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bitcoin
Jun 28

Investing in Bitcoin

By NoManToYou | Technology

Bitcoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency payment system that was released to the public in 2009, but became popular in the last few years. There is a cap of 21 million bitcoins and this finite number has made some investors view Bitcoin in a similar way to gold (which is a finite resource). With the significant gains that the currency has made over the last few years, investors around the world have been buying and investing in bitcoin.

How to Invest in Bitcoin

Different countries have different ways of buying bitcoins and you need to understand the options available in your country before you can begin investing in Bitcoin. Developed countries have more options available and there is higher liquidity in these countries as well.

The simplest way to invest in bitcoin is to buy it from an established firm that buys and sells the cryptocurrency. You can buy from a company where it is even possible to set up auto-buy orders for bitcoins. These automatic buys generally do not give you a choice in the price you pay for the bitcoins. There are companies that operate across the world. There are also companies that pair potential bitcoin buyers and sellers with the exchange taking place offline. Alternatively, it is possible to trade in bitcoin on a bitcoin exchange. There is relatively high liquidity in the Bitcoin market with people always available to buy or sell. The price of bitcoin is set by what people are prepared to pay and is generally listed as the price of one bitcoin. However, sites often allow you to buy a set amount, even less than one bitcoin.

Before you invest in Bitcoin it is worthwhile to analyze charts and historical data. As Bitcoin is a global currency it is important to look at global politics and economics, as opposed to local issues, when considering how Bitcoin’s price will be affected. There are tools that can be used to analyze Bitcoin charts.

Investing in Bitcoin for the Average Person

 bitcoin

Bitcoin has many attractions, particularly its gain over the last few years. It gained more than 300% from 2011 to 2012 and in the last year it has gained around 400%. In the first half of 2014, venture capitalist companies made 57 million investments in Q1 and 73 million investments in Q2. However, bitcoin is a particularly volatile currency which can be inactive for long period of time and then swing up and down in short periods of time. Bitcoin cycles can last only a year or so, which is a much shorter timeframe than stocks. This volatility means that bitcoin may not be a suitable investment option for the average person.

Conclusion

Bitcoin has been around for less than a decade making it a new currency and new investment opportunity. Before you begin considering investing in Bitcoin it is important to understand how Bitcoin works, the impact that global politics and economics can have on Bitcoin and the impact that Bitcoin can have on the world.

Jun 26

Adventuring Advice

By NoManToYou | Life , Travel

When it comes time to head out for your Summer vacation or other trip, there are a number of factors to take into consideration to make for the smoothest trip possible. You don’t want to ruin your trip by forgetting to pack some essential or forgetting to book a hotel room, because the last thing you need during your break from the world is for the world to come crashing down on you unexpectedly. Here are some tips to make for the best possible vacation this Summer.

First and foremost, you’re going to want to book everything in advance. This means accomodations, transportations, events, rental cars, etc. Make sure your hotel room is secured as early as possible so you have all the time you may or may not need to cancel. Likewise for the other items on this list. You want to be sure everything is taken care of ahead of time, and you also want the maximum amount of time to able to cancel if your plans are forced to change.

When it comes to packing, it is of the utmost importance that you don’t forget the essentials. For starters, make sure you take your toiletries, such as toothpaste, your toothbrush, and deodorant. You’ll also need enough clothes for each day of the trip and some backups, just in case. You also want to make sure, absolutely sure, that you don’t leave behind your ID and passport, if needed. These items are of the kind you cannot afford to forget. Make sure you have enough money, both in card form and the form of cold, hard cash to suit every situation. If you’re in need of supplies, be it for adventuring or just around the house, stocking up at Sam’s Club is the right way to go. Buying in bulk will save you a ton.

travelling to iceland
Jun 20

The Ultimate Guide to Travelling to Iceland

By NoManToYou | Life , Travel

Iceland is one of the destinations that more and more people put on their bucket list each year. Tourism is booming thanks to long stopovers on flights from Europe to the United States and Canada. It’s become affordable in recent years too and finding a budget flight to the capital, Reykjavik, from major European cities is easier than ever. If you want to experience the rugged and unforgiving landscapes and soak in thermal baths, Iceland is a good destination for you. This Iceland travel guide describes everything you need to know about visiting the country.

