Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«40 »
  • Locked thread
raton
Jul 28, 2003

by FactsAreUseless


Fists Up posted:

Why don't you like waist straps?

I found even though I wasn't hiking that sometimes the walk from a train/bus station to the hostel was a few km's and the waist strap takes a load of weight off.

The shoulder straps are plenty for the weight, and the waist straps therefore just add bulk and a little wing that gets jn the way every time you put the pack on, bangs into your legs when you carry it by the handle, flaps around stupidly when you're just carrying it by the shoulder straps, gets in peoples faces when you drag it out of the overhead, etc. If we were talking some 90 liter behemoth and a few miles to go then okay, but a hip belt on a travel pack is like snow tires on a golf cart. Many manufacturers add them, but they're totally unnesscary and mostly inconvenient -- two adjectives you don't usually want hanging around your travel gear.

raton fucked around with this message at Jun 1, 2011 around 00:42

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Kalix
May 8, 2009


Not exactly a question, but this guy fits in quite a bit into this small 28L bag:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEygcTUX4sQ

Definitely had the experience of a bigger bag getting filled up, so the idea of a smaller bag to force you to take what you need is enticing.

In terms of the 'tourist' factor, does anyone find that a smaller schoolbag looking backpack helps them blend in more?
I remember that this was a topic of discussion in the thread a couple of years back.

MA-Horus
Dec 3, 2006

I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.


That Kiva keychain pack is brilliant. I want one.

qirex
Feb 15, 2001



I geek out on my travel stuff a lot, I just did a week in London with under 16 lbs total. I've never really been able to get away with a single pair of shoes, I tend to actually go hiking when I travel. I take either low-top hiking boots or skate shoes if it's a city trip and pack a pair of Ecco dress shoes.

My main bag is this one, it's discontinued now but it's made it through a shitload of trips and is still going pretty strong. If anything I'm getting to a point where it's too big for the way I pack but I like having room for souvenirs and presents. If I was going to buy a new one now I'd probably get the Golite Travelite convertible or maybe a Tom Bihn Tri-Star. I also carry a Chrome Vega for my day bag. I like it a lot but I'd love something similar that's not Cordura. I've used a bunch of other small bags such as a Chrome Mini Metro and Timbuk2 small messenger but the smaller size of the Vega is great.

Some of my recent items of note:
Nau Riding Jacket is a lightweight softshell that can half-rear end as a blazer. If you look around online you can find Nau stuff way cheaper than list price.
Nike Dri-Fit Golf Pants I don't normally buy Nike or play golf but these things are great, they dry really fast and actually pass for slacks at night. Just make sure you check the logo color, some of them are contrasting. Definitely summer weight.

edit: one thing I wish I'd figured out sooner is that I usually destroy my travel guides before I go, literally tearing out the sections I don't need and only bringing the bits I do. If it's a book I want I can buy another copy when I get back.

qirex fucked around with this message at Jun 1, 2011 around 04:59

jonawesome
May 8, 2004
I was just looking for my kitten!

Agreed, but it looked like that guy reserved a shitload of space for electronic gear. I mean I didn't seem him pack ANY underwear.

Also a kettlestack? I google searched that and it's like the anti-ultralight. It's basically a collapsible/adjustable kettle bell, which I assume is for workouts on the go.

But those ziplock bags look pimp.

Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Fists Up posted:

Why don't you like waist straps?

I found even though I wasn't hiking that sometimes the walk from a train/bus station to the hostel was a few km's and the waist strap takes a load of weight off.

The idea is that your backpack should not weigh so much that you need a waist strap to help with the weight (particularly true for larger dudes, less so for smaller girls, I guess).

MA-Horus
Dec 3, 2006

I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.


jonawesome posted:

Agreed, but it looked like that guy reserved a shitload of space for electronic gear. I mean I didn't seem him pack ANY underwear.


Maybe he freeballs it? I mean, it can't be all that comfortable if you're doing long hikes, but perhaps the weight savings are worth it.

