BEFORE YOU GO
PACKING LIST: I've developed and continue to improve the Ultimate Travel Packing List with a quick outline of all the forget-me-nots when you are preparing to travel.
VISIT THE COUNTRY'S CONSULATE OR EMBASSY FOR MORE ANSWERS:
Here are some questions to ask.
- Do I need to buy a TOURIST VISA ahead of time? (confirm the length of your visit -- that may impact wether you need to buy a VISA ahead of time)
- Will the local banks accept my bank card? Where can I use my credit cards?
- Safest and most efficient way to travel?
- Is the police helpful? Or should I try to stay away from them?
- Any big recent changes in the country (politics, tourism, economics, safety) that you should be aware of?
- Where are the most dangerous neighbourhoods and cities? What are the typical crime tactics?
- Key Small Towns to Visit (you might get ideas here that your tour books may miss)
TRAVEL RESEARCH ONLINE: For your pre-trip research efforts, many of these sites can help assess how best to prepare yourself for your journey.
- www.lonelyplanet.com -- Great place to read a) country facts and safety updates and b) what (mostly) real people with real travel experiences and global-minded locals have to say about travel destinations around the world. I certainly also appreciate their Scoop and Comet newsletters that feature travel stories from around the world.
- www.virtualtourist.com -- Worldwide. Tips, Reviews & Pictures plus Hotels, Restaurants, Activities & More.
- Escapeartist.com or Expatvillage.com for those considering longer term travelling or migrating.
- www.idealist.com -- Volunteering opportunities overseas.
WHILE YOU ARE OVERSEAS
STAYING SAFE: I'm currently developing a "Safe Travelling Guide". I hope to be able to provide travellers with some of the crime tricks I have heard of in the countries I have visited, along with some general tips on staying safe. Keep tuned!
KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH HOME AND LOCAL CITY/COUNTRY NEWS DURING YOUR TRAVELS:
KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHILE TRAVELLING OVERSEAS:
Here are the Links to Canadian newspapers I like to read online when travelling. Also, I encourage you to also find print or online news for the country/city you are visiting as it may give you some clues as to which areas are best avoided or some new opportunities that might not be in your guidebook.
I found that email is available in most of the world's towns and cities. MSN Messenger and other chat programs are a great way to catch up with friends and family who are regularly online. In high tourist areas you can find calling centres which can provide you with very cheap phone calls home (some with varying phone call quality -- ie. echos, time delays).