Travel Tip #27- How to Get the Right Exchange Rate

At the Costa do Sol restaurant, in Maputo, Mozambique, I bet my friend Paul he couldn’t eat a full plate of the famous piri-piri prawns. He boasted that of course he could. After chomping through half of the huge crustaceans, he slumped over and gave up. But being a sporting winner, I offered to pay […]

Travel Tip #26- Beware of Thieves You Can’t See- Manage RFID Risks

Connecting home from the Congo, I had a six-hour layover in Heathrow, and walked the crowded corridors for exercise, window shopping and people watching. A few days later, back home in Los Angeles, I received a call from Visa, asking about my recent purchases in Harold’s in London, including Sophia Webster shoes, a Valentino purse, […]

Travel Tip #25- How to Thwart Thieves on the Road

I was at LAX, in the check-in line for a trip to Berlin. I had just finished a first draft of a book I was writing about exploration in Africa, and had it in my new leather briefcase for review on the plane. The wait was interminable, so I pulled out a book, set the […]

Travel Tip #24- What to Bring on Every Trip

It was January. I was in Sulawesi, Indonesia, on the Equator, sweating up a storm, when I got the call that the Chinese authorities would finally meet with me about a permit I was seeking to run the Yangtze. But the meeting was scheduled for the next day, and it was snowing in Beijing. I […]

Travel Tip #23- Don’t Get Lost in Translation

I was leading the first American group into China since the Revolution, and we were well-minded throughout. But during a museum tour in Shanghai I was feeling a bit off, so snuck out to make my way back to the hotel. But, I couldn’t read any street signs, nor could I communicate with anyone, and […]

Travel Tip #22- How to Prepare for the Unexpected

On an afternoon canoe trip down the upper Shenandoah River in May, I took only the bare essentials: suntan lotion, hat, shorts, knife, kneepads, lifejacket, some snacks. But, half-way through the trip we capsized and destroyed the canoe, and had to spend the night on the wet river bank. A cold snap came in, and […]

Travel Tip #21- Essential Items for Your Day Pack

Three weeks into the first descent of the Omo River in Africa, we knew that the only exit was up a tributary to a remote airstrip. But which one? We had no GPS, and only crude maps. So, we picked a stream that looked promising, and starting hiking, carrying a day-pack with our last two […]

Travel Tip #20- How and Why to Pack Light

Deep in the Baro River Canyon in Ethiopia, after a long day of portaging, I went to gather my bag, holding my clothes, sleeping bag and toilet kit, and it was nowhere to be found. Apparently, it had gone missing during one of the grueling portages. So, at that moment, I had no worldly possessions, […]

Travel Tip #19- How to Take a Great Photo in the Field

Sharpening my Eye in Sumatra On assignment for National Geographic, I was covering an expedition making the first descent of the River of the Red Ape in Sumatra. Famed photographer Nick Nichols was taking the pictures, while I crafted the words, but I thought I would learn from the master, so whenever he composed a […]

Travel Tip #9- Getting Through Security with Ease

A Tale from Bogota to Miami On a return flight to LA from Bogota, I was routed through immigration in Miami. I had purchased a gift in Columbia and had it wrapped. At Customs, they decided they had to unwrap it and took me back to an inspection room. There, they had me take off […]