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Thread: General travel tips and info

  1. #21

    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    Most important prerequisite : Common Sense

    other than that,

    don't offend the locals.
    Travel with only what you really really really need.

    those are the 3 commandments. Now stop researching and GO TRAVEL!
    I refuse to List my camer@ equipment here.

  2. #22

    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    A useful article and well written too:
    http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travell...1116-ihzz.html

    How to deal with flight delays and travel hassles
    January 29, 2010
    No matter when you fly, always arrive at the airport at least two hours early. Photo: Reuters

    An American travel expert - Roger Rapoport - gives his advice on how to deal with flight delays and travel hassles.
    In the lowered-expectations world of air travel, some facts of life have changed for the better.
    Meal cutbacks mean most passengers never hear the most daunting question in the air, "Chicken or beef?" Minus high-salt meals, flying is definitely safer.
    And thanks to the miracle of hub travel, fewer flights, more crowded planes and staffing issues, many travellers find a routine trip gives them the opportunity to spend extra hours, even days, killing time at the airport of their choice.
    Reduced airline capacity means fewer options, all at the passenger's expense. My son's recent trip back from Michigan to St Louis, a nine-hour drive or train ride, took 36 hours due to the inability of American Airlines to rebook him for an entire day. When he finally did catch a plane to Chicago, a missed connection to St Louis added another 12 hours to the trip.
    My own experience with cancelled and seriously delayed flights runs the gamut from AWOL pilots who didn't want to fly on Christmas Day to carriers that refuse to offer any kind of credit or accommodation for a cancelled flight. Your lost time is definitely not their problem.
    Unless you happen to own an airline you might wonder what if anything you can do to circumvent just a few of the following common problems:
    -You have missed your connecting flight and are unable to make a connection until the following day, meaning your cruise is leaving without you.
    -Your airline only operates a single flight a day to your destination and a backup aircraft won't be available for a day or longer.
    -Your carrier is unable or unwilling to let you change a flight unless you buy a new ticket or pay a huge cancellation penalty.
    To get around some of these problems, here are a few helpful suggestions that will prepare you for the deregulated caveat emptor world of air travel.
    If you are taking any trip under 800km consider driving or taking a train or bus. Often this is a better deal in terms of cost and competitive when you factor in time. This way you don't have to run the risk of huge rebooking fees if your original itinerary changes. This is doubly true if you are flying with someone else.
    Before you book, look for a nonstop and try to stay with a single carrier or one that it is part of an inter-airline alliance or partnership. This means they have the ability to get you to your destination on a partner carrier.
    Much of the problem with air travel is missed connections. This can be a hang-up with budget carriers like Spirit and Ryanair, which assume no liability for their late arrival if it results in a missed connection on another carrier.
    Even if you are connecting to one of their own flights, you will have to wait for the next available opportunity, which could mean being stuck for a day or longer if they are running or full or have a light schedule on the route you choose.
    If there is no direct air service from your hometown airport to your final destination, consider flying nonstop to or from a convenient hub. It's often worth the drive. You can also skip the regional airline connection to your final destination by choosing a shuttle, rental car or train.
    Take Santa Barbara, for example. If you're flying from Minneapolis you could head for Los Angeles and then take a ground shuttle to Santa Barbara. This way you can avoid the possibility of commuter flight delays in Los Angeles.
    In places like Europe and Japan, where there are efficient rail systems, this alternative can be cheaper and faster when you factor in the reality of bad weather. Also, you may find that the shuttle connection to your spoke city is cheaper than a connecting commuter flight.
    Hubs offer plenty of backup flights. If your scheduled flight is seriously delayed or cancelled, chances are you can probably easily book a later plane.
    No matter how you travel it's almost always better to take the first flight when planes tend to be on schedule, unless there are serious weather issues like fog.
    And no matter when you fly, always arrive at the airport at least two hours early. Cutting it close can be a special problem if you are carrying checked luggage.
    Some airlines have an earlier check-in deadline for baggage than they do for passengers. I learned this sad fact after arriving at the Los Angeles airport 34 minutes early for a long flight. I was denied boarding because my bag was due 45 minutes ahead of departure. As I result I ended up on a redeye six hours later.
    Wise travellers realise anything an airline tells you is subject to change but there are things you can ask them to do.
    Ask the airline if they can book you to another city. Once, when a snowstorm closed all the New York airports, I was able to switch to an alternate Washington, DC, flight at no extra cost; an easy Amtrak connection put me in New York just a couple of hours late.
    I am not a big fan of airline clubs mainly because it's often easy to duplicate or even beat their services at an on-premises airport hotel. But if you travel frequently they do offer one big advantage: In some circumstances they can call a departure gate and find out if there is space left on a supposedly sold-out flight.

