N26 Black:


PO Boxes:



My checklist for booking flights.


Pay for your flight over a payment plan:

Rent return flights (in case one is needed for a visa):







  • Signup for TransferWise, use that for all money transfers.

  • Signup for N26 next time you are in Europe, use that as your only bank. Signup for N26 Black if you need cash withdrawals, which is essential if living in Asia. Let N26 do the currency conversion rather than the EFTPOS machine, ATM, POS, checkout, etc, as N26 will always give you a better rate (the difference in rate pretty much pays for N26 Black). N26 uses the TransferWise rates.

  • When converting cash from one currency to another, always do it via bank chains, never independent converters (no matter how many authorised, official, etc signage they have). Look around and compare rates, there are usually a few chains, or specific areas, that are always better than the competition.

    • Never use Travelex, their rates are 17% less than market rates, and with the undisclosed fees, they become 25% less than the market rate - which means using Travelex is a guaranteed way to lose a quarter of your money instantly.

    • Typical bank chains (including those at airports) will be about 7% less than the market rate. A good target rate is 2% below market rate, sometimes you can even find better.

  • When counting/exchanging cash, such as purchasing something at a random store or getting money converted, be alert and disciplined. Count your notes by placing each note down onto a stack, verbalising the count, so everyone can see how much money you counted. Make sure at all costs, they do not touch the stack until you have counted everything. Have them affirm the count and accept the count that you made, rather than having them take your money and do their own count (they can do that later after the mutual affirm though). You do this because, as soon as they touch your money, they can hide some, either by folding a note behind another note (so when they count 4 instead of 5 and show you, there are only 4 visible), or by taking your partly counted stack, counting themselves and slipping some notes behind an object. Counting this way deters them from cheating you, as their cheat would be inconsistent with their earlier affirmation of the mutual count. If you are new to this, have a friend film your experience and if the business does not want the exchange filmed, then get out. You will notice reputable places often count money this way when issuing your change, the trick is just to do that before the sale, not just after.

  • When negotiating, if you have zero leverage do not attempt a tough guy / firm stance approach, as you have zero bargaining power and they will just laugh at you, and rightly so. With minimum leverage, all you have to go for is charm, so be charming. Compliment them excessively and playfully, make it fun, make the exchange fun. Don’t pretend that is not what you are doing as then that is deceptive, and everyone likes flattery in the moment, even if it is for show. Flattery for show is different than fake flattery, in the same way that satire is different than lying. Compliment them on virtues like honesty and integrity and customer satisfaction, to help elicit them. If you have leverage, no one likes losing an arm wrestle, so only play leverage if rapport failed (in which case play it as hard as you can while still remaining accurate - never boast), or once you already have rapport. Negotiation should be fun, if it isn’t, you’ve already dug your own hole, and will only continue to dig it deeper.

    • If a business deal ever goes south. Remember you had a part in it. Always be just yet fair. Always be pleasant, even if the situation is unpleasant, as doing so will maintain your reputation, which is an everlasting ever present thing now. Often people you deal with are inexperienced, and failures happen - use your position of knowledge to coach people so even the inexperienced can work to fulfill your requirements. If you are both in a pickle together, then both coach each other through it.

      • For instance, asking a hotel about wifi speeds? Give them very specific instructions on how to determine that, and help them determine that (as they may think wifi speeds means wifi speed, not internet speed, pun intended) - and if they can’t determine it, then thank them for their time. This can save you hundreds of dollars, stress and headaches, booking a place that doesn’t have good internet (but yet good wifi). If you are in that mistake currently, then recognise your failure in communication, and work towards something that is fair for everyone. Your leverage is that you stated your requirements and they were not met. Their leverage is inexperience. Don’t make their inexperience shameful, make it a moment of growth for both of you. Leave a fair and accurate review with all things considered, not a review based entirely on the one thing that screwed you.

      • Got to a hotel and they booked your room to someone else, and insist that your room is an upgrade when it is clearly a downgrade? State that the situation and practice are not acceptable, it was not agreed, it voids the agreement, and that you request a refund. As you work through the refund, do so amicably. They have zero leverage, so you have all the cards, use those cards to maintain a peaceful atmosphere. State exactly what happened in a 2/5 review after the fact, so that there is a consequence and hopefully the practice changes — 2/5 as you did get your money back.

      • Got screwed over by a motorbike rental or by a tyrannical bureaucracy? Here there is very little you can do, as they have all the leverage (despite the situation being unjust, in practice you have zero rights as the local always wins with enforcement, and you likely have a plane to not miss). Use any evidence and local allies you have to state your case. For allies see next dot point. Be humble, however, in this situation, you may have to criticise their actions through the contrast of their virtues. Be firm, never bombastic, never bluff. You are winning if your case intimidates them, as that is their tactic to you. Often they have some bluff to them, as they also don’t want to deal with corrupt bureaucracies, lose standing with their peers, or future money. But in all, all you can hope for here is a minimum compromise. Calculate what the minimum compromise they will accept (not just what they say they will accept), provide it and leave. If they come after you screaming, then your calculation was wrong, in which case, good luck. If your calculation was right, they’d voice some protests, but accept the outcome nonetheless.

  • Make allies. Be the person who people remember with a smile at the end of their day. As you pass people by, even on the motorbike, wave and smile at everyone, especially Indonesians. Indonesians are extroverted, love company and love smiling. So make the most of it. Talk with them at any opportunity you have. They are generally always happy to talk, even if they speak little English, a conversation of hand signals and smiling and nodding will go far, as well as Google Translate of course.

