The Clever Travel Companion Updates

How safe are hostels? April 15 2018, 0 Comments



How safe are hostels really? I'm sure you'll have that one friend who travelled to every country you've ever heard of and more who will swear by the safety and comfort of hostels, but really, how safe are they? 

This is a pretty popular question even among the most seasoned of travelers and the truth is, hostel safety and comfort can differ quite dramatically from place to place or hostel to hostel. For example, some of the Clever Travel Companion team members offered up their experiences and found that whilst in the deepest rural Thailand they found a hostel on beach with a jacuzzi, rooftop bar and bedside lockers for the grand price of $14 per night, in the centre of Sydney they found themselves in a $500 per week, 18 bed dorm with a single power outlet. 

That said, safety and comfort tips will often run more or less the same. Here's some golden rules you should definitely live by if you're staying in Hostels.

1. Research a good one

Naturally the first thing you should do when considering a hostel is check out the place itself, select a good hostel with a reputation for safety and not the opposite. A really great resource for investigating whether a hostel is right for you is Hostelling International. Take a look on their site and you'll certainly rest easier. 

2. Use the lockers

Don't feel like a geek or a loser by using the provided lockers. They're there for a reason and if you lose your passport or cash by not using them, you'll feel like even more of a chump. Contact a hostel beforehand and ask about the lockers, do they provide them? Do they cost extra? How safe are they? Where are they located in relation to your bed? 

3. Use the lockers, but don't put all your trust in them 

Ever heard the saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket"? It applies here. If people are up to no good, if the lockers aren't as secure as you'd hoped and just because its safer, keep your most valuable items on you at all times, even when sleeping. Clever Travel Companion clothing is designed precisely for this purpose, you can use the secret pockets to keep your cell phone, passport and cash on your person at all times and when showering or washing, a potential thief would never think to look in your t-shirt. The clothes are made from a soft yet durable cotton so sleeping in them is very comfortable and they'll last a long time. Think about it, sleeping with your passport in a secret pocket in a tank top under your pyjamas? I'd rather it be there than in a locker. 

4. Ask the staff for security advice

In most hostels the staff are also travelers but even if they're not, they're the guys who know what goes on in their place of work, they'll be the guys to speak to if you have any concerns or need advice on staying secure. 



5. Copy your passport and email it to you

Really you should do this before you leave the house on any trip, the second you leave your country it is vital that you have your passport at all times. If you lose it, the next best thing is a digital copy. In hostels however its probably a little more important you make sure you have a copy, with so many people coming and going through a single place, things are bound to go missing. With a digital copy you can show the staff and confirm with certainty its yours if they've found it. 

6. Drink responsibly

You probably don't need telling with regards to drinking, you know your limits. That said, it's easy to forget when traveling that the same rules do apply. You probably will not have been in a situation like a hostel before; drinking with new people in a new place where you'll all be spending the night. Some people in the hostel may not even be guests, they could be strangers so watch where your alcohol is coming from, if possible only ever get your drinks yourself and keep your limits at the forefront of your mind.  

7. If in doubt, travel in a group

You're certain to make friends whilst traveling or staying in a hostel, if any of your new found friends are heading in the same direction, don't be afraid to change your plans slightly so you can stick together. A solo traveler can make an easy target but a group is likely to be avoided by any potential criminals. 



Planning Your Student Holiday on a Budget December 31 2017, 0 Comments


Financing your travel plans when you are a student is a case of planning and organization. But it’s perfectly possible to have an amazing trip, without having to live off of canned food the entire time you’re away. Budgeting for your next big trip starts here, you’ll just have to decide where you’re going, and what to pack. It's really worth investing in an anti-theft device for your travels. After saving and planning your trip, it's important to keep your money and valuable possessions, such as passports and cameras safe. 

Part time work and student loans 

Getting a student loan and part time work is the most common way of raising money for a student holiday. Be strict with yourself and try and put by a set amount every month, and you will soon find that a little regular amount becomes enough to have a trip away. Using your leisure time to earn a little money will also mean that you’re not out spending it. Research how much it is going to cost for travel and accommodation and then factor in spending money. Give yourself a goal to save for and you can make sure you have enough for your dream trip. 