Why Visit Iceland:

There are so many reasons to visit Iceland. You can spend the morning exploring the lava fields and then relax at the world famous Blue Lagoon. Some people will rent a car and take a road trip around the Ring Road, others visit the glaciers or go whale watching. The landscape is incredible and you’ll find opportunities for photographs around almost every corner.

In the summer time, you can see the midnight sun and have the freedom to go sightseeing at any time of the day. And, in the winter you can hope to see the Northern Lights. Lots of people travel to Iceland to specifically see the Northern Lights, but the country gets less than four hours of sunlight in the dead of winter. And the weather is more unpredictable. The best time to see the lights is sometime between February and March when there are about eight or nine hours of sunlight.

The Best Things to Do in Iceland:

This all depends on your personal preferences. Most tourists fly into Keflavik Airport and spend a few days in Reykjavik. The capital is small and feels more like a provincial town than the capital of one of the former wealthiest countries in Europe.

You can spend a day walking around the city and seeing its most famous landmark, Hallgrímskirkja Church. This is a giant Lutheran Church that dominates most of the skyline in Reykjavik. Another great thing to do in the capital is to walk around the lake. You can see swans and ducks, which makes a perfect photograph against the backdrop of the city.

If you have your own car, feel free to explore the surrounding areas and even drive up to the nearby town of Keflavik. This is a small town, well a village by non-Icelandic standards, with a beautiful lighthouse at the end of peninsular. Most people only come here when they arrive and depart. But, it’s also a charming little Icelandic town with lots of places to take a good photograph. When the weather is very clear, you can sometimes see the Snaefellsnes Glacier in the distance.

The Golden Circle:

Any visitor to Iceland, whether they’re self-driving or part of a tour, will do the Golden Circle. This is the most popular tourist route in the country and covers around 300 kilometers in a circular route from Reykjavik. The main stops include Thingvellir National Park, the Haukadalur Geothermal Area, and the Gullfoss Waterfall.

Thingvellir is a major historical and cultural region in Iceland and was the site of the first Icelandic parliament. The largest natural lake in the country is inside this national park. You can also see the Mid-Atlantic Ridge here, which is where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are slowly drifting apart. This area is about 40 kilometers from Reykjavik.

Haukadalur is the home to the very active geysers and is one of the most popular things to see in the whole country. A geyser erupts hot water and steam into the air like a volcano would. The most active and reliable is Strokkur and you can expect to see this eject its contents into the air every five to six minutes. As you get to the area, you’ll walk through the hot springs along a path between the bubbling mud. If you’re lucky, you may see some of the smaller ones erupt too, but these are rarer than Strokkur. This is a perfect place for a photograph and it’s quite common for tourists to take videos of this incredible natural phenomenon. A word of warning, the water is hot and the signs are there for a reason. Tourists who stray into the places where they shouldn’t can and do suffer burns.

The final stop on the Golden Circle is Gullfoss Waterfall. This is the largest and most beautiful waterfall in Iceland. You can hear it crashing down from miles away and when you get there, the site will take your breath away. It’s a perfect place to have a photograph. But, the rocks are slippery and it can be quite dangerous. Make sure you listen to the guides and follow the safety rules.

You can visit a number of other towns and attractions on this route too. This is especially the case if you have your own car, which gives you the freedom to explore. As you’re driving down the road, follow the brown signs to serendipitous attractions or simply pull over in the parking spaces for opportunistic photographs. It goes without saying that the summer months are a better time for this when you have 20 or more hours of daylight.

