Tag Archives: asia

Free! Travel Information Delivered To Your Door!

The internet is an incredible free source of destination information, but it can’t quite match the thrill of receiving a whole envelope full of free glossy brochures of beautiful people streched out before vistas of azure oceans. Here are two great sources of free travel information delivered to your door; one defintely useful, the perhaps somewhat other less so.

Travel BrochuresLet’s start with the best. Tourism authorities are a fantastic and often-overlooked source of travel information – particularly for decent free maps and basic info with lots of glossy pictures. ANTOR’s* represents 48 official tourism authorities (including the Australian State authorities) and the destination info page provides (along side some basic travel info) the URL, email address and contact details for all of them. If you’re interested in any major destination for Australian travellers it will be listed. Simply email the relevant authority with your address, rough dates of travel and as far as possible the specific regions or cities you’re interested in and wait for the postie everyday for a week or so! No substitute for a good guidebook or your own research but generally there will be at least a couple of genuinely useful items in the material sent.

TravelBrochures.com.au and TravelBrochures.SMH.com.au are another clearing house for free travel information, although arguably of a must less useful nature. These sites allow to order free tour company brochures, some of which are available in digital (tree-saving) format. All the majors are available as well as a few smaller operators – useful if you wish to compare tours from a number of companies or can’t get to a travel agent. Of course some major operators now send out (often unintenionally comical) DVDs as as a bonus! Be warned, however, apart from ending up on a tour (which may or may not be a bad thing in itself…), you are likely to end up on a mailing list of the tour companies from which it may be difficult to extract yourself!

*(Association of National Tourist Office Representatives in Australasia)

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[Image by Classroom III]

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Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web (13th of May)

Travel Tips of the Week

John Flinn, SF Gate: Travel Light Means Fewer Clothes, Wash Your Own

A great guide to washing clothes quickly with only a sink.

General

For everyone determined to make the most of their holiday time Bootsnall has five destinations where the summer sun just don’t set (literally).

Bravenewtraveler has some suggestions for avoiding getting lost in a new city.

Wired’s How To Wiki has an excellent guide to buying a digital camera.

Matador has some tips for visiting indigenous peoples.

The Americas

Intelligent Travel has some tips for finding the authentic Flushing in Queens, New York. The Guardian has some tips for free things to do in New York.

SFGate has a guide to LCC’s in Mexico.

Europe

Eurocheapo has some cheap places to see Michelangelo’s work in Florence, including the sadly overlooked Bargello. In Krakow they suggest five free things to do and for good measure they have five great places for a picnic in Paris.

Coach travel in Europe can be a more economical alternatives to the fabled Eurorail pass. itravelnet rounds up the low coast bus services in Europe and surveys European bus passes.

The Guardian has a guide to the Isle of Man. Ask a Local on High Culture on a Low Budget features Mike from London.

Nick Trend in The Telegraph claims to list Venice’s top ten budget (well less than £130 a night) hotels.

With the Champions League final around the corner The Guardian has some suggestions for Moscow.

Rick Steves has a very entertaining audio discussions about Rome and Istanbul.

Asia

9000 Hours in Saigon has a guide to Vietnamese titles

Frommers has an audio guide to South Korea with Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee, author of Frommer’s South Korea.

MSNBC has some tips for first time visitors to India.

Thailand is pretty cheap to begin with, but Budgettravelguide has some tips for making it even cheaper.

Travel Blogging – is that thing still around? has some tips for dealing with Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Stuff.co.nz has some tips for seeing Singapore with children.

Africa

Frommers.com Podcast discusses Namibia.

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[Sunset in Iceland by Deivis, Coach image by orisfrancesco.com, NAIA image via alexyra]

How to Take Money Overseas – A Comparison of Some of the Options

KipI’m possibly the last person in the world I would take financial advice from, but I can be as miserly as anyone when I resent paying for something. Excessive and avoidable charges for accessing and converting money are something I resent. A lot.

This post is my attempt to make sense of the options for taking money overseas. In particular, I’ve done my best to extract the fees, charges and other limitations of pre-paid debit cards; the electronic traveller’s cheque replacements which seem to have become almost the most popular means for converting and accessing travel funds.

