Category Archives: Travel Tools

Staying out of trouble with Neteller

For those who do not wish to indulge in a credit card, or if you have an insufficient credit score, this prepaid MasterCard could be the answer to your prayers. As a traveller, it is important to have multiple contingency plans in case the worst happens, and you lose access to your funds: if your bag is stolen or you misplace your cash card. Neteller is one of the better cards we have researched and is widely used by our team in Bangkok. Neteller is not a credit card in the traditional sense because the only credit available to you is what you top up, so this can be used as another source of ready cash if trouble strikes.

The Bangkok Consultant suggests a minimum of two backups. Cash is always handy, which can be traded at many money exchange bureaus, and it is always wise to separate your bulk cash with your day to day money and your credit cards (one in your pocket and the other in your bag), so if one does go missing you still have the other. Traveller’s cheques can be a popular choice but they can be expensive to change, and if trouble doesn’t strike, you will need to change them anyway. Usually, the cheapest way to draw on your income, when travelling, is to take as much as you can from an ATM in one visit. An ATM in Thailand will charge 200 baht to withdraw, so taking as much as you can in one go is the cheaper option. Your bank will also charge a small exchange fee, but usually, then you will get that day’s national exchange rate. If not, the ATM should tell you the price before you proceed. Increasing your maximum daily limit before you leave your home country is beneficial. Most ATM’s in Thailand have a 20,000 baht limit; others may have more, so making sure you can access at least that much can make it cheaper. If you’re paying 200 baht every time, at the ATM, to take out 20,000 baht, then you are only paying 1%. Taking five grand out at a time is not the most economical way of doing things.

Unfortunately with all credit cards, including Neteller, you will not get a good exchange rate, but this card is meant to be used in an emergency and not for drawing cash out all the time. Again, using the card for other electronic transactions (hotels, restaurants & supermarkets, etc.) is fine. Use your backup currency for cash transactions and use your credit card for everywhere else that will accept it. Always make sure you tell your bank and credit card company that you will be using your card abroad, otherwise the fraud department may block your card, and this always seems to happen at the wrong time. It is always best to carry what you need when you go out and store the rest in a safe place at your hotel. It’s surprising in today’s modern world, but there are still many airlines that will only accept a credit card payments when booking flights online, so this can cause problems for you if you don’t have one. Credit cards usually come with better guarantees than ATM cards, including fraud protection and other benefits.

Topping up your Neteller prepaid credit card to cover 20,000 baht is enough to get you out of trouble until a replacement card can be sent out. In conjunction with your other backups, this should see you through. If you do not wish to top up your Neteller card before you leave on your trip; you can opt to top it up online should you get into trouble, but in our experience, it is best to have at least some cash available. You may not be able to get online, or due to unforeseen circumstances, you may not be able to access your bank account funds.

Sometimes replacement cards will only be sent to specific banks, which could involve travelling a distance to get to your designated branch e.g. Chiang Mai to Bangkok. Of course, you can continue to top up your Neteller card and access your funds that way until your new bank card arrives. So if you’re looking for ways to ensure you don’t end up shit creek without a paddle, Neteller is a handy, debt free, way of reassuring you have a stress free trip.

This article is featured in the March 2017 issue of The Bangkok Consultant magazine.

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VonHaus Nano 3.0 Media Player

Travel Tools: VonHaus Nano 3.0 Media Player

This little tool is a lifesaver when on long travelling expeditions. Let’s face it, as much as we all love to travel; sometimes we just want a day off sat on the sofa watching movies. At just 340g this miniature device is excellent for adventurers looking to travel light, taking up hardly any space in your suitcase, and you won’t have to worry about it tipping the scales too much at check-in.

Unfortunately, not all hotels in Bangkok and Thailand have any TV in English, let alone any movie channels. So that’s where this little beauty comes in handy. With minimal installation required this media player can be set up in any hotel room in just 5 minutes, so even if you are staying somewhere for just one night, it’s worth installing it to turn your stopover into a convenient break.