    I suggest the following caveats for people headed for weddings, cruises, major business meetings or any event that is time sensitive.
    -Leave at least one day early, two if you really must be there.
    -You are often better off booking through a travel agent or direct with an airline. If you go any other way contact the airline directly before you leave home to make sure that your flight arrangements are in order. When in doubt, book on the phone and discuss recommended connecting times based on the experience of the agent, who has a good feel for how long you should allow to get through the Frankfurt airport on a holiday weekend.
    -If you have an early flight it makes more sense to spend the night at a hotel near the airport than it does to drive early in the morning.
    -In large cities double check the name of the airport on your ticket and be sure you know the terminal number
    -Carry minimum luggage.
    -Prepay all extras such as luggage fees and print out your boarding pass with a reservation for an aisle seat.
    -Go to the bathroom before you get in line at the ticket counter.
    -Allow at least an extra hour if you are returning a rental car. Seriously consider the prepaid petrol option.
    -Don't schedule any appointments within five hours of your flight unless they are within a couple miles of the airport.
    -If the weather looks dodgy plan to be at your flight gate at least an hour and a half before departure.
    -Wear sensible running shoes.
    And bon voyage.
    The writer is the publisher of the I Should Have Stayed Home trouble travel series, and has edited hundreds of stories from around the world about trips gone awry.
    AP
    Last edited by petetherock; 29th January 2010 at 02:45 AM.
    Nikon D750; FM2; FG; 55mm Micro Nikkor; 28-300 VR; 70-200 VR; Nikon V1 + 10-30mm

  3. #23

    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    My family been robbed before in Austria and is not a good experience..

    In train, always have your backpack in front of you. even then, I know one experience where a lady who travel with her bagpack in front also got cut but thankfully all the valuable are stored in another bag.

    Old folks and key targets and dont put all the passport in 1 bag. When train are crowded, there is when the thief will struck where they group together on a person and squeeze him or her between many people, They will open their jacket wide by holding both of their hands onto the holder to cover the activity. Another person, will either open your bag or cut it.

    But you wont feel that your bag is being touched as you are being distracted. At the end of the next stop, they are gone...best to seperate all the money.

  4. #24
    Member Photoholic's Avatar
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    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    Never leave your luggage unattended !!!

    It was a very cold night in paris last year and while the bellhop was unloading the bigger luggage from the coach,(we were checking in a hotel after a long tiring day) most of the tour members was rushing into the hotel. Out of nowhere a man walked past the luggages and calmly drag one off as if it was his.

    Therefore do not rely on the bellhop to "jagar" your luggage. I always make it a habit to help unloading some of the luggages "until I got mine" of course and stay around until I am sure that it is being load up of the trolley. Same with checking out. Have your eyes on your luggage if you can till it is safely load up the coach.
    Canon EOS 7D l EF S18-135 IS

  5. #25

    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    IMO
    Europe is fraught with too much thievery.
    There are too many poor migrants, and they are desperate. Vigilance is needed in many destinations outside of SG. USA, Europe esp the Western side, S Amercian cities etc...