Traveller’s cheques had a kind of simple elegence – you were screwed on commission when you bought them and you were screwed on commission when you sold them, and if you were unwary or unlucky you were screwed on the exchange rate in between. Their electronic counterparts, however, exchange elegance for the Artful Dodger’s approach of taking a little here and a little there. Damn useful in some situations but they can quickly become a very expensive means of accessing money if your not aware of the fees and charges.

One caveat – this information is for comparative and illustrative purposes only – check with the provider, read brochure, and the PDS and the terms and conditions before purchase. Heck, see a financial advisor.

Pre-Paid Debit Cards

The popularity of pre-paid debit cards marketed to travellers has exploded in the last few years.

Pre-paid debit cards have a number of benefits, they’re as easy to use as an ordinary ATM or Credit Card (and as widely accepted), they allow you ‘lock-in’ currency conversions, can be replaced if lost or stolen, allow you specify a travel ‘budget’ and allow you to more easily track your spending and (as they are not linked to a bank account) they can be used with greater peace of mind.

However all of these features can come at a significant cost – the cards typically charge an initial fee and fees for reloads, charge significant transaction fees and high conversion fees (particularly if you use them to withdraw or purchase goods in a currency other than the denominated currency – Thai Baht or Singapore Dollars for example), you earn no interest on the cash and, the kicker,after the expirary date (typically three years) you will generally forfeit any remaining balance. Below I’ve attempted to lay out for comparison the most important feature, fees and charges for the major Australian options, as well as some other options worth considering for taking cash overseas.

Travelex Cash Passport

Cash Passport Debit Card Product Disclosure Document

Details

Network

Visa/PLUS

Available From

Travelex, Australia Post, NAB and various travel agents

Currencies

Euros, Pounds, US dollars, Australian dollars and NZ dollars

Can Be Used At

Two varieties

  • ATM only – withdrawal at VISA ATMs
  • Debit Card – pay at VISA merchants and withdrawal at VISA ATMs

Reloading

  • Via Internet/Phone banking. Online Card balances, ATM location information and capacity make changes to your PIN.

Expirary

An expiry date is printed on the front of the card. The Card cannot be used after it has expired. Three months of the expiry date any remaining balance will be forfeited.

Closing the Account

You can download a Cashout form and request the balance be refunded to your bank account. An administrative fee applies

Australia Post: Full withdrawal and closing of your Cash Passport fund – AUD 10.00

Loss of Card(s)

If both cards are lost or stolen, Travelex can arrange for replacement cards to be made available, and if necessary initiate the procedure for disputing unauthorised transactions.

Travelex can also arrange for emergency funds to be made available, up to the balance of your card, to be sent to you via our global money transfer network free of charge (generally within 20 minutes but up to 24 hours in more remote locations).

Other Matters

24 hour Global Emergency Assistance

Free second back-up card

Fees

Set-up Fees

Initial card fees and in-store reload fee charges apply and vary by Agent. Generally around 1% but there may be a minimum.

At Australia Post: 1.1% for AUD$ denominated cards ONLY

Monthly fee after 12 months of inactivity

· AUD 4.00

· USD 2.00

· GBP 1.50

· EUR 2.00

ATM Withdrawal Fees

· AUD card – AUD 3.75

· USD card – USD 2.25

· GBP card – GBP 1.50

· EUR card – EURO 2.20

EFTPOS Transaction Fee

Free

Exchange Rate (for withdrawals in currencies other than the card currency)

The exchange rate used for the conversion varies each day and will include a foreign exchange margin of 5.95%, set by Travelex

Limits

Minimum Balance

· AUD 250

· USD 200

· GBP 100

· EUR 100

Maximum Balance

· AUD 25,000

· USD 20,000

· GBP 10,000

· EUR 15,000

Maximum amount you can withdraw in 24 hours

· AUD 6,000

· USD 5,000

· GBP 2,500

· EUR 3,500

ATM withdrawal limit
$1,400

$1,400

ANZ Travel Card

Product Disclosure Statement and Financial Services Guide

Details

Network

VISA/PLUS

Available From

ANZ branches and Foreign Exchange Centres including Melbourne and Sydney Airports).

