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Post your trip reports, travel experiences, and updates abroad. Or your expat story if you already live overseas. Note: To post photos and images, insert the image URL between the tags [img]and[/img] after uploading them to a third party site.
I've got some tips for flying. Others can add theirs.
If you are moving overseas, you can use cardboard boxes to ship your stuff. Cardboard boxes fold up if you want to keep them on the other end (and feed the roaches.) You don't have to store luggage. The downside is if you go to a country where you can't find cardboard boxes to return. It's hard to find stuff in a lot of Asian countries. They don't all have Lowe's and Home Depot. But in some of these countries, luggage is cheaper anyway. If you get heavy-duty boxes, they tend to be cheaper with luggage. You can tape them very well or shrink wrap them. If you have sensitive, fragile belongings, you could use luggage for them. You don't have to get the maximum size boxes, necessarily. If you use the maximum weight limit with a smaller size, go with the smaller size. Empty space in a box can turn it to mush on the trip.
Take an empty water bottle with you on the plane. Have the stewardess fill it up, and then you don't have to ask for water all the time. It is easy to get dehydrated on airplanes, which can be drier than the desert, a very unnatural environment.
Something I really need on a long plane trip is a neck pillow. I have some neck pillows for a decade ago or so. I use one of those. You can also get memory foam neck pillows that you don't inflate.
I try to wear something loose and comfortable that covers my skin. I mean I wear long sleeved shirts and long pants, not short sleeves and shorts. On one trip, there was a slight leak and the whole plane was really cold. Some planes are cold. Dockers make good traveling pants. Make sure they fit around the waste because you may have to take your belt off. I try to wear a shirt with a pocket to put glasses and other stuff in.
I've decided I'm going to wear crocks (or crock-like shoes) for traveling, with a pair of socks. They are comfortable and weigh basically nothing. And you can kick them off if you want at the seat.
I also have a passport holder that goes around the neck and is worn under clothing. It's good to put cash, credit cards, and of course, one passport in.
During long trips, I try to eat at every stop. You feel like all you do is eat on airplanes, because you have to wait so long for it and for them to clean it up. If you fly domestic in the US, service is lousy and you have to eat to prevent paying $10 for a cold cuts sandwhich. In Asia, they usually serve better food, but it is still wise to eat when you stop.
It may make sense to change some money beforehand in some cases. I think it was about $17 that I would have had to pay to change any money at all in China. If you are in transit and want to eat on meal, that sure is a rip off They had some kind of fee in addition to the currency exchange rate profits. So I hit a Brit up to change some dollars for yuan one time.
Find out what sizes of clothing they have in the country you want to go to. In Indonesia, it's hard to find shoes over 9 or 9 and a half. I've been able to find larger shoes, way back when, in Pasar Baru, in Jakarta. I also found some 44 cm shoes that fit in a regular shoe store. I usually wear 45s. Large enough socks can be hard to find. I've bought socks and underwear before going to Indonesia before. The shoes I saw in South Korea were small, too.
Beef jerky as a good gift to take with you for other expats in Asia. Cheese is also good. The last time I took cheese from the US to Indonesia, the airline lost the bag with the cheese in it for an extra 12 hours or so. I tried to freeze the cheese before the trip, but it wasn't cold enough in the hotel fridge. Still, it turned out okay. I also brought smoked flavoring, packes of ranch and barbecue sauce. I can get those sauces in Indonesia, but they are just a bit expensive. I brought a tortilla press to Indonesia and some corn flour, and packets of taco seasoning.
If you ever fly with China Southern do note that the language on their website can change from English to Chinese in the middle of allocating a seat for yourself. This will result in pure frustration in not having one one reserved for a long haul flight with the likelihood of being given a shitty sardine seat in the middle of two others, once you get to the airport.
Good stuff! I'd like to give a trick if you can't find socks: foot wraps.
You can use square or rectangular sections of cloth & even use your shirt like in No Country for Old Men. These predate socks by centuries & are a great idea, in my opinion. They can be easily improvised (unlike socks), adjusted to fit the foot they are wrapped around (unlike socks), can be re-positioned when thin spots form (unlike socks), and can be used for more things (socks can be used for other things, but these are closer to bandanas). You can also stuff insulation into them to make them warmer (grass, seating insulation, etc...). These are in the Youtube video "WWII Foot Wraps."