The Takeaway Message:

Iceland is a great destination to experience a world that’s far from what we’re familiar with back at home. If you have the chance, rent a car and explore the country. Or, spend a day or two in the capital and take the Golden Circle tour. One thing’s for certain, a trip to Iceland won’t disappoint.

JFK Airport
Jun 19

JFK Airport Transfer Made Easy With Blacklane

By NoManToYou | Travel

Nothing makes me happier than coming across a new app or an innovative company that makes my ongoing travels easier. I have to say, with Blacklane, I’ve landed on a really neat service that works straight out of a user-friendly app. It’s done wonders in terms of using my time more effectively while I travel but, more importantly, it’s given me a reliable airport transfer service that is unrivalled. When I’m travelling to busy airports like JFK in New York, I need something that’s going to get me from the airport and into the city quickly and comfortably. Blacklane does just that, and so much more. Here’s why.

Traveling to your NYC hotel from the airport can be a stressful feat, even for the most experienced traveler, which is why you need a JFK airport transfer service you can rely on. Luckily, with Blacklane’s service, you will be well on your way into the city in no-time. Your driver will be waiting for you at the arrivals gate with a personalized sign and they will even help you with your luggage! Talk about luxury. But, let me tell you more about what makes Blacklane stand out.

JFK Airport Transfer

Unlike other services like standard taxis and Uber, you’re never having to wait for a ride or even at risk of a driver refusing your request. With the nifty Blacklane app, you can book your ride much like you would any other typical appointment. You can choose the time of pick-up as well as the vehicle you prefer. Given that, all the control is in your hands and you aren’t at the helm of a driver who may or may not pick you up. Best part? They’re available in 236 airports worldwide, so you can find them in loads of cities outside of JFK.

Here’s a quick rundown of their perks:

  • No surge pricing
  • Professionally licensed drivers that will assist you with luggage
  • Modern and safe vehicles, which are also available in three car classes for your convenience
  • Three services to choose from including, full service airport transfer, hourly hires and, classic A to B trips

It’s also worth noting that Blacklane also has included a free hour of waiting time in case baggage claim and customs are taking a little longer than expected. In the same vein, if your flight is delayed, your driver will have a flight tracker on-hand to keep them informed of your delays. So, you won’t have to worry if you ever find yourself in a bind before you meet up with your driver. I appreciate how Blacklane has made comfort and peace-of-mind priorities for clients, as most other airport transfer services seem to lack entirely on this scale.

Blacklane is one of the most innovative airport service solutions out there. Navigating out of a chaotic airport can set off your trip on the wrong foot, but Blacklane eliminates any stress whatsoever. Next time you find yourself in JFK, or any of the 236 cities they service, give them a try!

Jun 09

Travel Tips for Los Cabos That You Should Know

By NoManToYou | Uncategorized

Most days are a sunny day at Los Cabos on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsular in Mexico. This makes it a perfect place to come to relax on the beach for a few days and to get involved with water sports. There are lots of things to do in this popular destination that ranges from snorkeling to fine dining and mountain biking in the desert and mountains. And it’s a good destination for travelers on any budget. Some people come here in luxury and stay in 5-star resorts or vacation rentals in Los Cabos whereas others are on a tighter budget in the guesthouses and hostels. It doesn’t matter what your budget is, you still need to stay safe and be savvy in this destination. Here are 10 essential tips to make your trip perfect.

1# Don’t Let Your Guard Down Too Much:

This may have a reputation for being one of the safest resorts in Mexico, but it still doesn’t mean that you can wave around your expensive gear. Pickpockets and petty theft are still common and someone is likely to snatch any valuables that you leave on the table. There may not be a high risk of being mugged at gunpoint, but you may have your camera stolen.

2# The Roads in Mexico are Very Different:

Driving is more erratic and less controlled in Mexico compared to the United States. A car may not stop to allow a pedestrian to cross or even show any regards for the safety of others. Sidewalks may be full of holes, which makes it dangerous to walk around. Take caution when you’re out walking and crossing the roads.

