Welcome to Part 9 of this #Travel Itinerary series; in the previous articles I have covered:
- Part One – Air Travel
- Part Two – Transport and Logistics
- Part Three – Accommodation
- Part Four – Food and Eating Out
- Part Five – Drinks and Snacks
- Part Six – Things to Do
- Part Seven – What to pack
- Part Eight – Photography
In this article, I look at aspects of travel I may not have covered in the previous sections and hopefully provide some handy tips to make your travels hassle-free and more enjoyable. These are in a random order, as the thoughts occurred to me.
Plan as little as possible
I know that the whole series of articles has helped you plan, but now I am telling you to plan as little as possible – allow for spontaneity and surprise to be part of your experience. Never rush around so much that you don’t have time to stop when you see an interesting place or walk around and find a better photo.
Make a list
As soon as you start planning your travels, start making a list of the things you need to do and the things you need to pack. Then regularly review by adding things that need to be done and packed, or deleting things that you have done or don’t need to take.
Passport expiry date
Do you know when your passport expires? Remember some countries may deny you entry should your passport be expiring within six months of the date of entry. If you regularly travel with your partner try to get the expiry dates at the same time if you can.
Learn some of the local languages before you visit a place, you’ll be amazed by how much you can learn on YouTube.
Make sure you have taken out good travel insurance, let’s hope you never need it, but you will never be sorry should things go wrong.
All electronics and essentials in Carry-On
Carry all your important items and electronics with you in your carry-on luggage.
Earplugs and sleep masks
Sleep is important when you travel, pack the items in your carry-on that will assist you in sleeping. Try all these things before your journey and make sure they fit comfortably.
Remember you may have travelled a long time and you could either be very tired or even suffer from jetlag, so always give yourself sufficient time to sleep on your first day of arrival.
Have you booked your City Pass card already? They can save you money by getting from the airport to your accommodation. Do your research beforehand so that you know what options are available.
Sunburn or even sunstroke can seriously derail your holiday. Wear sunscreen all the time (even in winter) and if you can find a good moisturiser with a high SPF factor then you will do even better.
Print out or write down your itinerary and addresses
Never rely totally on your electronics, have your itinerary available and include all the addresses and contact numbers of all booked accommodation.
Underwear is light and easy to pack, a few extra pairs may just come in very handy when you least expect it.
If there is an opportunity, use it and don’t drink too much. Remember that many places require that you pay for the convenience either in actual coins or you may need to order something. We have a special purse with bathroom change. There are some handy apps you can find to help you locate toilets – simply type in ‘Toilet Finder”
Wet weather gear
Pack a lightweight raincoat and waterproof pants in your daypack, as getting wet is never fun.
Only pack clothes that can be worn a few times before you need to wash them and if you need to wash in the sink or basin, remember to pack washing powder, some pegs and a string that can be tied up as a wash line.
Plan your clothes
Wearing jeans the whole time could be a plan, but if you have two pairs of jeans the same shade then it may feel or look like you wearing the same jeans all the time, especially when jeans can really be worn for quite a long time before needing to wash them. The best is to pack a varied range of colours that can be mixed and matched so that you can attempt to look different each day.
Authorities and custom officials
Always be polite and co-operate with them, they have a job to do and they have the whole day to do it, being polite will ensure you do not spend their day with them.
A few debit and credit cards
Take a few debit and credit cards with you, you never know when one type is not accepted or the system may be offline. Draw some cash and have it available just in case.
Notify your bank of your travels
Remember to notify your bank before you travel and test your card by drawing some cash as soon as you arrive.
Have a supply of cash available just in case you find yourself in a situation where you have either lost all your belongings or you need to travel in an emergency. Be prepared!
Google Maps is great, but have another map service as a backup just in case something happens. Search: Offline Maps and you will find an alternative service.
Free wi-fi & VPN
Free wi-fi always sounds great, but nothing is really free so always be careful. Use a VPN service which will help secure your device from cyber attacks and will also help if you log in if you using subscription services to watch your favourite series.
Back-up your photos and data
Use a cloud server to back up all your information and memories. I would also recommend backing up to a small portable hard drive for extra security as you don’t want to lose your valuable memories.
Don’t buy every souvenir
Never feel that you need to come back with souvenirs, rather decide what type of souvenir you would like and start collecting them. Spoons, fridge magnets and keyrings are much smaller and easier to transport than mugs and soft toys.
Keep a journal
Even if you are not a blogger keep some type of journal, write down the names of places you visited while they still fresh in your mind. We often photograph things thinking that will help us remember something, but in the case of food the menu is normally removed before the food arrives and it is often difficult to remember what the exact name of the dish you ordered was. Write down short notes whenever possible, it also frees the mind so that you can think of other things.
Mixed packing of Check-In luggage
Travelling with a friend? Don’t pack all your things in your bag – rather give them at least one of your sets of clothes and shoes. Do the same for them and in case your luggage does not arrive on time you will not be completely stranded.
Take more photos of yourself
Often when travelling we take photos of everything we see but forget to include ourselves in the photos. I often think it would have been great to have a photo in front of the … Remind yourself to take more photos of yourself.
Be like a local
How do the locals dress? Do some research beforehand and adjust what you pack so that you are not the obvious tourist.
Photocopies & Photos
Scan and email all your documents to yourself and a trusted friend or family member, also make photocopies of your travel documents and have extra passport photos with you and give an extra set of copies to your travel partner.
Have you downloaded the App? It is more than useful when trying to have a conversation with someone who does not speak English. Use the camera option to read and understand menus in other languages.
Always pack your own toilet paper, your 3-ply delicate soft may not be available where you are going and even some of the 2-ply brands are more industrial than what you may be accustomed to. Remember to pack some in your day pack.
Post for your friends and family
Travelling puts you amongst a small percentage of the world’s population. Share your photos and stories on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms daily. People love to follow you around the world so please don’t disappoint them.
A smile changes you and it changes the world around you, always remember to smile – your travels will be better than if you did not.
It is so easy to become dehydrated whilst travelling. Remember to drink water to keep yourself healthy. Find out if the tap water is safe for drinking so you can refill your water bottle. If necessary or you are unsure, always have bottled water with you.
Charge your devices whenever you can
Use the opportunity to charge whenever you can. Often you will only have one plug available so if you have many devices you may want to consider a strip plug.
Learn to trust, be streetwise and take advice from the locals. When a local who speaks perfect English suddenly wants to be your friend, he or she is a con artist and these people are not to be trusted.
Who knows your plans?
Would someone be able to find you in an emergency if you lost your phone? Always give a plan to someone you trust and stick to your general plan (like the accommodation you are booked into) and notify them of any changes.
It has been a pleasure sharing the Travel Itinerary series with you. Please feel free to send me comments and or any suggestions of topics you would like me to cover in future travel related articles.