Quick and dirty travel tips

bulbLooking back in my notebook, I found some scribbles of useful or handy tips that I picked up while on the road. None are particularly worthy enough to write whole page on, and only a handful were generally applicable to traveling, so I decided to start this page as a sort of collection of these sorts of tidbits I would like to share.

Hopefully I won´t be too lazy to add to it as time grows. If I develop the ideas a bit better I might make them into full blown pages, but until then they will reside here.

Didn't get a vaccination before leaving? Don't worry about it too much if you're not in a rush. In most cases you will be able to go to a local hospital or clinic in the place you are visiting and get the same vaccination for cheaper or free. In my case, I saved a hundred and twenty five dollars when I got the Yellow fever vaccine for free in Colombia. I waited for 10 minutes in the hospital and they gave me the international certificate. Vaccines that require multiple injections may not work so well this way, and it may be worth doing some quick internet recon on the quality of vaccines if your are in a developing country.

Hostel finding tip: Check out the hostels in the Lonely Planet of the city you plan to arrive in, take a note of them, compare to the hostels on Wikitravel or Hostelworld, then go to a hostel that isn't in the Lonely Planet but recommended by Wikitravel or reviewed well on Hostelworld. Popular Lonely Planet hostels tend to turn into cattle herding operations (but also tend to have better book exchanges, so take that into consideration too).

If you are traveling by bus where theft is fairly common, check out what the people who live where you are traveling use to carry their luggage that is stowed. It's usually plastic bags or grain sacks. Go to the local market and buy one big enough to carry your bag and use it on bus trips. This will cut the chance of getting your stuff stolen if it obviously doesn't fit in. Think like a robber and compensate.

Typically the people lounging around the bus terminals are just waiting for tourists and get a comission to drive people to particular, and usually shady, hotels or hostels. If you are coming to a city totally unprepared (which in my case happens often) it's best to ask people on board the bus before getting off. Sometimes you will end up getting fat discounts on hotels/guesthouses run by family of people on the bus if you've been talking to the person for a while. Worse comes to worse you stay there for a night, and if it isn't up to par you can check out Wikitravel or Hostelworld for better suggestions the next morning.

Ever consider learning French in Peru? If you are in a developing country for a while and already have a good grasp of the language and want to take up another, check out the local language schools for cheap lessons. Obviously this won't work too well for more advanced learning, but definitely for basics it will serve and would be a lot cheaper than France. When I was in the south of Peru and got curious, I was informed that a full month of French lessons was ten dollars at the local university, Yes, ten dollars for a month.

Lighbulb photo courtesy of therowes321, click here to see the photostream

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