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USEFUL TRAVEL TIPS Page 1
Tips by travelers, for you, to know!
When snorkeling or diving, NEVER, EVER stand on, our touch, the coral. It is VERY damaging to the coral, and we don't want to ruin the very thing we've gone there to enjoy.
When booking your vacation, be sepecific, eg ocean view does not = ocean front. Beach property does not always mean swimable beach.
If the cab driver has a small TV mounted on his dashboard for HIM to watch while he drives, do NOT get into cab. It is an accident waiting to happen. Take the hotel minibus instead.
Keep a few toilet seat covers folded in a ziplock bag. Flushing is dicouraged in many public restrooms and toilet seats can be dirty or even non-existent. It can also double as toilet paper.
Bring thermal mugs with lids to keep coffee hot in the morning and keep drinks cold and sand out on the beach-and they hold more tequila than a plastic cup.
Bring $2 bills USD. Locals think they are "Special". It's good to Tip with them. You get more "miles for your buck" when renting the small taxis. Have your bank order you some 2 weeks before leaving.
Withdra money from a local ATM as you will get the exact current exchange rate. Almost all stores will give you an unfavorable conversion rate.
Before you travel, plan your budget and know about your major expenses. You cannot miss spending on groceries, rent/mortgage, food, international phone cards, petrol/gas prices, utilities, etc but remember there would be unexpected expenses which will add to the list. Hence an addtional saving is always handy during sudden emergencies such as medical, home repairs, furniture, etc.
If you love snorkeling, purchase your own gear and bring it with you on vacation. At many locations you can snorkel right off the beach anytime you want, saving tour fees.
When traveling, always take a dental repair kit with you (Cheap at Wal-Mart) in case a filling or crown becomes loose or falls out. Many times dentists are difficult to find in foreign countries.
If you wear contact lenses, take disposible ones on vacation. You won't have to take all the storage and cleaning items saving on space and you won't have to worry about loosing one.
When packing, use "space bags". If you get stopped by customs you'll breeze through as they can easily see what's in your suitcase and you can quickly repack.
Scan travel documents such as passports, birth certificates, drivers license etc. Send an email to yourself with the scanned documents attached.
For germ-free sleep, bring a pillowcase to replace the hotel's (be sure to take it off before maids come). Or stuff it with towels or clothes for a make-shift "extra pillow."
Take two large pieces of cardboard that fit in your suitcase to place artwork in to prevent bending.
Unless you're positive a sale has a set price, bargain! Usually, you'll get away with saving money if you just bargain.
Remember to use bottled water when brushing your teeth.
Start eating yogurt daily before a trip and during your trip, it will fight bacteria in your system and you'll have less of a chance of getting Montezuma's Revenge.
Be the last person/couple to board the plane. You have a guaranteed seat, so what's the rush? This way, when everyone else is onboard, you get to choose from the leftover seats.
Buy water shoes and biodegradable sunscreen ( swimming with the dolphins/ ECO tour) before your trip. It is very expensive to buy there. (I bought mine in a health food store).
As dumb as this sounds...bring a pen or two ! You need one in order to fill out the custom forms on the plane.
Make your own first aid kit. Bandaids,rubbing alcohol,cotton balls,triple antibotic ointment,benadryl pills (great for bug bites-but may make you tired-so I use the children's formula !!!)
If you need any medication take your prescription from your doctor.
American Express is a good credit card to have especially if you have to go to the hospital. Many times it is the only credit card that is accepted.
To protect clothing in suitcase pack whites, colors, and shoes in 3 separate large clear garbage bags. At destination use bags for dirtied clothes.
If you wear glasses/contacts, bring your most recent eye exam prescription.
If your hotel room doesn't have a safe, place small amounts of money in envelopes and stash the envelopes in different hiding places in the room. (dont forget where you've stashed your envelope)
When going out, put your money in an inside pocket or pouch, where it isn't visible.
Do not wear zip-off pant/shorts on the plane with "steal" zippers. The zippers will cause you delays at the airport security check point. They will need to do a pat down and wand search.
When travelling with small children have them wear the same outfit or similar clothes. If one gets lost in a crowd they are easier to spot, and you can show authorities what the child was wearing.
When on snorkelling tours, inspect flippers carefully before and after snorkelling. Sneaky tour operators will charge you excessively if damaged.