    Once we step out of SG, we need to stop pretending it is still Singapore. We become like lambs for the slaughter....
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  6. #26
    Senior Member icarus's Avatar
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    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    hi guys, any idea if we need a 6 months passport validity to travel to the States on a Singapore Passport?
    Last edited by icarus; 2nd February 2010 at 11:47 PM.
    Yngwie J. Malmsteen - "...I've never considered myself a fast guitar player..."

  7. #27

    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    Quote Originally Posted by icarus View Post
    hi guys, any idea if we need a 6 months passport validity to travel to the States on a Singapore Passport?
    That applies to USA and everywhere else...
    Nikon D750; FM2; FG; 55mm Micro Nikkor; 28-300 VR; 70-200 VR; Nikon V1 + 10-30mm

  8. #28

    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    A few things to take with you:

    - portable clothes line for hand laundry
    - extra baggage tag (can be used on trekking trips when all bags are the same or for the extra bag you need for everything you bought and things you'll never expect)
    - duct tape, a small roll or wrap some around a pen or similar
    - zip lock baggies (many uses)
    - TWO harddrives or back up devices and never, never keep them in the same place/bag

    Also, lots of advice here could make you paranoid. Just use your street smarts and be aware of people and things around you. Not hyper aware, but don't do things like plug into iPods and tune out the world on a crowded train, etc. I agree with the previous post...use your common sense and then just enjoy the experience.

    Have fun and safe travels!

    - Jessie
    http://digitalphotography-jessie.com/blogs

  9. #29

    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    Can't find the specific thread to post, so I'll try here.

    Anyone travelled solo in the Indian trains before? What precautions would you take for your luggage, especially at times where you have to leave your seat for a while?
    Are there any classes of carriage with lockers?

  10. #30
    Senior Member shierwin's Avatar
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    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    Anyone travelled solo in the Indian trains before? What precautions would you take for your luggage, especially at times where you have to leave your seat for a while?
    Are there any classes of carriage with lockers?
    Travelling alone has many disadvantages. To overcome DIY free n easy problems, the following considerations need to be included in your planning of travel load.
    1. Have a travel companion to keep an eye on luggage
    2. Be portable such as a backpack (not too big) to bring along wherever you go, especially when travelling alone, even tjust to the toilet. Travel light is the key
    3. Some countries, the lockers are not reliably safe from break-in
    4. Do not display "expensive items. "Cheapo' look is the thing
    5. Currency and documents securely kept away
    6. Someone I know had this experience. Thieves in eastern Europe "smoked them out like what you see in kungfu movies" in their cabin, break into the cabin and clear their valuables
    7. Be alert, think safety, exercise common sense

  11. #31

    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    Quote Originally Posted by shierwin View Post
    Travelling alone has many disadvantages. To overcome DIY free n easy problems, the following considerations need to be included in your planning of travel load.
    1. Have a travel companion to keep an eye on luggage
    2. Be portable such as a backpack (not too big) to bring along wherever you go, especially when travelling alone, even tjust to the toilet. Travel light is the key
    3. Some countries, the lockers are not reliably safe from break-in
    4. Do not display "expensive items. "Cheapo' look is the thing
    5. Currency and documents securely kept away
    6. Someone I know had this experience. Thieves in eastern Europe "smoked them out like what you see in kungfu movies" in their cabin, break into the cabin and clear their valuables
    7. Be alert, think safety, exercise common sense
    Thanks for replying, I am actually traveling with a friend for most part; just that for we have a slightly different itineraries for some part.

    I guess, minimal wise, important stuff will be kept in a separate bag and carried with me where-ever i go on the train.

  12. #32
    Senior Member icarus's Avatar
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    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    Quote Originally Posted by petetherock View Post
    That applies to USA and everywhere else...
    I know i should had renewed my passport beforehand but I had to travel to the states urgently.

    Managed to get in via LAX today with less than 6 months on my passport Apparently Singapore is on the list of '6 months' waiver... but i don't encourage anyone to try that. Better to renew your passport first.
    Yngwie J. Malmsteen - "...I've never considered myself a fast guitar player..."