The first & most simple is to simply put the section over the top of your boot & step into it (I think you need the square ones for that- it wasn't in the video, actually). Another is to take a square section, stand on it with your toes pointing toward one of the corners & fold that corner over your foot. Then you take the outside & fold it over that, tucking it under your arch. Then fold the other side over all that & tuck it under your foot. This is pretty similar to wrapping a blanket around yourself so you can pull a sleeping bag on over it (wrap the corner over both feet, fold the sides over with or without the tuck, and leave some space for air to warm up).
A third is to take a rectangular section, point your toes toward one corner, and fold that corner over your foot. Then take the outer corner, fold it over your foot & under your arch. Then take the "long corner" (the one that's diagonally across from the one you just folded under your foot), wrap it around the top & back of your foot (catching the last corner against your heel), then tuck it in like a bath towel against your leg (after however many wraps you do). There are a couple of others in the video, but he figured that was the best one of the Russian variations.
Zambales, I flew with China Southern once and had the same problem. You can't really communicate what seat you want by phone in the US, but in China, I got the China Southern phone number from a Guanzhou information desk. They have an option for an English operator. I think you can call that number from the US and arrange your seat that way. You may have to call at night when they are awake. The US offices offer little to no service by phone as I recall. Tickets are cheap. If you fly into southern China, weather can be bad and you can be delayed for that, by one of those dark storms of the type that Hong Kong gets. As I recall, the food is okay on China Southern. Of course, it beats domestic carriers in the US just like any Asian airline. In Asia, you can get a meal on a two hour flight.
Thanks. I'll bear that in mind should I ever fly with them again.
These sounds like very reasonable to me, every single person that flies especially for the purpose of tourism i am sure this would help them in many ways and it brings a lot of impact so far i have traveled a lot and knowing the way it would work is amazing!
Oh yeah, the corn flour and tortilla press did not work out that great. The nachos didn't taste like the real thing, and let's face it. Corn tortillas out of hominy flour (masa harina) are okay, but they don't taste that great anyway. They are a good source for B3, I suppose. Flour tortillas taste better. My wife found a supplier for flour tortillas, anyway.
Do you think palm oil may have messed up the taste of the corn tortillas?
I hear airplanes can get down to 3% humidity, drier than a desert. That's one reason you can feel fatigued after a long flight or blow your nose and see traces of blood.
You can drink more water than normal on the plane and bring small containers of moisturizer, I suppose. Does the US allow people to bring small nasal spray bottles with them? I suppose I could take empty bottles and add water and just a bit of salt on the plane, but I don't know if I'd want to put bottled water up my nose unless it had recently been boiled.
If you have a big piece of luggage, pack an extra travel bag (like a duffel bag or satchel) that you can fold up in there. That way if your one big piece of luggage is too heavy, you can take the other bag out and move stuff to it to get around the weight limit. It might be better to take two bags if you have a lot of stuff. Despite what they tell you, a lot of airlines will let you have two carry-ons and two checked bags without paying extra.
Airlines have really stupid policies about luggage weight. Often the weight limit is 30kg, but it can a little more or less. If you are over the weight limit they give you two options: get a second bag to transfer stuff into, or pay the overage fee.
The overage fee is usually more expensive than just buying a new bag. What idiot thought up this policy?
Airlines would apparently rather make LESS money for taking up MORE space in their cargo holds than just allow either a. a reasonable overage fee, or b. just letting the customer take more kg. (Because if the airline lets you take the same amount of weight but only in two different bags, the number of total kgs you have isn't truly the problem.)
f***ing idiots who came up this policy.
Agree 100%. Even worse is that a 105 lb woman carrying 70lbs of luggage pays more than the 300lb man with only a carry on, despite a >100lb difference between the two. I used to regularly run into this situation when I dated a woman from South America who would frequency go back and forth between the US and her country. She'd always be stuffing crap into her purse/carryon at the check in counter (or leaving it behind with me ) since her bag ALWAYS came in like 4-6lbs overweight.
I heard a rumor that the insane overweight baggage fee was due to some OSHA/insurance/workers comp regulation. Apparently any bag above 50lbs requires two people to carry, and there are some sort of workers comp gotchas as well w/injuries involving heavy bags, so airlines do whatever they can to discourage it.
On top of that, if someone shows up with a 70lb bag unaware of the usurious fee, they have no choice to pay it unless they have excess carry on space, a second bag, or are willing to open up their overloaded bag and trash 20lbs worth of stuff (in many cases, none of these are applicable). It's really insane.