Having worked in the travel industry, and travelled a lot myself, I often see people misconstruing information and travelling without some pretty vital things. It seems there’s a lot of websites and companies that can assist you with booking that ticket from A to B or that pass into Disneyland, yet no one is actually telling travellers what some of the key things are that they simply cannot travel without.
2. Check the Validity of your Passport
3. Always have spare copies of your passport.
If your passport gets stolen or lost you want to be sure that you can still get back into the country, or be able to prove your citizenship. Always keep a paper copy in your wallet, and better yet consider making an electronic copy you can store in your email account. For extra backup, leave a copy of your passport at home or with someone you trust.
4. Register with your embassy
If there’s a problem in the country, this will make it easier for your government to contact you and get you to safety. For Aussies, register at smarttraveller so you can be contactable in case of an emergency.
5. Look up the monetary conversion before you go.
Finding out that one Danish Krone is equal to just 19 cents … not cool. Make sure you do the math before you travel so you don’t get trapped forking out thousands of dollars when you’re travelling on a budget. If you want a simple fix for this, I use a handy dandy currency converter app.
6. Make sure your credit card will work in the country you’re visiting.
European banks have switched almost completely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology, and fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards. Make sure you have your cards organised before you go and always ensure you have a backup plan if they don’t work. I also always recommend having enough cash on your in case of this situation so that you can afford to get by until it is fixed.
As a general rule- always check before you depart. Visas are one of the most important things because, without one, the consequences are severe. To check the visa requirements for your travels head to visas direct or get your local travel agent to assist you.
8. Always have local cash.
Whether you think you have all your cards and finances sorted, it is vital that you always take some cash. Not every place takes credit cards, not every country has accessible ATM’s and banks, and depending on where you are going you can sometimes be incredibly ripped off. The easiest fix is to do some research of where you’re going and take spare cash.
9. Call your bank or credit card provider.
Sometimes banks think that fraud may be occurring if transactions are suddenly happening in Bali when you’re from Jersey, and they will turn off your card as a security measure. Always remember to register your travel with them before you leave home.
10. Check the country’s entrance/exit fees.
Some countries require travellers to pay in order to enter or leave the country. These fees are not included in the price of your airline ticket and can range from $25 to $200. Be aware of this and as a general rule, always have cash in the correct currency.
11. Buy tickets now for places you know you want to visit or see.
By purchasing in advance you’ll be able to skip more lines and find more deals targeted toward you. You’ll also avoid sell outs, credit card fees, and hefty costs. For instance, purchasing tickets to Disneyland before I left home allowed me to save about $30 on my ticket price. It also ensured that I would not be rejected at the gate as it was peak season that I was travelling.
12. Buy a guidebook or two.
Guidebooks usually include maps, key words or phrases, and give you enough detail on certain sites that you won’t need to purchase the pamphlet at the venue. The other cool thing about these guides is that they also include some of the keywords of the countries language to help break down the language barriers. Parlez Vous Anglais?
If there is one thing I cannot stress enough, it is the importance of insurance. As a general rule if you cannot afford insurance you cannot afford your trip. Think about it, what does $300 compare to hundreds of thousands if you require medical care when you are overseas? And what can be more important than having access to first world care if you do require help? You are also covered for loss of baggage and robbery! The insurance provider I ALWAYS choose is covermore. For more information visit their website or you can email me with any questions!
14. Research events going on while you’re there.
This will help you make sure that you’re not missing the best events going on in the city — fun things like festivals, national days, ceremonies and natural events. This may help you decide how long you are going to stay in a city or help rearrange your plans so you don’t miss the fun! It might also save you from visiting in the busier seasons and avoid the crowds if that isn’t your thing. Make sure you do your research before you go.
15. Bring a charger adapter. Or maybe even two!
I know that most travellers will know this, but the number of first-time travellers that don’t know it is alarming! Countries have different size plugs and voltage guys. So if you want to use your iPod, computer or your camera, make sure you can charge it with the right adapter! I also highly recommend taking more than one, as these little things are notorious for breaking on you when you least expect it.
16. Check the voltage of your electronics.
From my own experience, I know that nothing is worse than having an adapter and still not being able to use a blow-dryer or a straightener because the voltage isn’t high enough for that country. A little bit of research goes a long way. When I was in Japan, my adaptor couldn’t handle the voltage, and literally exploded in my hostel. Thankfully my laptop was fully charged so I was able to charge my phone that night- but the next day I had to go on a hunt to find a new adaptor.
17. Turn off your phone’s data!
Unless you want to receive a hefty phone bill when you return home, do not forget to turn off your data! You can still access wifi connection and add a sim card.
18. Pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag.
Don’t be one of those travellers decked out in J’adore Paris apparel because the airline lost your luggage and you have nothing else to wear. Believe it or not, airlines are not perfect and considering you may have several stopovers before your destination across the globe, there is a possibility luggage may go amiss. Make sure to have your important belongings and anything you may need for a day or two if your luggage goes missing. It is better to be safe than sorry and it will save you having to go purchase a new wardrobe while you wait for your bags to arrive!
19. To check a bag or not to check bag.
Each airline has its own set of guidelines as to how many bags can be checked in, carried on, and what weight they must be. Make sure to look up your airline’s rules to avoid any extra fees.
20. Bring food.
Travelling abroad is fun, but eating in a foreign country can sometimes become a task. I have found it especially difficult travelling as a fussy vegetarian. Believe it or not, I do NOT like eating a bowl of grilled capsicum France!
Bring small snacks that will tide you over until you find that perfect restaurant or food cart. I always travel with some nut bars and a jar of Vegemite.
So what do you think? Are there any other tips you simply must know before you go? Drop them in the comments below!