Travel – Tips and Tricks

Getting there and on the airplane

  • Check the price of being driven to the airport in an airport limo rather than parking your own vehicle or taking a taxi – large interiors, quiet and comfortable – in our City it’s the only way to arrive at the departure terminal.
  • Keep your passport, e-ticket and boarding passes handy, we have been asked to show one or all of these documents numerous times prior to boarding our plane.
  • Watch the people in front of you at Airport Security – Did you know that most countries do not require you to remove your shoes?
  • Why not check at the ticket counter to see if you can move up to first class and fill up those empty seats for a fraction of the price.
  • Bring your riding ear plugs on the plane to help block out all of that unwanted noise.
  • Bring ear buds – for watching the in flight movies (fee ones might passed out if required).

Personal

  • As they say ‘cash is king’ – on our Patagonia trip we brought American cash with us – carried in numerous areas on our person – and saved time in bank lineups (In Latin America the lineups to use the bank machines can be 10 plus people deep every day all day) and paying in American cash could reduce the cost of a hotel room to almost half.
  • We always notify our Visa / Mastercard companies of our travel plans to ensure that our cards are not flagged stolen and cut off while on vacation.
  • Also we carry bank cards and credit cards for 2 separate banking facilities (TD Bank and MHBC (which is available all through Mexico)) – if one bank does not work chances are the other one will.
  • Bring travel bags that can be collapsed into nothing once the riding gear is removed and possibly packed one inside the other – Duffel bags work well for this.
  • Oh and don’t forget to bring your drivers lisence if you want to ride in another country.  Our Provincial licence has been acceptable in every country we have visited, but some people like to travel with an International Licence obtained at at their local CAA office prior to travel.
  • We always leave a complete set of photocopied personal information with a family contact (passports, credit cards, emergency contact numbers for consulates, the travel company contact information and our hotel itinerary if known) and a second set hidden within our luggage….recently we have taken a pictures of important documents and e-mailed them to ourselves.
  • While traveling, you can register with the Federal Government to receive updates of any potential emergency situations.
  • We carry all of our important papers, and extra cash, in a money belt worn on our person.  This takes a bit of getting used to at first but worked well on our 8 week Patagonia trip.
  • Get your shots well in advance at a travel clinic – your family Dr may not be up to date on what is required – and don’t forget some shots need to be taken at set time prior to travel.
  • Make sure that you have worn everything at least once before your trip – now is not the time to break in new riding boots!

On the rental bike

  • Prior to your first ride on your new rental bike check the position of the leavers and pedals and adjust them as required.  Check out your tires and have them replaced if needed. Check the lights and turn signals are they all working as required? And finally attach on your tank bag, tail bag and GPS, is everything safe and secure and not interfering with your riding position when standing?
  • If you use one back home you might want to bring a throttle lock / palm buster.
  • Bring a waterproof stuff sac to carry rain gear on the bike all the time.
  • Bring Roc straps / cargo net to secure the stuff sac.
  • Purchase snacks, like nuts, and carry them on the bike – in South America we traveled many days with lunch well after 2:00.
  • Fill your pockets with toilet paper and a teeny tiny bottle of hand sanitizer – many South American gas and lunch stops do not supply toilet paper or soap. eewugh

Border crossings

  • Again watch the papers others around you are filling out and are walking away with – we did not have much of an issue with English at any south American border, but it was good to have an idea of what we needed to take away with us at each crossing.
  • Take a picture of the entrance visa or other document given to you upon entering a new country – that way if it is lost or stolen at least you have a record to help you obtain a replacement.
  • Most border guards do NOT have a sense of humour or urgency, but almost all were friendly and spoke some english

At your hotel

  • Use the hotel safe, if there is one in your room, to hold important papers when you are out and about – otherwise your passport and the majority of your money stays in your money belt – your spending money can go into a wallet in your FRONT pocket or fanny bag worn in the FRONT.
  • Pick up a hotel business card when you leave your hotel so you can show the taxi drive where you are staying.  This came in handy many times for us….when staying in a different place every night we would ofter forget the name of the hotel.
  • Purchase common daily toiletries, like shampoo, conditioner and mouthwash once you arrive (this saves on weight and the possibility of spillage) – travel with small sample sized items.
  • A sink wash is a great way to wash socks and underwear once a week – you can purchase small travel sized packets or bottles of detergent for just this purpose.  Also laundry facilities were abundant along our journey if required – ask at the hotel if they have a laundry service or if there is a laundromat nearby.
  • If you forget to pack an item check with your hotel prior to shopping for it – chances are the hotel will give it to you for free – or in the case of a power bar and plug adaptors – will lend it to you for the duration of your stay.

And finally, your on vacation…relax and take in all of the wonderful sounds, smells and sights of your new vacation location. Embrace the people, the culture, the food, and even the items that you feel are missing from “your” back home lifestyle. If you see a familiar fast food restaurant or name brand shopping store, skip it for the adventure of trying a new food or buying local, taking home a new experience as well as a purchase.