Top Ten Items For Urban Traveling

Let’s face it – packing for a trip can be very stressful. There are so many questions you might ask yourself, such as “Do I really need to bring that new set of encyclopedias with me? How about an extra laptop? Hmmm, how will I survive without my favorite set of bowling balls? What if I get caught up in a freak blizzard, or if a swarm of locusts suddenly attacks?” The truth is you only need the essentials to be a happy traveler, especially if you are visiting urban areas. On the other hand, you don’t want to have an epiphany halfway to your destination, and realize that you forgot something you really need. I, Buzz the Bumblebee, an experienced traveler, have decided to compile the following list of items to bring on every journey, excluding the fairly obvious ones. Like a suitcase to put all the stuff in.

Here are top 10 items every traveler should bring along:

1. Swiss Army Knife
I can’t even remember the number of times this brilliant little device saved the day. Slicing bread – check. Opening wine and beer bottles – check. Opening cans – check. Plus it fits in every pocket, unless you go overboard and decide to get one as extensive as the one in the picture. Although I’m sure you would never get robbed if you actually decided to carry one of these, since the thief would burst out laughing as soon as you would pull it out, I recommend a more compact version.

2. Inflatable Traveling Pillow
Those long plane/train/bus rides don’t need to be uncomfortable at all. An inflatable neck-supporting pillow such as this one can make sleeping in your seat a pleasant and relaxing experience. There is really no need for mandatory soreness in your neck and shoulders if you try to sleep in such places without this little fellow. You can also use it in a horizontal position, replacing a “regular” pillow if you don’t fancy the ones you got in your hotel room. Be sure to carry a little repair kit with it, since punctures just happen. Don’t use it as a floating device though, unless you’re desperate.

3. Reliable Map
Sightseeing isn’t much fun if you can’t find your way around. This can be especially difficult in large cities you have never visited before, even if your sense of direction is excellent. Therefore, a good foldable map can be invaluable. Don’t rely on maps you can get for free at the local tourist offices, since most of these will be more detracting than helpful. You’ll be doing yourself a favor if you purchase a well-marked city plan beforehand, possibly even marking things on your own as you plan which landmarks you’d like to visit. A GPS system or a mobile device with access to Google Maps, for example, is a better, but pricier option. Unlike bumblebees, humans have to actually navigate the streets, which is quite unfortunate. For you.

4. Local Guide
Each country has a specific culture and its own set of “unwritten” rules. The mentality of people varies from place to place. No two cities have identical subway & tram lines. Bummer. I’m guessing you don’t want to offend anybody, so it may be wise to consult a local guide for some insight about your destination(s). You can get a lot of relevant information from online guides, like Bumblehood, or you can opt for a well written country-specific guide, such as Lonely Planet, Fodor’s or Frommer’s. Read at least the basics before the trip, since you will want to explore when you reach the destination, not read the guide and miss out on the real experience. Meet the locals and see the sights – don’t just read about them!

5. Comfortable clothing & shoes
How many times did you bring too many pieces of clothing on a trip, “just in case”? And how many times did those “cases” actually happen? Right. Only bring the things you feel comfortable in, and which are adequate for the season and climate of your destination – don’t bring your entire wardrobe. Yes ladies, this is an inter-species appeal to you from males around the globe. Choice of shoes is especially important, since you will probably do a lot of walking. A sturdy pair of traveling shoes with thick soles can really help avoid the pain in your feet after a long day of sightseeing, so buy the best ones you can afford. Don’t forget to bring adequate headgear – a hat or a baseball cap will protect you from the sun during summer, while a woolen cap (+ gloves!) will keep you warm during winter hiking sessions. Remember, he who would travel happily must travel light!

6. Quality Sunglasses
Chances are you will need some form of eye-protection regardless of the season. Unless you’re going for a skiing trip, in which case you’ll need goggles, a pair of quality (and stylish, of course) sunglasses will be well appreciated on a sunny day. What good would it be to stare at, for example, the Eiffel Tower if you can’t see anything because of the glare. Or to squint and hide in shadows as long as the Sun is up? Just be sure to actually bring these babies, since they are often left forgotten somewhere at home. Or is that just me? And bring along with suitable wiping cloth, so you don’t scratch the lenses while rubbing them against your jeans.