3# Don’t Drive in Mexico:

This point is related to the one above. If this is your first time visiting Mexico, then it’s safe to say that it’s probably not the best idea to rent a car. It may seem cheap and give you flexibility but you’re also a risk of being involved in an accident. You should also avoid driving unless you can speak Spanish at a reasonable level.

4# Avoid Drugs:

Cabo has a reputation for being a party capital of the region and it’s not uncommon for hordes of young Americans to come here for a good time. This is all well and good if you behave yourself and don’t get involved in things that you shouldn’t. Drugs are freely available and cheap in Mexico and it may seem like a good idea at the time. But trust me, it isn’t. Drug laws are draconian and police officers tend to be corrupt. Nothing good will come out of buying something from the dodgy character inside the bar.

5# The Pacific Ocean is Dangerous:

It may tempting to go for a dip in the Ocean when you’re relaxing on the beaches along the coast. You may be sat there watching surfers or others in rented boats and want to join them. Before you do, remember that the Pacific Ocean is volatile and has its fair share of riptides and rogue waves. Swimming can be dangerous for even the strongest of swimmers. And, the boats and equipment may not be in the best conditions, which increases your risk even more.

los cabos

Image from Pixabay

6# Don’t Get Ripped Off:

This tip is true for most destinations around the world and is particularly true for places in Mexico. When a vendor sees a gringo who can’t speak their language, more likely that not you’re going to get a higher price. This may be difficult to avoid as most prices aren’t fixed. However, you can protect yourself more by knowing what the going rates are and to be aware of the exchange rate. A few words of Spanish will help you along too.

7# The Sun is Your Enemy:

The sun is very hot in Los Cabos and sitting on the beach or being exposed for a short time can give you burns. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook sunscreen and protecting yourself when you first arrive. Always make sure you wear sunscreen. Another important thing to keep hydrated and drink plenty of water, especially if you’ve been sipping beers or cocktails all day.

8# Don’t Drink the Tap Water:

Hygiene in Mexico isn’t at the same level as in the United States or other countries. Drinking tap water can lead to diarrhea and stomach problems. You should drink bottled water and brush your teeth with something that has been purified too. It’s also worth pointing out that not all restaurants and bars use clean water. This can also lead to stomach problems.

9# Expect Vendors to Keep Bothering You:

The vendors want to make money and generally make a huge profit from selling to tourists. You’re no exception. If you don’t want anything, give them a polite no and walk away. Just because they keep following you and keep trying to sell you something, you’re not obliged to buy it.

10# Always Negotiate with a Taxi First:

This is another common sense tip that’s applicable to most countries. In Los Cabos, taxis don’t always use a meter. You should ask before getting inside and agree on a price first. It may seem obvious, but after a few drinks and being sat under the sun all day, it’s easy to forget.

The Takeaway Message:

While Los Cabos is a relatively safe place to visit in Mexico, you still need to protect yourself. After all, your perfect holiday can be ruined in a second by a little bit of carelessness.

 

 

mobile payments
May 23

What are some ways mobile payments will revolutionize your business?

By NoManToYou | Technology

Mobile payments are a new way that business owners are extending their reach. With a portable swipe machine, your business can easily be on the go, offering services with payments on-site or product delivery. There are many ways that going mobile can help your business to reach a wider audience of consumers and build a stronger bottom line. Read on to see how you can benefit.

Branching Out

Depending on the type of business you operate, you will find that mobile payments will be of benefit by allowing you to branch out with your product or service offering. Consider a company that offers food delivery service. In the past, deliveries would require cash payment on site or check. With a portable card reader, your delivery personnel can take credit or debit card payments. This opens up your business to more customers as consumers in today’s society pay more with plastic than cash money.

Events

A great way to open up your business to new markets is to take part in events or conventions. A free credit card machine reader allows you to take your business on the go. Gone are the days when a traditional card reader has to be lugged around and connected to a cash register. Simply use the mobile option to be able to provide a method of payment for customers. Easily keep track of sales information and be paid quickly when using such options as the mobile credit card payment solutions from Merchant Account Solutions.