  13. #33
    Senior Member asterixsg's Avatar
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    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    Some great tips here.

    Lemme add mine - some might be a repeat of what has already been covered...

    I always keep my passport and other travel documents in a ziploc bag. Yeah, I know it looks cheapo but then its a good preventive measure to keep my important documents from getting wet in unexpected rain/water spillage etc.

    I've also scanned my passport and other important documents and stored it online. This was a tip I learnt from a friend.

    The other usual stuff about money. Keep big and small bills separate. Some in shirt pocket and the rest in different pockets. When travelling overseas, I just carry my IC, driving licence, two ATM cards and two Credit cards. The rest of the stuff from my wallet stays behind in Singapore.

    I usually have a small torchlight in my backpack as well. Never carried a whistle.

    I carry washing powder in used multi-vitamin plastic bottles, to do my laundry. And a clothes line with clips.

    I haven't used their products, but it might be useful for someone travelling solo. www.pacsafe.com

    I also have a small card in my wallet with Emergency contact numbers and contact numbers of my friends/family in case I die in an accident/overseas/wherever
    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt....

  14. #34

    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    to all experience travellers:

    if im carrying a backpack, sling in front of me, how should i carry my cam?

    its a panasonic LX3. not too compact and not bulky like DSLR either.

    I was thinking of carrying a lowepro bag to house the adaptors, filters etc. so that means i have to carry the backpack in front, and side sling the lowepro, and neck strap the cam?


    imagining it makes me feel like this:



    the reason for the backpack is to keep the tripod and other stuff like water and misc things..

  15. #35

    Default Spare cash

    When travelling, always bring a little extra money, even if you are a young student on budget.

    I would estimate 20% more than I need, allowing me the freedom to shop or treat myself to the nice meal.

    Also having some US dollars as an emergency is useful, since most places will accept it, and at least get you somewhere. Many places will be reluctant to accept SIN$ once you are out of the major capitals.

    With credit cards, traveller's cheques are less in favor these days.

    But if you use your credit card, don't let it out of your sight.
    Nikon D750; FM2; FG; 55mm Micro Nikkor; 28-300 VR; 70-200 VR; Nikon V1 + 10-30mm

  16. #36

    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    So many tips provided already! But my suggestion is to plan but not to plan too much. Leave a bit of space for flexibility, never know what you might stumble upon on your travels!

  17. #37

    Default Re: Trip details

    Quote Originally Posted by atomboy View Post
    So many tips provided already! But my suggestion is to plan but not to plan too much. Leave a bit of space for flexibility, never know what you might stumble upon on your travels!

    Too little planning is not good for people who are not willing to rough it out if things don't work out.

    Stumblinb on things does not come from not planning. You put in time to explore.

    I believe in settling accomodations, and flights. The rest can be flexi.


    I also print out the emails of any bookings, store it in my PDA phone and pass a copy of it to my travel friends.

    Plus a copy to friends or loved ones at home. That way everyone knows our general plan, and we also keep a list of passport nos and expiry dates, esp since these days the PP no is not our IC.
    Nikon D750; FM2; FG; 55mm Micro Nikkor; 28-300 VR; 70-200 VR; Nikon V1 + 10-30mm

  18. #38

    Default Indian Visa

    For those who are hoping to get a visa on arrival - beware:

