Here are some great ideas from our viewers. They are geared towards the low-budget, long-term traveler. This type of traveler is generally laid-back and willing to sacrifice things like sleep and food for the sake of adventure.
Wherever you travel in the world today, you will not be far from a cyber port. The Internet Cafes Guide and the Cyber Cafes Guide both offer world maps to help you locate the Internet Cafe nearest you. Yahoo.com also offers a comprehensive listing.
Our favorite camera has turned out to be the Sony Mavica. This family of digital cameras has a floppy drive built right into the camera body. Images and video clips are stored in JPEG and mpeg format directly to a floppy disk. Each floppy can hold up to 40 pictures or 60 seconds of video. When you are ready to update your GypsyJournal simply slip your floppy into any cyber terminal and you are ready to upload, no cables or custom software needed.
The Mavica's NP-F550 batteries are the same used in Sony's Handycam's and provide up to 3 hours of continuous usage. The battery charger accepts 100 to 240 Volts and 50 to 60 Hertz, making it compatible world wide. Magellan's has a great Adapter Plug Set that will cover most of the plug types you will encounter. Include their Grounding Adapter Plug F and H if you plan to journey into India or South Africa, respectively.
Camera Use and Purchase
For people who really like photography, Judy Litt at the Mining Co. wrote a comprehensive series on just about anything you'd need to know.
Keep in mind that long-term travel can do some serious damage to a camera. Losing it in airline luggage land or just plain theft are also concerns. So you may want to purchase an older or used camera. Online auctions such as ebay or Eggheadare good places to find these. Some of the mail order houses have very competitive prices. 20-20Consumer.com will guide you to the lowest prices available on the web.
Missed a picture of that Monastery in Tibet? Try Corbis. They might have a digital version. The small ones are free, the larger ones cost $3. Altavista also provides extensive links to other sites that have digital images.
The Travel Library has a special section on Round the World Travel, including what to bring, how to calculate the expenses and links to other RTW online Journals.
To find the most recent information about what's happening at your next destination (and the rest of the world) check out the BBC World News and the US State Department's Travel Warning and Consular Information pages.
Do you need a visa for the next country you are visiting? Find out at Embassy World. They provide a searchable database for all the world's Embassies and Consulates.
It is very important to maintain your health while traveling. If you have any symptoms of an illness and would like to find out what's going on, check out the Healthwise Knowledgebase. It is the largest online database of healthcare information available.
CDC Home Travel Information A U.S. Government Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, provides health information about specific destinations around the globe, including vaccinations, food and water precautions and disease outbreaks.
The idea is to take as little as possible. You're going to have to lug around everything you own on your back for awhile. The lighter your bag, the better mood you'll be in, the more you can see and do.
Some good advise on how to travel light is presented by Rick Steves, the author of Back Door books.
Although ATM machines are everywhere now and usually offer a good exchange rate, it is probably wise to carry cash, a credit card and some traveler checks too. Sometimes an ATM card will work in one machine but not another, you never know. So, make sure that your traveling companions carry ATM cards from different banks. One of those cards ought to work.
Carry the truly important things in a money belt around your waist and keep it there, even while sleeping. Money belts, while hard for thieves to grab, are also hard for you to get into. So, keep the day's cash and an extra card in your carry-on or a backpack that is always with you.
The best exchange rates are not at the airport. Shop around between banks and private money changers. Try to budget your local money so that it is mostly used up before moving on to the next country. The new country will not give a good exchange rate on the old country's money.
You can probably get by with Tevas if you're traveling to a warm country. But if you're going to be cold, or doing some serious trekking, you should consider hiking boots.
Even a great pair of boots are going to give you blisters with the wrong pair of socks. GreatOutdoors.com has a reviewed a variety of socks and recommends a few. My toes happen to be wearing one of those brands right now - the Patagonia mid weight hiking socks - and are quite comfortable.
Travlang Foreign Languages for Travelers
Hostels are the way to go for low-budget travelers. Especially if you've just landed in a city and have no idea where to go. If you're at an airport, many cities have a kiosk with all of the hostels and a courtesy phone to give 'em a ring. Many will come pick you up or reimburse you for the shuttle ride. If you've landed in a bus station, a train station, or some other place with no hotel kiosk, check your guide book and start giving the hostels a call.
Besides cheap accommodation, hostels can also help with food. Many have kitchens stocked with supplies. So a quick run to the corner market and you can create a cheap meal. Often, hostels will offer a cooked meal that is usually cheaper than the food at restaurants.
Hosteling cons? Well, there is not much sleep involved in the hostelling experience, especially if one of your bunk mates snores. Also, some of the hostels may not be as clean as advertised.
Here are some hostelling organizations to look into:
Would anybody like to offer up their favorite hostel? Send us a note and tell us what you liked. Here are some favorites:
Amsterdam - Flying Pig Downtown
Few things can be as satisfying as volunteering your time towards environmental and social improvement. Often room and board are provided, allowing your overseas experience to last longer. Depending on your skills, you may be able to negotiate a small salary. World Service Enquiry provides information and advice about working overseas in the developing world for peace, justice, development or mission.
Want to get off the Backpacker trail for awhile? Feel like there is something more to life than "been there, done that, got the t-shirt". Consider taking a meditation retreat - it is guarenteed to charge your batteries. DharmaNet has an extensive directory of Buddhist retreat centers from around the world.
Here are two centers from Theravada tradition in Thailand: Wat Kow Tham is on the Island of Kow Phangan. They offer 4 or 5 retreats over the winter season. Suan Mokkh is by Surat Thani. Retreats here begin on the first day of every month and end on the eleventh. The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and Goenka Retreats can fill up any other idle time you might have.
If you like to dabble in extra-terrestial phenomena, here is a site that lists all the upcoming Lunar and Solar Eclipses.
If you are still at loose ends why not consider getting a head start on 100 Things to Do Before You Die.
University of Maine System Libraries has a number of links to Almanacs, Encyclopedias, World Flags and How-To do things.
Britannica Encyclopedia can answer a few questions too.
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