This week I'd like to offer some tips on keeping your valuables safe and organising what you will need when you arrive at the airport and cruise ship terminal.
In preparation for your flight, keep your valuables - passport, camera, cash, mobile and credit cards close to you. Recommended is a bum bag, preferably with a wire cord running through it. Securely fastened around your waist with a padlock, you will be less likely to be targeted by pickpockets. Carry your completed outgoing passenger card, boarding pass, airline ticket and the documentation you will need when you arrive at your destination. The documentation will include for instance the transfer voucher for the coach, and either your hotel reservation or booking details for the cruise ship. You'll need to wear a watch, but get one with a locking device, or wear a cheap one. I met one traveller in Vietnam who insisted on wearing his Rolex. Not a wise thing to do. I always leave my jewellry at home in a safe place and wear plastic and imitation instead. I take small amounts of cash in two currencies, such as Australian and US dollars and convert the one that gives the more favourable rate, though if ATM's are available, they are a good alternative.Try to carry a small amount of cash for the country you will be arriving in, to cover small incidentals. Consider using a Debit card loaded with only enough cash to cover your expenses. Let your bank know your itinerary. They will then monitor your transactions.
Consider taking a tote bag or small back pack that you can carry everywhere, to hold items such as antiseptic hand wipes, pen, small notebook, sunhat, reading glasses, map and those essentials you will need for your flight including earplugs, toothbrush,paracetamol and other necessary medication, magazine, travel sickness tablets etc and an empty water bottle. Once through Airport Security, use a purified water bubbler to refill it and keep well hydrated during the flight. On arrival at your destination, once you have cleared Customs and Immigration, remove those airline checked in luggage tags and replace with your cruise ship luggage tags. Do this only on arrival at your destination so that they don't get damaged or lost inflight.
Arrange your travel documents. You will need a detailed itinerary of where you will be each day. Give a copy to your family and if you are going to a destination with any element of risk let your relatives know so that they can arrange for you to be contacted if there is an emergency. Pack maps of the cities you will visit and details of your hotels to show to taxi drivers or if you get lost and need to ask for directions. Take a copy of your passport and visa, debit card and bring a few spare passport photos. Bring emergency contact details, 112 is the internationally recognised emergency number. Organise your emails, so that you can readily access flight and hotel bookings if your documentation gets misplaced, but don't ever have any information stored electronically that may compromise your identity, such as credit card information because of the risk others can misuse it. Internet cafes and airport internet kiosks are notorious for this. Never leave your luggage unattended, never carry anything for someone else and always pack your own suitcase. And if you require assistance, ensure that it has been noted on your booking. Otherwise it may not be available for you. If you have a coach transfer, look out for the tour guides who will be holding a sign of your cruise ship. They will tell you what to do. They will probably say that your bags will go straight to your cabins, in which case you will need to keep your valuables, necessary medication, documentation for embarkation, coach transfer voucher and passports with you. It there is a change in climate, make sure you either rug up or take off a layer. Depending on the time of your arrival, you may have several hours before you can board the ship. Make sure you maximise the enjoyment of this time. More on that next time....