Tambreet
Nov 28, 2006

Ninja Platypus


Muldoon

MA-Horus posted:

That Kiva keychain pack is brilliant. I want one.

I love the idea. And they're $10 on Amazon with free shipping (w/Amazon Prime). Hard to beat that price.

Pro-PRC Laowai
Sep 30, 2004

by toby


The 2 most useful things I have brought with me when traveling:

Phone: Droid 2 Global. Very decent battery life, highly flexible to handle essentially any SIM card there is regardless of network. GPS was a lifesaver in Cambodia when tuktuk drivers had no idea where they were going and figuring out actual distances for bargaining. This also acted as a laptop replacement for me. Grab up an extra charger and a few extra batteries and you are set. Bringing extra large capacity memory cards is a hell of a lot easier than a laptop when all you are using it for is a photo dump.

Bandana: Nice and large enough to wrap comfortably around my head, cotton is the best. It's small, it's light, it keeps sweat out of your eyes in the heat, doubles as a face mask in dusty areas, feels great when it's soaked and you are burning up and it blocks out the light when you are trying to sleep. It takes absolutely no space.

Backpack: I use dis one
The best backpack you can buy will be one that has multiple layers of pockets and zippers. My laptop backpack actually works perfectly for travel. External snap covering a heavy duty zipper which I secure when traveling, velcro compartment inside that, inside velcro compartment there's a thin zipper compartment that is located essentially in the very center of the bag. This is where I tend to keep anything of any value. Just not easy for anyone to get into to gank... highly durable and I've been traveling with mine for a solid 10+ years now. Only damage is some stitching coming undone and a broken buckle that I replaced. Tons of space divided into buried compartments and external compartments for easy access.

edit: My general rule for packing is that whatever I carry must be stupidly useful in multiple ways and the smaller the better. To avoid pick pockets, if it's hot I'll wear gym shorts... there are no pockets, keep cash in the backpack and keep the backpack with me at all times, virtually no exceptions.

Pro-PRC Laowai fucked around with this message at Jun 1, 2011 around 18:18

ilovepy
Oct 10, 2007
mmm... py

The most useful item I found is an Ipod touch.

Skype for calling, iBooks or Stanza for reading, camera ("memory pictures"), alarm clock, journaling (you can get pretty good with the keyboard quickly), music, games, translation apps, calculator, instant messenger, unit conversion, weather, calendar, pandora, facebook, and a flashlight in a pinch. Lots of uses. Fits in a pocket or even a money belt. You can even travel guides on the thing.

I just really hate lugging around even a netbook, worrying about, needing to put it in hostel safes, etc.

For a daypack I use this:
http://www.rei.com/product/799600/s...ckable-day-pack

I got it on sale, its fairly pricey but incredibly small and durable.

ilovepy fucked around with this message at Jun 1, 2011 around 18:37

Mradyfist
Sep 3, 2007

People that can eat people are the luckiest people in the world


The one factor that really stopped me from using my phone as a laptop replacement (beyond all the the others, like wanting to dump/backup photos, type blog posts, read LP PDFs, etc) was that my T-Mobile G1 honestly doesn't get good enough wifi reception to use in a lot of hostels. I'd imagine if I had a newer phone it would've been easier, but by my rough estimate probably 75% of the hostels I've stayed at had poor enough signal that I couldn't actually use wifi there. Plus, when you're in a country where all the wifi is bought by the minute, it's painful using a smartphone instead of a real laptop.

I know wifi isn't everybody's priority while traveling and probably it shouldn't be, but the last two big trips I've done have spanned both tax day and the timeframe that I apply for my job each year; I can't imagine trying to look up my W2s and deal with Turbotax on my smartphone while paying $6NZD per half-hour.

