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Helen’s Travel Tips

Ok, so these are just my opinion and so far, what I have found works for me;

  • Always remember, instinct is a wonderful thing! Trust it…if it doesn’t feel right, it’s NOT right!
  • Trust no one
  • Never take food from a foreign stranger! I’ve heard of people being drugged and then waking up with money, cards, cameras etc being stolen!
  • Ladies, if travelling alone, wear a fake wedding ring!
  • Take as little as you can away with you..just buy clothes and anything else you need when you’re out and about
  • Buy small containers and fill them up with shower gels / shampoo as liquids add to the weight of your back pack!
  • Most hotels provide small complimentary bottles of shampoo and toothpastes etc…TAKE them! The toothpastes are particularly useful as they are so small, they take up no room at all!
  • Before you check out of a hotel / hostel, always make your bed! I’ve had sunglasses or other items fall out from under the sheets which I’ve obviously placed there whilst sorting my packing out (but clearly forgot about them!)
  • Carrying too much? Post items home but where possible, post in wallets and not boxes as it will lower your costs
  • Always carry wet wipes, bug spray and sun screen
  • Makes sense but only carry a minimal amount of money on your persons
  • Fold your notes with the monetary value pointing upwards, that way if you’re in a taxi etc, you can quickly open your wallet and see the note you need rather than taking out a wad to then search for what you need..Speaking from experience, the person seeing your ‘wad’ will try to rip you off!
  • Take a Credit card AND a debit card for emergencies! I use a credit card and pay it off via a direct debit per month from my allocated travelling fund.
  • If you decide to use a credit card, shop around for a good deal. Some cards offer 9-12mths 0% interest etc..
  • Obviously keep your cards (and hard cash) in separate places in your backpack!
  • Give someone at home permission to access your bank(s) – Mum or Dad is the safest bet! Things tend to go wrong the first few times you’re abroad so you will need to be able to get someone to unblock cards etc…I’ve also seen quite a few fellow travelling buddies have their cards swallowed up by the ATM’s!
  • Always use hotel safety deposit boxes and venture out with as little as poss on you
  • Always take a hotel card..they usually have a map on the back of the card so taxi’s and tuk tuk’s can find them if they don’t know the way!
  • Wherever possibly, check your new hotel / B*B’s / Hostel rooms before you agree to stay (I have seen some dives I tell thee!)
  • Always agree prices before you have a service (if you’re in a bartering area)..e.g. tuk tuk’s, massage services..
  • If you’re at a market, DON’T pay the price they first give you, they expect you to barter! Have fun with it too, I’ve found if you walk away, they will sometimes go even lower than half price! 😉
  • If you have brekkie included in your hotel, stock up on the fruit and any other bits of food that you can easily take away with you in a serviette! Bananas and mini muffins have filled a hole whilst sitting on long train / bus journeys!
  • If you’re a contact lens wearer..get your friends / family to post liquids out. And also, make sure you take some anti bacterial eye drops with you as it’s common to experience eye complaints (from the sea or even just washing your face I’ve had red sore eyes)
  • Always check your shoes before slipping your pinkies in! Enough said!
  • Actually, even shake your clothes about before getting in them…and your towel!! I’ve had small lizards / spiders and giant ants fall out and off these items hah!
  • If you buy food and keep it in your room just be sure to pop it in a plastic bag, tie it up and hang it up and away from the floor! (unless of course you want to share it with the cockroaches!) I usually find a coat hanger and hang the bag on this…and if there isn’t a coat hanger, improvise!

4 Responses to Helen’s Travel Tips

  1. Marianne

    Hi Helen,

    I was searching on Google for Tribes of Indonesia tours and came across your blog and question you posted on Just wondering if you had any luck on locating a good tour to visit the Dani Tribe? I am also very interested in visiting soon.—baliem-valley-help-

    Cheers :)

    • helenreaddy

      Hi Marianne,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Well, to be honest, I gave up on the idea! Not because I wanted to of course but purely for safety reasons. Would you be travelling alone? I did a lot of research and always kept on top of the website for advice etc and at the time, it was advised to steer clear of this area due to cannibalism and kidnappings! Gulp! All sounds rather extreme and I’m sure that IS only in extreme cases but being on my own (and my first trip alone) I wasn’t ready for that kind of challenge and or situation haha. That was enough to put me off for a while hah!

      I also even managed to track down another couple who had been to West Papua Province to meet the Dani Tribes and they also advised it would not be safe for a female travelling alone. Sorry, I’m probably putting you off here?? But on the other hand, I’m sure lots of people still go on organised tours! So in others words, in a waffled answer to your question, I didn’t find any tours haha! I did get in touch with a few though but rather rubbishly, not one replied. Hey, I even suggested to the big wigs at G Adventures to let me run a tour for them (at their expense of course hehe!) and let me report back to them all at Head Quarters so I could tell them if it was worth it…maybe you could give them a nudge…well, customer demand should get them thinking about starting up a tour in those parts!

      Anyways, if you do find a tour and jet set off to visit these wonderfully intriguing tribe (jealous muchly!), there are 2 things you must do;

      1. You will need to visit one of the major police stations to obtain a permit to actually enter the ‘interior’ of Papua
      2. Take Hellmans with you 😀

      Well, I’m not sure if any of that has helped apart from shout ‘Be careful’ and ‘get a permit’ haha.

      Happy travels :)

      Helen x

  2. helenreaddy

    Thanks roomie! :) Shout me if there is anything I’ve missed or even any advice that has worked for you 😀 xxx

  3. fran

    brilliant tips roomie xxx

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