Author Topic: Travel tips -- what're yours?  (Read 839 times)

Danneaux

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Travel tips -- what're yours?
« on: March 27, 2017, 08:07:20 PM »
Hi All!

With better Spring weather getting the tour-planning juices flowing, this seems a good time to share travel tips that have made touring life that little bit easier for you.

Here's one from me:

Before my 2014 European tour, I looked through my phone's options and decided to put my contact info and a selfie on my phone lockscreen.

Yes, my phones all have distinctive cases, but they are only distinctive to *me*. Once the phone is in the plastic bucket on the conveyor traveling through the airport security scanner, it could be anybody's if they claim it to be.

This way, only hitting the power switch or home button brings up my photo and contact info for quickly proving ownership to an airport security guard. The phone remains locked.

It worked so well for me, I kept the same setup for daily use on my phones in case someone grabs one and then tries to bluff-claim ownership. Yes, as with all security measures it can be defeated, but unlikely in the setting and time available.

I do need to update the photo to one sans moustache;)

Another tip...or note. It appears phones can be effectively seized, searched, and the contents quickly cloned at US borders (including airports) thanks to recent changes in security. Search and seizure laws are different at the US border than inside the borders, and so this is now a reality that will sometimes be encountered. The merits of this policy fall into a political realm, so please no on-Forum discussions of the policy's political merits. Like the Helmet Issue, it would soon devolve the quality of our interactions here.

Here are a couple of recent articles with suggestions for how best to navigate the new policy smoothly:
http://www.businessinsider.com/can-us-border-agents-search-your-phone-at-the-airport-2017-2
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/business/border-enforcement-airport-phones.html

To address this new policy in practical terms I backup, then erase/reset my phone to factory specs before cross-border travel and then once across, log back into Google Services and redownload my apps and browser bookmarks/history (I use Android devices, Apple products may differ). I also store all my travel photos on removable micro-SD cards, which I remove before I reach the airport. I make backups to a shock-protected portable hard drive while on-tour and store that in checked luggage. I clone my micro-SD cards and mail the spares home in an envelope from my last destination. I value my travel photos, so I take the backup precautions anyway.

One last tip: It is generally a Very Poor Idea to take photos of border crossings. I managed to sneak a photo of a large sign and map showing the Eurovelo 6 route as I entered Serbia from Romania, but I saw a woman who had taken photos of her kids by the border gate being questioned in detention. I myself was in police custody for four hours as I entered Romania by ferry from Bulgaria...but not for photos. Though I was sweating it out, it turned out the guards simply wanted to chat, see the bike and camping gear and show family photos. The delay was caused by the unexpectedly large number of trucks on the ferry that required customs inspection. Once they finished, we had a great time talking. My favorite part was the end, when the captain said, "Oh, yes, I must ask you some questions. Any booze?" [No, don't drink]. "Any drugs?" [No, never used any]. "Any women?" [Won't fit!, gesturing at the panniers]. This last response made for a good laugh and a hearty slap on the back with well-wishes as I departed.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 09:43:05 PM by Danneaux »

jags

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 10:00:09 PM »
Like the last bit dan ;D

mickeg

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 10:06:56 PM »
On the topic of travel tips, I carry two sets of critical papers and each set has a photo ID and at least one credit card and debit card.  One of those is my wallet that is in my pocket, the other is packed somewhere else as a backup. 

When in areas where I am concerned about pickpockets, I carry a wallet that has enough cash to get me through a few hours of sightseeing and maybe a meal, and a credit card that expired about two decades ago.  I call it my fake wallet that if stolen will not be a concern.  In those situations my regular wallet is in a pants pocket that is zippered and at ankle height.  If I am wearing shorts that do not have that pocket, all of the travel shirts that I wear while sightseeing have zippered or a hidden pocket that is big enough for a passport.

I take a photo of the back side of each of my credit cards and my passport.  Then if any of those documents are lost, I have the phone numbers of my credit cards on the screen of my camera and also the important data on my passport.  Some have told me that it is a bad idea to have this data where it is accessible, but if my camera is stolen I doubt that the thief cares about my travel photos.  I also have all my credit card company phone numbers saved in my cell phone.  I lost my wallet in an airport several years ago, I called each credit card company before anyone tried to use the cards so they were all canceled in time.

When camping, I always have a flat silicone drain stopper.  A lot of campgrounds do not have sink stoppers, and if I want to do laundry in the sink I need my own drain stopper. 

This next suggestion I make might be limited to residents of USA.  I have my smartphone set up with Google Voice, Google Hangouts and Google Hangouts Dialer.  With that I can make phone calls anywhere that I have wifi, even if I do not have a sim card in my phone.  When I set up this account several years ago, Google Voice was limited to USA residents, I do not know if that is still true or not.  Last summer in Iceland it came in quite handy when one of my credit cards stopped working due to suspected fraud.  At the hostel I was staying at that had wifi, I made a phone call via Google Voice to the credit card company to tell them that yes I was the person that tried to use that card to buy a liter of Aquivit and they restored my card.   I did not have a sim card in my phone so it was the only way to call.  Calls to countries other than USA are at a low cost per minute.