It's too bad that so many translation apps depend on internet to work. While I was waiting for a train in China I used a Chinese dictionary app to communicate (slowly) with a Chinese kid who was waiting for the same train; I'd type the English words I was trying to say and then point to the traditional characters that were closest, and then he would take the phone and type pinyin to find the traditional characters, and point to which ones he meant.

qirex
Feb 15, 2001



I did my first trip with an iPad recently and was pretty happy with it. For one once you factor in the power adaptor it's over a pound lighter than my netbook, way smaller and it's much easier to use on a plane than a laptop. Plus it was easy to back up, edit and upload photos with the camera kit. I don't really do hostel travel and look for places with room safes though.

I am super pissed that there's no cheap or easy way to unlock an updated iPhone 4, I ended up using my old Nokia E71 on my last trip instead.

Pro-PRC Laowai
Sep 30, 2004

by toby


Mradyfist posted:

The one factor that really stopped me from using my phone as a laptop replacement (beyond all the the others, like wanting to dump/backup photos, type blog posts, read LP PDFs, etc) was that my T-Mobile G1 honestly doesn't get good enough wifi reception to use in a lot of hostels. I'd imagine if I had a newer phone it would've been easier, but by my rough estimate probably 75% of the hostels I've stayed at had poor enough signal that I couldn't actually use wifi there. Plus, when you're in a country where all the wifi is bought by the minute, it's painful using a smartphone instead of a real laptop.

I know wifi isn't everybody's priority while traveling and probably it shouldn't be, but the last two big trips I've done have spanned both tax day and the timeframe that I apply for my job each year; I can't imagine trying to look up my W2s and deal with Turbotax on my smartphone while paying $6NZD per half-hour.

It's too bad that so many translation apps depend on internet to work. While I was waiting for a train in China I used a Chinese dictionary app to communicate (slowly) with a Chinese kid who was waiting for the same train; I'd type the English words I was trying to say and then point to the traditional characters that were closest, and then he would take the phone and type pinyin to find the traditional characters, and point to which ones he meant.

Yea... a smartphone wont be a perfect replacement, however a hotel computer or a netcafe, or even borrowing a laptop from someone for a few minutes is usually pretty easy to do. The place I bought my phone from included the docking station and an external wifi antenna though so I have yet to experience any problems. I'll usually drag along my travel router as well for hotels that only have wired internet.... it's small

raton
Jul 28, 2003

by FactsAreUseless


I just finished the first draft of the Shoes section, which I expect to be the most controversial one (until I get to Shirts and possibly Pants where I will tell people to not bring goddamn jeans -- internet drama oh boy). Go ahead and read it and weigh in if you would, folks, if someone can post a sensical counterpoint I'll link to it in the shoes paragraph so travel newbies can see the other angles.

Optional essay topics:

-How to prove you're a hippie by wearing off brand Birkenstocks 100% of the time and pretending it's normal to do so
-Theeze kicks neva leav theeze feetz
-i am exactly 22 years old and have never worn anything other than converse all stars and plaid and I will continue to do so and if you have a problem with that maybe youre just too big of a conformist and hang out with conformist people and by the way did I see you were listening to a cover of <popular 80s tune> that had neither ukelele or a rapper in it good lord
-Anyone who wears something less than Matterhorn Deer Smashers will surely pay for their mistakes when they're not prepared and the insurgents catch up with them


Kalix posted:

Not exactly a question, but this guy fits in quite a bit into this small 28L bag:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEygcTUX4sQ

Definitely had the experience of a bigger bag getting filled up, so the idea of a smaller bag to force you to take what you need is enticing.

In terms of the 'tourist' factor, does anyone find that a smaller schoolbag looking backpack helps them blend in more?

In my opinion you, at some point, simply need to get into the mindset that you should travel with a half empty bag. His bag is small, sure, but it's also filled to brim and is going to stick way off the back of his back which makes it feel heavier (you want the weight as close to your body as possible, so a longer, thinner pack would be more ergonomic).

