COMPUTER + ON-LINE
- skype: keep in contact with friends and family! If you're travelling with a computer this free program is a must = free internet phonecalls from skype computer to skype computer, or for only $0.02/minute from your computer to any landline in the world! We tend to find free WiFi in many places...
If you're not travelling with your own computer still get a skype account - many internet cafés have it installed and offer head-sets to use.
- xe.com: for currency exchange rates. Never again get cheated by money changers at borders! We always check the current rates on their full list of currencies before we cross into a new country.
- Weather Underground: good to know about a storm in advance... Scroll down and use the links on the left for international weather forecasts - despite too many ads we find this one of the better weather sites.
- Time & Date: confused working out the time difference between places? Here's a list showing the current time at most major cities in the world.
- LEO.org: a very good on-line dictionary for several languages, includes many technical terms and more
- Your own Travelblog: so you would like to have a website with your travel diary? It's easy! I have collected many useful links to get you started.
- World Nomads [link removed - read on]: we have checked long and hard, and thought that the World Nomads Policies covered our needs the best. That said: be aware that insurances are first and foremost there to make a profit! Consequently we had all claims refused due to technicalities and we consider travel insurance almost a waste of money - if not for the "feel good effect" of having one; medical procedures in Latin America are a lot cheaper than they are in the USA, Europe, or in Australia - if you're out of pocket anyhow why spend more on a "feel good policy" which doesn't reimburse you?
Please note: if you are travelling as a couple and the price difference is not too drastic always take out 2 SINGLE policies (instead of a Partner Policy)! We were caught out with a Partner Policy: when Yasha returned to Australia (and I stayed behind in Central America), her insurance policy was automatically cancelled with her arrival in Australia - and mine at the same time (even though there were 2 months worth of payment left in it), which left me un-insured in Central America! Chances are that at some stage only one of you might return home, particularly if the other has to stay behind with your vehicle stamped into the passport (but insurance companies don't seem to take this option into account).
Recommended Travel Resources
If you know of any good forum or information site missing from this list then please submit it through our guestbook! We would like to expand this section ;)
- Drive The Americas NEW : if you're looking for information in English this is a good starting point.
- worldtrip.de: experienced travellers, mostly vehicle related info, a little restrictive rules under new management.
- Panamericana Forum: an established German forum, quick replies, good for buying/selling used vehicles.
- Expeditionportal.com NEW : some real expedition information and reports, a lot of vehicle related info - too US centered to be a truly global resource.
- Lonely Planet's Thorntree: sound advice, but hard to find the right info
- travellerpoint.com: active forum, unfortunately more backpacker-related
- Metric Conversions: very useful day-to-day, site functions only in IE!
TRUCK & CAMPER
- Truck Camper Forum: specific forum offering sound advice
- The Diesel Stop: a special forum for american FORD Diesel trucks
- bbs.off-road.com: some decent technical advice re. off-road vehicles
- rv.net: active RV board (RV= Recreational Vehicle), but a little conservative
- Allrad-LKW-Gemeinschaft NEW : if it's about heavy 4x4 trucks you find it here (a knowledgeable community).
- InnoVan: clever engineering in this Australian camper (our next?)
During our ordeal with engine repairs in Bogotá we had very good experiences with these two US based companies (both offer world wide shipping and accept foreign Credit Cards - not so common in the USA):
- Allstate Engine: these guys stock engine parts, like pistons, valves, gaskets, etc. for most common US and Japanese vehicles, good prices, very quick shipment. Paul proved to be a very friendly and helpful guy (better to phone him with detailed questions).
- Oregon Fuel Injection: selling mostly fuel injection parts for US vehicles; Marc really knows his stuff and is willing to give advice via email.
- World of Wild Camping: online search for wild camping spots - results for Latin America are rather poor..
- Road Trip USA: we were using the hardcopy book (a loan from friends) much more than the "Lonely Planet" - it's fun, informative, and inspiring!
- Roadside America: unusual to quirky attractions alongside America's roads - you won't find many of these mentioned in your standard guide book
- RV Dumps: helpful = RV dump stations sorted by state
- Free Campgrounds: mostly for RV boondocking
- usa-reise.de: useful travel forum, many ex-pats giving sound advice
- Guide to Mexican Camping BOOK LINK: travellers call it the "bible", for us (since we didn't enter via Baja California) it has proven to be a very helpful book to ease the transition from the US to Mexico. Very detailed descriptions! We ordered our copy through Amazon, who deliver to any home address in the US even if your billing address is in a different country. Publishers also make current internet updates [extra link] available to keep you informed.
- Camping in Mexico: another internet site about camping in Mexico. Some of the information is the same as in "Guide to Mexican Camping", some is more up-to-date. This is where we found the new campground in San Miguel listed! We still recommend the book above since internet access in Mexico can be patchy.
- Guia Roji: if you're looking for a detailed Mexico map buy the Guia Roji Road Atlas ($175 Pesos). After our experience with a 2007 edition (where roads "under construction" were already shown as finished highways) it might be better to get a little older version and bargain for a better price...
- Virtual Mexico Map: a relatively good online map, where you can zoom in and out; site functions only in IE!
ALL OF CENTRAL AMERICA
- Places we have stayed over night: we have published a list, with GPS coordinates, prices, and descriptions, of all places we have camped over night. This list, which you may save, covers camping places in Mexico and throughout Central America!
- Shipping Information: we have compiled a list of known options, the relevant agents, and the procedures to ship our camper from Central America to South America.
- 99 Days To Panama: another book published mostly with RV owners in mind. The internet site has a lot of useful information about driving and camping in Central America south of Mexico. Particularly interesting are the list of camping places and regular reader-submitted updates.
- Drive Me Loco: driving and border crossing tips from the USA to Costa Rica. Some decent advice, other statements to be taken with a grain of salt...
- Let's Go Honduras: good (engish) tourist information about all major destinations in this country
- Maptak Costa Rica: on-line (and WAP cell phone) maps of Costa Rica, including city maps of many provincial cities
CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA
- Poor But Happy: ex-pat site with country specific information, quite good and comprehensive, incl. things like doctors' addresses (who speak foreign languages) and active board entries relating to all sorts of interesting issues.
- iexplore.com: country specific travel information [few too many ads].
- Places we have stayed over night: our list, with GPS coordinates, prices, and descriptions, of all places we have camped over night, plus many gas filling places, mechanics, and some other POIs.
- Ma Camp: a Brazilian site, which lists a lot of camping places with their address - sorted by regions [all in Portuguese!]
- Argentina GPS Map
- Brasil GPS Map [slow server if opened from outside of Brazil]
- Caribbean GPS Map includes most of Central America up to Yucatan (we used these and found them helpful, despite some rendering issues)
- Mexico GPS Map for Garmin, US$99, the 2007 edition is reported to be good
- Mexico GPS Map: I read some good reviews on a bikie forum about this set of Garmin maps; they are pricey though at $190
- Garmin Map Search: very simple = click a partition on a google map and find links to relevant free Garmin maps (good results for many parts of the world) = RECOMMENDED!
- CloudMade: GPS maps based on data from OpenStreetMap - quality depends upon progress of the OpenStreetMap project, several regions are very detailled.