This device doesn’t stream from the internet but merely plays all videos and music previously downloaded. Unfortunately, many hotels around the world, especially in Thailand, haven’t caught up with the wide flat screen revolution, so your TV remote can switch between various sizes to suit the screen you are watching including 4:3 and 16:9 as well as others.

Some of the older TV’s in Thailand do struggle to work sometimes so having your personal remote control gives you all the power from volume control to pause functions and all other standard remote features. If you decide to stop a movie halfway through and head out for some supper, even if the media player has been unplugged, it will remember where you stopped, so you don’t have to skip forward to where you left off.

But, of course, many hotels do have the latest TVs, so the HDMI input will give you excellent results if you’re program was recorded in a digital format. Your VonHaus Media Player will play most files including MP3, MP4, AVI, MKV and so on. However it doesn’t play old AVI files, so if you are planning to download some movies, and TV shows, it’s perhaps best to try and get MP4 or MKV files.

This media player has two different types of input. The first is the old faithful USB port, allowing for a 1TB external hard drive to be connected, enabling you to carry with you several months’ worth of television for those long haul trips, if required. And, of course, you can also take a backup of your entire music collection to listen to on your travels. The second is an SD Card Input, which is handy for either watching movies or if you just want to check through today’s photos using the slideshow function.

This media player has two different types of input. The first is the old faithful USB port, allowing for a 1TB external hard drive to be connected, enabling you to carry with you several months’ worth of television for those long haul trips, if required. And, of course, you can also take a backup of your entire music collection to listen to on your travels. The second is an SD Card Input, which is handy for either watching movies or if you just want to check through today’s photos using the slideshow function.

The power supply is a standard, easily replaceable component that, in the unlikely event that it goes pop, can be substituted at any good electrical store, which in Bangkok are abundant. This device uses all standard components for easy use and replacements.

The VonHaus Nano 3.0 is a great product for the weary traveller who after a hectic day sightseeing just wants to come home and chill out.

These devices are not easy to find in Thailand, so it is best to purchase one online before you leave on your trip.

This article is featured in the March 2017 issue of The Bangkok Consultant magazine.

Travel Tools: Galaxy Tab A6

This device really is the ‘dog’s bollocks’ for travellers. I used to believe the 10.1 was the ultimate travel accessory, but, as it turns out, less is more. You can pick these up for as little as 7000 baht in most shopping malls. This latest model was released March 2016 and is the best tablet/phone I’ve ever had. OK, it does look like an oversized phone, but really it’s a small tablet, which can be used as a phone. Phones are OK for making phone calls (obviously) and the 10.1 tablets are a little cumbersome when we are constantly on the move. So this good all-rounder is perfect for travellers. It has a good solid design without feeling like a brick and the 7.0 size allows it to fit easily into side pockets and small bags, though if you intend to watch movies on it, you may want a bigger screen. The one downside is, like most Galaxy devices, there is no flash, so photo quality suffers in poorly lit locations.

The great thing about it is once you have mobile internet set up, you have the internet with you wherever you go, and it is usually a lot faster than most free Wi-Fi areas. So even when your sat on a slow, boring train ride you can keep in touch with friends or post photos to Facebook to help while away the time. You can also turn your Galaxy Tab A6 into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing you to use your laptop with faster Wi-Fi speeds than your hotel is providing. There are several Apps that can make our travelling lives easier such as Google Maps or Sav Nav; or the ability to book hotels online at the touch of a few buttons. This truly is a travellers’ must have accessory; I never leave home without it.

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(The Bangkok Consultant)

 

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Top Travellers’ App: Google Maps

The original travellers’ best friend: Google Maps allows you to wander to your heart’s content, without the need to keep track of where you are. This latest edition also offers up-to-date traffic reports on your local area, Sat-Nav, offline maps, information on local points of interest, (hotels & restaurants) and directions on how to get there.

Related Articles:

Using Google Maps as a Traveller

Using your Happy Tourist SIM in Thailand

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