit and red wine if you find air travel stressful. It can cause hypertension.

Exercise such as jogging, cycling or swimming, even for half an hour can help improve circulation before a flight.

Stay away from Manchineel trees – especially don’t stand under one in the rain, toxic sap will blister your skin!

Always carry your medication in your hand luggage in case there’s a delay retrieving your checked-in luggage.

If you use condoms, make sure you wash off any sun creams and sun oils as these oils may perish the latex or rubber.

Make sure your doors are locked and the windows closed when you stop at traffic lights in some locations. Thieves can sometimes grab items from open widows!

Don’t be a pickpocket victim, watch your belongings. If someone ‘bumps’ into you check you still have your items.


Tech tablet and phone advice


Wi-Fi is pronounced ‘wiffy’ in some countries so if you’ve no luck asking for Wi-Fi, try wiffy (you won’t get cheese)

Before going, remove anything you don’t need to have on your device – it’ll help reduce the impact if lost or stolen.

Chances are you will need to charge more than one item at a time, so take a lightweight multiple socket & 1 adaptor.

Protect your electrical equipment from the heat and humidity, plastic screen protectors may also bubble up.

Back up your data at all times.

Do not fall for offers of “free” unsecured wi-fi hot spots thieves can access your passwords. Rather use the hotel or coffee shop. Encrypt your online activity

Switch off the vibration mode on your phone, it’ll eat up your phone battery’s power faster than the ringtone will.

If your phone gets wet, remove battery, sim card and memory card and leave it overnight in a container/airtight bag with silica gel packets

If you have oily fingerprints on your phone or tablet from sun oil clean the screen with a soft cloth and glass lens cleaner.






Some destinations do not display purchase price including the sales tax – check what the total cost is before purchasing.

Keep smaller amounts of money in different places, eg: some in your bag, inside belt lining, pocket, shoe, so if you lose something or are a victim of crime, chances are you will still have something to keep you going.

Always have local cash, not every place takes credit cards.

If you’re keeping foreign money with a view of going back one day, keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t become obsolete.

Ask friends/colleagues if they have small change in the currency of the place you’re going to, to use for tips upon arrival.

When using US $ in countries other than the USA, beware that many shops / restaurants won’t accept $50 or $100 notes, nor are they likely to carry the correct change and will ”round upwards”

Check that the restaurant you are visiting takes the currency you have (if it is not the official local currency) BEFORE you order (or have washing up gloves ready)

When travelling…, for security reasons it is an idea to open a separate bank account and get a trustworthy person to regularly add small amounts to it from home.

Some restaurant waiters may come back to you with a folded/damaged note saying that’s what you gave them and they can’t accept it, be aware and hand over an obviously intact one in full view of witnesses.

Most banks don’t need to know you are going abroad, but for security reasons it may be a good idea to do a small transaction or use an ATM at the airport.

When applying online for a visa or ESTA, don’t use third party companies as they charge a lot more, go to an official one.

WARNING – take great care of your contactless cards, thieves use contactless card readers on trains by ‘bumping’ in to you.


Boats and ships


Avoid tourist markets when cruise ships dock, most items become much more expensive, so wait for the ships to leave!

When on a cruise, while others go ashore, make use of the ship’s facilities such as spa, gym etc. you’ll find them almost empty

Cruise ships are not all formal, there are many ships with relaxed dress codes, making them suitable for everyone.

Drinking age on cruise ships depends on where you are and the nationality of the ship company. It’s usually 18 or 21.

Cheap cruise deals may be because your cabin’s next to or above a machine room or other noisy part of the boat, check plans first!

One benefit of cruising over travelling around by road is that you don’t have to live out of your suitcase in endless different hotel rooms.

Take a change of clothes in your hand luggage so you can change into something while waiting for your suitcases.


Sight seeing


Don’t cram too much into a few days, spread excursions and sport across your trip so you can rest and relax too.

Wake up early to see all the attractions without a lot of other people around.

Always carry local currency, not every place has card facilities.