7. Camera
Traveling is oh so much better if you have actual hard evidence that you really visited the locations you claim, so you can brag about it with some credibility. Any camera, be it digital or just plain old analogue, will do the trick, but the bigger your budget the better your pictures will be (obviously). On the other hand, you might not want to bring really expensive models on a trip, since it might get lost or stolen (ignore this line if you are a Japanese tourist). A small tip – if you plan to make hardcopies of your picture, you might want to purchase a photo album in the city/country you are visiting, to make the memento even more authentic. Or you could just upload the whole thing to your Facebook / MySpace profile. Or both.

8. Compact Dictionary
Here is one pearl of wisdom from my big box of pearls – the locals will be more willing to help if you address them in their own language, even if your grammar is not perfect – you just need to show good faith. Unless you speak the language in question, this effort would be impossible without that dictionary in your pocket. You can opt for classic, printed versions, or even electronic dictionaries if that is your fancy. The latter may help you translate the word you are looking for a little faster, but a quality printed dictionary will never fail you by running out of battery power. Beware of tricky phrases though; if your statement comes out something like “I like to bone that sheep” when you meant “I would like to board that ship” people might want to get away from you as soon as possible. But hey, it’s all traveling experience and you can at least get a few laughs afterwards.

9. Secure Belt & Pouch
Seriously, only kangaroos and other marsupials have no need of such a travel accessory. This bumblebee never crosses a state line without one of these babies. Money, a small notebook & pen, aforementioned swiss army knife, city maps, a compact camera and all other small essentials can easily and securely be kept in such belts, and they will always at hand when you need them. Beats the hell out of stuffing your pockets and wondering where you left any particular item. Be careful when putting it down somewhere, in a bar for example, because they are so practical that people tend to forget they even exist. When it’s not attached to your waist, always keep an eye on it! You don’t want to mess around with embassies when your passport gets stolen, believe me.

10. Water Bottle
Even though water is most likely readily available at whichever urban destination you happen to be in, it never hurts to keep a bottle of your favorite liquid by your side. Especially during hot summer days. If you already carry the belt mentioned above (and you should!), you can easily attach the bottle to it with an appropriate clip. You never know how long that museum visit is going to last. If you want something, ahem, stronger, you can replace the plastic bottle with a metallic flask full of firewater of your choice. Either way, you’re sure to save a few dollars on overpriced drinks.

Ensure Safe Journeys With These Travel Tips

Wait to exchange large amounts of money until you get to your destination. Waiting to exchange your money can often times get you a better exchange rate.

If your plane has arrived in your destination, but your checked baggage has not, stay calm. Ask for the airport’s lost luggage office and file a claim. Make sure you have ID and flight documents handy. Most often, your luggage will be found and reunited with you as quickly as possible.

If you book your own seat on the flight, you may be able to make your trip much more comfortable. Sometimes you can choose the area or the actual seat that you want on the plane, but not always. Browse your booking site as soon as you have made your reservation to see if this option is available to you. You will be a lot happier than if you just accepted whatever was left over.

When traveling with your dogs, brush them well before you put them in the car. This helps prevent flying hair in the car. Don’t forget to pack the essential items for your dogs, including a food and water bowl, and bags so that you can clean up after them.

It is not always necessary to travel to far flung places to enjoy a vacation get-away. It is entirely possible to have a great time in your home state. Enjoy your local businesses and enjoy the savings. You could be pleasantly surprised when you uncover a local gem.

Road trips are a great excuse for bringing your favorite music along, so you can enjoy the ride. Many times, the radio will have a lot of static from traveling out of the city or state, so this provides you with constant entertainment during your trip.

Deserts have great views and interesting plants and animals. For many people, the first sight of a desert is like nothing else. Many feel that everyone should be treated to a majestic view of a desert at least once in their lifetime.

Research your destination online to find reviews of hotels, expected weather conditions and other vital information. The information available online will help you to avoid places that other travelers have had a bad experience with and assure that you have the best experience possible.

Sort out your desintation’s visa requirements as quickly as possible. The processing time for travel visas can vary greatly, so it is recommended that you complete the application process well in advance of your departure date. Without the right paperwork, you could be prevented from entering your destination country.

Be aware that in some foreign cities many criminals will pose as policemen. Do not give anyone your actual passport. If someone demands that you go to an office, walk. Do not get into a vehicle with someone that you do not know.

