At Korjo, we want you to maximise the enjoyment of your trip. You may be able to avoid some serious problems or discover experiences for which you had not planned by taking opportunities to learn from all sorts of sources of information. The following tips and advice are a good way to get started - we will continue to add more information as we get feedback (tips or questions) from those who visit our site.
- Finding out about your destination
- Travel documentation
- International electric, power & telephone outlets
- On Board Liquids, Aerosols & gels
1) Finding out about your destination
Once you've chosen your destination, you will want to find out as much about it as possible. The most common methods of doing this are:
Travel guide books, which contain useful information on weather, attractions, transport, accommodation, restaurants and safety;
Information sessions - some travel agencies and tour operators host information sessions on particular countries, where you can listen to travel experts, and call on their expertise by asking questions;
Internet - possibly the most exhaustive source of travel information, from discount hotels to government tourist bureaus, just about every destination will have some kind of site in which useful information can be found;
Government representatives - either a consulate or government tourism authority;
Newspaper travel sections - many newspapers have devoted weekly travel magazines, which feature different travel stories and destinations.
At Korjo, we love to travel - and the last thing that we would want to do is discourage anyone from enjoying the amazing range of pleasures that travel can bring. Unfortunately, however, there are some realities in the world we know today, whereby travel may not be as safe as we would like. Before deciding on your destinations, we encourage you to check for any travel warnings, and refer you to these useful sites:
Australia - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
USA - State Department
UK - Foreign and Commonwealth Office
2) Travel documentation
You will need a current passport to travel overseas, for identification, for exchanging travellers cheques, and applying for visas. Some countries require that your passport has at least 6 months validity, so even if your passport has not yet expired, you may wish to renew it.
Application forms can be obtained from Australia Post offices, and may be submitted to authorized Post offices, or you can do it all at State Passport Offices. In addition to a completed passport application form, you will need two recent photographs, one of which is endorsed by an identifier, an original document that proves you are an Australian citizen, documents that explain any name change, a document that shows your current name and address, and fee payment. You will also have to attend an interview, where all the details of the documents are confirmed.
When travelling, you should always keep your passport and other documents secure. Use a hotel safe, if available, but when this is not possible, use a money belt or pouch
A visa is an official stamp of a government or country, imprinted in your passport, evidencing your ability to enter into that country, for a specified time and purpose. Not all countries require visas, so check carefully whether you require one for your destination. The issue of a visa usually requires the payment of a fee, and sometimes requires photos, copies of tickets and other documentation. Call the consulate of the countries you plan to visit for visa information, or your travel agent may be able to help.
It is always useful to have a few spare passport photos with you when you are travelling, for visas, student travel cards, some train or bus passes, and in case you lose your passport and need to have it reissued overseas.
Travel insurance is essential for all travellers. Medical costs in other countries can be astronomical, and even fit and healthy travellers sometimes need medical attention. Unfortunately, luggage and valuables do sometimes get lost or stolen, and insurance will help compensate you for your loss. Talk to your travel agent about travel insurance, and make sure you read the policy document carefully so that you understand what is covered and what is not.
At least 6 weeks before departure, see your local doctor or a medical clinic that specializes in travel medicine, to get advice about health risks in your destinations. You may need to be immunized or commence anti-malarial medication up to 4 weeks before departure. Take a first aid kit with you to treat minor injuries and ailments, and include medication to treat vomiting and diarrhoea. While away, use mosquito repellent, and drink only bottled, boiled or otherwise treated water and only eat fruit and vegetables that you can peel. If you get very sick on your trip, contact your travel insurance company or representative or the Australian consul or embassy for assistance. It is a good idea to visit your dentist prior to departure.
You should also obtain and take with you spare prescriptions for glasses, contact lenses and medicines.
We have had some recent reports that medical clinics (in France and Austria) have refused to take credit card payments, and have insisted on cash only. I am not sure that you can always plan to be "cashed up" when you become spontaneously unwell, but if you know that you will be seeking medical help, it may be handy to have enough cash to pay for the consultation.
If you are unwell after you return from your trip (even many weeks later) you should remember to tell your doctor all of the destinations to which you have travelled.
Don't forget to cancel newspapers and lock all doors and windows. Inform trusted neighbours of your absence and arrange for them to clear your letterbox of mail (and / or have it held or redirected), and keep an eye on your home. If you are travelling for any length of time you will also want to defrost your refrigerator and freezer, turn off electricity, gas and water.
