8 Tips For Traveling Abroad

1. Pack light- Nothing is worse then having to lug your stuff all over the country. I’ve seen people traveling with a giant back pack on their back, a smaller one in front, a fanny pack, and dragging a suit case. Trust me. You DO NOT need to bring that much on your trip. I use to pack heavy and realized that I didn’t use half the stuff or could have easily bought it anywhere. Ask yourself, Do I really need this?

2.Make sure you documents are in order- Your documents will be your life line.

a) Make sure your passport is not about to expire- Obvious isn’t it? Still you’d be surprised by the number of people who forget to do this. One time my friend and I were going to travel to China and what do you know? His passport had already expired. When did we find out about this? AT THE AIRPORT! Needless to say I wasn’t a happy camper.

Some countries check if your passport is about to expire in 30-60 days. Make sure you do not fall in this category. If you do,make sure to apply for a passport as soon as possible prior to your departure.

b) Look into the visa for your country – Different places require different visas. Sometimes a visa can take months to get. You don’t want your travel plans interrupted because of this. Call the local embassy for more information.

c) Scan and email to yourself all important documents – It’s smart to make copies of your passport, insurance, dipolma, drivers license, etc. It’s even smarter to scan them and then e-mail them to yourself. So even if you lose everything, as long as you can access the internet,you’ll have access to all your relevant documents.

Now you may ask why you should scan your college diploma? Well, you never know if you’ll fall in love with a country and want to live there for an extended period of time. Having a copy of your diploma saves you the hassle of having to get someone email it to you. This goes double for any and all documents that you may need on your travels.

3. Research where you are going- If you plan to do a lot of traveling, research the areas you will be traveling to. Make sure to have a good bit of information on where you are going. If they speak a different language and customs, try to learn as much about them prior to

departure.

Recently, a friend traveled to Venezuela without doing his research. Turns out the current president, Hugo Chavez had changed the official currency exchange rate, meaning that my friend got ripped off every time he drew money out of an ATM. If he had done his research, he would have known to take US dollars with him and to exchange it in the black market.

a) Making calls – Can you take the cell phone you already have and just buy a SIM card? Or do you have to buy a new phone? You may consider getting a phone that works in many countries then make calls using Wifi.

b) Electric outlets – Make sure you have the right plug for electrical outlets. Also, look into the voltages. I blew up a $200 electric tooth brush because I’m a moron. Turns out that Korea uses 220 volts instead of 110.

c) Do you need a return ticket? – some countries will not allow you to enter without a return ticket.Make sure to have a return ticket. Google is your friend for finding out this information.

d) Also, Lonely Planet travel guides will help you. I’m the type who likes to go to a new destination with no real plan and just play it by ear. Regardless, travel guides will save you a lot of headaches by telling you where to stay and what to do.

4. Budget your trip- Budget your expenses and how much you will be spending on your trip. It is good to do a budget so you don’t over extend yourself. Be careful when traveling with others. Getting into arguments about money leads to everyone being pissed. Be sure to discuss how you will share the expenses. Keep track of the money split and write it down.

5. Speak the language- Even a couple of phrases will help. Some places you’ll find an abundant amount of English speakers, usually the younger people around universities. Other times, you’ll be completely screwed.

6. Renew all your cards- If you plan to travel for an extended period of time, then try to renew all your credit cards, licenses, etc. Most credit card companies won’t deliver your card internationally. So you’ll have to get a friend to mail your new credit card to your new address (if you’re there long enough) . That means you’ll be dealing with other countries mail service. And believe me, this can be a real pain.

7. Travel Insurance- This one is going to be a personal choice. I’ve heard nightmare stories about travelers getting into accidents and having no way to pay for it. Personally, I’ve never traveled with insurance and have had no problems…so far…Make your own decision. There are lots of plans to choose from. Use Google and figure out what plan is best for you.

8. Be safe- It pays to be secure. Invest in money belts, mini locks, travelers checks, and exomesh.

a) Money belts – When I first arrived in Colombia, one of the locals told me not to take out my wallet. Smart idea. Another smart idea is to buy a money belt, then put your important documents and the majority of your money into it. If someone robs you at gun point then you can just hand them whatever is in your pockets. Hopefully they won’t tell you to get buck nekkid.

b) Mini locks – Use these to lock your zippers shut. If you’re traveling on a budget then chances are you’ll be sharing rooms with other travelers. Most travelers you meet will be cool. Others you’ll want to kick in the junk. And then there’s the SOBs who will take your stuff. The mini lock is the first line of defense against this. This way you’ll know no one rooted through your bags.

c) Exomesh – Your back pack ain’t going nowhere with the exomesh deployed. Exomesh is basically a wire net that you wrap around your luggage and secure it to something that does move. If someone wants to steel my back pack then they gotta saw through the radiator first.

