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What is your best travel tip?

In the tradition of the “old” Lightstalkers, in which a lot of information was contributed and absorbed, I am starting a thread on travel tips.

Everybody should feel free to contribute anything they have done or found that makes travel around your city or country, the world, or, well, the universe, easier and more pleasant.

Here’s mine (your contribution doesn’t have to be this long!):

Going off on an assignment (or just on a personal project) to a far place is a great professional challenge. But it can become a real horror if you get sick. The most usual illnesses, in my experience, are (a) gastrointestinal distress due to infection, (b) an upper respiratory infection (bronchitis, etc.), © diarrhea, or (d) jet lag (not an illness per se but if you can’t sleep at night, you’ll be dead during the day when you have to work).

I have found some medical solutions to all these issues. They are three prescription drugs.

Cipro (generic name is Ciprofloxacin), a general-purpose antibiotic, which I think generally comes in 500 mg pills. If you have an upper respiratory infection (more than a cold), take 2 per day for seven day. For a serious gastrointestinal infection (not just overnight diarrhea because you drank too many beers!), take two per day for three days. I suggest carrying a stock of 30 pills.

Ambien (generic name is Zolpidem). This is a mild sedative that is more of a sleeping aid than something to put you to sleep. They often come in the form of skinny elongated tablets which you can break in half, so if you wake up at 3 in the morning because of jet lag, you can take a half of a pill to get you through the night. Get a stock of 25-30. You often need them on the back end of a trip, as well.

Lomotil (generic Diphenoxylate+Atropine) – This is a powerful antidiarrheal medicine that will usually stop diarrhea in its tracks. If you’ve really got it, take two at onset, then if it continues, take one after each bout, BUT no more than six per day for a maximum of two days. If it continues, get to a physician. BTW, drink lots of water, and eat bananas and rice to keep your energy up. Get a stock of about 25.

You should absolutely check with your doctor (I am not one) before you take any of these to make sure there are no complications for you. And I did learn that there can be problems if you take Lomotil and Ambien (or other sedatives) together. Also, these are powerful meds, and the latter two can be habit-forming. So only take them when you really need to.

To purchase these in the US, you will need a physician’s prescription. And your health insurance provider may not pay for them, because they are not treating an existing medical condition (they often slip by, however). So I buy mine in foreign countries which often don’t have prescription requirements, and are almost always cheaper. You do run some risks there, but I ask to see the box that will usually have the name of a known drugmaker on it (which admittedly is probably not much protection).

Also be sure to update them, as they do expire. An out-of-date medication is not likely to improve your condition.

I put them all together in one bottle and tape onto it a label which reads like this:

Large white pill (or whatever shape your Cipro takes) – antibiotic
Take 2 per day –
3 days for G/I infection
7days for URI
Small long white pill – sleep
Take 1 at bedtime or half as needed for sleep
Green/grey capsule – diarrhea
Take 2 at onset; if continues take 1 after ea bout, BUT no more than –
– 6 per day and
– 2 days max

You should also take along some analgesics (aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), etc.), and Peptobismal tablets. They will usually help in the first aid category.

Hope this helps!

by Neal Jackson at 2013-03-06 09:05:44 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

On a related note new TSA regulations starting April 25 state that knives of a certain size will now be allowed on airplanes in USA. This will effect travelers transiting thru USA, too, since they’ve had to check knives in luggage. Story here

My only advice is to travel light. Pack light and then throw half of it out. You really don’t need five scarves.

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 06 Mar 2013 13:03 | Spring Lake, Michigan, United States | | Report spam→
Go to the dentist before leaving!
If you wear glasses, take a spare pair.
Take a book.
Scan all your important documents (and cards) and put them on Dropbox or similar.
Make sure everything you need to work will fit in the overhead locker of your plane.
Do not have just one of vital piece of kit. If this is not possible, find out where the nearest local supplier is.
Do not sit in the front passenger seat.

by DPC | 06 Mar 2013 14:03 (ed. Mar 6 2013) | Paris, France | | Report spam→
“Tourism is sin, and travel on foot virtue.”
-Werner Herzog

by Barry Milyovsky | 06 Mar 2013 20:03 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
If you’re shooting digital make sure you’re using at least 2 hard drives (either an internal and an external or 2 x externals) and copy your files to both regularly. If using 2x external drives use a piece of software like Superduper ( http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper/SuperDuperDescription.html ) to clone (in one click!) one onto the other should one fail. When moving from place to place , keep them in separate bags and always keep one on you should your luggage go walkabouts or be damaged at any point.

Personal story: Travelling through jakarta (and quite excited as I was about to file some protest images) I managed to drop one drive as I was pulling the laptop from the bag – it clicked violently when plugged in and died. I didn’t miss a beat, got out the other and filed the images without a hassle – would have been a minor tragedy otherwise.

