Credit Cards - Use credit cards when possible. You will
get the best exchange rate for foreign currency from an
ATM. If you must have local money on arrival, exchange only
as much as you will need at the airport on departure or
arrival, then use ATMs while you are in the country.
Keep Notes - While in any country that you cant
read the language, if you are using your charge card to
get the best currency rate, write on the charge slip right
away the amount, items, date, and place of purchase so you
can read it when the statement comes at the end of the month.
Makes for a lot easier bookkeeping. Many times the ink is
so faint, you cant read what it says in any language.
Bottled Water - Always drink bottled water. The water
is safe to the locals who are used to it. This doesnt
matter if youre a resident of Ukraine or of the UK
- to residents the water is safe, but not to travellers.
All water contains different sets of microbes and mineral
deposits. If you arent used to a countrys drinking
water, then you may get sick just because it is different.
Be safe, buy bottled water cheap at the supermarket.
Rail Passes - When travelling in Europe, it is cheaper
to buy individual rail passes if you are only going to one
or two countries, instead of buying a Eurail pass that covers
18 countries. The individual one, such as the Swiss Pass
or the France Rail/Drive, can give you much more for a better
Before You Stay - Check your room before you decide
to stay. Along the same lines, take a quick tour of the
hotel before deciding to stay. Even though some of the hotels
may be nice on the outside, what is on the inside is not
always up to your standards.
Showers - Most people know to ask for unopened bottled
water when travelling in areas where the drinking water
is not safe, but they may not realise that its all
too easy to get sick from ingesting water while showering,
even if trying to keep ones mouth closed. The solution:
always keep mouthwash in your mouth while showering. It
will help you remember to keep your mouth closed, and the
antibacterial agent in it will help purify any water that
gets in anyway (e.g. through your nose).
The Direction Strategy - When visiting a foreign city,
carry a match-book or postcard with the name and address
of your hotel, which you can show to taxi drivers or when
asking directions. This is particularly important in countries
where the alphabet is different.