|Kiev Travel Guide|
Ukraine Travel Tips
Collect or exchange as much small change as practical, very few people seem to have change, especially in rural areas.
Cash vs. Traveler's Checks
In general, cash is better than traveler's checks. Cash can be easier and quicker to exchange and command a higher rate or the commission can be lower. In some places, the larger the denomination of bills, the better the exchange rate. Many merchants will take dollars and their rate of exchange can be higher than the "official" rate.
Refer to your guide book on the existence of any black market for currency exchange and whether to or how to use it. Some countries are more tolerant of black markets than others.
Keep money and valuables in a money belt or pouch under your clothes. If you carry a bag for guide books, maps, brochures, etc., use one with a zipper and hang on to it. Leave your wallet and purse at home. Crimes that take place are usually crimes of opportunity, like pickpockets, as opposed to violent crime (unlike in the U.S. According to FBI statistics from more than 80 other countries, only the Bahamas has a higher than the U.S. per capita frequency of robberies and violent thefts).
ALWAYS keep your passport, plane ticket, money and camera with you. The exception to this is in countries where pensiones and hotels need your passport for an hour or two in order to register you with the local police.
If something doesn't go right, smile and be persistent in what you want. Getting mad, yelling or fist pounding will only be met with resistance. Women have the definite edge here in dealing with men in some countries.
Book in Advance
As soon as you arrive someplace, arrange your way on to your next stop. trains/planes/("first class") busses tend to get booked up in advance. Travel agencies can usually get reservations for you as they book blocks of seats well in advance.
Be the Early Worm
Arrive early and get aboard early any collectivo/bus/train/plane etc. They can be oversold and/or fill up in a hurry.
Always settle on a fare before climbing into an unmetered taxi. If metered, make sure the driver will go by the meter or decide on a price. The same applies to collectivos. Make sure the price includes everyone in your party. In some countries, the meters can't be readjusted as fast as the rate of inflation so the fare may be the meter price plus X%. Check your guide book or ask someone if the driver won't go by the meter. Rates are often higher in the middle of the night and between an airport and town.
Reconfirm...Reconfirm and Reconfirm
Reconfirm all airline flights along the way. It is possible to show up for a flight and not have a reservation because you did not reconfirm.
When asking directions to someplace, ask several people, and keep asking as you go. In some countries it is considered more impolite to say "I don't know" than it is to give a wrong answer.