Also, I’m seconding DPC’s point on scanning all important docs and keeping them in the cloud, but would add on top of that to include photocopied and witnessed (in Australia it’s usually done by the police) copies hidden in luggage when the originals are on you.

by Luka Kauzlaric | 07 Mar 2013 03:03 | Melbourne, Australia | | Report spam→
Learn how to say “please” and “thank you” is the language of the country you’re going to be in. Use both often.

by James Colburn | 07 Mar 2013 20:03 | Omaha, Nebraska, United States | | Report spam→
Great contributions. Here is my suggestion: prepare in advance of your trip.

I do the following:
1. Straight after making my reservations (hotels, flights etc), I formally notify my Government’s department of foreign affairs (New Zealand Govt has such a program) of my itinerary. So somebody “official” knows more-or-less exactly where I am and how to contact me.
2. I make photographic copies of everything important, like passport, visa, international driving permits, reservation confirmation, insurance certificates etc – and I copy these to my iPhone, iPad and Dropbox.
3. I take empty, high capacity memory sticks and a small notebook computer (which I use only for this purpose) to backup 2 copies of every day’s photography. I don’t go to sleep until the backups have been completed, the cameras’ memory cards have been formatted, and all the batteries for cameras, flash et al have been set to charge (I let charging happen while I sleep).
4. Insofar as the planning is concerned, when I go to a place that is completely new to me I do multiple and repeated internet searches in the days or weeks before I leave. I also make a point of searching for images – this means that when I arrive in the “strange” place I can easily recognise key points, features and landmarks, so I feel like I’ve been there before. I do this with religious discipline – it really helps a lot.

Hope this was of interest.
CW

P.S. Oh, and I am with DPC – see your doctor, dentist before you go and carry at least one set of spare spectacles!! And more of your prescription medications than you really need (make photos of the actual prescriptions to prove that they’re your medications and not something illicit).

by Dr Chris Westinghouse | 07 Mar 2013 22:03 (ed. Mar 7 2013) | SYD, Australia | | Report spam→
Great thread! Keep it coming! :)

by Patricio Murphy | 08 Mar 2013 02:03 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
“I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods.”
—Walt Whitman

by Barry Milyovsky | 08 Mar 2013 03:03 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
If you are off the grid, carry a dozen small sealed foil packets of electrolyte replacement (adult equivalent of pedialyte; generics are over the counter, and cheap) and a Steri-Pen to sterilize water. Also triple antibiotic ointment for scrapes on dirty surfaces (I learned the hard way, got septic from a scratch in Cuba.) Use all liberally.

by John Rudoff | 08 Mar 2013 04:03 | Portland Oregon, United States | | Report spam→
A lot of experienced practical suggestions already here
Medicines: Ciproxine yes but it is using a hammer to kill the fly. Useful on an individual basis for a particular trip but indiscriminate use of powerful AB leads to resistance; Lomotil: useful but remember that it works by paralyzing the gut and that once you stop taking it it can takes a few days for normal bowel movements to resume. Not for children; Oral Rehydration Salts in packets are excellent to keep you rehydrated and keep the salts’ balance. Drink a minimum of 3 liters a day, sick or not sick.
Food and water: be careful as prevention will go a long way. Make sure than sealed water bottles are opened in front of you. Beware of hotel buffets.
If traveling to malaria infested areas take the appropriate prophylaxis. Try it a week before departure to make sure that you have no side effects. Most important after your return if you feel you have “the flu” consult immediately and mention to your physician that you have travelled to malaria-infested areas.
After reading the above you hope I am a doctor. I am :-)

by Pierre Claquin | 08 Mar 2013 08:03 | Dhaka, Bangladesh | | Report spam→
Non health related stuff

- Don’t hand out information unnecessarily
- In a dangerous situation don’t speak first
- Learn to assess danger quickly and be in-tune with the energy of the place you’re working in
- Learn when to play it ‘dumb’ and when to react swiftly
- Remember that it’s almost always "better to ask for forgiveness then permission’
- Dress locally
- Know the implications of your actions, both the dangers that you impose on others and to yourself
- if you get arrested and you’ve never been arrested before – DON’T FREAK OUT 9/10 it’s intimidation tactic (see first point)

by Ethan Knight | 08 Mar 2013 12:03 (ed. Mar 8 2013) | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
PIERRE, please clarify, “Oral Rehydration Salts in packets are excellent to keep you rehydrated and keep the salts’ balance. Drink a minimum of 3 liters a day, sick or not sick.” When not sick or needing rehydration should you use the salts or will 3 liters of any liquid do?

by Barry Milyovsky | 08 Mar 2013 14:03 (ed. Mar 8 2013) | New York, United States | | Report spam→

Great thread



Exile is not a material thing,
it is a spiritual thing.
All the corners of the earth
are exactly the same.
And anywhere one can dream is good,
providing the place is obscure,
and the horizon is vast.
—-Victor Hugo



by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 08 Mar 2013 16:03 | Spring Lake, Michigan, United States | | Report spam→
Discovered a great & cheap, non-medicinal solution to food poisoning/nausea + puking/very upset stomach/diarrhea while travelling with a buddy in Thailand this summer. My friend got very ill, couldn’t even keep plain bread and water in his system, and we were getting worried about dehydration.