As for fitting in, he ain't fitting in with the little bag either. It's going to get left at the place he's staying for the time he's there while he actually goes out exploring with his other pack. I prefer to just not bring another pack. The only time I'm would be carrying something when I'm not in transit is if I'm bringing souvenirs back or if I had a DSLR or something and was planning to take pictures, and in both of those cases I'd just cart that stuff around in a plastic sack like you get from the grocery store. I'm not a point yet in my life where I'm going to die because I had to carry a half pound of goods in a shopping bag for six hours. If I traveled with a DSLR as a part of my normal stuff then I'd probably cave and get a bag for it.

raton fucked around with this message at Jun 2, 2011 around 02:16

Mradyfist
Sep 3, 2007

People that can eat people are the luckiest people in the world


Sheep-Goats posted:

In my opinion you, at some point, simply need to get into the mindset that you should travel with a half empty bag. His bag is small, sure, but it's also filled to brim and is going to stick way off the back of his back which makes it feel heavier (you want the weight as close to your body as possible, so a longer, thinner pack would be more ergonomic).

As for fitting in, he ain't fitting in with the little bag either.

Yeah, it doesn't really matter how inconspicuous your bag looks, because you will always look like a tourist if you have a backpack - imagine seeing an adult wandering around your hometown with any kind of backpack on, you'd think they were a little strange. Now imagine being someone whose livelyhood depends on spotting tourists, like a pickpocket or a tout; a smaller backpack is not a disguise.
It is very useful for plenty of other reasons though, like finding a place to put it on the plane/ferry/train/wagon, or fitting through crowds of people without knocking them over when you turn around, or being able to walk a few miles to your hostel comfortably when taxi drivers won't bargain because they know you're a tourist.

Sheep-Goats posted:

Shoes
I'll second your point on multiple pairs of shoes. On my last trip I decided that I needed a decent pair of sandals in addition to the shoes on my feet, because "Dur, Africa is hot!" They made packing my bags twice as hard every time, and the funny thing is that I found myself not wanting to wear them, not because I wouldn't enjoy having them on my feet but because it would've been even harder to pack my shoes in my bag.

In some places decent sandals are a necessity though, like if you want to do any hiking in New Zealand; the expectation there is that if there's a river nearby, you'll probably need to ford it at some point. Overall your shoe suggestions lean on the side of urban and single, but I couldn't care less about how my shoes would look in nightclubs because I'm traveling with my girlfriend, and neither of us goes clubbing.

Plus, why are people always so worried about foot fungus? I've taken plenty of showers in nasty hostels, never worn flip-flops, and never had a problem. All you need to do is wash your feet with soap, and then thoroughly dry them when you're done.

Pro-PRC Laowai
Sep 30, 2004

by toby


Mradyfist posted:

I'll second your point on multiple pairs of shoes. On my last trip I decided that I needed a decent pair of sandals in addition to the shoes on my feet, because "Dur, Africa is hot!" They made packing my bags twice as hard every time, and the funny thing is that I found myself not wanting to wear them, not because I wouldn't enjoy having them on my feet but because it would've been even harder to pack my shoes in my bag.

In some places decent sandals are a necessity though, like if you want to do any hiking in New Zealand; the expectation there is that if there's a river nearby, you'll probably need to ford it at some point. Overall your shoe suggestions lean on the side of urban and single, but I couldn't care less about how my shoes would look in nightclubs because I'm traveling with my girlfriend, and neither of us goes clubbing.

For footwear depending on when and where I either go with my old birkenstocks/cheap hiking shoes on my feet through the airport and a pair of vibram KSOs stashed in my pack. For me at least it's not just the comfort but also endurance, after a long day of walking around in one, swapping to the other gets me using different muscles and it's like starting fresh again.

Mradyfist
Sep 3, 2007

People that can eat people are the luckiest people in the world


Pro-PRC Laowai posted:

For footwear depending on when and where I either go with my old birkenstocks/cheap hiking shoes on my feet through the airport and a pair of vibram KSOs stashed in my pack. For me at least it's not just the comfort but also endurance, after a long day of walking around in one, swapping to the other gets me using different muscles and it's like starting fresh again.

