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Culture Shock

Take a notebook. No matter how good your memory, you’ll see so much that you will forget the name of the city you stayed in, the artist you loved so much, the name of that bar, or restaurant, or beach. Write it down.

Toilet paper is, sadly, not a standard in many parts of the world. It’s not pretty, but those little packs of tissues sold at pharmacies are a godsend. Stick them in your medical kit.

Police, border guards and hotel staff do not understand sarcasm. Trust us on this. (This also applies in England).

For group travel and getting in to a foreign culture learn some games, they’re great as an ice breaker. Carry cards and a pack away chess/draft/backgammon game. These are all played worldwide. Learn the local games- these can be quite surprising, for instance ludo in Jamaica.

Take essential phone numbers – home, banks, insurance, embassy – and write them down somewhere safe. You won’t regret it.

There is a basic rule for not getting ripped of approach don’t be approached. On a resent trip to Colombo I was approached by an auto rickshaw driver who charged me 800 rupees for a journey. On the way back I approached an elderly laid back rickshaw driver who gave me a toothless grin for free and charged me 200 rupees.


To get a different perspective of a country pay a city taxi driver to take you on a two to three day trip out. It will be just as much an experience for them as it is for you. Just make sure their language and communications skills are good.

To avoid stomach problems always eat in busy places frequented by locals. The food will nearly always be hot and freshly prepared. Carry wet wipes to wipe down your hands, cutlery and cups in countries where hygiene is an issue.

If ever you hear the words ‘no problem my friend’ whilst travelling, watch out, you're about to be lead into a falls sense of security. Prepare for the worst and seek an alternative plan.

Checking in for your flight home is always stressful and we tend to be whipped home before we know we have left. So check in then leave the sterile atmosphere of the airport and say goodbye to your host country. It will enhance your trip.

Being hassled by street hawkers is a sure sign your in a heavily touristed area. Walk a few streets away for some trouble free strolling.

When travelling to India always get a prepaid taxi before leaving the airport. The bit of paper you will receive will ensure a hassle free fare priced trip to your destination. Just make sure that it is clear you are paying the amount for the taxi not per person and piece of luggage.

Most road issues abroad are caused by road accidents. Get aquainted with the rules of the road when arriving in a new country to avoid becoming a pedestrian casualty.