I went to a local pharmacy, described his symptoms, and along with some anti-diarrhea medicine they gave me a packet of activated charcoal in large but easily swallowable, gel-tabs. Usually this stuff is used on someone who has swallowed a poison or something toxic but my friend tried it out before taking the other medication and it worked wonders. He was feeling fine within hours.

I’m sure this won’t work in all cases of food-poisoning, but I bought some extra packets (they were about $1.50 each) and now I keep them in my medical kit, just in case.

by Daniel Tepper | 08 Mar 2013 21:03 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
This is a tiny thing, perhaps; but it has saved me some grief at times: when buying a ticket in a noisy train station and you’re not fluent in the language, write the name of your destination on a slip of paper so when the agent looks at you quizzically you show them. A lot of towns have similar names.

by Brian Page | 09 Mar 2013 01:03 | Atlanta, United States | | Report spam→
A couple things———


Overseas, I always shoot raw and jpeg so if laptop is stolen, gets low on juice or is not accessible you can edit the jpegs at an internet cafe and file….


I always wear a belt—-came in handy on a train in Bolivia for holding on when there was nothing else but can also be used to connect luggage in the event you are in public where a thief could grab and dash a bag—-also used it on a bridge while shooting a suicide attempt…


I always wear an under shirt under regular shirt—-once in Mexico I sold it to a guy for 20 bucks in a bar bathroom that had no toilet paper——another time in Argentina lost my good shirt for a different look with cops in pursuit for a bribe…it worked—-


Changing money and its dodgy, i’ll go in with two envelopes that look the same——in one I’ll put bill sized paper cut out in newspaper in one pocket, so after I change money, I’ll put the cash in the other envelope with the idea that if I get robbed I give them the newspaper envelope—never been robbed so far——(has to be dodgy to do this)

Have a lot of others but no time now—-

bro

###

by David Bro | 09 Mar 2013 05:03 | Orange County-Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→
Barry: what I meant is that, in hot countries, it is wise to drink 3 liters of fluids (whatever) a day. It keeps you rehydrated and keep tour kidneys flushing (good against kidney stones). If suffering from diarrhea then mix the oral rehydration salt packet with the appropriate amount of water and drink 3 liters of it daily.
Best

by Pierre Claquin | 09 Mar 2013 06:03 | Dhaka, Bangladesh | | Report spam→
Thanks Pierre. I asked because back in the 1960’s it was common in the southern US to see bottles of salt tablets on pharmacy shelves. I don’t know under what conditions they were used but eventually they went out of fashion, possibly because people were concerned with excessive intake of sodium. But I don’t know if its use or discontinuation of use was based on any medical evidence.

by Barry Milyovsky | 09 Mar 2013 13:03 (ed. Mar 9 2013) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Bonjour Pierre,

Going to be in Syria and Iraq during July and August. As you know, it’s going to be extremely hot. Beside what you already wrote here, do you have specific recommendation for these specific area?

Merci

Yves

by Yves Choquette | 09 Mar 2013 14:03 | Montreal, Canada, Canada | | Report spam→
Yves,
This may sound a bit odd but a small umbrella can work wonders in the desert when there is no shade available!

by Walter Rothwell | 09 Mar 2013 18:03 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Level 4 ballistic armor, take Sebastian Junger’s RISC course, and evacuation insurance. Good luck.

by John Rudoff | 09 Mar 2013 18:03 | Portland Oregon, United States | | Report spam→
I sometimes put a flat and soft cloth pouch around my neck and under my shirt and in which I put the most important things like passport, tickets, paper money, credit card etc. in order to sleep more peacefully on trains.

Related to saving scanned documents in the cloud; besides writing the contact information for your embassy/consulate of your destination country on your notebook (the ancient paper version, not the computer) or similar, I’d suggest also saving them in your email that can be accessed wherever the internet connection is available (like gmail/hotmail etc.), just in case your bag is stolen also with your notebook in it. And same goes for other possible local contact information of your destination country, persons who might be able to help you if you get in trouble.

One of my won’t-travel-withouts is a pair of thick woollen almost knee-high socks (I have a broad selection made by my mother but also others will do) especially for long flights and especially in the hot season when you are likely to board the plane wearing sandals and light clothing (and I’m always cold in the planes anyway). The same applies to trains in the hot season when the air condition (when there’s one) is ON.

Neal, for jet lag melatonin is recommended, available without prescription and in supermarkets at least in Italy; is it too “light” for you?

by Laura Larmo | 09 Mar 2013 19:03 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
Never underestimate the importance of CLEAN socks. (Laura, I would love to meet your mother!) For those of you who actually walk they not only increase your comfort but also greatly reduce your chance of getting blisters. Carry as many as you can. You can fill all those little empty spaces in your bag with them. I prefer wool even in the hot desert where I have done quite a bit of walking. They are very cushioning and are easily washed even without soap. I understand there are some very good synthetic socks but I have had no experience with them. Always avoid cotton no matter what the climate.

by Barry Milyovsky | 09 Mar 2013 19:03 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Walter, thank you but I prefer to have both of my hands free and wearing a hat (or helmut) depends on the situation.

