These travel tips are a collection of general information which you may find useful when planning your next trip. Most of the information is common sense, but you might find a couple things here that you hadn't thought of. Click on the links below to jump to a particular category of tips.
Gear • Planning • Health • Safety
Packing for a trip can be a lot of fun but it can also be difficult and very time consuming. You'll ideally want to bringing everything you'll need and nothing that won't be usefull, and pack it in the most efficient way possible.
- Make sure you bring all necessary travel documents. Make two copies of everything important. Carry one copy with you in a different place than the originals and leave another copy at home with a friend or family member.
- If traveling to a foreign country whose language you don't speak fluently, bring a translation dictionary or get a smartphone app.
- Research the location you're visiting to make sure you know exactly what you'll need. Many lodges offer packing lists.
- Know what will be provided at your final destination. Beware of loaner gear.
- Bring an extra rod and reel. Breaking a rod on day 1 of a 10 day trip is no fun.
- Find out if there is a place to buy essential gear once you arrive. If you find a place (fly shop etc.) that you might want to visit, bring contact information with you.
- Consider packing hooks, nippers and other sharp objects in your checked luggage.
- Bring multi-piece travel rods if possible. Talking your way past a boarding agent can be difficult when you're carrying a 2 or even a 3-piece rod.
Do you know where you're going and how you will get there? If necessary, can you get in touch with friends and family members and can they get in touch with you?
- Make sure you know where you are going and how you will get there. Is somebody meeting you? If so, do you know how to find them? What if they don't show up? Do you have the phone number and address of your final destination?
- Will you be able to call/email home while you're gone? Will friends and family be able to get in touch with you if necessary? Know what communication options your destination(s) offer.
- If communicating with the outside world from your destination is sketchy and you really need to be in touch, consider getting a cell phone with an international plan (check on coverage) or a satellite phone. Satellite phones can be rented for a reasonable price.
- Bring contact information for your family/friends back home in case you need to get in touch with them.
- Leave the contact information of your destinations(s) with family and friends.
- It you ever run into trouble, it can very helpful to know where an embassy is located. A list of U.S. embassies and consulates is available on the Department of State website.
Health is always a concern when traveling, especially when your destination is a foreign country. Here are some things to think about.
- Know what particular health risks are present in the location you plan to visit. The Center for Disease Control website will give you general information on what to be aware of in the area you'll be visiting. Be sure you plan ahead. The World Health Organization's International Travel and Health Guide provides information about specific risks in each country and information on a number of diseases. Make sure you get the recommended immunizations. Some immunizations require multiple doses given over a period of time and others don't become effective for some time after being administered.
- Is the water okay to drink? If you don't know, don't take a chance. If the water is potentially unsafe, be careful of washed fruits and vegetables, ice, non-bottled drinks, and don't brush your teeth with it. You might want to bring a water filter or purifier and/or iodine or chlorine tablets to deal with suspect water.
- Know what potentially dangerous animals you might encounter and how to recognize and avoid them.
- Make sure you bring any prescription drugs you take. Leave them in the prescription container they came in and consider packing extra medication in a different place in the event one is lost or stolen.
- Bring a small medical kit with the basic essentials. Headache medicine, basic first aid supplies, anti diarrheal medicine, antacids etc. can help save a trip.
- Consider purchasing travelers insurance which includes medical evacuation in the event that you are hospitalized, or buying a membership in a medical evacuation program such as Medjet Assistance.
There's inherent risk in everything and (most of the time) safety issues shouldn't keep you at home. Still, it doesn't hurt to cut down on the potential risks or to know what particular risks you might face.
- If the U.S. government thinks you shouldn't be someplace, you probably don't want to go. Find current U.S. Department of State travel warnings on their website.
- Read up on the location you plan to visit to make sure you know of any specific threats. Is the airport you're going to notorious for pickpockets? Are there any parts of town you should avoid? Lonely Planet guides generally offer good advice on specific threats.
- Beware of pick pockets, bag slashers, purse and backpack grabbers and other classes of unsavory locals. Keep your luggage by you at all times and make yourself a more difficult target than those around you. Keep essentials on your person, and don't wear flashy jewelry or watches.
- If muggings are a potential problem, consider carrying a dummy wallet with an expired credit card and enough money to make a thief happy.
- In a questionable area don't carry an obvious camera case. If you've got a camera, stuff it inside a backpack or other bag.
- If practical, travelers cheques are preferable to large sums of money. Don't sign them until you're ready to cash them. An ATM card might also be a good option depending on where you're heading.
- Keep copies of all your important documents (passport, credit cards, Identification, tickets) in a location separate from the originals. Leave a second copy with a friend or family member at home.