Currencies

· United States Dollar (USD)

· Euro (EUR)

· Great British Pound (GBP)

· New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

Can Be Used At

You can use your ANZ Travel Card to withdraw cash from ATMs or make purchases wherever Visa is accepted electronically.

Reloading

Reloadable in Australia or while overseas using BPAY

Reload fee: 1.1% of value purchased

Maximum reload per day by BPAY® or Foreign Exchange Centre: AUD 10,000

Maximum number of value loads per day : Two

Expirary

The card is reusable and valid for up to 3 years. Any funds left over, 12 months after the ANZ Travel Card has expired, will be forfeited.

Closing the Account

Loss of Card(s)

Overseas Card Replacement Fee (where you lose your card(s) and require
replacement): AUD 35.00

Other Matters

Balance enquiries free.

Maximum Initial Load

  • NZD Card – NZD 250
  • USD 200
  • GBP 100
  • EUR 150

24 hour Purchase Transaction Limit

  • NZD 5000
  • USD 3600
  • GBP 2000
  • EUT 3000

PIN can be changed Online or by phone

Online access to your balance and transaction history online or by telephone

Fees

Set-up Fees

AUD 11.00

Monthly fee after 12 months of inactivity

· USD Card – USD 3.00

· GBP Card – GBP 1.50

· EUR Card – EUR 2.50

· NZD Card – NZD 4.00

ATM Withdrawal Fees

· USD Card – USD 2.20

· GBP Card – GBP 1.25

· EUR Card – EUR 2.10

· NZD Card – NZD 3.50

EFTPOS Transaction Fee

No transaction fee when you use your card to make purchases (eg. in-store or online).

Exchange Rate (for withdrawals/purchases in currencies other than the card currency)

Will depend on the Visa exchange rate on the day of the transaction, i.e. between your card’s currency and the local currency. However the fees will not differ and no additional currency conversion fee will apply.

Limits

Minimum Balance

None specified

Maximum Balance

· NZD Card – NZD$20,000

· USD Card – USD $15,000

· GBP Card – £8,000

· EUR – €12,000

Maximum amount you can withdraw in 24 hours

· NZD 2500

· USD 1800

· GBP 1000

· EUR 1500

ATM withdrawal limit

None specified

Commonwealth Traveller’s Cash

Brochure

Details

Network

Mastercard / Cirrius

Available From

Any Commonwealth Bank customer registered for NetBank, and with an active statement account, can purchase a Traveller’s Cash card online.

Non-Commonwealth customers can buy Traveller’s Cash over the counter at 20 select Commonwealth Bank branches around the country with 100 points of identification.

Currencies

US Dollars (USD)

Euros (EUR)

Pounds Sterling (GBP)

Canadian Dollars (CAD) *Only available in participating branches

New Zealand Dollars (NZD) *Only available in participating branches

Australian Dollars (AUD

Can Be Used At

The Traveller’s Cash card is a Cirrus card that can be used to withdraw cash from Cirrus ATMs.

Reloading

You can top up your card online. An online credit card payment surcharge may apply. Alternatively, you can top-up at one of the Commonwealth Bank’s traveller’s cash branches.

Fee: 1% subject to $AUD10 minimum and $AUD100 maximum

Expirary

No details provided

Closing the Account

Online withdrawal and closure – AUD$4 each

Loss of Card(s)

If you lose all of your cards, we can arrange for an Emergency Cash Advance to be issued to you anywhere in the world through the MasterCard network.