John thank you. Everybody recommended heavy level 4 armour, thought the level 3a would be enough…

Yves

by Yves Choquette | 09 Mar 2013 20:03 | Montreal, Canada, Canada | | Report spam→
Barry, why avoiding cotton socks?

by Yves Choquette | 09 Mar 2013 20:03 | Montreal, Canada, Canada | | Report spam→
Yves, I find cotton socks soaked with sweat, lose their cushioning ability, wrinkle, rub on your skin and cause blisters. Wool socks, even when wet, maintain a greater degree of cushining and comfort.

by Barry Milyovsky | 09 Mar 2013 20:03 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Thank Barry, that’s true but I’m kinda allergic to wool.

by Yves Choquette | 09 Mar 2013 21:03 | Montreal, Canada, Canada | | Report spam→
Yves: July is going to be Ramadan. A period of social restriction to eat and drink in public. Still you have to do it discreetly as it will be hot. Cover you head and wear loose fitting clothes. And be careful! Bonne chance.

by Pierre Claquin | 10 Mar 2013 04:03 | Dhaka, Bangladesh | | Report spam→
Barry: the Oral Rehydration Therapy packets contain different salts and a bit of sugar. Sugar helps the active transfer of water and electrolytes from the guts to the body cells and therefore to rehydrate. Sall tablets were useful but hard to fine tune, the packets do it better.

by Pierre Claquin | 10 Mar 2013 05:03 | Dhaka, Bangladesh | | Report spam→
“Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to go,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—-” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“So long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation."
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
—Lewis Carroll, ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND

by Barry Milyovsky | 10 Mar 2013 15:03 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
- it’s useful to have a pack of cigarettes on you at all times.
- bring toilet paper
- water boiled for coffee or tea isn’t necessarily boiled long enough to be “safe.”
- a company called “scottevest” makes jackets that discreetly have tons of pockets, including tiny hidden spots for sim cards and memory sticks, etc. best thing i bought before heading to MENA region this winter.
- don’t underestimate the value of rubber flipflops if you’re going to be showering in unsavory places.

by Ben Taub | 11 Mar 2013 12:03 | Minsk, Belarus | | Report spam→
Loads of true stuff, been actually through most of it.

I wanted to add this one:

Etihad ‘lost’ my luggage in Abu Dhabi and after weeks I learned that you need to tag, print, stick your name address and number on your luggage in any possible way. Because if the airport tag is gone chances are near to zero anybody will do any effort to go and physically look for your bag even it is in front of their noses.

And don’t put two chargers of the same kind in one bag as you end up with none :-(

by Tom Van Cakenberghe | 11 Mar 2013 15:03 (ed. Mar 11 2013) | Kathmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→
“All paths lead nowhere, so it is important to choose a path that has heart.”
—Carlos Castaneda

by Barry Milyovsky | 13 Mar 2013 22:03 (ed. Mar 13 2013) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Two things off the top of my head:

1) When using public transportation of any kind, never advertise which stop you’re getting off at. If I have a camera visible I’ll hesitate like I’m not getting off at my stop, and then just before the doors close I’ll go out. Makes it tougher for someone who may have been eyeing your equipment and this also allows you to see if someone suddenly decides to get off only when you do (bad sign).

2) Buy socks from the company “Defeet”. Best. Socks. Ever.

by Ian Terry | 16 Mar 2013 07:03 | Copenhagen, Denmark | | Report spam→
Here’s another.

Use two external drives to create parallel downloads of your project (Lacie Ruggeds?). Then leave one in your room and take one with you. If your room is burglarized, you’ll have one version. If you are robbed while working, you’ll still have one version.

I got this tip from Ron Haviv….

Edit: Just saw the similar point by Luka above.

by Neal Jackson | 08 Apr 2013 21:04 (ed. Apr 8 2013) | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Ativan. I never leave earth without it.

by chip chipman | 09 Apr 2013 03:04 | Berkeley,ca, United States | | Report spam→
head torch.

by Edward Cheng | 09 Apr 2013 22:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Yves, leave the umbrella at home when going to syria, especially if it is a colored one and doesn´t provide any ballistic protection… defintely keep Ramadan in mind which is four weeks in july and august this years. it is the hottest period and drinking/eating is “banned” from public from sunrise to sunset. But if you stay away from real believers or islamists there are unfortunately enough ruins around to jump in for a hidden drink. and many syrians are still tolerant enough to let you drink somewhere unvisible. just ask your fixers/supporters… drinking water is generally speaking no problem in syria. in some areas in fact it is hard to get or polluted, but usually water in syria is drinkable right out of the tap. But it is recommend anyway to bring some chlorine pills to purify water in a bottle you should bring as well. Tea and coffee is no problem at all in syria, apart from obligatory 4 spoons of sugar in a tiny little glas of tea and the tasty bitterness of unsweetened coffee. But once you get used to it you´ll love it and cannot go through the day without! Due to heavy shelling it is recommend to stay in multistorey concrete buildings, so sun heat won´t be a problem at all… ;-) stay safe out there!!! +Email me if you need more on syria.+

by randbild | 10 Apr 2013 07:04 | Gorleben, Germany | | Report spam→
Ranbild,

Thank you for your precious advice but seriously, do you think i would fooling around with an umbrella over my head? That would like dancing in the street of Kabul dressing like Ronald McDonald.
I hate umbrella anyway ;) I will email you for sure.

