Like me, you probably counted the sleeps till you travelled. Sure, you were going to miss the family, but hey, you had the opportunity and budget (okay maybe not so much!) to travel. Like the property market where LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! is important, here PREPARATION is important. Good travel is a result of good planning. Here is a list of things to do before you travel :
1. Passport :
Passport expiry date : Double check the dates that your passports expires. Make sure you have ample time. Think that you have at least three months left to travel, think again, Some countries, like Jamaica will not have you.
2. Documentation :
Ensure that all these are safe. Ensure that you have copies of same. Scan and email them to yourself if you have to :
* International driving licence
3. Credit Card :
Always good to have the credit card on hand but ensure that your bank is aware that you are travelling. Give them time frames too to avoid the unnecessary stress. No advance warning and your card could be put on hold. .
4. Weight allocations :
Travel lightly. Hand luggage can be with you. Ensure that you have at least a set of clothes and an emergency make up kit with you in case your luggage travels further than it was meant to.
Checking in a bag. Each airline has its own set of guidelines for travel luggage. Avoid unnecessary fees by sticking to the weight restrictions.
Pay the fee, cling wrap your luggage.
5. Electronics :
DO NOT forget the charger the cellphone or the camera. Countries have differing plugs and a universal charger is a good investment.
Do not skimp when it comes to buying a good phone. Think image quality etc. Remember the protective packaging for the phones.
6. Data :
Not all places are wi-fi friendly. Ensure that you have at least 1Gig available. Get maps etc, screenshoot in advance and save so that your data bundle is not eaten into.
7. Medical Necessities :
Necessary innoculatory jabs.
Do not forget the medication, chronic or otherwise. Divide those meds in plastic containers with the days on them to help you remember when you have had too much fun and the days become a blur. Wear the medical alert band on your wrist.
Definitely consider travel insurance. Check your benefits, keep a copy.
8. Climate :
Consider the climate of the country. Remember to cover up with a scarf suitably if the country demands it. Something I learned when I was in India. Covered with a maxi dress yet my arms were bare. A quick visit to the shop for snacks drew unwanted, unnecessary attention.
9. Monies :
Familiarise yourself with the monetary conversions. Download the currency converter app. Keep sure that you keep smaller dollar denominations for tips etc. That way, even if the seller conveniently has no change, you are not at a total loss.
Convert your monies at the airport or a bank ATM. The fees are considerably lesser. Do not allow the travel guide to take you to their preferred place of currency conversion. There is always a whopping tip involved even if everything seems straightforward.
Although cards are accepted, it is not accepted everywhere. Carry cash and that too, all not in one place.
10. Tipping :
Tip generously if the situation warrants it. Sometimes, your tips are all some of these people ever get. Bargain if you have to, but be judicious and fair as well.
11. Activities :
Invest in a good guide book and a map.
Search in advance for interesting memorable events that you may be keen on. Book in advance if you can.
Know your places of interest and costs etc. This will ensure that you do get the best out of your stay.
Linger longer with the locals. That is where the best stories come from.
12. Snacks :
Remember your preferred snacks from home. Some days foreign foods can be daunting, and a snack from home would be most welcomed! These snacks will keep the hunger pangs at bay.
Buy bottled water. Think Delhi Belly?! Enough said.
13. Itinerary :
Let someone trustworthy have your itinerary. It is peace of mind for all concerned.
14. Jewellery :
Absolutely no expensive jewellery. Stick to costume jewellery. Sometimes to some people, all that glitters is gold!
15. Transport/Translation :
Consider local transport, like trains for short distances, especially in India and Europe.
Translation programmes will also assist you when you have a language barrier.
Consider Hyperli (https://www.hyperli.com/deals). SO much easier to book for restaurants, and tours and reduced rates. Whilst a lone travel can wing it, a person travelling with family will need to ensure that everyone is accommodated.
Now that you have your 15 point plan covered, relax and enjoy your holiday. Bon voyage!