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DBT Corporate Travel Information - Travel Guide


At your destination

* In hotels, don't be shy to ask for rooms with a view or upgrades.

* Be sure to always hand over your Frequent Flyer card at Check-in. Most hotels these days credit you with Airline or Hotel frequent flyer points for your loyalty.

* When travelling through countries with different cultures to ours (eg Muslim and Asian countries) do a bit of research before you leave. Learn what is proper and improper, dress codes, manners, etc. Remember, some things may be okay for men but not women.
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* When in Muslim and some Asian and Pacific Island countries, women should dress modestly. Don't wear mini skirts, brief shorts or bikini tops in public. High collars, long sleeves and pants or skirts below the knee will save you embarrassment and possibly unwelcome attention.

* In Asian countries only use your right hand for eating. The left hand is used for toilet functions.

* In many South Pacific countries Sunday really is the Sabbath. There are no shops open, no public transport and no vehicle hire companies open. This is the day you stay in your hotel, lounge by the pool, swim in the sea and have a meal in its restaurant (which will be open).

* Try not to travel or change cities on a Sunday. Trains are infrequent or destinations limited and many stores and businesses won't be open or close early.

* Taking a bus tour when you first arrive in a new city is a great idea. It gives you a chance to get an overview of the city and determine what you want to go back and spend time visiting.

* Public libraries and visitor centres are good for local news and events newspapers might not carry. They often have fliers and brochures about what's going on.

* Don't change your money in the street or with a back-street dealer. Avoid rip-offs and scams, go to a bank or a registered exchange shop.

* When you first get to another country look for the post office or a stamp machine - usually near the railway station or in the airport. Buy enough stamps to send one postcard home a day. Left over stamps make nice souvenirs or gifts for a stamp collector or can sometimes be sold to fellow travellers. The postcards can then be sent at your convenience as you travel.

* For those who don't like taking photographs, buy postcards, making a quick note on it's significance to your visit. Mail the card to yourself. When you get home you'll have a mailbox full of memories.

* Try not to stick out like a sore thumb. If you're renting a car, ask for a nondescript vehicle in a dark neutral colour. Dress like the natives. Some brand name clothes with logos may be cool and in style where you are from, but in exotic destinations they will scream tourist!

* Keep your watch out of sight under your sleeve or in your pocket if you are wearing something sleeveless. Don't wear gold chains around your neck or gaudy rings on your fingers.

* Reverse your backpack so the zippered compartments are against your back and not ready to be unzipped. When you are sightseeing only carry in your backpack what you can easily replace.

* For a more memorable travel experience try to immerse yourself in the local culture. Break away from the tour group and talk one-on-one with the locals. Take local transport (ask hotel staff about after-dark safety), shop at grocery stores and the outdoor markets. Befriend hotel staff, learn their names and ask them what the locals do for entertainment.

* Attend cultural events - a soccer game, bullfight, concert, opera or dance performance. Eat and drink where the locals do - get recommendations from hotel staff. Get off the beaten tourist path, if only for an afternoon. Take a bus or train out of the city and visit the countryside or small village. Carry photos of your life at home - family, pets, home, hobbies, friends and postcards of your city. People you meet will be just as curious about you as you are about them.

* Rely on local advice as to where you can safely go. If the locals say an area isn't safe, they should know.

* Don't go out after dark unless the street is well lit and busy with pedestrians.

* When renting a car ask for two sets of keys. It can be a full day out of your schedule while you get them replaced if you lose your only set at the beach. If the firm won't give you an extra set, get one made at a hardware store.

* When travelling in a taxi, note the number and look at the picture ID of the driver as you step in. Leave the door open while you are getting your bags out of the boot - that way the taxi can't drive off before you've made sure you haven't left anything behind.

* Carry spare change for vending machines, quick phone calls or laundry machines. You won't have to go searching for someone to give you change saving a lot of time and hassle.

* Always look under the bed before checking out of a room - especially when travelling with children. Books, shoes, underwear (even wallets) can slide under beds.

* Under-plan activities and destinations for your journey. It's often better to have just one destination a week and only two or three scheduled tours or events. Then you can really experience the beauties and cultures the place has to offer and it leaves you space for interesting opportunities that may crop up.


Be street wise

* Don't pat street animals.

* Use your own judgement whether to give beggars your spare change.

* Don't give children money. (If you must give something, give pens or pins in exchange for something the children have, like crafts.)

* Pay attention when someone on a bike is approaching. In Bali carry your bag in the hand on the inside of the pavement. Don't walk close to the curb. Don't make eye contact with gangs. They'll try to intimidate you.

* Follow your instincts, if you sense danger, leave.

* Don't give out your hotel or room number to people you just meet.

* Don't give out too much personal information - like who you are travelling with.

* When leaving the hotel, take matches or stationery with the hotel name and address on it. If you don't speak the language, just show them to the cab driver and there won't be any mistake as to where you are staying.

* Foreign toilets are rarely as hygienic as ours. Europe and Asia especially can have "interesting" toilets (or none at all). Look for the nearest McDonalds. They all have cleanish toilets with soap (and they're free).


Shopping

* Carry cash and cards in a wallet or money clip in a front pocket. Keep small change and small bills in a change purse and use that when paying for purchases.

* Don't feel you must barter. In Bali it's almost compulsory but in the Cook Islands it's insensitive. But if you like bartering, begin by offering half of the asking price.


Food

* Get in the habit of drinking bottled water - check the bottle seal is intact.

* Don't eat any type of food where sanitation looks questionable, like at some road stands with no refrigeration.

* Have disinfectant tissues handy and wipe your hands frequently.

* Eat only cooked food in restaurants unless your tour guide says otherwise. Make sure the food is still hot (heat kills germs).

* In Third World countries don't eat raw salads (they may have been washed in contaminated water) and don't put ice in your drinks.