Personally, once I've broken in my shoes or sandals they're comfortable to wear all day. Good socks make a huge difference though, I was a "8-pack of cotton socks from Target" guy for a long time until I bought some decent socks (these, to be exact), and I ended up just throwing away all my cheap cotton socks and just washing these more often.

MA-Horus
Dec 3, 2006

I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.


man I wish I could wear Vibram fivefingers they honestly look like the most comfortable thing in the world. But my toes are hosed up, so I can't.

qirex
Feb 15, 2001



There's shoes built in the same vein as Vibrams like the Merrell Barefoot or the New Balance Minimus that look like actual shoes and not like you're an open source software enthusiast heading to the gym. I wouldn't want to be wearing any of them walking all day in a city with granite sidewalks and cobbled streets though. Or anywhere it was really cold. Or anywhere I didn't want people to stare at my gimmicky shoes.

If I'm going somewhere where I'm actually going to be doing real hiking I take these, I've been wearing Lowas for like 12 years and they're pretty much bulletproof. Definitely not stylish city wear but they've done me good in really tough conditions [rain, snow, scree descents, desert, jungle].

Like I said before I like skate shoes for city travel, they have good cushioning and they don't look like moon boots like they did a few years ago. I wore these in London and when I wanted to dress up I switched to my Eccos. There's other shoes that are super-easy to pack like Puma K-Street or Vans SRPLS or 106 SF. Well under a pound for the pair and can be squished flat for easy packing. I guess stuff like Tom's too but ugh.

Pro-PRC Laowai
Sep 30, 2004

by toby


MA-Horus posted:

man I wish I could wear Vibram fivefingers they honestly look like the most comfortable thing in the world. But my toes are hosed up, so I can't.

My toes were a little hosed up at first, 4th and 5th toe a bit hammered. Been wearing vibrams now for a solid 2 months or so and my toes have corrected themselves on their own. I'll always bring a pair of sandals as backup though, hit terrain that you really just don't want to deal with and slip the sandals on over the vibrams. Looks absolutely retarded, but it works.

HeroOfTheRevolution
Apr 26, 2008



Mradyfist posted:

Plus, why are people always so worried about foot fungus? I've taken plenty of showers in nasty hostels, never worn flip-flops, and never had a problem. All you need to do is wash your feet with soap, and then thoroughly dry them when you're done.

Athlete's foot isn't a tremendous problem. Washing your feet isn't going to protect you from plantar warts, though. And speaking from experience, those are a bitch.

raton
Jul 28, 2003

by FactsAreUseless


Pro-PRC Laowai posted:

slip the sandals on over the vibrams.

Oh my loving lord.


HeroOfTheRevolution posted:

Athlete's foot isn't a tremendous problem. Washing your feet isn't going to protect you from plantar warts, though. And speaking from experience, those are a bitch.

Thanks, I was going to post basically this (minus the "from experience" bit). Also that fungus poo poo that gets into your toenails and you have to take a blood test to see if your liver can handle the pills that kill it ain't no joke either. You really should be wearing flop flops into communal showers folks. Or, optionally, wear galoshes over your sandals over your vibram five finger...

Sorry, I'm still in shock over that comment.

raton fucked around with this message at Jun 2, 2011 around 13:49

Quantify!
Apr 2, 2009

by Fistgrrl


And if your feet might get wet, just cut up a garbage bag and use some duct tape to secure it to your ankles. Hey, you might get some funny looks from everyone in the world but it's so much easier than just wearing real shoes!

Ribsauce
Jul 29, 2006

Blacks in the back.


I am confused on cell phones. I have a HTC EVO which as far as I can tell does not have a SIM slot. If I am going to Mexico and Central America I think I need a SIM card compatible phone, I would like for it to be cheap and able to do apps for translation and stuff. Do I need a different phone? I don't want to stick with the EVO and come back with a 2 million dollar phone bill.

