Free International Travel Guides – The Best For Where You’re Going

Ah, the age of information… nowadays folks are binging on information, yet starving for knowledge. Rather than wade through countless websites in search of solid advice, I’ve done the leg work for you by compiling the best free international travel guides out there today. The format of online guides differ from their tangible counterparts; where a book must include information you need before and during your trip, online travel guides provide the ability to get exactly what you need, when you need it.

Several times I have used an online guide book, and merely printed (or jotted down in my notebook) the most important info for the next few days. Here’s my list of the best free international travel guides:

Travelfish.org. There is no single source for travelers to Southeast Asia better than Travelfish. Loaded with easy to navigate information on the entire region, including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Singapore, Travelfish covers all the travelers’ needs. The forum is really well done, and you can expect a high level experience from those who respond to your questions. Most of the information is free, and they do offer e-guides for each country at roughly $5 (a true bargain).

Lonley Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum. Very much like the forum on Travelfish, but with global coverage. I’m a firm believer that guide books are generally outdated by the time they hit the press, and it’s important to get from the road advice from someone who is there. Visa requirements change, roads are closed, violence happens…don’t get caught unprepared. Forums also provides advice you’ll never find in a guidebook, either: the need for bribes, history of violence, etc. These are important considerations in the real world that most publications (and governments) tend to gloss over.

Lonley Planet. Though they haven’t implemented it, LP has come up with the brilliant notion of offering a “pay as you go” program where you can choose portions of a guide book and pay for that part only. Keep an eye out on their website for the release date.

Bootsnall.com There are many international travel guides available on this site, and one could spend a lifetime searching through their network. A really good network for travelers, with independent travel blogs for a more personal approach.

These three are far and away the best online source for free international travel guides, and I suggest you research your destination with these both prior to and during your trip.

Top Ten Safe Travel Tips

Traveling is one of the most enjoyable and interesting things we can do, but with traveling comes some risks. We all know that it’s not always safe to travel and that some of the things associated with it, such as money and hotel stays bring with them some additional risks as well. There are some top ten safe travel tips that you can use to make your travels more safe and enjoyable.

Everyone should take the time to learn the top ten safe travel tips for those who are traveling summer or winter.

1. Keep your self and your children seat belted at all times when the car is moving. Keep your young children or toddlers safely secured in a rear facing car seat. The reason this is a top ten safe travel tip is obvious. The kids are our number one concern when it comes to traveling.

2. Keep your cash stashed out of sight. When you stop don’t display large amounts of cash and don’t flash it in a store. When you can use travelers checks as opposed to carrying large amounts of strictly cash. When you do carry cash, keep some in the car, some on you and some on your spouse so that your trip is not dependent upon just one person. One of the top ten safe travel tips that can keep your trip safe if one of you is injured, or your car is stolen, is this one.

3. Keep a first aid kit in your car at all times.

4. Don’t visit an ATM machine at night or when alone.

5. If traveling with children, keep things to occupy them so that you can keep your attention focused on the driving, where your attention should be. This top ten safe travel tip is one of the most important.

6. Be aware of how is around you at all times. Make sure that you are paying attention to where you children are, and where others are located in relation to them and to you.

7. Keep your luggage or pda/palm pilot close to you. Don’t permit strangers to come near your luggage or ask them to watch it while you enter a restroom or other areas where you are not able to see the things you will be carrying onto an airline or train/automobile. Paying close attention to this one of the top ten safe travel tips will assure that you not only keep yourself and your family safe, but also others who will be traveling with you if you are using mass transportation.

8. Keep your regular medication handy and on your person as opposed to packaged all separate from you.

9. Don’t carry your most valued jewelry or your most expensive coat with you on vacation. Its in open invitation.

10. Don’t take your children with you or travel to parts of the country where advisories have been issued. If it is truly a vacation, then why put yourself into a position to be in danger.

CDC Travel Information

The CDC is a government controlled organization known as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is based in Atlanta and the major function of this organization is to diagnose and investigate causes of new diseases and also tries to control them from turning into an epidemic. It regularly publishes a journal called the CDC Health Information for International Travel. This journal basically guides travelers into taking certain precautions before he or she leaves for their excursion. The CDC travel book explains the most common diseases and information on how to prevent it.

This travel book has various features, some of which are listed below. Some of the essential points are:

It features content ranging from safety guidelines to specific treatments for diseases which are useful to both, doctors and the patients
It provides references in each chapter, so that the reader can cross-check the facts given in the book
The book also covers treatments for patients with specific needs while traveling, such as patients preparing for long-term travel, travelers with chronic medical conditions, young children, humanitarian aid workers and so on.
Talks about the new emerging diseases and ways to deal with them, straight from the experts

CDC travel guidelines are an off-shoot of the guidelines put together by CDC. These pointers are generally meant for tourists who are traveling to the developing countries like Thailand, Africa, India and so on. There is a section in the CDC Health Information for International Trvel 2010, also known as, “The Yellow Book” pertaining to information.

CDC health information guidelines include tips on how to plan for healthy travel. Some of the points are:

Travelers should gather information regarding the place they are visiting. Make a note of the precautions that can be taken, if any mentioned.
The CDC is a great platform of information. It covers a number of diseases, countries, vccinations to the diseases and the location where they are administered and so on
It is important to see a health-care worker and get the latest guidelines on the diseases and ways to avoid them and vaccinate themselves accordingly. The destination does not matter; be it a developed nation or a developing one.

CDC travel also includes travel health kits which is an important component of a person’s health-kit. Medications are very crucial but so are the points that are listed below:
Original containers: Medicines need to be carried in their original containers. Though many travelers do pack in their medicines in air-tight containers, officials do check the containers and the medicine.

Physician notes: For substances and injectable medication, travelers need to carry a note from the physician attesting to the same

Prescription: Travelers must carry the prescriptions of all their medicines, including the generic names

These are some of the basic precautions and tips, one is recommended to follow to have a disease or an injury free trip. It does seem like a lot of work, but the attention to detail mindset, will help the traveler in the end.