Stay safe kid’s
Wow, it’s been a hectic few weeks but I’m now all moved in to Liverpool to try and earn some mega pennies for New Zealand, EXCITING! I have now achieved everything of my list of food I wanted to eat when I got back to the UK, my Sunday roast was to die for (thanks mum), Yorkshire puddings are officially the BEST! I eat mine with a bit of everything in them, how do you eat yours?! Anyway enough waffling, on with the blog.
Stay safe kid’s, isn’t that such a common saying, but no one actually offers advice into how to stay safe. Well look no further, I’ve written some savvy tips on how to both travel safely and keep your stuff safe whilst travelling, wooo go Travel Savvy haha.
Carrying on from my last travel related blog ‘A savvy first step’ and the 83 year old who achieved 136 different forms of transport in a year, how cools that! I wonder how many different forms of transport there is out there? Here’s some of what could be an endless list of transportation.
What’s the weirdest and wackiest form of transport you’ve been on? I’ve put a # next to the ones I’ve been on, my ultimate favourite was the bamboo train.
Depending on the country you are traveling in, the main forms of transport may vary, and the conditions most definitely will differ, so just be prepared for this. In Indonesia I found there were lots of mini busses running from place to place for backpackers and often fairly cheap. These were often advertised in hostels, cafés, bars and restaurants notice boards, transport ticket stands and also in tourist information’s. Buses and trains are good as well, just make sure you're using official tickets, because this is a common scam, maybe look around at a few different prices and have a look to see which looks most official.
Little tip: Take toilet roll and supplies with you because these comforts will be minimal.
Now, when it comes to boats, a little research won’t do any harm, it depends where you are and the distance you are planning to travel, but it may be worth paying a little more for a safe and secure boat, I have seen many boats over loaded with people and bags which can be risky and quite dangerous. However, in Indonesia I didn’t really find this to be the case, but I have witnessed this in other countries.
Tip for boats: try and make your bag as waterproof as possible. Pull the bag rain coat over it, just to help prevent it from getting too wet and pack your clothes up inside with bags and make sure your valuables are completely waterproof, just in case your bag gets dropped in the water or ends up in the bottom of the boat which will also be quite watery too.
Overnight train/boat tip: It might worth paying a little more for comfort, perhaps paying for a smaller cabin with less beds in on an over night train, 2 beds high rather than three beds high, might be worth the extra Zzzzs. I’d say similar for other forms of transports too.
Depending on the destination, catching taxis believe it or not can bring its own challenges and obstacles. I met quite a few travellers who were nervous about catching taxis in case they got mugged, kidnapped or dropped off in the middle of nowhere, this isn’t a fear I’ve ever had or even pondered, but you should be wary of.
Tips for taxis:
-Have a business card for your accommodation (once you’ve arrived pick two up pop one in your phone-case and one in your purse) this prevents any miss communication of your destination and will generally help your taxi driver . It’s also helpful if you forget your accommodation name. after all you might be moving around a lot and staying in a lot of hostels so its quite easy to forget the hostel name. An email would suffice, however I have had it before where the taxi driver has read the banner add, and taken me to that hotel instead of the address on the actual email.
-If there’s no taxi meter, try and negotiate a price for the destination before you set of on your journey. Prior to departure ask your accommodation or other travellers how much they think the taxi will cost as they may have already done the route you're about to do, this will help you get the gist of pricing. Otherwise they will try and rip you off no doubt, if their price is higher than what you had pre-determined, that’s when I would suggest haggling down to the price that had been suggested.
-Use a taxi app when and where possible, in some places taxi apps are banned, I found in Bali they were banned in quite a lot of places by the locals, and the locals had also ramped their own changes up in these areas, so just be wary of this.
-Share taxis as often as possible this will help you save plenty of money, often backpackers will be heading in similar directions, so talk to your fellow roomies and see what everyone’s plans are, it might be worth adjusting yours slightly to save money and even make some more travel companions, I defiantly did this quite a few times.
-It doesn’t harm having maps up on your phone, so you can see where you are at all time and you can see the route that the taxi driver is following, it may help for peace of mind. It does no harm.
Keeping your stuff safe
If you’re like me and the chances of you falling asleep on public transport is high, I have a tip for you:
Attach your bag to your seat with a bike lock or a lock of sorts, this will both deter and stop people from taking/ pickpocketing whilst you're asleep. If you don’t have a lock or are unable to secure it to anything, just pop your leg through your bag strap and wrap it around your leg this is probably the next best thing.
Don’t keep any valuable possessions in any pockets; bag pockets or clothing pockets, they are, and always have been and always will be pickpocketing hot spots. Attach your belongings to you and spread them out and don’t make yourself stand out by showing off your valuables. Only carry small amounts of money with you keep the rest safe in your rucksack locked away and hidden. Perhaps, a zip up/lock up over the shoulder hand bag, bum bag or under the top bag, or money belt. But again, don’t put too much in these, because they can be and have been pulled off/cut off people. An over the should handbag is best so no one can just pull it off your shoulder.
-Top tip : I keep my travel money in a face wash bottle, you can’t see it in there and no one would ever think about looking through a wash kit, let alone in a bottle. But don’t keep it all in there, pop some somewhere else like in a rolled-up pair of socks, just don’t forget where you’ve hidden it!
-Van tip: To keep your money safe in the van, you can pop the money in a paint tin or a tin of sorts and weigh it down with some stones or some kind of wight. Firstly no one will ever look in a paint tin for money or whatever kind of tin you choose to camouflage it in, add some weight to make it still seem full.
-Be generally alert, you should be observant all the time. Just assume something will be happening all time, not necessarily anything to do with you but perhaps within your pro-visual.
I’ve been in pickpocketing situations before, where you can be in a city where the streets aren’t too busy, but the pic-pocketer’s will work as a group and make a section really busy where you will then get squished and pushed around, therefore you won’t think anything of it, because it looks busy. But you will come out of the crowd and find all the buckles on your bag undone and people’s possessions missing. This isn’t anything to fear, they aren’t dangerous people just a pain in the arse, you just need to be wary of them and be travel savvy.
The most important tip of all:
Don’t get drunk and only drink alcohol once you know your stuff is completely safe, everything locked up and secured away.
In next weeks blog, I will try to provide you with some savvy advice into how to meet new people whilst away and breaking down any anxiety you may have about embarking on any big adventures, I will also be giving some handy advice into how to look after yourself whilst away. If you have any particular points you want me to address or expand on please don’t hesitate to message me I’m always looking for inspiration.