    No Indian visa on arrival - just sent back


    I FLEW to Mumbai last Tuesday to visit my Indian friend. My last trip to India was two years ago when also I went to Mumbai to visit him.
    When I bought the air ticket, the travel agent told me I could apply for a tourist visa on arrival, instead of applying to the Indian Embassy as I had done before. At the airport check-in counter, the officer asked me if I had brought two photos of myself to go with the visa application. Since I had not, I was advised to take instant photos at the airport, which I did.
    On arrival at Mumbai airport, I was given a visa application form to complete. I was then interviewed for 25 minutes, asked the purpose of my visit, details of my Indian friend, how long I had known him, whether I had any business dealings with him and so on.
    During the interview, I felt the officer was trying to find any business link between me and my friend, and any business element in my trip. I told the officer I just came to visit my friend and the only business was introducing him to some spare parts suppliers when he visited Singapore.
    Two other Singaporeans were also interviewed for their visa application and I had to wait another 30 minutes before their interviews were completed. They were asked similar questions. After that, the two immigration officers took our passports.
    We waited another hour and then two airline ground staff appeared and told us we had not been issued with a visa and they had to send us back on the next plane. No reason was given.
    Shocked, we asked to see a higher authority to appeal, but were told the officer who interviewed me was the most senior officer and he refused to see us. We were then sent back on the return flight.
    I am totally dismayed at this experience. I believe the Indian authorities introduced the visa-on-arrival scheme to make travel more convenient. Unfortunately, those who administer it on the ground can make it a nightmare for visitors. I do not know why the immigration officer rejected our applications. Perhaps visiting a friend is not considered tourism and so does not qualify for a tourist visa on arrival.
    I advise Singaporeans to get a visa in Singapore before they visit India.
    Joseph Sin
    http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/...ry_502391.html
    Nikon D750; FM2; FG; 55mm Micro Nikkor; 28-300 VR; 70-200 VR; Nikon V1 + 10-30mm

  19. #39

    Default Re: Indian Visa

    Quote Originally Posted by petetherock View Post
    For those who are hoping to get a visa on arrival - beware:



    http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/...ry_502391.html
    what a shame. india is great until when you have to deal with the bureaucracy.

  20. #40

    Default Re: General travel tips and info

    From smh:
    http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travell...0318-qhj4.html
    How to have the best trip ever

    March 18, 2010

    Best trip ever ... follow these tips to make the most of your holiday. Photo: Tom Cockrem/Lonely Planet