Thank again

Yves

by Yves Choquette | 11 Apr 2013 00:04 | Montreal, Canada, Canada | | Report spam→

!desert fashion-1-2.jpg!

by Barry Milyovsky | 11 Apr 2013 13:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
2 thumbs up to you Neal for initiating such a great thread! I have followed all posted advice and recommends with keen interest and am confident that when all has been said, it will be a wonderful collection.

Perhaps I will only make one humble addition. When you arrive to work in a ‘3rd world’ country and have no fixer, also take with you ‘loose’ money in local currency to ‘smooth’ the way should need arise. Imagine the frustration of trying to shoot a perfect scene or trying to access a vantage point, perhaps a rooftop but a guard says ‘no’ for whatever reason. Usually, a bit of persuasion and some ‘tea’ as it is called in Uganda, ‘something small’ as its called in Kenya and Tanzania, ‘fanta’ as it is called in Rwanda, will make them change their mind! And it is surprising how little it is. I have rarely given above $20 at a single location. The exception was when I needed to get my client access to members only clubs in Dar es Salaam because the chain of people nibbling on the ‘something small’ is longer…

Many of you who will read this may disagree with or even loathe this practice and I respect that. On my part however, this is a reality and counts as an operations cost. It’s either staying in the hotel another night, extending your flight, etc, or 10 bucks. I choose the later!

by Moses Bert Mabonga | 13 Apr 2013 04:04 | Kampala, Uganda | | Report spam→
I agree with Moses. Generally, when you travel all you really need, in addition to the necessary travel documents, is money. You can buy anything you need along the way.
And now that I think about it, you can frequently buy the necessary travel documents too if you have the money.

by Barry Milyovsky | 14 Apr 2013 19:04 (ed. Apr 14 2013) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
In Syria, and all mid east, clean socks and shoes are very important. You need shoes that you can take off/put on quickly, as you will need to take them off pretty much everywhere. As one dude told me “get boots with zippers next time!”.. when the shoes are off, people hate it if your feet stinks, hence the clean socks..

Btw why DPC, why “Do not sit in the front passenger seat”? its good fro pictures…

by yusuf sayman | 15 Apr 2013 10:04 | antakya, Turkey | | Report spam→
If the car has seat belts, wear them. Drivers can go to sleep, and when the car runs off the road things can get very serious (right, Teru?).

by Neal Jackson | 16 Apr 2013 02:04 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Check out which side of the road they drive on and which side of the car/pickup/whatever the steering wheel is. In Burma most vehicles were 2nd hand from Malaysia or Japan (this may have changed) with the wheel on the right – same side they drive on in Burma – and you don’t want to be in the passenger seat facing the on-coming traffic unless you enjoy playing ‘chicken’. Sitting behind the driver is supposed to be best as he – and it is invariably a ‘he’ – will apparently always react to save himself.

by Nigel Amies | 16 Apr 2013 08:04 | Ludwigsburg, Germany | | Report spam→
re: Pierre’s health advice.

Specifically Malaria. Take precautions against this terrible disease. In particular take care if travelling to a malaria region in sub Saharan Africa.

New mutations are being discovered especially in the Great Lakes region. I know personally. I contracted Malaria in S.E Uganda two years ago while working in a clinic there.

Working in a team of parasitologist’s we were doing a study about the rapid increase of severe dengue fever in the great lakes region.

For a layman here is an easy to understand article about the disease. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/07/malaria/finkel-text

On returning home on leave I transited via London on route to JFK. While on the aircraft I fell very ill. I was taken (at my request) to the Hospital for tropical diseases in London because I thought I had contracted Dengue. The early symptoms are similar to malaria.
I had in fact a cerebral malaria.

I count myself as extremely lucky.

Do not underestimate this disease.

Basic health care. Drink plenty of water. Very good advice from Pierre as well. You would be surprised how many people travelling to hot climates disregard the need to hydrate themselves.

Happy travels and stay safe.

by Trapezium | 18 Apr 2013 09:04 (ed. Apr 18 2013) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
btw Dengue should also be treated with respect.

It is virus spread by biting mosquito’s. It’s particularly dangerous to young children and older people. If you are young, fit and healthy you should be OK.