At Merchant Account Solutions, business owners have access to a mobile credit card processor, helping to assist with quick and simple payment methods for your customers. One option is to use an iPhone or iPad to install the SmartSwipe mobile card reader. This turns your mobile device into a debit or credit terminal. Have access to signature capture, tip functions, tax calculator, text and email receipts and more.

By integrating mobile solutions into your business, you have yet another level of service to provide your customers which means even more business for you!

Apr 24

5 Travel Tips From The Road

By NoManToYou | Life , Technology , Travel

Planning your next trip and looking for some advice?

Maybe you have traveled before, be it for holidays, business or a long term trip. Having the best knowledge to manage your trip well and to help you enjoy all of the experiences along the way is important when setting out. Having traveled, I have put together five tips to help you with your travels.

  1. Be an early riser

Wake up for sunrise to have the best locations and views all to yourself. Sunrise is a spectacular time for snapping some photos due to the unique light. Higher risk or “dodgy” areas are also less threatening in the morning times too. If you’re on a long term trip, then having some time to yourself can be a nice way to appreciate life, free from distractions.

  1. Have some humility

In years to come, you will look back on your travels and remember all of the times when you felt like you looked like a fool. When you’re in a new place with different languages and traditions, it’s very easy to feel vulnerable or silly for not knowing something or doing something in a different way. But don’t get embarrassed, just laugh at yourself and take a deep breath. Don’t fear failure and remember to empathise with peoples customs.

  1. Extra cash is king!

All over the world, cash is still king. In the event of an emergency, stashing some cash in multiple places is a good idea just to cover yourself. I would suggest a couple hundred pound/dollars/euros worth at least. That way, if you do happen to lose your wallet, if your debit/credit card stops functioning, or if ATMs actually run out of cash, you’ll be safe as you will have your stash!

Examples of places to stash your extra cash would be under shoe insoles, in your socks, in a toiletry bag, or in a secret compartment in your bag.

  1. Meet Local People

Many places will be full of travelers, depending where you go and what the purpose of your trip is. You should make it your business to avoid fellow travelers for some of your trip and strike up conversations with the local people. Generally, basic English is the language of world. So relax, it is much easier to communicate than you may have thought, especially combining body language and tone of voice.

The locals may teach you a traditional cooking method or some unique music. The people you meet will enrich your travels much more than sights will.

  1. Patience is a virtue

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Whatever is thrown at you, life is too short to be annoyed or frustrated for any longer than a minute!

Miss your bus or train? Not to worry, there will be another one shortly.

Wifi goes down for an hour? Great! Talk to a human being or take an unplanned trip over to closest village and look around. Have patience.

The bottom line is

You will figure it all out as you go. Stuff will happen, your direction might change. That’s life.

cards and alcohol
Apr 15

3 More Travel Scams (How To Avoid Them)

By NoManToYou | Application , Life , Travel

Be vigilant again!

In a previous article we touched on three of the many scams that you may encounter on your travels, from taking a ride in a cab to using your gadgets on public wifi. Below, there are three further scams to watch out for and how to avoid them:

  1. A closed attraction

This travel scam is common among major tourist locations. A random “friendly” local (who probably also speaks very good English) approaches you, informing you that the attraction you were looking to visit is actually closed, for any possible reasons (e.g. religious, national holiday). They will then happily guide or bring you to a different shop or attraction where you will be pressured into buying something or pay over the top for entry.

Avoid it:

Visit the ticket office or shop front and find out for yourself if it is closed! Alternatively, you could ask a local who is willing to help.

  1. The group photo offer

At a busy tourist attraction or landmark, a local will offer you to take a big group photo with your friends. As soon as you start getting ready for the shot, you look up to discover that your new photographer friend has completely vanished, along with the expensive smart phone or camera.