Other Matters

ATM balance enquiry fee

· AUD Card – AUD$0.75

· USD Card – USD$0.50

· GBP Card – £0.25

· EUR Card – €0.50

· NZD Card – NZD$0.85

· CAD Card – CAD$0.65

(Three free balance enquiries at Commonwealth Bank ATMS)

Maximum number of ATM transactions per day (including balance enquiries): Three

You can only change your PIN at one of the Commonwealth Bank’s traveller’s cash branches. Fees for changing PIN:

· AUD Card – A$1.50 each

· USD Card –

· USD$1.00 each

· GBP Card – £0.50 each

· Eur Card – €1.00 each

· NZD Card – NZD$1.70

· CAD Card – CAD$1.30

You receive two cards when you purchase Traveller’s Cash and you can buy up to two additional cards.

Online credit card payment surcharge: 0.95% of AUD load amount plus card issuance or reload fee

Overdrawan accounts attract debit interest fee equal to the Commonwealth Bank Streamline Overdraft Rate

Emergency Cash Advance available (fees plus 1.1% conversion fee applies)

Fees

Set-up Fees

1% subject to $AUD10 minimum and $AUD100 maximum

Monthly fee after 12 months of inactivity

Nil

ATM Withdrawal Fees

· AUD Card – AUD$3.75

· USD Card – USD$2.75

· GBP Card – £1.50

· EUR Card – €2.50

· NZD Card – NZD$4.25

· CAD Card – CAD$3.25

(Three free withdrawals at Commonwealth ATMs)

EFTPOS Transaction Fee

N/A

Exchange Rate (for withdrawals in currencies other than the card currency)

Up to 2% on top of the wholesale spot rate at time withdrawal is processed by MasterCard International

Limits

Minimum Balance

· AUD Card – AUD$200

· USD Card – USD$150

· GBP Card – £100

· EUR Card – €150

· NZD Card – NZD$300

· CAD Card – CAD$200

Maximum Balance

· AUD Card – AUD$25,000

· USD Card – USD$18,000

· GBP Card – £10,000

· EUR Card – €15,000

· NZD Card – NZD$30,000

· CAD Card – CAD$20,000

Maximum amount you can withdraw in 24 hours

· AUD Card – AUD$2,500

· USD Card – USD$1,800

· GBP Card – £1,000

· EUR Card – €1,500

· NZD Card – NZD$2,500

· CAD Card – CAD$2,000

ATM withdrawal limit

Set by local ATM provider

Regular Debit Cards

The regular debit card you carry around every day may be much better deal than these pre-paid debit cards. Most ordinary debit cards issued by Australian banks will be accepted by ATMS overseas overseas – check your card for a logo of one of the major global ATM networks PLUS or Cirrus. If you cannot find the logo (usually located on the back of the card) ask your bank or credit union about where your card can be used overseas.

Then use this search engine on VISA’s website to locate ATMs that form part of the PLUS network, while ATMS that will accept Cirrus cards can be located via Mastercard’s site.

Find out what fees your bank levies for overseas withdrawals (generally there will be both a flat withdrawal fee and a currency conversion fee) and consider shopping around for a secondary account specifically to access from overseas. Even with these fees it may be well be cheaper than a pre-paid option.

Always inform your bank that you will be travelling, even consider giving them a copy of your itinerary, to prevent your account being frozen because of unusual overseas transactions.

If you’re a Westpac customer make sure you’re aware of the Global ATM Alliance which allows you to withdraw cash free of withdrawal fees at several overseas banks including Barclays, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank.

Beware of:

  • withdrawal fees which may be has high as $4.50 per withdrawal
  • (excessive) conversion fees
  • daily transaction limits
  • compatability (make sure the card will work before you leave)
  • relying on any single card exclusively
  • spending more than you intend to.

Other Options

Credit cards can be an excellent option for overseas purchases, but beware of fees especially for cash advances (even for pre-loaded credit). The Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard is one credit card that is has some benefits especially for travellers. It offers no fees for cash advances, no fees for overseas purchases and no annual fee. The major drawback appears to be a substantial interest rate.

Travellers cheques aren’t dead yet, particularly if you’re off to Cuba, Burma, Iran or North Korea or far beyond civilization. Even for less adventurous travellers these can still be a good deal, at least as backup. You can purchase them commission-free (offered by Australian Post Offices), although the conversion rate may not be ideal. I have previously read that Australia Post will cash unused cheques commission free, if you return them with a reciept, however there is no mention of this on their website so check before you purchase.