Even if you’re a driver, sometimes it’s nice to hire a driver for a day so you can enjoy the view rather than having to watch the road.

Rise at sunrise to enjoy the best attractions with fewer people around.

Book a hot air balloon ride at the start of your trip so if bad weather causes a delay, you should be able to re-book before you leave.

When visiting game reserves, wear neutral colours because bright hues may unsettle the animals.

Have the name and address of your hotel written down, Taxi drivers may not understand the way you pronounce it.

Don’t just go up the obvious outlook to get views of famous landmarks, other buildings may be cheaper and you’ll get a perfectly good view.

Take a photo of the taxi/cab’s number plate on your phone, should you leave anything behind you can contact them.

Plan alternative ‘indoor’ attractions eg: museums, art galleries, shopping etc. if it is raining at the location you’re visiting.

Never appear lost if you can help it, this can make you seem vulnerable to criminals who may try to rob you. Try to look as if you know where you are going.




If you have flies or bugs in your room, place a bowl of water with a small drop or two of washing liquid somewhere, flies landing on it can’t fly off.

Complain at reception about noise from neighbouring rooms or any other issues, rather than putting up with anything which makes your stay less than pleasant, you may be upgraded.

Before booking a hotel, check there are no building works in progress – also check Google Earth / street view (get confirmation in writing).

Window grills at the villa / holiday home may stop intruders but thieves could still use a grabber to grab your belongings through the window!

Clothes get stolen from balconies – don’t leave expensive clothing / sportswear out on the balcony to dry while you are out, they may disappear.

A-list Celebrity homes you can actually berented- …

Negotiate the late check out fee before you go to the hotel via email as they sometimes offer better rates than they will on your last day.

The air conditioning in your hotel room may switch off if the patio/balcony door is open, if you go outside close the door fully.

If you are staying at a self-contained villa or house with a pool, ensure that you keep filtering and maintaining it, algae can build up in just one day.

Check on top, behind and under furniture in hotel room to check for anything that is missing, thieves may take the item(s) a day later!

Ask for two room keys, should one stop working use the other to save having to go back to reception until next day.

Unless you intend on hitting the dance floor yourself, it is best to ask to move rooms if you are placed near to the disco/nightclub.

Give daily tips to your house keeper rather than at the end of your stay. You may may not have the same one when you vacate.

Don’t rely on ‘staged’ hotel room photos or touched up beach photos hiding the crowds, check online for guest photos.

For extra security, place a rubber door stop under your hotel room door, especially if the locks aren’t that great.

Take some clothes pegs / pins with you to hold the hotel room curtains together as many don’t overlap or close properly.

If your screen or the headphone socket is faulty complain to the purser – they may offer you compensation or an upgrade.




Take a pack of playing cards, great for flight delays, long flights and for playing with others at the hotel/hostel.

Keep your hotel room cooler by keeping the curtains/blinds closed. Sunlight warms a room up considerably.

Infuse water with mint, lemon or cucumber, place it in small spray bottle and leave in fridge or mini-bar overnight.

Wet some face cloths, roll them and place them in the hotel fridge or mini-bar to cool  your face for when you return.

No AC in your hotel room? Place a bucket of ice or frozen bottles of water in front of a fan and the room will cool.

Don’t worry if you have forgotten any of your basics, forget the shop most hotels or travel reps have a small supply.

If you see any form of ill-treatment to animals, make a note of where, when and what you saw and report it.

Reduce weight in your case by not taking a new tube of toothpaste, use one that is at least half way empty or less, you can always get sample size or ‘travel” items

Take a torch / flashlight with you as some countries have regular power cuts & may not have street lighting

If using walkie-talkies around theme parks to stay connected, make sure your channel doesn’t pick up others first

Ladies, remember that as you tan in the sun, your darker skin will require darker toned make-up.

Let the server think that you’re an inspector, write a few notes in a book, take a photo, you may get     better service. You could carry a clip-board !