This would probably be a good topic for the first post because I can't be the only retard when it comes to cell phones.

If anyone is interested I am going on a week long motorcycle travel/camping trip and I will post everything I take. Much more complex packing than a trip around Thailand where all you need are some underpants and a pair of boardshorts. Also, the best thing I have ever bought for traveling is compression underwear. You can get them for 10 bucks a piece at Wal Mart (Starter brand) or Under Armour for like 30 bucks at Dick's. They rule so drat hard, I wear them on a daily basis now.

Ribsauce fucked around with this message at Jun 2, 2011 around 13:58

qirex
Feb 15, 2001



Unlocked smartphones are not cheap, you're probably looking at at least $150 for a used Android. Also check on what bands the countries you're going to use, because the US has weird frequencies for both 2G and 3G compared to the rest of the world, most unlocked GSM phones have a "US version" and an "import version". As far as getting a SIM Latin American phone companies are notorious for price gouging and I have no idea how data roaming would work and what it would cost.

Most translation software requires a data connection, maybe just carry a dictionary?

raton
Jul 28, 2003

by FactsAreUseless


I will definetly have some info on phones in the second post sooner or later, but I don't know any useful info now beyond the basics that have already shown up in the two posts above me here. Also things change quickly with phones, especially these days, so I might just end up giving ABC advice and then linking to some cellphone thread in the gadgets forum.

For underwear I like the exofficio quick dry boxers, the underwear post is coming soon, but in my opinion the best "secret" weapon in my travel arsenal is smartwool socks.

raton fucked around with this message at Jun 2, 2011 around 15:19

Ribsauce
Jul 29, 2006

Blacks in the back.


Those exofficios are nice, but you should check compression shorts. They take things to the next level. Underarmour even makes some with mesh where your balls/taint are. I haven't seen them but a friend (the same one who got me on the compression bandwagon) was saying they are awesome

raton
Jul 28, 2003

by FactsAreUseless


Ribsauce posted:

Those exofficios are nice, but you should check compression shorts. They take things to the next level. Underarmour even makes some with mesh where your balls/taint are. I haven't seen them but a friend (the same one who got me on the compression bandwagon) was saying they are awesome

I really prefer to have my garbage flapping around though, can't stand having it mashed in one spot all day.

HeroOfTheRevolution
Apr 26, 2008



Sheep-Goats posted:

Thanks, I was going to post basically this (minus the "from experience" bit).

Got one from a mat at a martial arts dojo when I was in high school. Having a half-inch deep, half-inch diameter hole in the sole of my foot for a month convinced me the only place I should go barefoot is at home.

lostleaf
Jul 12, 2009


Get a good credit card with cheap forex fees for ATM withdrawals. Credit cards use standard exchange rates then add on the forex fees. You'll get much better rates than at any local banks or money changers. I use penfed credit card which charges 1% but there are credit cards that doesn't charge any forex fees. Before you leave for the trip, preload whatever amount of money you think you might need on your trip. Why? Because cash advances on your credit card accumulates interest the second you take it out. If you have a positive balance, there's no interest. Why credit vs debit card? Because credit cards have much stronger protection to dispute false charges. With a debit card, you'll get your money back but that's after the bank feels like returning your money.

One of the first things you should do when you land is start looking for a prepaid sim card. A quadband phone will work anywhere in the world for voice and 2g data. Put the smallest amount of credit on the sim as possible. Unlike the US, most countries have free incoming minutes. This allows you to keep in contact with your family for cheap.

Also I might be the only one here advocating dumbphones over smartphones.

1 ridiculous battery life compared to smartphones
2 they're really cheap that if its lost, you won't care
3 don't make you look like a tourist as much

Unless you have to do online banking, forego the tablet or netbook. Your facebook or twitter or your photosharing site doesn't have to be that secure to require your own computer. Just do as other said before, change the password before you get there, then afterward when you get home. If you do need online banking, bring a netbook or a tablet.