Finally, it’s always worth having even a small amount of local currency on hand when you arrive, although purchasing it before you reach the airport from a bank or post-office (and shopping around for the best rate, including fees and commissions) is definitely recommended. Plus nothing screams “Holiday!” like a handful of exotic notes to pour over.

If you have any comments, experiences or corrections, please let me know in the comments.

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Vote ‘n Drive Thailand

Laughing

The Bangkok Post is seeking nomiations for the ‘nine best destinations in Thailand‘ – ‘Thais consider the number 9 to be particularly lucky. So, in February of 2009, only the 9 candidates which receive the highest number of votes will make it onto the list of places that every traveller must visit before they can truthfully claim to have seen the very best of Thailand’. While the list might be a long way from completion, in the meantime registered users can access a slew of free road maps for short tours from all across Thailand.

Road map

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Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web (26th of April)

Travel Tips of the Week

Gadling: Big in Japan: 5 mistakes made by first-timers in Japan

In a country where using the word “no” displays ‘as much social grace as a bovine’ and “toilet slippers” should be kept out of the kitchen some cultural tips come in handy.

General

ContikiNational Geographic has a list of the world’s top guided tours. Continki gets nary a mention.

Patronising quote of the week goes to Flight Centre’s marketing manager in The Age’s tips for using budget airlines to get around the place:

“We have people who have spent time on the internet to put their own itineraries together, and then come in to talk to our agents,” Bowman says. “That’s when the agent might say, ‘Are you aware that flight to London goes in to Luton and not Heathrow?’ The response is usually, ‘So what does that mean?’

“That’s when we need to explain all the details that the customer has not found on the internet.”

In our experience workaday wage slaves simply LOVE receiving bulk emails from you gloating about the simply wonderful time you’re having in exotic climes. If that hasn’t been you’re experience Traveler’s Notebook has some tips for writing emails the folks at home will actually want to read.

Intelligent Traveler has a guide to guides; five tips on how to pick a guidebook. Vagabondish goes one better with four alternatives to let you dispense with the darned things for good.

MSNBC makes taking children on a plane trip sound a marginally less complex operation than Dunkirk, while the Perrin Post has the Top Ten Toyless Ways to Occupy Kids on Planes without alcohol OR Prozac.

‘To have tasty and nutritious food on board, and be the envy of your fellow passengers, you need to bring your own. With advance planning, you can eat like a King or Queen on the plane.’ How to eat well at 30,000 feet via Beat of Hawaii featuring lots of Tupperware.

James Wysong has some tips for navigating customs: no fruit, no jokes, no phones and no porn are apparently the secret to avoiding being patted by down by your friendly neighbourhood customs officer. Hardly seems worth it.

Vagabondish has 12 clever and creative uses for a digital camera on the road.

The Americas

TorontoThe Times recommends six destinations in the United States, while Intelligent Travel has an excellent guide to taking teens to NYC. 10 free things to do in LA from Frommer’s.

Toronto is oft-overlooked even by travellers to Canada. Peter Greenfield has an introduction to its lesser known attractions.

Get closer to nature with five gems for the eco-tourist in Costa Rica.

Europe

The New York Times spends 36 hours in Naples where incredible history, garbage and toxic mozzarella meet.

About.com has a list of the five worst wookie rookie France travel mistakes. You’ll feel like Captain Cook with PeterGreenberg’s secret spots in Paris and The Times Undiscovered France: Poitiers. Alexander Lobrano reckons it’s possible to eat well in Paris. We remain unconvinced.

KrakowThe Guardian’s Blog by Blog section has some really interesting and unusual tips for things to do in London

The Telegraph has published a Madrid city guide, and claims to have a list of Madrid’s best budget hotels (£44+). To get there the Independent has some tips on tourist trains in Spain.

Eurocheapo has five free things to do in Krakow.

Whether or not to get a Eurorail pass can be a difficult business, here are some tips as to when it is likely to represent a decent deal.

