Internet resources while travelling

The Internet is a great resource while travelling overseas. Every country that I have travelled to has Internet at varying reliability, speeds and price. Nearly every city I have been in has an Internet access point. Usually they are located all in the same area but the prices can vary from shop to shop. I like to do a little price comparison before I choose a place. Some places charge by the minute or every half hour, hour, etc. Just be careful and do the math to find the best deal. The best place to use the Internet is where it is free. If there is a library or university near by it pays to walk inside and find the computer room. At the library you usually have to ask at the front counter. Even if you don’t have a library card and you’re not a resident of the country, you can, more often than not, get a computer for usually half an hour to an hour. At the university, find out where the computer lab is and just start using the Internet.

Here are some of the resources that may be useful to you when travelling:

Consulates: Sometimes you need to contact your Consulate, get a visa or other information on a foreign country. In many cases, your guidebook has the list of which Consulates are present in a particular city but the complete list is on the Internet. Search Directory:
Consulates from Google

Newsgroups: Ask a question, anything you want about backpacking, and someone will answer it for you. These are special newsgroups that are populated by newbie to veteran backpackers to share information and give recommendations. Many times when I couldn’t find a particular answer, I posted the question to a newsgroup and it was answered by other backpackers who have “been there, done that.” This is a great resource for anyone to use.

Internet Address + Search Directory:
Lonely Planet Backpacker Forum
Backpacking Forums on Yahoo

Hostels: Many public and private hostels have websites where you can check location, bed availability, and prices. Some of them even allow you to reserve online. Internet Search Directories:
Hostel listing from Google
Hostel listing from Yahoo

Maps: Internet maps are nice if you need to find a place. I don’t spend a lot of time on this one myself, but I have seen other backpackers with printouts of the location of their next hostel on one of them.

Internet Search Directories:
Internet Maps from Google
Internet maps from Yahoo

Currency converters: It is always nice to know how much your currency is worth compared to the current currency you are using.

Internet Address:
Universal Currency converter

Tour operators: If you want to put your feet up and let someone one else do the hard work for you and loose a little freedom, a tour operator could be the thing for you.

Internet search directories and addresses:
Tour Group Operators from Google
Tour Group Operators from Yahoo

Pay your bills: Many banks offer Internet banking to check your account balances, pay bills, transfer money, etc. I would be cautious of using this service in public Internet cafes because it is easy for a person to place a keystroke logger or another means of recording the current session and saving it all for review later.

Internet Search Keywords: {your bank’s name}

News: I like to be informed about what is happening in the world while I am travelling. If there is going to be another war happening, I want to know well before they start and steer clear of that country for a while. I try to find a nongovernment sponsored news website that can give me an unbiased view of the current country. Any governmentsponsored news agencies tend to distort the news and be overly nationalistic in their reports. Try to find the local newspapers or local news on line to get the best and most detailed information.

Internet Search Directories:
News Directory from Google
News Directory by Country from Yahoo

Burning CDs: I have taken over 4000 pictures with my digital camera and the majority of Internet cafes were able to take my pictures from my camera and burn them to a recordable CD (CDR). Make sure that you bring all the cables, and software that came with the camera. To save some money, drop by a local computer store and buy one blank CDR there. The Internet cafes usually charge you a premium for blank CDR’s. When you burn a CD, do a single session burn instead of a multi-session burn. A single session burns copies all of your data to a CD and then finalizes the disc so that it can be read in other CD-ROMs. A multi-session burn allows you to keep burning information to the CD but it may not work in other CD-ROMS and if you don’t use the same software to finish off the CD, you may destroy all the contents on the CD. When you finish burning a CD, put it in a safe place in your pack and forget about it. When the time comes to burn another CDR, buy a new CDR and use that one to store your pictures. This way, if you lose a CDR, or it gets damaged, you only loose 100 pictures instead of 1000s.