Place a plastic bag in the hotel room ice bucket… You’ll never know what others may have used it for previously!

Frequent traveller? Reserve a drawer or two for all your travel clothes and accessories to reduce the need to hunt for them each time you go

Limited hotel wardrobe space? Double-up by using drink can ring pulls to hang hangers on to other hangers.

Take some rubber bands with you and place on both ends of the hangers to stop clothes slipping off them!


Caveat Emptor


Be careful if buying gems for example, gems that you’ve been shown may not be the ones you get wrapped up, they can be replaced by inferior or fake items.

Don’t fall for fake tickets, bus, plane, shows etc. sold by locals, eg; from the taxi driver’s friend who has  a  connection and a “cheap deal” you will probably find the vendor disappearing promptly after the money is paid.

Some destinations do not display purchase price with the sales tax – check what the total cost is before purchasing.

Don’t be talked into buying a rug or carpet abroad, if you do want one, check with your guide if it is from a reputable vendor.

Don’t get caught out by seeing an amazing deal or get talked into buying a much bigger, more expensive item!

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Be prepared like a boy scout


Keep a blog or diary every-day during your travels to remember all the places you went to and what you did there.

As well as a flashlight/torch, take some candles and matches to destinations where electricity blackouts occur or to places where there is no electricity at all.

If you don’t have any fire-lighters for your barbeque, set light to a few Doritos amongst your coal or wood sticks, they burn very well!


Travelling with children

If taking a group of kids on a trip, dress them in Hi-visibility vests with your cell/mobile number written on them.

Check hotel staircases and balconies especially if you have young children, they may be loose or have large gaps!

If travelling with half of ‘Toys R Us’, take a photo of the items, print out and tick off each item when packing.

Don’t take young kids or babies to religious sites… many people visit these sites for prayer and peace and will not appreciate screaming.

As well as pushchairs/strollers, many airlines allow you to check in child car seats free of charge but check airline first before booking.

Remember, whether on a cruise ship or at a resort hotel, early sittings for dining means more kids eating with you.

If you are self-catering check off the itinerary with the kids and make it a game, you name the utensil and they find it.

Keep the kids entertained at the airport – list things for them to find, like someone with a hat, a coffee cup,  a laptop, or play other games like “I spy”

Keep kids amused on a plane or on the trip by getting them to make a scrap book of their trip (use glue stick)


Seasons, Weather and Geography


Those in the Northern hemisphere may be looking for more sunshine, but check the weather and temperatures of places first before booking.

If you’re staying anywhere where the hurricane is about to hit, keep away from the windows and if           you are in your hotel room, stay in the bathroom.

Don’t forget whatever temperature is being advertised, this is the temperature for shaded areas – it’ll be much hotter in the sunshine.

Many places are warm during the day but cold at night and in the early morning, take something warm with you for the cooler times.

Watch out! Cinemas/Movie theatres in warm locations can sometimes be icy cold with air conditioning especially if you drink a cold drink too.

Watch LIVE, REAL TIME thunderstorms around the world –

Make a list of potential indoor places to visit should the weather turn bad or wet (museums, galleries, malls etc.)

If visiting an active, smoking volcano, wear shades / glasses / goggles to stop particles getting in to your eyes.

If you want to see the famous Japanese trees in blossom, you need to go to Japan in April


Food and drink


Some hotels use extra sweetened orange juice at breakfast time, if it is too sweet, water it down with water (but not from the tap)

Be careful when eating by the sea, seagulls may dive down and grab your food and some have even be known to attack people!

Dodgy tummy? Make your own rehydration salts… Add 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a squeeze of lime to a pint of water.

If your hotel room doesn’t have a bottle opener, use the room door lock to open the bottles with, just did this and it works!!

Some restaurants will be happy to cook your catch of the day (or what you’ve just bought from the market) if you ask them nicely.

You are having a new experience, eat local food, do not be afraid to try something different.

Fake a birthday or another celebration at a restaurant and you may just get a free drink or cake, but don’t do this at your hotel restaurant.