Pacsafe is a company that sells exomesh and secure travel gear in general.

d) Travelers checks – Travelers check can be your emergency back up if you should happen to lose all your money and credit cards. If you’re staying in one place for some time, then keep your travelers checks stashed there. The beauty about travelers checks is even if you lose them, you can call up the bank that issued them and get them replaced.

African Travel Tips When Visiting Mozambique

Mozambique in famous mainly for its beaches and prawns, Mozambique also offers the visitor World Heritage sites, colonial architecture and a colourful local culture. Bustling markets sell exquisite carvings and basketware with the wood and ivory sculptures of the Makonde recognized as one of Africa’s most sophisticated art forms.

Mozambique has also produced talented painters such as Malangatana and the country’s murals adorn many a wall, especially in Maputo. Traditional music is in the form of Marrabenta music as well as Marimba and calabash orchestras. Keeping with the rhythm of Africa, the ritualistic Nhau and mapico initiation dances can be a frightening sight. Popular activities for travellers include diving, snorkelling, bird watching and fishing for marlin, sailfish or kingfish.

CAPITAL:

Maputo

CLIMATE:

Subtropical although droughts and low rainfall is common. Rainy season is Oct-Apr and dry season Apr-Sep.

CURRENCY:

1 Mozambican Metical = 100 centavos. USD or Pounds Sterling traveller’s cheques are recommended. Change money at authorized institutions. Credit cards are not widely accepted. A large number of merchants prefer USD. Import and export of local currency is prohibited.

ELECTRICITY:

220 volts, 50Hz. Plugs are 2- and 3-pin round.

HEALTH:

A yellow fever vaccination is required from travellers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas. Visitors are advised to take pre-arrival precautions against malaria (risk exists throughout the year in the whole country), hepatitis A, polio, typhoid and meningitis depending on the area visited and time of year. Other health concerns are rudimentary medical facilities, unavailable medicines, cholera (maintain strict food and water hygiene) and influenza (risk extends throughout year).

LANGUAGE:

The official language is Portuguese, but Makua and Tsonga are also spoken. English is not widely spoken but can be understood.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS:

New Years’ Day (1 Jan); Heroes’ Day (3 Feb); Women’s Day (7 Apr); Labour Day (1 May); Independance Day (25 Jun); Victory Day (7 Sep); Armed Forces Day (25 Sep); Defunct’s Day (2 Nov); Christmas Day (25 Dec); Boxing Day (26 Dec)

SHOPPING:

basketwork; reed mats; woodcarvings; masks; printed cloth; leather articles; prawns; wine.

SOCIAL CONVENTIONS:

Religion is mainly Roman Catholic, but other faiths include Muslim, Hindu and traditional beliefs. Handshaking is the customary form of greeting. Portuguese customs e.g. modes of address (Senhor/Senhora) apply. Dress is casual and formal wear is seldom required. For business safari suits are acceptable in hot weather, while lightweight suits are advised for the rest of the year.

TIME DIFFERENCE:

GMT +2

TIPPING:

Ten percent is customary, but it’s discouraged in hotels. Taxi drivers expect 10 percent.

TOP TEN ATTRACTIONS DESCRIPTION:

Maputo:

The capital city has wide avenues lined with red acacia and lilac jacaranda flowering trees; it offers many historical, cultural and scenic spots e.g. the Cathedral; City Council Chambers; Tunduro Gardens; Railway Station; the Fortress and Natural History Museum; beaches include Praia da Macaneta; Ponta do Ouro and Ponta Malongane.

Xai-Xai:

224km from Maputo; the nearby beach is a popular tourist destination with its massive reef protecting the shores from strong waves at high tide; at low tide locals gather shellfish to sell to tourists; in the area also visit Praia do Chongoene, Bilene and the Banhine National Park, with its rich variety of wildlife.

Mozambique Island:

About two-thirds of the island was declared a ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO due to the buildings being constructed from coral; places of interest include St Paul’s Palace, the Museum of Sacred Art and the Fortress of St Sebastian; nearby beaches are Praia de Fernão Veloso and Praia das Chocas; on the mainland, in Nampula city, see the Cathedral and Museum.

Beira:

The country’s second city, Beira is spread along the coast; see the Largo do Municipio, Casa Portugal, Casa Infante de Sagres, Casa dos Bicos and the Cathedral; the best beaches are found between the Clube Nautico and the lighthouse; nearby ‘Six Miles’ is an inland resort with an artificial lagoon with islands where you may swim or hire pedal boats; game viewing in the province is at the famous Gorongosa National Park and Marromeu Buffalo Reserve.

Bazaruto:

Archipelago Very popular tourist area consisting of Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque and Santa Carolina islands off the mainland with high quality hotels; On Inhambane on the mainland, see the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Conception; conservation areas include the Zinave National Park and the Bazaruto National Park.

