Travel Tips

Take a photo of your passport photo page
on your phone so you have an electronic copy of it. You can also use this photo in some cities when ID is required when making retail purchases by credit card, meaning you can leave your physical passport secure in your safe at the hotel/cabin.
Take a photo of your Drivers Licence and Covid vaccination certificate
on your phone (and any other important documents you want to have within easy access).
Log your trip on the Travel Safe website

here before you leave NZ. In the event there are any problems in the country you are visiting, the NZ Government will firstly, know where you are and secondly, be able to contact you.

Women – pack a pashmina
in your hand luggage and you will always have something to keep you warm and possibly dry in the event of a change in the weather. It doesn’t take up much room and can also be used to dress up an outfit.
Take a small magnet
with you on your travels and before returning your hotel room key on final check-out, run the magnet along the magnetic strip. This magnetic strip usually contains a lot of information about you including your credit card details, so best to wipe it clean just in case.
Take a spare plastic card
any shopping loyalty card will do, so that if you need to keep your room card in the slot by the door in order to keep the air conditioning going, you can still go out and leave this running. In most hotels, the room slot does not differentiate whether it has the hotel room key or another card inserted.
When using the safe in your hotel/cabin
without putting anything in the safe, set up the access code and test locking and unlocking. While you are doing this, also try opening the safe using an access code with all 0000’s. One scam is to have this as the universal opening access code, so make sure your safe is securely accessed only by the code you have set up.
And now a tip for families and travelling with ardent swimmers
If you or anyone in your group is spending most of their day in the water (pool, sea, lake etc), each night before you go to bed, use a hair blow waver positioned near your ear cavity, and gently dry all the moisture. This will reach any moisture further inside your ear and helps with preventing ear infections. This tip was given to me by a doctor when my daughter developed a severe ear infection the day we were due to fly home – which of course we couldn’t do. Whatever you do, do not apply ear drops etc as this introduces more moisture to an already developing infection.
And finally
book with a professional travel advisor, because if you don’t, you are on your own. Should there be any disruptions, flight schedule changes, Covid lockdowns, etc we will be able to look after you - without you needing to spend hours on hold to an airline, etc trying to rearrange things. We will also share our local knowledge of the places you are visiting to enhance your travel experience.

After many years of travelling the world, Jeryl has gathered these travel tips and tricks to stay safe, avoid mistakes and travel like a pro!

She has definitely learned lessons first-hand while travelling:

  • being careful with taxi drivers (get the fare first and take a photo of their cab ID number and driver ID while in the car),
  • taking a business card from the hotel you are staying at so no matter what the language, you can get back to your accommodation,
  • always carry your cellphone on your body under clothing so it cannot be pickpocketed,
  • carry a small amount of cash in a wallet, and if you need more cash to purchase something, go to a place where you can discreetly transfer the required amount of cash so strangers don’t see all your cash and cards on opening your main wallet in front of them.

Some travel mishaps can be avoided by being aware of them and some are just part of travelling.  You simply cannot plan for everything.  However, keeping a few important things in mind will make your travels much easier.

Here are a few more of my tips (in no particular order).  Safe travels.


Drinking Water

  • Safe drinking water in Europe

    Sit down at a restaurant in Europe, and you'll most likely be asked your water preference before anything else: Still or sparkling? While it might be tempting to answer "tap," as we're accustomed to doing in New Zealand, in Europe that can be a riskier move. Given that one of the most common causes of sickness while travelling is drinking contaminated water, knowing where you can—and maybe shouldn't—drink water across the continent is important. Here's what you need to know.

  • Where can I drink safely?

    Most places in Europe do have drinkable tap water, which means you'll save money by bringing a reusable water bottle and filling it up before heading out in the morning. (Some countries, like Italy, Germany, and Belgium, have public taps where you can refill for free, though look out for signs that indicate when the water is not safe for drinking, like at decorative fountains.) Tap water safety and regulations change quite frequently, and according to TripSavvy, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovakia are now safe to drink water in. They join the following list of risk-free nations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece (except the islands), Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.

  • Where should I be cautious?

    Although larger cities typically have higher water quality than smaller provinces, places where you should exercise caution are Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Georgia, the Greek Islands, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine. It's important to note, however, that even if tap water is deemed "unsafe," that is most likely not because the water is dirty or polluted—merely that it could affect your system because you haven't developed the immunity that locals often have. (Some of the most common side effects of drinking unsafe tap water include diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid, and even cholera.)

  • Think about your water source

    It's not just about actively drinking water: Brushing your teeth with water from the faucet, washing fruits and vegetables you may buy, adding ice to your drink, and even opening your mouth and gurgling when showering are other ways to ingest unsafe tap water. The water coming out of most taps on trains and airplanes is also not intended for drinking.

  • When in doubt...

    While bottled water is readily available almost everywhere in Europe (bottles with red labels typically represent fizzy—or sparkling—water, while those with blue labels are for still water) we recommend a more planet and wallet-friendly option: Contiki's Smart Water Bottle, which uses an advanced filtration system to remove 99.95 percent of bacteria, creating clean drinking water wherever you are. If you find yourself in a tough spot without it, water can also be sanitized by boiling it for 10 minutes. And as always, beer and wine remain safe bets on any continent.

     

    (Source: Conde Naste)


Use of Credit cards and Debit cards when Travelling

When travelling overseas, if you are not a very frequent traveller or haven’t travelled in a while, contact your Bank before you go and let them know you are travelling overseas, so blocks are not put on your card when using it out of the country.  Banks will do this for your protection if they think your card is being fraudulently used.

I recommend you have at least 2 cards when travelling so in the event of a card being blocked/stolen you still have a card you can use. Ideally one should be a credit card and the other a debit card.  Credit cards have a limit set by your Bank and you are able to spend up to that credit limit.  The danger here is that you are susceptible to being taken to the maximum credit limit in the event of fraudulent use – scary if you have a high credit limit.  Debit cards must have a pre-paid balance of funds on the card and so the maximum that can be used on the card is the amount of that balance.

Many travel arrangements require a card for pre-validation.  For example, when you check-in to accommodation or a cruise, hire a rental car, etc.  A hold is put on your card of a set amount (varies by property/cruiseline/rental car firm) and until you complete your stay/hire this amount remains blocked on your card.  Sometimes these holds can take more than a few days to clear, and you are not able to use the amount of the hold until it has been cleared.

If you use your debit card for such holds, this frees up your credit card for purchases.  When you settle your account that the hold has been made on, you can request that the payment be made on your credit card instead.

A note of caution that I learnt from personal experience.  Don’t use a credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM.  I did this as my Eftpos card wouldn’t work in the ATM for some reason, so I used my credit card instead.  Once you use your credit card for obtaining cash, the whole balance of your credit card at that moment is then immediately due for payment, with the interest accruing on a daily basis until you clear your card balance.  So if for any reason your Eftpos card doesn’t work, use your Debit card to obtain cash as this will not accrue interest.

One final tip:  Your Eftpos card is able to used at most ATMs worldwide.  Just check the logos on the back of your Eftpos card and see if it one of the approved logos (ie  )displayed at the terminal you are going to use.  When obtaining cash from the ATM, I recommend you get out the maximum cash allowed as you are charged an Interbank fee, and this is the same amount whether you are getting out E10.00 or E300.00.

As Banks regularly change their policies, it is best to check directly with your Bank if you have any questions regarding use of any of your cards while overseas. 

(NB Suggestions made in this article are recommendations only based on personal and clients’ experiences.  For specific banking advice you will need to contact your own Bank.)

 

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