Plan and Prepare for a great trip - the basics
It’s always exciting to travel abroad or somewhere new, whether on a planned adventure holiday, a short mini-break or even for work. But there are some general rules of thumb to always adhere to, to ensure you are always prepared and safe. Following these very basic tips will give you a few less things to worry about and means more time later for enjoying and appreciating your holiday. So here are my top 10 tips to help you not only to organize and prepare for your trip, but to also make sure you have a safe and enjoyable time.
1. Your Passport
Always check that your passport is in date for the whole duration of your stay and preferably longer. Your holiday booking adviser or the website being used can often inform you if a longer period of passport validity applies for your specific trip. If you are concerned or your renewal date is looming, start looking into the renewal process in advance as you would not want to be waiting on your passport being returned close to a departure date. Leave a photocopy of your passport at home with immediate family in case of any problems and also take another photocopy with you in your hand luggage just in case.
2. Travel Money
If you have the time, you should always shop around to get the best exchange rate for your money. As of course, not only can rates fluctuate daily, but different providers may only offer a limited range of currencies. Try checking online first before you make a trip in person to save yourself time and hassle. Always remember some photographic I.D to take along too. The rates are often higher at airports as remember you’re a captive consumer then, so you can most likely get a better rate on the high street before travel.
3. Suitcase Weight/Allowance
The last thing you need is to be paying more than you should for excess luggage weight. So distribute a few items in your hand luggage if they are suitable and permitted. Alternatively, some travelers share clothing items between both their suitcases in case one is lost, then you would still have some clothing in a short-term emergency situation.
Health and safety are key when traveling abroad or to unfamiliar places, so if you are at all concerned that you may need a vaccination, then a great first port of call would be to check online on a reputable healthcare website and then to make an appointment with your health care provider, doctor or nurse around a month before you travel to make sure your health vaccinations are all up to date.
5. Sun Protection
This point will of course only apply if you are traveling to a hotter destination. Products with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 and above are generally recommended but you may need higher so always check the weather for your destination online before you travel. Once you have tried a spray version of sun screen, you won’t look back as it’s easier, quicker and far less messy to apply!
Remember to apply liberally to your nose, ears, face and especially your mouth and forehead; areas which will be likely to burn faster as the skin is more delicate in these areas. After sun will always help too, especially ones formulated with Aloe Vera and/or insect repellent would be a welcome addition. Aloe Vera is especially renowned for its soothing and cooling properties.
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You may have a smart phone or traveling apps that you use abroad, but if not and you are not a technologically savvy individual, then taking a few printed maps of the local area and your hotel address can do no harm. You could even print the address and contact details of the place you are staying at for your immediate family back home to be able to contact you in case of an emergency. Certainly if going on any longer expeditions or excursions, then leaving an itinerary with someone you trust could prove invaluable to your safety.
If you are going where there is a foreign language spoken, then as above, there are countless apps you can download for your devices. Investing in a small translation book could always help, but if you are strapped for cash (after paying for your trip), then research online basic phrases you may need and print this off to take with you.
8. Medical Kit/Insurance
You can take out health insurance for your trip at the time of booking your holiday online but ask your holiday adviser if booking in person. It’s always handy to take along some medical basics too like simple painkillers, plasters and mosquito repellent (if that applies), along with enough supplies of any prescription medications for the duration of your stay. Don’t forget your toiletries and any make-up non-essentials too.
9. Food Hygiene
Your hotel would of course be your nearest place to eat and they can often advise travelers on other local restaurants which are nearby. Researching online beforehand can also help but you can gain invaluable tips and recommendations from locals. If water cleanliness is an issue in the area you are in, then always drinking bottled water is recommended, (sparkling is best as you can guarantee it’s come from a bottle), followed by canned drinks. Fruits that you can peel (such as bananas and oranges), are also often safest. Avoid salads but opt for cooked vegetables, and only eat food which is piping hot. Pack some light snacks in your hand luggage too as airports can be expensive.
Here’s one of my favorite snacks below. Although it has chocolate in, it is also made from rice so is low in calories.
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10. Packing Light
Depending on the length of your trip, you may have to cram more into your suitcase, but always try to pack items which are light and can be worn more than once. For example, separate skirts and tops work well for different outfit combinations for ladies and it goes without saying that different ties as well as shirts can completely change the style of a man’s suit.
Lastly, enjoy your trip and remember that preparation is key to having a successful and safe adventure.
Below is a great You Tuber Ingrid Nilsen or 'Miss Glamorazzi' taking us through her suitcase and packing tips.