Remember imported food costs a lot more, eat local produce and shop where the locals shop (markets and supermarkets away from tourist areas.)

On a budget? Eat your hotel breakfast as late as possible, eat a late lunch at a ‘lunch time offer restaurant’ and eat a snack for dinner.

Learn the bar tenders’ names, be friendly and give them the odd tip, in return, they’ll ensure you get  good service during your stay.

At all-inclusive hotels ask bar tenders to make cocktails that are not necessarily on the menu, better still ask for their signature drink.

Check first if food given to you before you order is complimentary, if not only eat it if you are happy to pay for it.

If drinking a ‘slush’ ice drink or eating ice cream, avoid ‘brain freeze’ by not allowing it to touch the top of your mouth (nerve endings)

Don’t always rely on the food signs in the buffets, they may get moved by people and be extra cautious if you have any allergies.

To get a REAL taste of a country, try a local cooking lesson, more rewarding than just watching TV cook show.

Try ‘Mate’, a traditional and popular local hot drink made with the dried leaves of the Yerba Mate bush in Argentina.

During Ramadan, (Muslim fasting period) hotels in Muslim countries will still serve guests (non-Muslims) food and drink

In France, bread is used with most meals to ‘scoop’ up the food and sauce and it is usually dry, no butter or margarine included.

Eating salad, fruit & veg that’s been washed in tap water in some countries may cause stomach problems, check first!

Whether on a cruise or at a resort, the speciality restaurants get booked up quickly, so make reservations early.

Some A-I hotels include premium drinks, but check if a hotel is A-I or non-A-I as they tend to use only premium drinks.

If planning a number of excursions, consider whether it is worth paying for all-inclusive as you’ll miss meals and drinks while you are out.

At breakfast, most hotels provide filter coffee as standard, but many will do lattes or cappuccinos if asked.

Dig out your 70s sweatbands… not to look like Olivia Newton John but to place around the glass / can to stop drips.

Be warned, some bars challenge you to play Connect 4 for free drinks (if you win), if you lose, you ‘pay’ dearly!

If self-catering, search for grocery stores / supermarkets online for where you are staying, shop and order a delivery.


Money savers and budget ideas


Travelling on a budget? find a free sofa or spare room with a website for travellers

If travelling light, check out the internet for small trial freebies such as small tubes of toothpaste etc. (order well before your trip!)

Pay less for afternoon tea at top hotels by searching for deals on the internet, such as the daily deals websites


Good manners


Be sensible, at airports, don’t wear clothes that could raise alarm with the police, customs or immigration officers!

Avoid dirty looks and bag rage by taking your back pack / rucksack off your back when travelling on public transport.

Some hand gestures may be seen as very rude in some countries, don’t point finger, use full hand, it is a good idea to check the rules first!

If you are invited for a meal in Tanzania, it is regarded as rude if you arrive early or on time, always arrive 10-15 mins late


Local knowledge


In spring the Japanese think evil spirits are at large, some local dignitaries throw soya beans from temples for people to catch for good luck.

Eating food with your left hand is considered dirty in a number of countries as it is assumed you use that hand for bathroom business.

Be careful not to offend… check local customs in the country you are going to – blowing your nose in public in some countries is considered rude.

A shoe shiner may drop a brush in front of you, if you pick it up for them and they shine your shoe as a thank you, expect to pay money for this.

Be prepared to see open breast feeding in some countries especially around markets in the cities – this is common place and is the norm!

Canada, Mexico, Israel, Brazil, Hong Kong, Panama, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates have banned e-cigarettes.

In tourist locations in Turkey prices for taxis, shops and restaurants are in € Euros rather than Turkish Lira.

If going to watch the tennis at Wimbledon take the Tube to Southfields station rather than Wimbledon – it’s closer!

Some public transport companies don’t allow alcohol and in some cases smelly food on board trains and buses (e.g. durian)

Ladies, to avoid unwanted attention from men in some countries, wear a wedding ring, this should hopefully help.