YogaAsia

Business Week (of all places) has a list of India’s top five yoga centres.

Seth Mydans has some tips for Singapore hawker fare, street food heaven.

Viator has some tips for Kuala Lumpur.

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[Contiki image via Glenn Ross on Flickr, Toronto image via Photofusion on Flickr, Krakow image via astilly on Flickr, yoga image via premasagar on Flickr]

Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web (19th of April)

Travel Tips of the Week

Tony Robinson’s Ten best train trips in BritainWestern Highlands Railway

Tony Robinson – Baldrick in Blackadder, host of Time Team, History’s Worst Jobs amongst many other great TV gigs – is a man in whom I live in awe. A train-nut, he shared his 10 favorite rail journeys in Britain with the Telegraph. A welcome reminder that Britain, despite it’s frequently disparaged rail services, has some of the most evocative (and most overlooked) rail journeys in the world. Is there anything this man cannot do?

General

‘Don’t hesitate, vaccinate’! Stress less about malaria and worry more about dehydration. Give those anti-malarials a run before you leave to roadtest side-effects. All this and more in MSNBC’s10 health pitfalls to avoid while travelling.

Vertigo Bar, Bangkok

Forbes Traveller counts down its list of the world’s sexiest rooftop bars. Because alcohol and great heights really do mix.

Luxury trains – who needs em? The Man in Seat 61 explains how the journeys on five luxury trains can be replicated on regular services for a fraction of the price.

MSNBC’s 5 common ticket screw-ups travellers make’ could be summed up in one: ‘don’t be stupid’. Read these tips and be stupid in your own original ways.

Get all zen with Bravenewtraveler which reckons travelling solo can teach you ten things about yourself. One thing it can occaisionally teach is how much you miss home, but Vaggabonding has five tips for dealing with homesickness. When you do head home, whether out of choice or necessity, bravenewtraveler has some tips for reconnecting with friends when you get home.

Luxury biking tours? I remain unconvinced by MSNBC claims to have tracked down ten of the best.Vespa

Betta getta Vespa – Rome by Vespa is one of the Guardian’s five best quirky city tours.

Free stuff always catches my eye and The Broke Vacationer has no less than 100 ways to get free stuff while travelling.

I spy with my little eye five games to pass the time while travelling at Vagabondish.

Africa

Reading Body in Motion’s 10 Things You Should Know Before Coming to Africa will guarantee you suffer no culture shock when arriving at Lagos airport. Okay, it may help. A little bit.

The Americas

Discover your inner Mickey – Fodor’s has 15 Tips for enjoying Disney at any age and Smartertravel will help you get around Disney World. The Telegraph has some budget (well sub £140 a night) hotel advice, while you’re there here are some New York recommendations from National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel.

Canada means Hockey and World Hum has some interesting and useful cultural background for neophytes (like me) interested in checking out a game.

Europe

The Crancky Flier gives the run-down on Heathrow’s new T5: would you be surprised if phrases such as ‘poor customer service’, ‘Someone tried to get way too clever’. ‘stupid’ and ‘Indifferent’ featured prominently? If not the conclusion ‘adequate but nothing more’ might even come as a pleasent surprise.

‘For a low-cost airline, AirBerlin’s service was very pleasant and efficient’ – Europestring.com enjoys a trip on German cheapie Air Berlin.

Even more free stuff to do in London from National Geographic and Europcheapo, while two contributors to The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget suggest Prague and Naples for Euro cheap eats and Belgrade for the best value nightlife in an interview with Budget Travel

Ian Walsh from the New York Times, recommends walking Rome by night. The article is accompanied with a map of a suggested route from Piazza Venezia to Lago Argentia with embedded audio commentry. HighCultureLowBudget’s regular ‘Ask A Local’ feature is off to Firenze this week with Florentine Katie who can make 10 euro go a long way.

The Guardian has posted an audio guide tracing the May 1968 Paris student protests, while the Flyaway Weblog suggests twenty ways to explore Paris like a local.

The Times has an extensive guide to Vilinus and The Chicago Tribune has some tips for Athens.