Take precautions against getting bitten by mosquito’s if at all possible.

by Trapezium | 18 Apr 2013 10:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Very good point about malaria!
I caught it, could have died, obviously didn’t.
Lesson: if you fall ill after a trip to anywhere “exotic” be very careful about which doctor you go to see. I went to see a local doctor in my home country with no experience of tropical illnesses.
She diagnosed ’flu which could have been a fatal mistake.

by DPC | 18 Apr 2013 11:04 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
For how long a period can anti-malarial medications be taken without causing other health problems?

by Barry Milyovsky | 18 Apr 2013 14:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Barry

It depends on the specific medicine and how long you take it. Remember you are supposed to take the chemoprophylaxis a day or two before departure, during your visit and 4-6weeks after the last day of exposure (in case you were infected the last day). The best example were the old missionaries living permanently in endemic countries who were taking medicines against malaria either daily or weekly. After 10 years of exposure to nivaquine (at the time) they started to loose their hair or having eyes problems.
The above is for continuous intake. For intermittent assignments then the repeated use at intervals should not be much a problem. But remember that there are individual tolerance to different medicines this is why it is better, the first time to start one week before departure to be able to notice possible side effects and discuss them with your physician. As noticed in another thread consult with a tropical/parasitic diseases specialist.

by Pierre Claquin | 18 Apr 2013 15:04 | Dhaka, Bangladesh | | Report spam→
Barry that’s a difficult question to answer. If you have any specific questions about prophylactic use it’s probably best if you discuss with your doctor. However, here is some background information.
There are many different prophylactics used against malaria based on where you will travel. The problem is the mutations which render some prophylactics ineffective, especially in Sub- Saharan Africa.
Many of these prophylactics (preventative medications used to protect you against malaria) will have side effects if used for long periods.

The holy grail for a universal preventative against malaria that has minimal side effects is one of the primary goals of the WHO.
Malaria is very complex and the parasite that causes it extremely clever.

Studies show that many people who reside in malarial regions stop taking the prescribed prophylactics because of the side effects.

Hope that helps. This is a great forum. Although I am new to the community I have been inspired by the photography on display via personal websites and galleries.

I am a keen photographer which is why I joined. Just saw this debate and thought I would add some advice regarding malaria.

by Trapezium | 18 Apr 2013 22:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Welcome, Trapezium. Always feel free to chime in.

You are right also for Dengue fever. I know a case where a healthy 24 year old woman from the USA got off a plane in Bali, and five days later had been floored by Dengue.

It was deemed serious enough that they were considering sending her to Singapore before they could send her home. She did go back, went to a major teaching hospital for treatment, and the treatment went on for weeks. I don’t know if there are any prophylactic measures for Dengue, but if you start feeling really bad in a tropical region, SEE A DOCTOR who specializes in tropical medicine.

In Bali there was a hospital that was clearly heads above the others. I learned about from a colleague who had lived in Bali and passed the word on. Going to the right hospital was key in the case of the young woman.

I also heard that each time you get Dengue, it is more serious. I was told by one person, that the third time is often fatal. I dunno whether that is true, but even if it is an exaggeration, Dengue is clearly a bad-ass disease to have.

by Neal Jackson | 20 Apr 2013 03:04 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Try local delicacies at the END not beginning of the assignment. You never know what your stomach has in mind!

by Moses Bert Mabonga | 24 Apr 2013 04:04 | Kampala, Uganda | | Report spam→
the right scarf is a necessity.. (not joking) it’s a pillow, blanket, shade from the heat, a potential
arm sling, in a pinch it’ll carry extra stuff.. plus of course you look cool. and makes you take better
pictures.

by julia s. ferdinand | 25 Apr 2013 04:04 | chiang mai, Thailand | | Report spam→
The scarf is indeed important for all the reasons Julia stated…plus when you’re dead they can cover you up with it!

:-)

by Neal Jackson | 25 Apr 2013 11:04 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
A scarf can serve as an umbrella, help prevent malaria and dengue fever and can, on the right person, make him look like a jerk.

by Barry Milyovsky | 25 Apr 2013 12:04 (ed. Apr 26 2013) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
@Neal.. haha! i know you know scarves

Dengue.. also known as breakbone fever, a malarial virus, with high fever that abates for a
few days then spikes up again. other symptoms are a spotty red rash, itchy hands and feet,
pretty serious weakness, body aches and tiredness. treatment is mainly supportive but worth
going to the Dr. just in case. i had it once. once was enough. there’s no preventative except
avoiding mosquitos.. mainly ones in the city areas where dirty water collects. nasty. you don’t
feel back up to scratch for a month or more.

by julia s. ferdinand | 25 Apr 2013 15:04 | chiang mai, Thailand | | Report spam→
i never travel without scarves… jr

by John Robinson | 26 Apr 2013 15:04 | Pietermaritzburg, South Africa | | Report spam→
“Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance.”
VIRGIL

by Barry Milyovsky | 26 Apr 2013 16:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Well… I made, and update when necessary, scans of all my important documents: passports (I have dual citizenship, so both), Driver’s License, Social Security Card (SS number speeds up things sometimes), Insurance, etc… and upload that as a password-protected PDF to my Dropbox account. Which I can access from anywhere.
If I travel to risky places, I have a dog tag with Name, Blood Type, Email Address and Phone Number (of person to reach in case of emergency). They can be ordered on the net and are cheap to make and we never know…

by Luc Novovitch | 26 Apr 2013 19:04 | Far West Texas, United States | | Report spam→
Luc, regards to Marathon, Texas. That umbrella photo I posted above was taken on the approach to Dog Canyon in Big Bend N.P.

