I was ‘on the road’ for more than my fair share in 2013/14. Here’s a few tricks I picked up on the way.
- Always keep a card and/or US$100/ €100 in a safe, separate, place (e.g. a different pocket on money belt when you are travelling) in case, through stupidity or malfeasance, you lose your pocket book/wallet, etc. Also a photocopy of your passport / ID card, credit and debit cards and health insurance and their emergency numbers can prove very useful. When going out at night carry a photocopy of your passport and only as much money as you plan spending. Try to carry a few low denomination hard currency bills (1 $ or 5 Euro). If you are going outside of Europe do let your bank know – otherwise you may not be able to draw out any cash from any machine!
- Get to know (and remember) the name of your hotel receptionist / porter. This pays big time and both ways! It makes them feel like recognised people, rather than just cogs in the global tourist machine and it can pay dividends if you have a problems that need solving – they remember you as someone who is interested in them as a person.
- The ‘posher’ the hotel - the less interactivity
- Try to avoid eating in places on the main ‘walking street’ or on the 'Grand Place'. They are for the ‘vous-m’avez vue?’ set. Root around the back streets just around the corner. You will invariably find better food and better service - at a much lower price.
- Don’t do drugs (except in very safe environments). It exposes to you to police and mafia scams
- If staying any length of time buy a local SIM card and put in an old phone. It makes local calls that much easier.