Before you get arrested or face a large bill, don’t smash your plates unless the restaurant allows the tradition!

Do NOT leave your hat on your bed in a hotel in Italy, It is considered bad luck and the housemaid will move it.

In the UK, it is considered rude if your elbows are on the table. When eating soup, scoop away from you not towards you.

In Mexico it is almost unheard of to eat using a knife and fork, most Mexicans eat with their hands.

Unlike Mexico, using your hands to eat food is considered extremely rude in many places, even when eating fries

In China making a mess on the table and belching out loudly demonstrates that you have enjoyed your meal.

In India, the Middle East, and some parts of Africa (Muslim countries) it is considered unclean to eat with your left hand.

In China slurping while eating noodles and soup shows your appreciation of the food, but it’s rude to lick your chopsticks!

Don’t wander along the beach on your own at night, you could become a victim of crime, or get injured in darkness.

Beware – It is illegal to wear camouflaged clothing in some countries so check first before travelling


More beware and be aware


Check with the hotel what the call charges are. In some hotels even toll-free / Freephone numbers may be chargeable.

Gentlemen, be aware that if beautiful girls hit on you (unless this happens all the time) it could well be a scam.

If you attend an event (sport, music) before checking in to your hotel be warned, security may take away sharp items.

Just dreamt that I’d lost most of my suitcase contents and had to remember what I’d lost, It is a good idea to have a list or photos of items in your hand luggage.

Don’t be tricked! fake bird mess will splat on you, a ‘good Samaritan’ could help clean you up while picking your pockets!

Often beggars just want to see where you keep your wallet when asking for alms. If you are inclined to give, rather keep small change in your pocket.

Emergency numbers differ from country to country – check number(s) for where you’re going – …

Avoid travelling to countries during elections, in some cases protests can be violent and some attractions may close.

If you are prone to leaving things in your hotel room save, place one of your shoes in the safe, Then you definitely won’t forget!

Bed sheets may change daily but chairs, cushions and bed covers will not, think about who else has sat naked on them.

Remember how big your new school felt!? Some resorts are like that too, if possible, study the resort map online if available beforehand

Watch out for fake Police officers in some countries, they may decide that you’ve done something wrong and fine you on the spot – ask for ID.

Watch out for children in Cambodia asking for you to buy them milk, once you buy it at the shop, they return it and the shop has your money!

Without sounding paranoid, check your balcony/terrace door often, housekeepers often forget to lock it after they have made up your room.

If using your phone to translate to a stranger abroad and they use it to type back, make sure they don’t run off with it!

Take a photo on your phone of the local taxi rates in case of any dispute with a driver

If you’re being serenaded at dinner and you don’t want it, simply pretend to do sign language to your companion so they think you can’t hear

Keep all receipts in Italy, even for ice cream / coffee as you may be asked to show them to the ‘Guardia di Finanza’

Somewhere always seems better when you’re on vacation/holiday, so before you decide you would like to move there, get up at 6am and travel.


Useful Items


Apart from the obvious like toothpaste and brush, personal meds and sunscreen…

Vinegar packs (From any fish and chips shop, used for jellyfish stings)

-Anti-bacterial wipes

-Hand sanitizer

-Sticking plasters

-Headache pills/anti-histamine pills/Rennies

-Elastic bands

-Vicks vaporub9 mosquito repellent and bite soother)

-Pocketsize pack of wet wipes

-A couple of pegs

-A couple of Paper clips

-Cable ties

-Piece of string (not too long)

-Re -hydrating sachets


-silica gel sachets

-matches or lighter

-rubber door wedge

-Small sewing kit,( few pins, needles and short lenths of thread and a button or two)

-Also pack a large scarf or sarong, it can be used for so many things apart from its requirement in Muslim countries, you can use it as a “picnic blanket”, can be used instead of a towel, sun protection, makeshift bag, sling, car seat/chair cover or fashion item.

Tip #1.Above all be patient, be polite and enjoy the journey in its fullness.


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