by Barry Milyovsky | 26 Apr 2013 21:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
When you are based in a hotel….
Don’t count on your batteries charging while you sleep or while you’re out of the room unless you’ve checked the electrical outlets. Many hotel rooms are wired in such a way that the electrical outlets lose power when the lights are off, or when you leave the room and remove your key card from the slot next to the door that serves as a master switch for all the electricals in the room….

by Pablo Delano | 27 Apr 2013 01:04 | Hartford , United States | | Report spam→
The following things can prove invaluable:

- A fine-point Sharpie onto which is rolled a few yards of gaffer tape. Gaffer tape is far superior to duct tape – it holds better and is not affected by heat like duct tape.

- 30-50 feet of paracord (parachute cord). This can be used for anything from serving as a shoelace to hanging clothes to dry in a hotel room.

- A washcloth or wash-mitt, in a Zip-lock plastic bag. If you can’t get a bath or a shower, you can make yourself feel almost as good with a quart of warm water and a wash-mitt. Skip the soap in that case…it’s hard to rinse off.

by Neal Jackson | 30 Apr 2013 21:04 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
HaAAAAAA!!!! Neal, I do the same thing with gaffers tape but I put it on a an old film canister is use to store these little tablets that when you wet them turn into a woven paper towel——

Some other items——I’ll pack items in my jacket in always the same order and just leave the jacket on a chair in the room so if its out the door in an emergency, it’s all there and I don’t miss anything when a little groggy——I’ll usually keep a flashlight in my boot at the edge of the bed so if lights are cut I get boots and the flash light at the same time—-i usually will have some kind of large bag I can throw all my luggage into so that it looks like a bag of stuff and not ‘luggage’——also will usually pick up a locally used bag and put my messenger bag carrying my cameras and gear so it doesn’t scream “outsider”——I’ll usually buy a locally made bag of candy and keep it handy so I can offer it up, even cops will take a free candy and you instantly become the guy with the candy and a friend—-

###

by David Bro | 01 May 2013 15:05 | Orange County-Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→
Yves,

don’t sweat the heat issue too much. there is a well developed local tradition of going to bed around 5am, sleeping until the late afternoon and then heading out to the days activities in the evening. i would HIGHLY recommend leaving the umbrella at home in Syria or Iraq.

keep in touch as i am still in a holding pattern and we might be crossing paths somewhere in those months. pisser hot months to be going sadly.

as per travel advice, the only i would have is never, ever leave your bag behind. despite everyone telling you it is ok, pack light and take it everywhere. never leave it behind as going back for it can prove an unsavoury task.

by john d | 01 May 2013 23:05 | istanbul, Turkey | | Report spam→
Thank John, I will be in touch with you for sure prior to departure. Regarding umbrella, I would never bring one, I hate umbrella. Even under heavy rain I wear a hat, never an umbrella. So I’ll bring a hat for sure to protect what left of my brain, ha! ha! ha!

by Yves Choquette | 02 May 2013 00:05 | Montreal, Canada, Canada | | Report spam→
The most universal rules that I found that work for me regardless of where I go:
—if you pack more stuff than you’re able to carry on your back for a long distance, than you’ve packed too much. There will always be times when there is no taxi, the roller-bag won’t work b/c of the ground, or you can’t check a bag and expect to have it arrive. Always be prepared to carry everything for a long distance if the worst case happens.
—always carry a pack of cigarettes. I don’t smoke. But offering a smoke can often be an ice-breaker or conversation starter or just a way to get some information about what is happening.
—whether it’s a location shoot or a trip abroad, ALWAYS leave some juice in your battery and some room on your card (or an extra roll of film). NEVER assume that all the good shooting is done b/c the trip is almost over or you’ve hit all the sites or the convoy is headed back.

As for the posts earlier about salt tablets—salt consumption INCREASES dehydration and water needs. You need to worry about mineral depletion if you’re sweating like crazy for weeks or months. For a couple of days, you’re not going to die from a lack of salt in your body.

by Joe Willmore | 08 May 2013 00:05 | Fairfax, VA, United States | | Report spam→
Respect the local people and their customs and beliefs.

Always take Ziploc bags.

You need to worry about mineral depletion if you’re sweating like crazy for weeks or months. For a couple of days, you’re not going to die from a lack of salt in your body.

Not true — I got severely dehydrated in less than a week (so much so that I could barely stand up) in Bihar, India, despite the fact that I was drinking several liters of water a day. The water was diluting the amount of helpful electrolytes in my body, making me more dehydrated. So, like others, when in hot climates I definitely recommend adding oral rehydration salts to whatever it is you’re drinking as a preventative measure. It’s not plain ol’ NaCl, Joe, but a mix of potassium, sodium, and sugar (as Pierre pointed out). And it does make you feel better if you do get sick.