On the topic of borders and photos, after taking the first attached photo where I crossed from USA to Canada, I thought that the border guards were going to confiscate my camera.  They did yell at me for taking photos of what they considered a high security area.  Second photo, the Canadians could not have been more pleasant when I crossed the border later, they had no concerns about my taking a photo.  Those two photos were taken in 2012, things may have changed since then.  The bike is my Sherpa.

jags

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2017, 10:13:54 PM »
Why is it a big deal to take photos at borders. :-\

Danneaux

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 10:18:48 PM »
Quote
Why is it a big deal to take photos at borders
The concern seems to be related to security, Anto....the idea being that a foreign power or terrorist could study the photos to find a weakness they could exploit.

All the best,

Dan.

bobs

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 10:25:50 PM »
No problems with the borders here.




q

q

mickeg

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2017, 02:07:56 AM »
I did a fully supported guided bike tour from Prague to Budapest several years ago.  In addition to Czech Republic and Hungary, also visited Austria and Slovakia.  The attached is the border where the line between democracy and communism existed a bit over 30 years ago.  Now, no guards, no place to get a passport stamped, rather dull.




jags

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2017, 10:17:05 AM »
bit like the border crossing here in ireland but maybe soon to be opened up again with this brexit   or whatever its called, back to the bad old days  of long  traffic jams   searching through everything in your car :'(.....

anto.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 12:07:13 PM by jags »

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2017, 05:42:50 PM »
All good points and advice.
Mine is, belt and braces.
Plan for whatever can go wrong/ get lost/ stolen. Back everything up and save data in the cloud and on hard drives.

Dan's comment about women made me smile.

In Sri Lanka the locals could never understand why I had left my wife at home.
I usually replied that I couldn't fit her into the panniers.
It didn't always get the laugh I expected.

Not all humour travels well.
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

pavel

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2017, 03:53:17 AM »
Dan's comments about women made me realize, that on long distance lonely trips, there could be some advantages to bike trailers.




léo woodland

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2017, 07:24:34 AM »
My handy hint: put your name and address in your camera case. But, before you do it, take a picture. Then save it on the camera so that it won't be deleted with other pictures. That way, even if you lose the camera without the case, someone can see who owns it. There's no guarantee of getting it back but, without the address, you're certain not to get it back.

happy days

léo

mickeg

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2017, 07:09:29 PM »
When I fly somewhere, I take a picture of my luggage first.  Several years ago my luggage and the luggage for several other passengers did not get on the plane.  One guy was just furious, yelling at the airline staff as if they caused the problem, I think he was a corporate CEO.  When I was filing a claim for my luggage the airline employee asked what it looked like and I showed him the image on the back of my camera.  That guy that was yelling was in the next lane to file a claim and when he saw me showing the airline staff my camera, he was just shocked.  I do not remember exactly what he said to me but it was something like - what kind of idiot are you, why would you take a photo of your luggage?  And he really blew up when I said to him, how else are you going to explain to them exactly what your luggage looks like when you don't have a photo?

Some of you may recall the photo of my luggage for my Iceland trip, my Nomad was in the black case, photos attached.

My handy hint: put your name and address in your camera case. But, before you do it, take a picture. Then save it on the camera so that it won't be deleted with other pictures. That way, even if you lose the camera without the case, someone can see who owns it. There's no guarantee of getting it back but, without the address, you're certain not to get it back.

happy days

léo

Some cameras allow you to put a custom image on it that shows briefly when you turn it on.  I have my name and land line phone number on that screen.  But some of my cameras do not have that feature.

David Simpson

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2017, 07:32:38 PM »
When I fly somewhere, I take a picture of my luggage first.

What a great idea! It's one of those obvious common-sense ideas that I never think of.

- DaveS

aggs

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2017, 07:40:59 PM »
On our last Tour we hired light weight and thus small to pack sleeping bags for 2 weeks , in a warm climate.
500g each top of the range down bag too expensive to own for the little use we would get out of them in Scotland!

After 2 weeks returned them to hirer.      Cheaper than buying and hirer insisted on washing them too!


Raven_Roller

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Re: Travel tips -- what're yours?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2017, 11:02:28 AM »
It is possible that as a foreigner [please, I do mean this in a nice way], a foreigner (who is subject to far more rules and regulations) than anyone inside the EU understands...you might have been more sensitive to many situations than someone who is an EU national ?

Throughout the EU, there are no border checks for EU nationals...and no problems taking photos of border crossings :)

There are rules in place regarding military and other installations but these are on a country by country basis, and no-one in their right mind would stand outside of (say) an Army Base and start taking photos...