    • Make friends with security guards, chauffeurs, and similar staff. They are often cool people, and most of them will have a side business that you may be interested in. Also, if you ever have an issue with management, they are the people who will have your side and put in a good word, or even let things slide. They deal with bureaucracies all day long, so they know the ins and outs.

Other Tips

  • When using motorbikes in Asia, always secure your helmet unless you will have a clear view of it and access to it at all times. Secure the helmet by placing its strap around the peg which is under the seat, or placing the metal bit of the strap under the seat. Most people don’t want a helmet that they have to replace the strap on. This does not work for bags though. They will cut the straps, as they want what they anticipate is inside the bag. Even if there was nothing valuable in the bag, they have now cut the strap anyway, so they’ll keep it.

    • It doesn’t matter if your helmet is crap or not, helmets are stolen all the time, so unscrupulous people will continue the cycle by stealing another helmet to make up for their stolen one. This is generally done because they are concerned they will get a large replacement fee from the motorbike rental place (usually about $25AUD), or fined for not wearing a helmet, or safety reasons, or to restore a wandering sense of pride at having being wronged. Whereas in reality, you can get a shitty helmet from asking around, either for free (people often forget them at venues, so if you have friends in venues, they often have spare helmets), or for a few dollars from a random store or random punter.

    • Consider going to a helmet shop and getting a proper helmet with chin protection and a visor. They will be between $10-25USD. If the particular store doesn’t have a helmet in your size (say for the ladies and other people with smaller heads), then just shop around. Ask a local if they know anywhere, or ask what they call motorbike helmet stores, and search google maps. Also keep a lookout for them, as most businesses are not on any map service in Asia.

    • If you are first driving a motorbike/scooter in Asia. It takes about 4 hours to learn the mechanics of it (go around in an 8 circle until you can do it perfectly, with mirrors and indicators, clockwise and anticlockwise - plus practice braking by imagining obstacle surprises, you need to learn how to break without thrusting your acceleration.), and about 3 days to feel confidence, and about 2 weeks to feel comfortable, and about 2 months to stop making mistakes. However, do not confuse your technical ability of the bike’s mechanics, with your ability of assimilation within the driving ecosystem - they are not correlated, and the latter takes months to develop. As such, foreigners get into accidents as they quickly become experienced with the bike, drive well, feel confident, then crash horrifically when something unexpected happens due to their inexperience. Unexpected things happen all the time, and often for insensible reasons. A local will decide to stop immediately in the far left lane, then swerve to do a right turn, without any conception of surroundings. Or you could be driving down a major laneway at 60km/h only to discover you just zoomed through an unmarked intersection with another laneway were people were also driving 60km/h. Or a dog or tree branch or bird or moth or person or car door, or whatever could hit you. Etc etc. As such, get a motorbike license in your home country. In Australia, it’ll be about $500-750AUD all up over say 3 months. But you will learn defensive driving, which practice will save your life multiple times, as with motorbikes any significant accident means significant injury/death. Plus, it also means if you get an international driving license of your home country’s driving license, then you can drive legally in recognised countries, and thus avoid fines (if you don’t have an international driving license that is recognised on you, with your passport, or a local driving license, then you are driving illegally, and will get fined at some point).

  • If you find a business you like, add it to Google Maps. I would suggest adding to Apple Maps, but their process for adding things is too inconvenient to bother. The extra traffic a Google Maps addition will give them, can save their business and help put their son through school and university. True story.

  • If you are doing a flight longer than 8 hours. Wear a facial mask as soon as you sit down in the aeroplane - although inform the flight attendants that you are doing so to help prevent yourself from getting sick - as otherwise, you will get some questioning. In all, I’ve found this helps me not get sick, as well as offer extra room as your seat neighbours don’t really want to be bumping elbows with someone wearing a mask. Also, drink a lot of water, hydration is also very important to make sure you don’t get sick.

    • Most budget airlines do not serve free water. However, they do serve free ice and free hot water. I’ll let you figure out the rest.


Kuala Lumpur

Takes about 20 minutes to transfer between KLIA1 and KLIA2 via the subway, which is the quickest route.



T2 to T3 transfer does not operate between 2.30am and 5am




Carry On Guy

airline dimensions
jetstar/qantas/airasia 22 x 14 x 9
virgin 18 x 13 x 9
qatar 19 x 14 x 9
klm 21 x 13 x 9
aircanada 21 x 15 x 9
average 20 x 13 x 8












Home Swap



Kerobokan, Bali

  • Dian - Honda Vario 125 for 30,000IDR/day/month

Seminyak, Bali

Honda Vario 125 is 112kg, 124.8cc, 5.5 litre, 128mm ground clearance

Honda Beat is 90kg, 108cc, 5.5l, 154mm gc

Yamaha Mio Sporty is 92kg, 113.7cc, 3.7l, 130mm gc


Which Bike?


Chiang Mai

  • Mango Bikes - Honda Click 125i 2800-3200THB
  • Cat Motors - Honda Click 125i 2500-3000THB, with LED 3000-3500THB
  • Generic - Honda Click 125i 2500-2800THB



Honda Click 125 is 106kg, 124.8cc, 5.5 litre, 135mm gc




Visa Free Access



Saint Kitts and Nevis:

Interactive visualisation of the above.

Renouncing Australian Residency



Countries for Australians




Sri Lanka








Papua New Guinea


Burma / Myanmar


South Korea



  • Flights
    • No flights on Adioso or Sky Scanner

The Solomon Islands

This project is maintained by balupton