Asia

BoracayLet’s Go Phillipines lists some budget hotel options in Boracay.

Budget Travel will get you started if you’re planning a trip to China, and The Telegraph has a feature on Beijing; ‘it’s grim to look at and as grey as a Mao suit, its climate is generally awful, it’s built on the most inhuman scale imaginable…’. Arthur Frommer writes that Ctrip is the only place to purchase tickets to or in China.

Flaway has some brief recommendations for eating cheaply and well in Phuket and Khao Lak. Shopping in Bangkok? I didn’t know such a thing existed. Travelling Blogger set me right. Mike Smith meets mummified monk of Khao Samui.

VietnaminFocus tackles when to visit Vietnam. August to March comes a close second to anytime, while Vietnam Travel Focus suggests beating the heat in Hanoi at The Army Hotel where you can hang out at around a rather nice looking pool for USD$4 for the day.

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Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web (12th of April)

Chinese Medicine

The Best Travel Tips of the Week

How to handle medical emergencies while travelling (via Bravenewtraveler.com)

Know some basic phrases (‘hospital’, ‘pain’, ’emergency’) in the local language; know your insurance situation (Australian travellers should check whether a reciprocal agreement exists with the countries in which you will be travelling which may entitle you to subsidised medical treatment) and, finally, be patient.

General

Indonesian ChildrenVagablogging and The Guardian provide reminders of the joys of spontaneous travel. Travelnotebook’s ‘How to Photograph Children During Your Travels‘ is much more interesting (and less creepy) than its title suggests.

Bravenewtraveler has some pretty good tips in 5 ways to protect your essential travel documents; a good follow-up to ‘5 Tips Every Traveler Should Know About Internet Security‘.

The LA Times chips in with 14 ways to save money on your travels, although unfortunately none are earth-shattering.

Worldhum rounds up some resources about travelling with children, while Frommers has some suggestions for keeping your family safe while travelling.

Two questions every traveller has asked – how the hell do I cross this road and is it possible not to look like a tourist?

10 Nastiest Travel Diseases because malaria isn’t the ONLY disease you need to be wary of when travelling (via Vagabondish).

Flights

How to cope with flying if you hate flying or overcome a fear of it.

Making the most of your stopover – how to get the most out of less than twenty-four hours in a major city.

Recovering airport lost property – MSNBC’s guide.

Australia

‘There are some things in life you should never see, and seeing your bags being unloaded by baggage handlers is one of them’ – James Clark’s reviews his flight from Singapore to Melbourne on Tiger and his experiences in Melbourne’s Tiger Airways terminal.

EuropeBrixton Market

The Independent rounds up the 50 best free activities in London, some great (and less-familiar) suggestions to make the most of your time in an expensive city.

Viator presents a through review of transport options from all of the airports servicing London, including (of course) Heathrow.

Budget-conscious tourists heading to Germany should check out Culture on the Cheap’s latest ‘Ask a local’ which has tips provided by ‘Mike from Munich‘, including free thrills and ‘What do you do with €5.00 for dinner? ‘.

The Telegraph tracks down finds 10 places to stay for less than £120 a night in Rome, while its competitor The Times provides selection of treks in Europe.

The Age gives some common sense advice on plane vs train travel in Europe.

Concierge.com has a feature on budget Europe.

has a guide to Barcelona or consider one of Madrid’s less well-known galleries –Museo Sorolla.

RentaTent – camp your way through in Europe.

Vietnam food

Asia

Budgetglobetrotting asks are Thailand’s islands are still the best in the region? The New York Times provides some tips on activities in Chiang Mai.

Hints for cheap lunches in Vietnam – even if the photos don’t look the most attractive.

A great list of ‘Do’s and Don’ts in Cambodia‘ by a Fillipina living in Cambodia – ‘DON’T expect nice clean public toilets to be readily available anywhere’.

United States

The LA Times has some local knowledge on transport options to and from LAX and Long Beach airports.

Intelligent Travel suggests some ‘distinctive’ American destinations or just do Vegas on the cheap with Viator.

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