ORS generally tastes salty and unpleasant on its own, so I usually mix it with a packet of pre-sweetened fruit-flavored drink powder (the kind made with artificial sweeteners) or, if that’s not available, then with diluted apple or mango juice. You can also mix it into tea, but it doesn’t taste that great. And for prevention, I usually use it much more diluted that what’s recommended in the instructions on the packet.

For some reason ORS packets seem to be very expensive in the U.S. but they’re quite cheap in many countries.

Finally, if you’ve got diarrhea or you’re dehydrated and you can’t get ORS, Neal’s suggestion of eating plain white rice with a small amount of salt and some bananas is spot on. That and drinking plenty of clean water or weak tea (without milk) will make you feel a lot better.

by Peter Aronson | 08 May 2013 14:05 (ed. May 8 2013) | Mexico City, Mexico | | Report spam→
Wow! I just found one of the original LS posts on this subject – from 2007. A lot of the suggestions are still good!

http://www.lightstalkers.org/posts/simple_travel_tips

by Neal Jackson | 13 May 2013 01:05 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Oh, and here’s another one for your bedtime reading.

http://www.lightstalkers.org/posts/extended-travel-tricks-tips

by Neal Jackson | 13 May 2013 02:05 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Learn the local customs to blend in with the local population.
!man with a napkin on his head-0952.jpg!

by Barry Milyovsky | 17 May 2013 19:05 (ed. May 17 2013) | New York, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Neal Jackson, Neal Jackson
(Flaneur, Savant and Scapegrace)
Washington, Dc , United States ( IAD )
John Robert Fulton Jr., Photographs John Robert Fulton Jr.
Photographs
Spring Lake, Michigan , United States
DPC, Photographer DPC
Photographer
Paris , France
Barry Milyovsky, totally unprofessional Barry Milyovsky
totally unprofessional
(emperor of ice cream )
New York , United States
Luka Kauzlaric, Photographer Luka Kauzlaric
Photographer
Melbourne , Australia ( MEL )
James Colburn, Photographer/Photo Editor James Colburn
Photographer/Photo Editor
Omaha, Nebraska , United States ( OMA )
Dr  Chris Westinghouse, Photojournalist Dr Chris Westinghouse
Photojournalist
(Generalist For Hire)
Melbourne , Australia
Patricio Murphy, Musician, photographer Patricio Murphy
Musician, photographer
Buenos Aires , Argentina
John  Rudoff, Still Photography John Rudoff
Still Photography
(Photographer)
Portland Oregon , United States
Pierre Claquin, Doctor / Photographer Pierre Claquin
Doctor / Photographer
(Lal bandor)
Dhaka , Bangladesh
Ethan Knight, Documentary Photographer Ethan Knight
Documentary Photographer
(www.ethanknight.org)
Bangkok , Thailand
Daniel Tepper, freelance photographer Daniel Tepper
freelance photographer
New York City , United States
Brian Page, Photojournalist Brian Page
Photojournalist
Atlanta, Georgia , United States
David Bro, freelance editorial David Bro
freelance editorial
Orange County , United States ( LAX )
Yves Choquette, Photojournalist Yves Choquette
Photojournalist
Montreal , Canada
Walter Rothwell, Photographer Walter Rothwell
Photographer
London , United Kingdom
Laura Larmo, Photographer Laura Larmo
Photographer
Milan , Italy
Ben Taub, aspiring journalist Ben Taub
aspiring journalist
Minsk , Belarus
Tom Van Cakenberghe, Tom Van Cakenberghe
Kathmandu , Nepal
Ian Terry, Documentary Photographer Ian Terry
Documentary Photographer
(Visual Journalist)
Copenhagen , Denmark
chip chipman, Photojournalist chip chipman
Photojournalist
Berkeley,Ca , United States ( SFO )
Edward Cheng, Traveler-Photographer Edward Cheng
Traveler-Photographer
New York , United States ( EWR )
randbild, photographer randbild
photographer
Antakya , Turkey
Moses Bert Mabonga, Fixer Moses Bert Mabonga
Fixer
Kampala , Uganda ( EBB )
yusuf sayman, photographer yusuf sayman
photographer
Antakya , Turkey
Nigel Amies, Photographer/writer Nigel Amies
Photographer/writer
[undisclosed location].
Trapezium, Trapezium
New York , United States
julia s. ferdinand, photographer julia s. ferdinand
photographer
Chiang Mai , Thailand ( CNX )
John Robinson, Photographer John Robinson
Photographer
(works with light)
Jika Joe , South Africa
Luc Novovitch, Photographer Luc Novovitch
Photographer
Far West Texas , United States
Pablo Delano, photographer Pablo Delano
photographer
Hartford , United States
john d, retired hooligan john d
retired hooligan
(whats a tagline?)
Istanbul , Turkey
Joe Willmore, Joe Willmore
[location unknown]
Peter Aronson, Housing Revolutionary Peter Aronson
Housing Revolutionary
(Radio producer + photographer)
Mexico City , Mexico ( MEX )


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