Travel Tips and Tricks
Protecting your identity:
- Take a photo or screenshot of your passport and itineraries on your smart phone & email them to yourself. This provides an extra virtual copy of them in the event of loss or theft. If you're an iPhone user you can even save them to your iBooks.
- Invest in a travel wallet, it will ensure that all your travel documents, passports and funds are all in a safe, organised and easily accessible place. Always have a contingency plan.
- Carry emergency funds that can be accessed in various methods (e.g. credit card and internet banking).
- Keep a 'spare' credit card & some cash in a completely separate place from the rest of your money things, just in case you lose your wallet or it is stolen, at least you still have that back-up card and some cash tucked away in the bottom of your suitcase (as an example).
- Notify your bank before you leave that you're going to be travelling so they don't stop your credit card if unusual looking transactions start appearing on it.
- As soon as you get home use your credit card in an ATM machine (just checking its balance is fine). Doing this does something magic to the chip in the card so if anyone should have managed to copy the data from the chip while you were away it is immediately useless to them once you've done this on arriving home.
- Check your insurance covers your valuables - if you have expensive jewellery it may pay to leave it at home.
- Use shower caps from hotels as shoe covers in your suitcase.
- When washing your "smalls" in the hotel wring out in a towel to get excess moisture out so they dry faster.
- If you have a smartphone, download the "TripCase" app for all bookings associated with the trip
- Use Google Maps offline & Save Data. All you need to do is type “OK Maps” and the visible area will save for future access. Easy as!
- Make sure you have a travel adaptor to be able to plug in any NZ plugs for your devices.
- Take a NZ multibox so you can charge phone, laptop, camera and use hairdryer, hair straighteners etc - all at once. Means you don't need multiple NZ/US adaptors.
- It’s essential to pack your toiletries correctly; all liquids must be under 100mls and packed in a transparent resealable bag.
- Don’t over pack, its no fun lugging around a heavy bag with things you don’t even need.
- Packing your tablet, kindle and notebook in your carry on will keep you entertained and guarantee its safety. Don’t overload on devices, instead make sure the ones you bring with you can last for your entire trip.
- At a restaurant: If you are really pleased with your service, tip 20%. If you think the service was bad but not terrible, 10%. If you think the service was abominable, you can feel good about not leaving a tip. Note: restaurants often include gratuity in the bill automatically if there's a large party, so make sure to check that out.
- Restaurant host/hostess: Tipping isn't necessary, unless you're grateful because the host or hostess was able to secure a table for you that you otherwise wouldn't have been able to get.
- Airport porter: $1-2 per bag.
- Cab drivers: 10-18% of the fare, depending on the speed of the cab, your comfort level and how safe you feel during the drive.
- Courtesy shuttle drivers: $1-2 per bag.
- Hotel bell staff: $1-2 per bag.
- Hotel concierge: $10-20 depending on request, at departure.
- Hotel doorman: No tip, unless they handle luggage or call a cab.
- Hotel maid: $2-3 per night.
- Parking valet: $3-5 at pickup.
Protecting your identity:
- Configure your laptop to let you approve Wi-Fi access points before you connect.
- Check to ensure you are actually logging in to your hotel's Wi-Fi network, and not a fake hotspot designed by hackers to steal your personal data.
- Remove sensitive data from your laptop before you travel.
- Do not conduct any type of financial transactions while connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. This includes logging in to net banking or checking balances on travel cards.
- Check that your firewall is turned on and set at the recommended level, and your virus and malware protection services are up to date.
- Take earplugs and eye masks to help you get some sleep on the plane.
- Wear compression socks on the plane to help prevent DVTs and uncomfortable swollen feet and ankles.
- Drink water regularly throughout your long-haul flight. The water makes a big difference to jetlag recovery.
- Take some sterigel or other hand sanitiser and use frequently (especially after touching parts of the plane others have touched eg after you have shut the toilet door!)