Welcome to the
Nemaplot Globetrotter project
The personal travel experiences from visited countries all over the world
by Kai Schmidt
The Nemaplot travel blog project is going to be restructered. The links to the travel pages are temporarily broken.
Last update January 2020
Visited countries or regions up to now: 165
(by the criteria of the Travellers' Century Club)
The current personal globetrotter index is in the range of 2.7
Test your own globetrotter index here
Personal travel tips
The term "Globetrotter" is our base for travelling. A new country is mostly explored on the slow way. Sightseeing and other specifics of a region are discovered by chance but directed by guide books. We are travelling on the private way, hence our assessments about any country is completely independent. Objective criteria or even political correctness are not the base of our evaluation, but personal feelings and common travel experiences in a direct comparison how to live and travel in the actual country. Criteria are not only touristic highlights, possibilities of transport, culinary specifics, quality of hotels, but also the touristic side effects like rip-offs, scam and touts and the common hassle. As backpackers we are mainly travelling with public local transport. Short- and long distance taxis are the places of big surprises, like neck-braking speed, lost wheels, drunken drivers and nice fellow passengers. Most often local snacks are offered, with all assets and drawbacks. You can argue about tourism as you like, but from my opinion travelling is the best and only aid which brings money to the locals and serves both the small business people and the travellers. As usual the more wealthy once get the largest share, but the touristic demand for local products creates jobs, which support an incredible numbers of relatives.
1. Getting started
For initial and actual information about any country have a look on the web sites of your foreign office. In Germany have a look at the German foreign ministry . Beside the general entry formalities, as visa requirements, get updates about actual security problems of the countries. 2. Health
Inform yourself about the health risks and actual disease situation of the regions you are going to visit. "Cook it, peel it or forget it" is the wise advice of all so called experts, which is fairly clear and should be done. Accidentally the situations are not always possible to maintain. Refresh your vaccinations if needed. With respect to the countries you are going to visit Yellow fever and Hepatitis are crucial, Typhus is recommended, Malaria tablets and insect repellents are one unit. A mosquito net used as bed sheet is sometimes useful to avoid the living interior of any mattress you sleeping on. In the meantime bottled water is available everywhere, you can afford it. For emergency cases uses silver-jodid. Water filters are for an extreme trip only. Despite sweet water and rivers are looking like heaven while you are sweating like hell in the humidity of the tropics, it is an absolute no-go area. (Having worms you are never alone)
A travel health insurance is recommended, it costs about 10 Euro per year.
3. Travel guides
A guidebook is crucial for all backpackers. It provides sufficient background information about most of the topics of concern. Good maps for both country and towns are most essential and gives a quick orientation. Additional a descent overview about hotels, their addresses and approximate costs are very helpful. Accurate transport information helps the planning beforehand. Which of the numerous guidebooks are recommendable? It is up to the personal preferences. A short overview in a bookshop says it all. Of course, Lonely Planet is everywhere and covers nearly all countries. But other travel guides have also their valuable right of existence.
Phrase books are a big advantage for certain countries (i.e. Arabic, Chinese). Please do not believe to pronounce correctly these languages once in your lifetime, but sometimes it just helps to show the phrase book for solving a problem. 4. Danger and Annoyances
Follow the suggestions of the guidebooks. Their hints about pick pocketing, odd situations, scams, but also drugs, help to judge and avoid dangerous situations. Keep a certain degree of miss trust, but don't spoil your holiday by fear. Get ruled by your feelings but don't be lightheaded. No need to tell, avoid any drugs at all. Prisons are full of stupid tourists.
The arrival in a new country is pure stress, no matter exhausted after a long flight or simply passing a border. Before you adapted to the new locality normally you are going to pay some extra cash. The problems range from corrupt custom officers (have some small currency notes available for such occasions, without showing your total money), deceptive taxi driver (95% of all taxi drivers of the world take advantage of your ignorance with a related surcharge, European taxi drivers are the worst by the way) up to money changing trickster (avoid black market changes at all). 6. Luggage
Take with you as few as possible. Everything has to be carried and nearly all trips somehow ends up with an occasion when walking is the only solution. Do not buy a big backpack. 60 litre are more than enough, if you not carry a sleeping bag. The average weight of our backpacks is about 12 to 14 kg, that are enough clothes for about 10 days. In case you have to interrupt your travel for a washing day. Washing is sometimes very expensive, better to buy new clothes in those situations.
7. When to go
The time to travel depends on the weather of the region you want to visit. The season for many regions of the tropics and subtropics are limited for half a year. The raining season has its advantages, but leads to massive difficulties in travelling. Another reason is the holiday season. Avoid high seasons of your home country, flights are not available and expensive. Same is valid for country you want to visit. The people are going on holiday as well. A more drastically example is China at the Chinese New Year, one billion people are on the move, all available seats in any choice of transport are booked. During low season hotel prices are often halved. Adding up all factors the best time to travel is either autumn or spring, for either the northern or southern hemisphere.
We made the best experiences with cash in Euro and for an emergency case US-Dollars. The Euro was adopted much faster by other countries than by Germans. Larger amounts are paid by credit card. Cash machines are available in most of the countries. Despite the fees the exchange rate is often better than by local money changer. Bank cards are best hidden in secret pockets in your trousers. It protects you from pick pocketing. Sometimes Credit Cards are useless and only cash counts. Get enough money before getting to such areas. Example: East of Bali/Lombok only hard currencies brings you forward. Credit cards are not working in this part of the world. Traveller cheques are absolute rubbish and are just legal pick pocketing to get the extra money out of your wallet. Either you have to change them to cash directly after arrival, because after leaving the capital are no opportunities to do so. In the early eighties rumors about a black market for stolen traveller cheques in Cairo and Khartoum spread around and many travellers have financed their trips through Africa by this way. 9. About us
You got down to here. Brave.
To relativize our country review: we are proud not having travelled to the Baleares, Canaries or the USA (that's not anymore true since 2011) so far. That's most contrary to the wishes of most of our fellow people. Nevertheless we want to visit as many countries and regions as possible. Actually the chances for new countries are getting smaller and smaller, as they are not developed for even basic tourism, having a civil war or other natural hazards. The effort to get to those countries requires more and more time and is a financial squeeze. Accidentally we have to work in the mean time, that is also the purpose of this web site. Nevertheless we might meet (again) someday somewhere in the world for a happy hour drink, because it's always four o'clock somewhere in the world.
10. We are still dreaming about travelling the world.
It is time for another long-distance trip. The next project "Bonn-Lhasa by train" would be one of it. We just don't know when to start, as work is inhibiting the dreams.