If you like to hang up most of your clothes on holidays save your dry cleaning hangers and bring them and just leave them there at the end of trip.
Before you leave for your trip, print your name, address, e-mail and phone number on a piece of paper: Take a picture of the paper so it is the first photograph on the memory card. Hopefully if the person who finds your camera looks at the images on the card they will see your contact info and return the camera to you.
For all-inclusive, email resort ahead of time for requests (bed type, rest. reservations, building location etc). Often they'll accommodate you & you'll be a step ahead of others.
Before heading out, stop by a health food store and buy a bottle of grapefruit seed extract pills. Take one before every meal & you will not have any problems with diarrhea.
Use the ice bucket to keep milk and food cold. Put food in secure plastic bag, use the trash can "if clean" keep the plastic bag insert, then fill plastic bag with ice, put the food in plastic bag.
Carry a small calculator to convert money exchanges and to show to vendors while negotiating prices.
Call your cell phone provider to find out their rates on roaming in Mexico, because trying to use the calling cards is almost impossible if you do not speak fluent Spanish.
To keep your necklaces from being tangled while traveling, string them through a drinking straw and close the clasp around it.
When crossing borders it does not cost money this happened to me, so when I crossed into Belize I went with some one who could speak English.
When carrying film or disposable cameras, hand them to the x-ray technician and tell them you do not want it to go through the x-ray. They will inspect your camera/film by hand.
Put something brightly colored on the outside of your luggage so that it is easier and faster to pick it out on the luggage conveyer.
Put a wedge of toilet roll directly under your heel. This will raise your heel very slightly, but enough to stop /alleviate your heels blistering when your shoes rub.
As soon as you get back from holiday, make a list of all the things you didn't wear / use and all the things you could have done with. You can then refer back to it when packing for your next trip.
Waiting till the last minute to book is not recommended. Booking late does not necessarily mean there will be a further discount.
There is no stand-by out of Cancun, Cozumel or Merida [unless you work for an airline].
Charters fly in and out on certain days of the week while major carriers fly everyday.
Having to connect in Mexico City to get to Cancun, Cozumel or Merida is no problem and only adds a couple hours of extra travel time depending on how close the connecting flights are.
Mexico City airport is easy to navigate and there are numerous help desks and personnel to assist you in connecting flights.
Your luggage is automatically moved from one airplane to the connecting airplane. You do not have to collect it then recheck it on your connecting flight.
It is a good idea to put suntan lotion on before you leave, especially in the winter months. This is so when you arrive in Mexico you are already prepared and do not have to dig out your lotion.
Wear zip-off pant/shorts so soon as you get off the airplane you can be in shorts.
Under no circumstances should you take any photographs of customs at any airport [especially in the US]. You may end up in security explaining your actions.
DIGITAL CAMERA TIPS
WARNING - Be careful using your digital camera on the beach because sand gets on the zoom-lens and when it closes the sand can jam the zoom-lens making your camera inoperable. To avoid this make sure the zoom-lens is free of any debris before closing it.
Buy batteries and memory cards before you go to Mexico. Yes you can purchase these items almost anywhere in the Yucatan Peninsula and especially Cancun and the Mayan Riviera but you will find it is less expensive to buy these items at a discount store back home. All-inclusive resorts charge exorbitant prices for photo needs.
Use the highest quality setting when taking pictures. Simply carry more than one memory card with you in case you run out of space. Set your camera up before you even leave for vacation and do some experiments. Transfer the images to your computer or have them printed out at a photo-shop. Once you are comfortable with all settings, leave them there.
It is better to use the LCD Screen when taking pictures as this is exactly the picture you will get, which may differ from the image you see through the view finder. This of course uses more battery power so you should take lots of extra batteries with you.
Some Internet Cafes in Cancun and the Mayan Riviera have USB ports for you to dump your picture onto the computer and send them to a remote source.
There are Kodak and Fuji shops in Cancun that can burn CDs for you if you wish.
Some people recommend to always use the flash when taking pictures with a digital camera but you really have to get a feeling for this. Around noon on a cloudless day you may even have to use a filter to eliminate some of the ambient light. If your camera does not support filters then you can use a pair of clean sunglasses.
Check your camera to see if it has an exposure compensation feature. You may want to experiment with this if you are interested.
Snorkeling Tips from DIVING/SNORKELING