    There's a lot you can do to make a good trip a great one - and squeeze every last drop of fun out of your hard-earned time off. Lonely Planet's Best Ever Travel Tips offers advice on how to make the most of it.
    THE BASICS
    If you're travelling for a special occasion, say so. While a business-class upgrade is rare, a special occasion might just tilt the balance in your favour when trying to score that room with a view, a table at a happening restaurant or a visit to the VIP lounge.
    When taking a long weekend make it a long midweek instead. Not only will you find flights easier to come by – provided you avoid key business flights – you'll avoid the Friday-night and Sunday-night crushes at the airport. You'll also find museums and galleries open, missing the dreaded Monday closures, plus it'll be easier to get into restaurants. Bear in mind, though, that business hotels will be busier midweek.
    Getting local advice is often recommended, but what if you don't know any locals or can't crack the language barrier? Many cities offer tours or arrange time with local volunteers who can show you a different side of where they live, such as New York City's Big Apple Greeters (www.bigapplegreeter.org). And if you'd like to stay in a local's home, sites like Couchsurfing (www.couchsurfing.com) and Globalfreeloaders (www.globalfreeloaders.com) can broker a free night on someone's floor or sofa in exchange for good karma and you repeating the trick at home.
    Self-catering doesn't just save you money, it gives you the chance to do some unusual sightseeing. Cities all over the world have superb produce markets where you can put together a picnic breakfast or lunch for a fraction of the cost of eating a (possibly worse) restaurant meal. You'll also happen across local ingredients and flavours that may otherwise have passed you by. Go early for the widest selection.
    Get the city's true foodie vibe by heading for still-hip, midrange places rather than the hottest ticket in town. And don't worry if you forgot your book: your Blackberry or iPhone will keep you amused and you can review your meal as you're eating it. If you're lucky, the restaurant may even assume you're a critic and load on an extra scoop of ice cream.
    A passion for food can take you to some great places – and it doesn't matter if you're alone, either. Rather than hide away with room service, ask your hotel front desk to recommend some local restaurants with communal tables, or ones where you can dine at the bar. This can also be a great way to taste the menu at a hot restaurant that's booked months in advance.
    From the experts
    “Many of us read a great novel set in a destination we're keen to head to as inspiration before taking a trip. But in advance of travelling, why not also go online to search for the website of a local newspaper based in your location of choice? That way you will pick up on how residents view their home and can learn about local current affairs, events that are coming up and new galleries or restaurants that may just be opening – plus you'll have plenty of topical interest to chat about on your arrival”. – Peter Grunert, Editor, Lonely Planet Magazine (UK)
    “There's always an advantage to being the calm one if you get into a dispute. You'll attract more sympathy and make a peaceful resolution more likely without anyone losing face, the avoidance of which on both sides should always be at the front of your mind. Focusing on talking quietly is an effective way to control your actions and not get carried away." – Tony Wheeler, cofounder of Lonely Planet
    TRADE SECRETS
    By Robert Reid, Lonely Planet's US Travel Editor
    (www.reidontravel.com)
    Seeing movies in foreign countries is better than taking a break watching sport on TV back in your hotel room. How else will you know that they play the Thai national anthem before your screening of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery or that if only a few people show up in some Vietnamese cinemas they will be expected to sit in the same row, side by side? Or that in Bulgarian ones they'll just cancel the whole thing?
    Scared of rats in the dark in a strange room across the globe? Be sure to wash your hands. Those cookie crumbs on your fingertips will be the ones to get licked first.
    Don't forget to give yourself time to stop. Those on a bike see more than those in a car, those walking see more than those biking, and those stopping – just to sit and stare, at a street corner, orbeside a rice field in Southeast Asia – see the most.
    Travel lives when we say 'yes' to local offers – ahem, decent offers – and get a true window on how locals live. Like an invitation to join two grandparents for tea on the balcony, or an invite for tea and a walk around the lake, or to see a beekeeper's bees and fresh honey. The museum you might forget, but the people you meet – less likely. People everywhere are pretty nice.
    Too much hassle where you are? Look around. If you are in the majority as a foreign traveller, walk two blocks to another part of town and get out of that tourist ghetto you're probably in. Hasslers and touts know where to go, so go elsewhere.
    Taking courses on vacation usually leads to stories that can make the greatest trips, even if it's not that necessary you ever learn to speak Quechua or how to play the Bulgarian bagpipes.
    You really don't have to try the crickets on the stick if you're not comfortable with it.
    HOW TO TAP INTO LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
    By Sally Broom, founder of the trip-planning website Tripbod (www.tripbod.com).
    Get to know the locals before you get there. There are many community sites that you can use to connect with people who live in your destination, and the more niche the better. Are you a rock climber? Or perhaps you like a particular food? Tap into local knowledge networks and find out about life where you're going from the people who live there. This way you'll hit the ground running when you arrive and have more chance of meeting those unforgettable people who can really make a difference to your trip. Blogs written by enthusiasts can be a great place to start.
    Make sure you're spending money locally where possible, and ask questions of the people you're buying from. You'll soon get an insight into whether they really are a thoughtful company or they're just in it for your cash. Just ask yourself, 'do I feel good about spending my money here?' If so, great. If not, are there other ways of going about it?
    SMART WEBS
    Travel Phrase (www.travelphrase.com) has handy translations of common phrases from English into French, German Italian, Spanish and other languages.
    Glimpse (www.glimpse.org/tips/topic/etiquette) has fascinating snippets of dos and don'ts from around the world.
    The Practical Nomad (www.hasbrouck.org) has some innovative and detailed tips on everything from booking fl ights to bargains.
    Smartphrase (www.smartphrase.com) - useful phrases in seven different languages arranged by theme.
    This is an extract from Lonely Planet's Best Ever Travel Tips by Tom Hall © Lonely Planet 2010. AUD$14.99
    Nikon D750; FM2; FG; 55mm Micro Nikkor; 28-300 VR; 70-200 VR; Nikon V1 + 10-30mm

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