Travel tips

Stay safe
We’ve all heard the travel safety advice that tells you to keep your handbag under your arm, wear your backpack on your chest, watch out for pickpockets and don’t flash the cash etc, etc, etc.

They talk about personal safety but you also need to know about financial safety. Even when you are not traveling you need to always be wary of public Wi-Fi such as in McDonalds or at the airport. Public Wi-Fi is the free Wi-Fi in public places that you don’t need a password to access, you just have to agree to their terms and conditions.

Generally speaking, public Wi-Fi connections are not secure and are open to eavesdropping. The data is not encrypted so a hacker with a scanner could sit a few meters away and read all of the data flowing to and from your device.

By all means use public Wi-Fi for Facebook or to read your email, but never use it for anything work related or for anything that involves money, such as online banking, paying bills or online shopping.

If you need to access your bank or make an online purchase from a public place, use your mobile phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot so that you have a secure encrypted connection that is safe from eavesdroppers.

Check your phone’s documentation on how to switch on and off the Wi-Fi hotspot and don’t forget, when using your mobile phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot you will be using some of your data allowance.

If you’ve ever taken a long-distance flight that crosses several time zones, then you know what jetlag is. It’s that feeling of lethargy that stops your brain from working and makes you feel yuk!

Other than high caffeine energy drinks, which are short term and could do more harm than good, most people use one of two common strategies for jetlag:

  1. Sleep when you get tired and it will eventually wear off. If you try this method, you will be waking up at 2 o’clock every morning and going to sleep at 2 o’clock every afternoon until your body finally adjusts.
  2. Force yourself to stay awake until about 8 o’clock on the first night. If you try this method most of the jetlag will be gone the next morning but you will be walking around like a zombie, feeling yuk and praying for sundown, on your first day.

Neither method is fun but there is a better way.

If you can, pick a flight that arrives at your destination in the late afternoon or early evening. When the plane lands go through customs, collect your bags and make your way to your hotel. After check-in, have a shower and a light meal, then go to bed, ideally at about 8 or 8:30. You’re already tired from the flight so you should drift off fairly quickly. The next morning most of the jetlag will be gone and you can enjoy your holiday.

Exploring downtown
If you are in an unfamiliar city, when you explore the city, take a hotel card or a piece of notepaper with the hotel address on it with you. That way, if you want to go back to your hotel but aren’t sure of how to get there, you just hop into a taxi and show the driver the piece of paper with the hotel address on it.

Before you go exploring, use the hotel Wi-Fi to download a map of the city. Then you can use the navigator app on your mobile phone to get directions without using your roaming data.

Language barrier
If you are travelling to a place where you won’t speak the local language, before you travel (or when you have a good Wi-Fi connection), download the local language to your mobile phone to use in your favourite translator.

That way, when you need to speak to a local, you can type your message, question or comment into the translator and the translator will display your message in the local language without you having to use any roaming data.

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