One device that I can't live without is an eink ereader. Get a kindle/nook/kobo and get hours and hours of entertainment while you're waiting for that bus or plane. But this makes you look like a tourist. Then again it's also a conversation starter too because most people are curious about it.

One device that's iffy is a music player. I love having a soundtrack while I travel but it does make it harder for people to strike up conversation with you. Of course it works great when you want to stop talking to other people.

Of course you can just use a smartphone which would cover all these functions but the browsing experience, battery life, reading experience won't be as good as dedicated devices. You have consider that against the weight advantage. When I travel, I bring a nook and a cheap motorola world dumbphone which both use the same charger. If I need to use the internet, I use internet cafe or the hostel's computer.

qirex
Feb 15, 2001



lostleaf posted:

Get a good credit card with cheap forex fees for ATM withdrawals. Credit cards use standard exchange rates then add on the forex fees. You'll get much better rates than at any local banks or money changers. I use penfed credit card which charges 1% but there are credit cards that doesn't charge any forex fees. Before you leave for the trip, preload whatever amount of money you think you might need on your trip. Why? Because cash advances on your credit card accumulates interest the second you take it out. If you have a positive balance, there's no interest. Why credit vs debit card? Because credit cards have much stronger protection to dispute false charges. With a debit card, you'll get your money back but that's after the bank feels like returning your money.
I am so confused by what you're going for here. There's usually a cash advance fee from the ATM company and you should almost never do a cash advance on a credit card even if you have a positive balance because frequently you will get charged a different [worse] rate. There should be no difference in which bank's ATM you use for a cash withdrawl on an ATM card. Also I have never seen these magic "better deal" small money changing places people talk about anywhere, they're all ripoffs. You may get a better rate but these places make money on fees.

Overall paying cash for everything is the easiest way to avoid weird fees, fraudulent charges and stay on budget.

What I do:
  • Get $50ish worth of local currency from my bank before I go to get from the airport to where I'm staying.
  • Take a credit card and an ATM card [different banks] and stash a US $100 bill.
  • Leave my ATM card in my hotel unless I'm on a cash run, leave anything over my daily budget in the hotel.
  • Take out larger amounts of cash at a time to minimize the impact of fees [my bank charges a flat $5].
  • Pay for everything except transportation and hotels [and maybe a really large purchase] with cash.
  • Check mint.com daily [with a unique email and PW from any of my financial accounts]
Also Capitol One is basically the only US bank with no foreign currency fees on their ATM cards. Which is a shame because they're a horrible bank. Might be worth opening an account if you're doing a big trip though.

lostleaf
Jul 12, 2009


the ATM fee is a given even with debit/ATM cards unless you have card that refunds it like charles Schwab bank. when I traveled to Rome, Egypt, Singapore over the last 3 years I had significantly better rates from my bank vs any amex or money changers and local banks even on top of the forex fees. check your credit card agreement though because different issuers have different fees

Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


qirex posted:

I am so confused by what you're going for here. There's usually a cash advance fee from the ATM company and you should almost never do a cash advance on a credit card even if you have a positive balance because frequently you will get charged a different [worse] rate. There should be no difference in which bank's ATM you use for a cash withdrawl on an ATM card. Also I have never seen these magic "better deal" small money changing places people talk about anywhere, they're all ripoffs. You may get a better rate but these places make money on fees.

Overall paying cash for everything is the easiest way to avoid weird fees, fraudulent charges and stay on budget.

What I do:
[list][*]Get $50ish worth of local currency from my bank before I go to get from the airport to where I'm staying.

The magic "better deal" changers work in countries where the "real" exchange rate is different from the "official" exchange rate (e.g. Myanmar, DPRK, Belarus, Zimbabwe-5-years-ago). I agree with the rest of your post, although sometimes getting $50 of local currency beforehand is impossible (many poor countries do not allow their currency to be traded outside their borders, e.g. CFA).