Pemba:

The city has an unspoilt natural beauty; visit the Old Town, where you can visit several traditional markets, the beaches of Praia do Wimbe and Praia do Farol; nearby Ibo Island is part of the idyllic Quirimbas archipelago.

Lake Niassa & Niassa Reserve:

Niassa province offers breathtaking views and scenery; unspoilt Lake Niassa is accessible by 4×4 only and gives you a ‘real Africa’ experience, with fishing villages where you can buy fresh fish and coconut milk; Niassa Reserve is famous for its large quantity of elephants.

Inhaca Island:

34 km from Maputo in the bay, accessible by boat or plane; tours of Ponta de Santa Maria and Portuguese Island are possible.

Maputo Elephant Reserve:

79 km south of Maputo, the reserve is famous for its elephant herds; flamingos can also be seen on the large inland lakes near the sea.

Face of the Old Man:

In the city of Chimoio, ‘Cabeça do Velho’ is a spectacular natural stone formation resembling the face of an old man.

Simple Tips To Improve And Simplify Your Travel Packing

No matter if you are packing for a long or short trip, whether for business or pleasure, a time-saving way to begin is to make and use a list. Using a list, it will be easy to check off all items to ensure nothing is left behind and all items are absolutely necessary. Include the list in your luggage as a handy guide for not forgetting things when repacking.

When deciding on items of clothing to pack, mixing and matching clothing saves space and tends to reduce the number of outfits actually needed. If possible, select one or two pairs of shoes which coordinate with the majority of outfits.

Another important rule is don’t be fooled by the myriad of travel gadgets out there. Not only do many of these not perform properly they take up packing space. A simple rule to consider is: if it’s not a smaller version of something you absolutely can’t live without while on the road, then don’t pack it. One travel item that is of utmost importance though are clear and unique baggage tags. A unique tag makes it easier to spot your luggage on busy, fast-moving carousels when tired after a long haul flight.

Scanning important data such as passport, ID photos, paper tickets and other travel documents into an email account like Yahoo or Hotmail can be very useful and easily accessible should the need arise. It is also helpful to include the numbers to report loss for mobile phones, credit cards, travelers checks and your travel insurance policy. When packing these items distribute them between bags and do not include all of them, especially cash, in your carry-on bag.

Packing clothing in plastic easy-to-open bags organizing either by outfit, or item such as socks, underwear, etc. optimizes space and affords ease in the event of luggage inspection. If traveling with others, distributing one bagged outfit for each person among your party’s bags avoids luggage-arrival mishaps. Plastic bags should be used for personal care items with these items contained in small regulation-size containers and clearly labeled. Purchasing many of these items in travel size, will save inspection time as well as valuable space.

Travel and health insurance is definitely a must-take item. Some companies include some medical coverage with the travel insurance to provide for emergency medical care, physician consulting, treatment and prescription drug reference access. Travel insurance also offers protection for ticket loss, flight delay and any accidents while aboard public transportation. Ensure that you find the most acceptable coverage required for your requirements and have a great trip.

Flight and Travel Tips

Plan in advance: If you have a plan to visit out of your country, start your plan at least three to six month prior to your visit. Know the country and destination where you are planning to visit. Know more about the climatic condition of that country and find out the travel advices for the country. Select best time of travel for that particular country or city.

Book air tickets in advance: If you have finalized your tour program, book air tickets in advance as many airlines offer a discount for tickets booked in advance. Now get your passport, visa and other travel documents ready.

Learn the local expenses: You might not know whether you are paying the right amount for taxi, hotel and other commodities in the particular city, therefore it is better to search for the basic information about the city and you will get plenty of information on Internet. You should also have the fair knowledge of exchange rate, as this will help you in converting your currency.

Visit local shops: We all do shopping whenever we are on tour and you should try to do shopping from the local shops instead of big malls. In local store, you will find things cheaper and affordable.

Keep essential medicine: You should have a fair idea of the medicines that may be required to you while you are on tour. In addition to your daily medicine, you should also carry away with you some common medicines such as medicines for cough, cold and fever. You should also see that if immunization is required for a particular city or country.

Keep Traveler’s checks: Instead of taking a lot of money with you, it is better to take traveler’s check or credit card with you. In case if you miss these, you should immediately report to the banks or credit card providers. You should also avoid bringing valuables with you.

Dress casually: Your dress sometimes indicates about yourself to thieves and that is a risk for you, so you should dress casually. It is better to stay alert while you are in another city or country. If you see something wrong in your neighborhood, keep yourself in safe position.

Travel Insurance: Many insurance providers are also offering travel insurance and you should ensure a suitable insurance policy for you and your family.

Stay in medium to large Hotels: Never stay in very small hotels, as the security arrangement in these hotels is insufficient. Try to take a medium to large hotel. In most of such hotels adequate arrangement of security are made. Do not go out alone or with your family out of the hotel especially during nighttime and if you have to go, ask hotel staff to provide taxi.