1. Using your phone. Bring with you an unlocked phone and get a local Sim card. If you are staying a few days, it might not be worth getting a Sim Card, but just use WiFi in the local places. Try to do some research before about what travel companies are where you are, but otherwise, you can just ask around in some of the phone stores, but chances are they will try to sell you the company they are allied too. I use a dual sim card phone so I can use my UK and Indonesian sim card. I try now to use my phone now for all my filming and photos as this is small and compact. I use the VIVO V9 as this is mad in Indonesia and seems like a copy paste of the iPhone 10 at a 1/5 of the price. I also use the Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod with hand grip because it is small and light, and the Manfrotto twistgrip for attaching my smartphone, again super light, practical and easy to use. Also, the microphone I use is the Rode videomic compact, beware that the cable it comes with is not compatible with your phone, so you need an accessory cable for this. Before I was bringing big cameras, tripods etc, but now the cameras on phones are getting really good, and the best camera is the easiest to access.
2. Ride Hailing Apps. Depending on where you are the app for taxies and ride-hailing might vary. To date, Uber has dominated globally, and they are still strong in many parts of the world. However, new apps are now on the market and because they are backed by global mega-company SoftBank, Uber finds itself getting blocked in a number of international markets. Asia seems to be the main markets where Uber is getting blocked. These are the main apps in Asia. Grab in South East Asia, Careem in the middle east, Ola in India, Didi in China. In Europe, Cabify and BlaBlaCar is Ubers biggest competitor, and Lyft is growing in the USA.
3. Read and Research. I know this is obvious, but you need to keep yourself safe. Also, news articles will give the harshest stories, but you should look at how frequent they are. If people are getting shot in a certain area every week, or kidnappings are common, then stay away. If you know you are going to a particularly dangerous environment just follow the advice and guidance and take measures to keep yourself safe.
4. Keeping Stuff Safe. If you feel that you are in an area where you are at risk of having your pockets picked then this is my advice. If you are bringing cash, then have something small in your pockets which you can afford to lose. For important stuff use a money belt. I use this to keep my cards, phone and cash safe. Recently I got a new anti-theft backpack, which I love. Not only do I now feel very safe, especially in the streets and on subways, but it has a port to support charging your phone on the go. I am very happy with this bag.
5. Stay Charged. Nowadays we need our phones for everything, so maintaining a charged battery is important. Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful to be unplugged and disconnected for a period of time, but this is also a balance between having your phone with power when you need it to get things done, and for an emergency situation. I use my larger power pack in my anti-theft backpack, or a smaller charger, which I keep in the smaller pocket of my trousers with a cable run around my waist. Also, you need to have a good plug adapter. I like the T3MCO as it allows me to plug in any type of plug while also having 4 USB outlets. So this works very well for me.
6. Financial Options. Have more than one bank card and check that that card can be used in the country you are going too. Also, inform your bank where you are going, nothing blows more than the bank blocking your card and you not having access to money. From my experience, Visa and Master Card are quite universal.
7. Sun Protection. In my experience sun cream you can get everywhere and the prices tend to be reasonable, but after sun in some places can be extortionate, so this might be worth bringing with you. Some kind of scarf or light long-sleeved top can be great to get you covered when that sun is really burning you. Also, these items can work well as a makeshift pillow in transport, used as a towel when you have nothing else, a blanket, or as an eye mask
8. Computer Back Up. If you are bringing your computer with you then do a back up before you leave. Worst-case scenario your computer is stolen, you need to buy a new one and you have lost none of your information. Also where possible store files in the cloud and make notes somewhere of all your passwords. For my home back-up, I use the G-RAID with 6TB of storage, which works well as a time machine and for storing my big video files.
9. Bring a bottle. You want to have water or some fluid with you and you don’t want to keep buying plastic bottles. If you can also bring a straw this is great too. I use the WaterWell ultrafiltration travel bottle as it allows me to even take tap water in places where this is undrinkable and filter this. It is also not a bad idea to filter water in general if you are not sure about the conditions in the country.
10. Chill out. Travel can be stressful from trying to catch your plane, making sure your luggage is the right weight, cancellations, cultural misunderstandings and just arriving somewhere that is much more chaotic than what you are used to. Just surrender to the situation, observe the locals and take this as a chance to build upon your cultural competencies. After all, if you wanted things to be the same as they are back home you would not have left?
So these are my tips, what are yours? Share down in the comments tips that have made your travel better.
Happy travels and Much Love.
10. Finally, chill out. Things don’t always go to plan and life is to short to be stressed, especially when you should be enjoying this time. Stop, take a big breath and take stock of the situation. As a good friend of mine always told me, how can I improvise, adapt and overcome? Who knows, it might even turn into a greater adventure.