Luggage will be more secure if locked and identified. Use key or combination locks to secure all zips on luggage, and a luggage strap to help identify your luggage, and to keep it closed in case of broken zips or handles. Place luggage tags on all items, and specify name, address and telephone number on the tags and on stick-on labels inside the bags. Take care in carrying valuable documents, cash, travellers cheques and credit cards. Carry your wallet in your front pocket, and if carrying a bag, hold it tightly with the straps close to your body. Don't carry too much cash, and beware of pickpockets and bag snatchers in crowded areas. You should consider money belts and pouches to keep these items secure. See the Korjo product catalogue for our extensive range of locks
, luggage straps
and money belts and pouches
. Use the hotel security box or in-room safe to store valuables, and never leave them out in your room. Keep copies of tickets, passports etc, and leave a set of copies, together with a copy of your itinerary with someone at home.
6) International electric, power and telephone outlets
Electrical wall outlets (sockets and plugs) power (voltage) and telephone sockets vary around the world. If you take electrical items or a telephone / modem with you when you travel, it is important that you understand these variations. See the Korjo Adaptor Guide
for a global plug, voltage and telephone socket guide.
SOCKETS & PLUGS
Around the world, there are many different ways in which the shape, number and arrangement of plug pins and socket holes are configured. Korjo adaptor plugs allow the plug configurations to be altered from one style to another, enabling you to plug your appliance into the wall socket wherever you are. Please note that the adaptor plug does not convert voltage - you must make sure that your appliance and the power supply are compatible.
There are basically two main systems that are used -
110 volt (actually 100-120 volt) - used in USA, Canada, Japan (and some parts of Spain)
220volt (actually 200-250 volt) - the rest of the world.
In simple terms, the power supply available at the socket is roughly twice as powerful in 240 volt countries as in 110 volt countries.
Electrical appliances are manufactured to be used at 110 volts, or 220 volts or both (they may have a 110-220v switch, or work automatically on either).
If you have a 220 volt appliance, and you plug it into a 110v source, the product will not receive as much power as it was designed to use - therefore it will work slowly or not at all.
If you have a 110 volt appliance and plug it into a 220 volt power source, the product will receive more power than it was designed to use - this will cause damage to the product, the protective fuse and/or the power source!!
It is a good idea to travel with dual voltage appliances - i.e. those that can work on 110 or 220 v systems.
The Korjo stepdown transformer
allows small (<24W) 110 volt appliances from USA/Canada/Japan, to be used in Australia / New Zealand with a 240v power source.
TELEPHONE / MODEMS
Telephone systems vary across the world (and even within some countries). Many telephones (including mobile phones) will not work in other non-compatible countries. If you take a mobile phone, check if you can use it with your service provider. Don't forget your telephone charger and an electrical adaptor plug!! Many travellers also find the emergency telephone charger handy. If you want to use the modem in your laptop, you may need a modem adaptor
. A modem extension cord
may also be handy.
7) On-Board Liquids, Aerosols & Gels (LAGS)
Rules for carrying Liquids on board planes have been changed recently. As a general rule, for international flights:
Liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) can be packed into your suitcase
LAGS to be carried onboard MUST be in a clear resealable plastic bag of 1 litre or less capacity, and within bottles of no more than 100ml. (The Korjo RF 77
is ideal for this purpose!)
A nice explanation of the rules and FAQs can be found on the Australian Department of Transport & Regional Services website
You should carefully plan your budget and how you are going to take money with you on your trip. The three main options are:
Cash - very convenient, easily exchanged, but can be lost or stolen with no recourse or protection.;
Travellers cheques - expensive (although some banks and cards offer discounted or free travellers cheques) and bulky, but can be bought in most major currencies, and you will be reimbursed for lost or stolen cheques;
Credit or debit cards - very convenient and light to carry, and some may enable you to withdraw cash from ATMs overseas, although they may not be widely accepted in some countries, particularly in Africa. Beware of additional charges for using the cards overseas, and the exchange rate at which your purchases are converted to Australian dollars for your account. You should also check with your credit card company that a replacement card can be issued overseas in the event your card is lost or stolen while away. Make sure your card does not expire while you are away.
It is also worth taking with you a small amount of the currency of the country to which you are going, to pay for taxis, tips and small items, etc when you first arrive. Beware, different currencies can be confusing (particularly those with lots of 0s on the end), and it is not difficult to miscalculate the conversion, leaving you paying 10 or 100 times what you really should. The Korjo Currency Converter
can be programmed to calculate prices for any exchange rate between any two currencies, and can save you costly mistakes. Also keep in mind that hotels often charge a fee for cashing travellers cheques or exchanging money, and often do not offer a very competitive rate of exchange, so seek out banks or reputable money exchange offices.
We would like to update the tips section of this site with your contributions - as a way to help improve the travel experience for all travellers. Please submit any suggestions, corrections, updates or tips HERE.