Avoid it:

This is a tricky one to judge, you really need to analyse the situation well. Busy attractions in cities are typically the most risky of places for this scam. If you really need to, ask a fellow tourist to take the photo and exchange the favour.

  1. Motorbike/scooter rental damage

You rent out a scooter or motorbike. It seems to get damaged overnight, or worse again it gets stolen!

The owner demands additional payment or tells you that repairing it will be expensive and wants compensation. But what you didn’t realise is that it the owner or his associates was the bike thief.

Avoid it:

Get out your phone and take some photos of the motorbike first to document any previously visible damage. Buy your own lock to use, don’t use one provided by that rental person (who may really have the spare keys for it!). If possible, don’t tell the rental company where you’re staying and please also inspect that there is a secure place for parking the motorbike overnight.

More to come

As with my previous three scams and how to avoid them, it really is down to being vigilant and aware of the pitfalls of being goods and services in foreign places. Having your wits about you is key, so try to be of sound mind when you do go to buy something or ask for advice on something. Being under the influence gives scam artists the upper hand to take advantage of you, especially if it is night time and where running off could be a very easy option for them. If you haven’t already done so, check out my other article on 3 Travel Scams (And How To Avoid Them)

atm machine
Apr 09

3 Travel Scams (And How To Avoid Them)

By NoManToYou | Uncategorized

Be vigilant!

No matter where you go in the world, there will be shady characters and pool looking to make a quick buck!

The best way to avoid and scams and chambers is to know what to look out for.

Taking advantage of gullible tourists is big business! If you aren’t careful, you could become the victim.

It’s easy to think that as a traveler, you are smart enough to avoid being scammed. Truth be told, it being scammed happens to the best of us.

Whether it’s being ridiculously overcharged on taxi rides to mistakenly revealing your credit card information to a potential scam artist, knowing what scams exist is a good starting point.

There are lots of different scams but I have just mentioned five below to help you avoid losing any money and keeping you safe.

  1. The broken meter in your taxi

For this scam, cab/taxi drivers on airport and train station routes are often known to try this. But it can indeed happen anywhere. After getting into the taxi and the driver starts to drive, they will tell you that their meter is broken and try to charge you a ridiculous fare (this can in sky high if you aren;t careful so watch out for this scam!).

Avoiding it:

You should negotiate your rate before you drive off, or at least ensure that the driver’s meter is actually working before you hop into the car. If they refuse to turn on their meter, or tries to tell you that it is cheaper without using the meter, then hop out and get another driver.

  1. Closed or overbooked hotel

Again, this travel scam usually happens with taxi drivers. En route to your accommodation, your driver will try to tell you that the hotel you staying at is closed or over-booked and conveniently offer to bring you to a hotel that is more expensive, where they will of course receive a nice commission!

Avoiding it:

Give your hotel a call in advance to sure that they are open. Ask them if they offer a shuttle service from the airport and then arrange a pickup. If your driver still maintains that your hotel isn’t available, insist that he takes you anyway.

  1. Fake WiFi Hubs

While WiFi can be found almost anywhere today, some free unlocked connections might actually be dangerous. Hackers can set up unsecured wifi hotspots in public locations that entice unsuspecting tourists to eagerly connect into — giving the scammer access to your device, pass codes and online accounts etc.

Avoiding it:

Always ask for the official wifi connection and password in the hotel, coffee shop or airport. Sometimes this is written on the wall, on the menu or on the receipt. To give yourself some security, try encrypting all of your activity online using a virtual private network (VPN).

More to come

These are just a taster of the scams out there. The main thing is to watch out for suspicious behaviour, especially involving money. Be vigilant and trust your gut instinct.

apps for travel
Mar 22

7 Useful Travel Tips For First Time Travellers

By NoManToYou | Technology , Travel

Have you decided to take the leap and go travelling for the first time?

Fo many, this is a daunting prospect and may involve quitting your job or taking unpaid extended leave. Leaving a job, family and friends behind you is by no means an easy thing to do but once you bite the bullet and book your first flight you’ll be well on your way to a more exciting appreciative life as you venture through he world. For your first trip, knowing what to pack and what not to pack is a big dilemma.