Whenever you visit a foreign country, it pays to do your homework regarding the prevailing political and social climate. Your government’s consular authorities are likely online; a quick visit to their website will tell you if there are any developments of concern that might affect your trip. Not doing this could result in a quite few very negative situations.

Finding out you easily get seasick while on your cruise is no fun. It will ruin your cruise vacation. Instead of having the holiday of a lifetime on your cruise trip, you could end up confined to bed and incredibly ill. By knowing if you are seasick before your cruise, you can avoid illness by purchasing medication before your trip. Medication may not always be available and can often be expensive once you embark on your journey; avoid days of misery by being prepared.

If you are renting a car for your trip and have kids, bring car seats! When you rent your a car, it is unlikely that you will have a good car seat, so bring your own.

Discover local laws and customs before you get where you are going. You may have to face consequences for doing things that are viewed as offensive or illegal, despite you thinking otherwise. Be respectful of local laws, customs, and authorities while traveling, and you should be fine.

Pick up a cheap contact lens case. The case sizes make excellent containers for any creams you may want to take with you.

Always remember to wear light, comfy shoes for air travel – shoes which you can slip off easily. You will have to remove them for security checks. Your level of comfort is crucial. Do not worry about serious foot support; you will be doing a lot more sitting than walking when you travel by air. Sandals of flip-flops are great when traveling by air.

Make copies of anything important before you travel. For example, passports, insurance documents, and the like should all be backed up and stored separately. You might also entrust a relative with copies, which you can collect if your originals are stolen or lost.

It is best to take dark clothing on a trip, especially if you are bringing pants or dresses. This type of clothing will hide dirt and wrinkles, things that will naturally happen to your clothes when traveling. Light-colored accessories can be used to brighten up dark clothing choices.

When going to a different country, stay away from exchanging currency. You can get foreign currency using an easier method. Get foreign money from an ATM of a bank. They have better exchange rates and are generally cheap than exchanges.

A lot of airports are being designed and remodeled with play areas and can give your kids something to do during any long waits. Keeping your kids occupied will make delays a lot more tolerable.

Regardless of where you are planning to go, follow these tips for a great vacation. Get out and start your adventure. Traveling is truly interesting and fulfilling.

Backpacking, Is It The Best Way to Travel Abroad?

People love to travel. Travelling the world appeals to people from all walks of life.

There is the right kind of travel out there to suit all budgets, from high dollar luxury resorts in the Maldives to $5 per night rooms for Backpackers in Bangkok.

For most though, their travel budget lies somewhere in the middle, between luxury resorts and travelling on a dime.

Backpacking these days has never been more affordable, with budget airlines competing to get bums on seats and the internet making it so easy to find and compare hotels and youth hostels online.

Asia has long been a favourite for backpackers and budget travellers. SE Asia in particular, offers almost any kind of travel experience you desire. including luxury beach-side resorts or budget $15 per night beach bungalows – Thailand’s Islands such as Koh Samui are famous for.

From Bangkok, Thailand’s major hub – you can fly to just about any city in Asia that has an airport.

With a multitude of budget airlines flying out of Bangkok, you can get some great value fairs from anywhere to Siem Reap in Cambodia or Hanoi in Vietnam or even to less travelled Borneo.

Its always a good idea to have a travel gear checklist on hand to make sure you’re taking the right kind of travel backpack, clothing, shoes and even first aid kit and medication for your sabbatical.

When Backpacking in South East Asia, a sturdy travel backpack is recommended, along with a good quality pair of travel pants, such as cargo pants with lots of pockets that zip or button up to keep your valuables safe while on the road.

You don’t need to worry about packing too much when going to Asia, in fact its best to travel light. Make sure you take a few pairs of pants, some swimming bathers, a few t-shirts, a sturdy pair of travel shoes and that should be a good start.

Remember, it’s Asia. If you’ve forgotten anything important you can probably buy it there cheaper than you can at home.

Its also a great idea to visit some SE Asia Travel Blogs before you go backpacking to read other travellers stories and get recommendations and advice on where to travel to, what to pack and keep up to date with general travel news from all the RWT (around the world travel) blogs.

If travelling to Europe, you probably want to pack a few more things, as the weather varies a lot depending if you travel in summer or winter.