Volunteering holidays
 

Combining your holiday with a volunteering is a great way to see the world and also making a difference to other people’s lives. You could be helping to improve community buildings in Cuba, or teaching English to children in Peru. There are some amazing student volunteer programmes that will allow you to get away and do something incredibly rewarding and fulfilling at the same time. Often there is lodging in bunkhouses, so you will be sure to make some like-minded new friends. 

Take the bus 

If you want to see America, taking the bus is wonderfully cheap. The Greyhound (a.k.a The Dirty Dog) covers the entire country and is a great way to travel across such a diverse county. There are some good discounts for students that will help you to budget for travel. If you want to go off exploring, The Greyhound will store your luggage for you for 24 hours, allowing you to get out and about, without worrying about carrying around heavy bags. You can easily camp your way around the U.S.A with a bus ticket and a small tent. 

Become a house sitter


Becoming a house sitter means that you won’t have to pay for your accommodation, plus you will be helping someone that needs to know that their home is secure and looked after while they are away. No money is exchanged for services, but you will have somewhere to stay for free. Often you will be responsible for looking after pets, and doing small jobs, such as watering the plants and looking after the garden. You will have plenty of free time to explore the area which you are staying in. Plus house sitting can take you all over the world, you will just need to cover your travel costs and spending money. 

Going on holiday when you’re a student needn’t cost the earth. You can see the world on a budget and still have an amazing time.


Communication Tips for Travellers September 27 2017, 0 Comments

Communicating with other people while you are travelling is an essential part of your journey. It helps you get by when you’re lost or need help in finding your hotel, and simply adds new impressions and valuable experiences. However, meeting new people when you travel, either other fellow travelers, or locals at your travel destination, may not always be easy. Even if you are not too shy and have no problem starting a conversation, there is always a language or cultural barrier that you need to overcome.


Here are a few tips on how to successfully communicate with local people on any topic.


Top Tips on Communication While Travelling


  • Learn a few phrases of the local language. Some basic things like “Hello”, “Thank you” and “Goodbye” will sure be enough, but you may try and go beyond that. You’ll be surprised how far a few phrases will get you. People will be more open to you and will be more likely to engage in a conversation, because you show interest in their culture. It is also a fun way to entertain people, since most likely your pronunciation will be far from perfect at the beginning

  • Read about DOs and DON’Ts in that country. It may particularly useful if you travel to a country whose dominant religion or culture differ significantly from yours. If you live in the USA and travel to Saudi Arabia, reading about local customs and traditions is a must. What is normal Arabs or Hindu people in everyday conversation and behavior may not be ok for you, and vice versa. Read about cultural differences in communication and Grandcraps co uk before going on any trip.

  • Use gadgets to communicate. You can download a few apps that will ease your communication with locals. Some apps provide you with useful phrases while on a trip, while others help you translate unknown words from photos. Apart from instant translation, you can also use your gadget to draw something you need people to give you. While talking to others about yourself, your job or your family, use your gadgets to show them photos or your social network profile. An iPhone can surprisingly be a conversation booster.

  • Use gesture language. Gestures are as effective as words, or sometimes even better. However, gesture language also requires research and some discreteness. For instance, in some cultures, like Russia, pointing finger may be rude. Learn the basic “no-no” gestures and don’t let the absence of verbal vocabulary stop you from having a conversation.

  • Draw pictures. Having a notebook or a sketchbook with you could ease your communication, because you will always have a visual tool at hand. And it is not just useful for drawing a toilet sign in case of urgency. Using drawing while communicating with people of other cultures promotes connection and understanding, and can create a variety of funny situations you will remember for the rest of your life.

  • Yes, talking to locals while travelling may require you to step out of your comfort zone. But it is worth it. The thrill of being understood and liked in another part of the world can hardly be compared to any other travel experience, and you will appreciate the memories you’ll ultimately get.