A couple other points along these lines:
- If you can, get a debit card with a chip in it, although IIRC only BoA offers these. Some ATMs and places in some countries will not accept the older, American-style cards that only have a magnetic strip on the back and nothing on the front. Good luck getting money in Japan without one, for example. You'll have to try 5 ATMs to find one that works (ones in post offices work on American cards, literally every other ATM in Japan seems to not work without a chip).
- Some places do not accept credit cards that do not have a PIN number. For example, you can't buy a train ticket using a machine in Switzerland with a credit card that doesn't have a PIN. This is pretty rare but it happens.

qirex
Feb 15, 2001



That reminds me, a lot of ATMs in other countries only accept 4-digit PIN numbers/

I really like having a smartphone when I'm traveling, mostly because of Google Maps. That said I mostly go to big cities. Sometimes getting lost and wandering can be fun but sometimes you just need to find that one record store. If I was going on a beach trip or out into the boonies I'd probably just bring a cheapo Nokia dumbphone for emergencies.

And I really wish the US would adopt chip & PIN credit cards but it seems like everything is going NFC or some other non-secure system that won't be compatible in any other countries.

Studebaker Hawk
May 22, 2004



qirex posted:


Also Capitol One is basically the only US bank with no foreign currency fees on their ATM cards. Which is a shame because they're a horrible bank. Might be worth opening an account if you're doing a big trip though.
If anyone got in on the visa BA card, they don't charge foreign fees either anymore. Nice addition to the 100k miles.

Kalix
May 8, 2009


One of my debates right now is if I should drop down to a ~32L bag.

I prefer the daypack solution to the travel bag solution mainly because of walking around a lot, hiking, etc.

Right now I have a 42L - for actual overnight camping etc.

Just seems like most people opt for the travel bag solution or the ~32L backpack. Unless they want to look like the picture in the OP.

Anyone do something similar? Or should I save my money and just put less in my bag...sort of leaning towards this option but my bag is 3pounds 10oz empty.
(It's a Deuter bag)

raton
Jul 28, 2003

by FactsAreUseless


Kalix: is this for travel or for hiking?

Kalix
May 8, 2009


Sheep-Goats posted:

Kalix: is this for travel or for hiking?

Trying to combine both...I'm thinking of Northern India - but I have no concrete plans as of yet.

Did a trip where I was more or less in one place recently, so while I packed light I didn't need to opt for the backpack. In fact I used a duffel that had backpack straps...so wannabe travel-bag. Worked as a carry on.

But this time around I envision being more on the move, and I wanted to do some trekking.
Hopefully I'm not letting my imagination get the best of me.

The other thought is, that when I eventually do the SE Asia trip, warm climate and the like, lots of walking, the bag would also function reasonably well there. Though I'll be honest and say I really have to read that thread before I can even comment much more.

Edit: So the main criticisms to the Hiking bag it seems are 1) Unruly Straps 2) Top loading?


Kalix fucked around with this message at Jun 4, 2011 around 01:32

raton
Jul 28, 2003

by FactsAreUseless


Take a look at the Tom Bihn tri star and tell me what you think.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Kalix
May 8, 2009


Sheep-Goats posted:

Take a look at the Tom Bihn tri star and tell me what you think.

It's no doubt an excellent bag. I actually was reading reviews on it before I posted. It's pretty highly regarded.
The travel bag is much more convenient for packing/unpacking, and nicer looking though.
I think it would be the way to go for Europe and really any travel where I wasn't thinking about walking a lot with the pack.
The Tom-Binh site even points out that It's not recommend for extended walking - makes sense. So I think i'll focus more on the traditional backpack style.

Sheep-Goats: I know you must primarily be using the Travel Pack - but how did you pack for SE Asia, for example? Did you use a backpack or travel pack?

  • Locked thread
«40 »