You’ll find as you go through your travels that you will often unload clothes and/or non essentials, maybe selling them or donating them to save space and weight for your rucksack.
Having the correct information about local visas, currencies, taxes, transport and accommodation are so important as well or you might find yourself overwhelmed.

I’ve put together a checklist of seven useful tips for the newbie traveller below. These are a solid foundation to get you started on your way.

7 useful tips for first time travellers

1. Get your passport in order
Having your passport well in date is a simple but very often overlooked thing to do before you go jet setting. It’s easy to forget when your passport expires and if you do not use it frequently, you might have no reason to check that the date doesn’t expire soon! The last thing you want is to discover on the day of your flight that your passport just expired. Also, when you are on your trip make sure to check the date before you intend to book a flight home, as you may be gone on a long term trip so have forgotten about your passport altogether.

2. Get your phone sorted out
You might think that keeping your current phone plan and phone is a good idea but with roaming charges and signal issues, you are probably better of starting from scratch with a local option. This all depends on where you ware visiting and for how long. Be sensible, don’t go spending a fortune on a new top of the range smart phone for the sake of a month trip!
There are great plans available for sim cards and basic phones too. After all, you don’t want to be on your phone 24/7 while you travel. That kind of defeats the purpose of experiencing travel in its best form.

3. Don’t go somewhere too remote or crazy
If you are traveling solo, maybe go somewhere that is well known and reviewed enough online. Talk to other who have gone to where you want to go. Keep an eye on local current affairs and laws etc. Some countries have laws that you might deem as crazy but which is normal practise to them. Do your research and learn as mush as you can about the pitfalls and challenges of your destination. There are numerous offline and online guides, books and blogs that can help you to understand your trip better, from foods and vaccines to visas and crime issues.

4. Get the right luggage gear
Bring a good quality comfortable backpack and/or small gadget bag if you are bringing a camera, tablet or laptop. There are loads of great bags out there online and many of the travel and outdoor-adventure shops stock great options. Remember you want to pack lightly and try to use a strict “in or out” policy with yourself. In addition to having the right bags or cases, you should have some locks and name tags to identify and protect your baggage on the road, or when you have to wait at the luggage collection belt.

5. Travel insurance (belongings and health cover)
Depending on where you are going, there are varying degrees of local safety theft and crime and general health risks that may be more evident in certain parts of the country or region you are visiting. Having a good insurance plan is crucial, no matter what length of time you plan to go for. If you will be taking part in outdoor / adventure activities then you should make sure that you have the best insurance cover to cater for these, as some companies and policies won’t cover certain activities.

6. Make digital backups
Make a digital copy of your passport, drivers license, itinerary, flights, boarding passes and insurance information. Also, make a digital copy of any required visas you may need. You never know, you might lose your paper documents, your luggage could go missing in transit or worse again it could get stolen, leaving you without important documents. Before you leave, make a copy of whatever you can and put them on a password protected USB key and also create a password protected Dropbox or Google Drive folder with eh digital copies in them. That way, you can access them from any computer online or with your USB key.

7. Be open to staying in hostels
Staying in hostels is one of the best ways to meet other backpackers and travellers on your journey. There are too many great hostels around the world, it just depends on where you are going and what your likes and budgets are. Beware though, that hostels are basic in nature and also that you may end up sharing a random bunk bed or share in a 16 bed dorm room! This is normal. Hostels are cheap and great fun and most of them have solid wifi access.

To wrap up
• Travel lightly and protect your luggage
• Stay where your budget will permit, hostels and camping are great options for low budgets
• Back up your documents to a USB key and some cloud storage service
• Check that passport well before you book a flight and actually fly
• Do your research and don’t go anywhere too crazy or off the beaten track
• Buy a local phone or sim plan (depending on your trip’s length)
• Get yourself insured and any valuable gadgets too.

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