Travel Tips and Advice

Brad

Buddhist Temple Etiquette

Added by Brad December 10, 2011
  • Take off your shoes and hats before entering. There will almost always be a sign outside of the temple pointing visitors to the designated area for shoes and hats. The many pairs of visitors’ shoes clumped together will tip you off.
  • Cover your shoulders. Since it gets very hot in Asian countries during the summer, many tourists forget to cover their shoulders and legs before entering places of worship. One way to plan ahead is to dress in layers and bring a scarf or shawl along, no matter where you go. When visiting temples, capri pants and long skirts are preferable to shorts, although men can sometimes get away with wearing long shorts.
  • Stand when monks or nuns enter. Just as you would stand to greet someone in any formal setting, try to remember to stand up when a monk or nun enters the room.
  • Ask permission before taking pictures. Make sure it’s okay to use your camera, especially when taking photographs inside a temple with statues. If you do take pictures, it’s always nice to leave a donation.
  • Use your right hand. When handing a donation (or anything else) to a person, use your right hand.
  • Don’t point. Instead, if you wish to point something out to a fellow traveller, use your right hand, open, with the palm facing the ceiling.
  • Don’t touch Buddha statues. Remind your kids before entering not to touch or climb on top of the Buddha statues.
  • Don’t touch Buddhist monks, especially if you are female. Women are not supposed to hand items to monks, either. Men who need to hand something to a monk, or take something from a monk, should try to use their right hands.
  • Don’t turn your back to Buddha statues. You may notice people walking backward away from the Buddha. Follow their lead, turning around only when you are a few feet away from the statue.
    • original source: http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/20110616-travelwise-religious-tourism-etiquette

 
Brad

Hindu Temple Etiquette

Added by Brad December 10, 2011
  • Take off your shoes before entering. There will almost always be a sign outside of the temple pointing visitors to the designated area for shoes. The many pairs of visitors' shoes clumped together will tip you off.
  • Cover your shoulders and legs. Bring a shawl or sweater, and try to wear long pants or long skirts. Wearing tank tops or shorts in a Hindu temple is seen as disrespectful.
  • Ask permission before taking pictures. Make sure it's okay to use your camera, especially when taking photographs inside the temple of statues or images of Hindu deities. If you do take pictures, it's always nice to leave a donation.
  • Use your right hand. When handing a donation (or anything else) to a person, use your right hand.
  • Try not to wear leather inside. While this is not a steadfast rule, it is polite to remove leather shoes, belts, jackets, et cetera upon entering a Hindu temple.

original source: http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/20110616-travelwise-religious-tourism-etiquette

 
Brad

Muslim Mosque Etiquette

Added by Brad December 10, 2011
  • Take off your shoes, hats and sunglasses. There will usually be a rack for shoes outside of the entrance to the mosque. In addition to removing your shoes, take off your hat and sunglasses.
  • Cover your head and hair. Bring a scarf or shawl, which you can use to cover your head upon entering a mosque.
  • Dress conservatively. Wear long sleeves and long pants. If it's a hot day out, dress in layers, and bring along a long-sleeved, solid-colour sweater – in addition to a scarf or shawl. For women, ankle-length pants, skirts or dresses are often required. Avoid tight clothing or shirts with slogans or advertisements.
  • Pay attention to signs at the entrance. Some mosques will have separate designated entrances for men and for women. If you miss the sign, but notice that men and women are gathering on different sides, enter accordingly.
  • Don't take pictures during prayer. Tourists are generally allowed to use cameras inside mosques, but they should refrain from doing so during prayer times.

original source: http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/20110616-travelwise-religious-tourism-etiquette

 
Brad

Christian Church Etiquette

Added by Brad December 10, 2011
  • Take off shoes in some churches. In Ethiopia, for instance, visitors are expected to take their shoes off. In American churches, though, that's not usually the case.
  • Cover your shoulders and knees. It's polite to avoid wearing a sleeveless top or short shorts. Bring a sweater or shawl to cover up, and wear knee-length pants and skirts.
  • Ask permission before taking pictures. Some Italian churches don't allow cameras at all, so check first before taking pictures or filming.
  • Don't cross your legs. When seated in Greek Orthodox churches, refrain from crossing your legs.

original source: http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/20110616-travelwise-religious-tourism-etiquette

 
Brad

Jewish Synagogue Etiquette

Added by Brad December 10, 2011
  • Wear a yarmulke if you're a man. Even young boys should cover their heads with this small, circular cap. Yarmulkes to borrow are usually available at the entrance to the synagogue.
  • Dress conservatively. Women usually wear dresses to synagogue while men usually wear suits. If you are in a touristy area, though, you can often get away with conservative business casual. Women and men should wear long sleeves.
  • Pay attention to entrances and seating. Some synagogues will have separate entrances and designated areas for men and women. If you notice that men and women are gathering on different sides, enter accordingly. Orthodox synagogues separate their seating by gender, so make sure to sit in the correct section if visiting during a service.
  • Don't use cameras during Shabbat. Don't take pictures on Friday nights or Saturday mornings, during the Shabbat (Sabbath day).
  • Don't turn your back to the Western Wall. If you visit the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, you may notice people walking backward away before turning around. When you are ready to leave, remember not to turn your back to the wall.

original source: http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/20110616-travelwise-religious-tourism-etiquette

 
Brad

Take a copy of International credit card support numbers

Added by Brad January 5, 2011

Make sure to take a copy of the support numbers for stolen or lost credit cards with you.
Most companies have toll free or local numbers that will save you an expensive International call trying to sort out a new card (not to mention adding to the stress you're already feeling)

 
Brad

Wet Luggage Sucks

Added by Brad December 15, 2010

When using a soft suitcase, bag, duffel or even back pack line it with a heavy duty garbage bag and place your clothes, paperwork etc. in that to protect them from rain and water damage

*Tried and tested on a recent Bali trip were the baggage sat on a trolley during a heavy down pour

 
Brad

Keep hold of that luggage!

Added by Brad August 21, 2010

While queueing at airports or waiting for buses etc. always keep a hand on your luggage or were you have a few bags keep your foot on the handle or a strap of the extra bag.

The smallest resistance is often enough to stop a bag being snatched especially if its heavy but remember if they seem intent on having having it (you feel threatened) just give them the bag, things can be replaced but you can't. :)

 
Brad

Medicine safety

Added by Brad August 21, 2010

Ensure your prescription medications are properly labeled and ideally have a photocopy of the prescription or doctors letter to backup the reason you have them.

 
Brad

Save on Meal Costs

Added by Brad August 9, 2010

Cut meal costs in most cities by eating at one of the many restaurants in a dept store. They're not exactly a gourmet dining experience but can save you a fortune (eg $1.95 for a full breakfast at IKEA).

For those staying in hostel or guesthouse accommodation you can also buy simple prepared supermarket meals and microwave them.

Either or will let you save your money for the important stuff like beer, wine and chocolate :)

 
Brad

Photocopy documents and don't forget your credit cards

Added by Brad July 18, 2010

Leave photocopies of your travel itinerary, travel documents, any credit cards you're taking and your passport with family or friends so you can be contacted in case of emergency or they can help cancel credit cards if lost.