I’ve travelled the world (365-days a year) for almost six years as a professional photographer and writer. In that time I’ve accumulated some hard-won experience and when possible I will share some of that experience with you on this blog. Tip #1 is to always carry a small notebook with you (Moleskin notebooks are great but I prefer a small spiral bound notebook so I can easily remove pages). I’m an old guy so it’s important for me to write things down for future reference but it might work for you too.
Obviously, if you’re carrying a notebook you also have to carry a pen or pencil. Pens are nice but pencils don’t leak in your pocket or run out of ink (hint, hint, hint). Also, water is not your friend. Typically when travelling water comes in two forms: external rain and internal sweat. I always carry my notebook (and pencil) in my righthand shirt bellows pocket (yes always). Old guys are creatures of habit. This advice is hard-won advice that has come from ruining many notebooks (due to water damage).
The other thing I always carry in my righthand bellows pocket is a supply of business cards (another paper based product). Business cards are a traditional marketing tool that have somewhat fallen by the wayside in this digital age but they are indispensable when travelling about the world. I’ve spent a lot of time in jungles and tropical climates where rain and sweat both play a part in daily living. The solution to avoiding soggy business cards and destroyed notebooks is simple: cheap plastic zip-lock bags (sandwich size serves the purpose nicely). Simply slip your notebook and business cards into the sandwich bag and close the zip-lock seal (at that point your stuff is impervious to water).
I just returned from three weeks in Yucatan, Mexico where the heat index (ambient temperature + humidity) this time of year often approaches 120°F (and that’s freaking hot). My shirt, trousers and underwear were all quickly soaked through to the skin with sweat and the occasional mid-afternoon downpour. At minimum any paper based items such as passports, currency, notebooks and business cards need protection from moisture. The cheap and ubiquitous zip-lock bag is an easy solution available to anyone no matter where you travel. You can either buy them at home before you leave on your trip or simply buy them once you are abroad.
Clothing falls into the same group as paper based items: water is not your friend. I always recommend shirts and trousers made from a poly/cotton blend (typically 60% polyester and 40% cotton). I choose polyester for its rugged, lightweight and quick-drying properties and cotton for its comfort and reduced funk-factor (that horrible smell that 100% synthetic fibres develop after just a few hours of wear). Stay clear of 100% polyester or 100% cotton garments (100% polyester stinks and 100% cotton NEVER dries). These travel tips, at first glance, might seem like no-brainers but you would be surprised by how many people overlook these simple things when travelling.