That first time! The dream destination, years of saving and months of planning are finally going to come together in this trip of a lifetime. That first stamp on the passport holds a special place for every traveller- seasoned or not.
Travelling abroad has become relatively seamless over the years. With the inclusion of e-ticketing, travel-friendly apps, forex credit cards, offline maps and social media that help you connect with fellow travellers and locals easily; going abroad has become a cakewalk. But if this is your first international trip, there maybe a lot of things that you are not aware of simply owing to lack of experience.
Early-bird discount tickets, check. Hotel bookings, check. List of must-see places…oh well that has been waiting for a while now. Visa and passports? Check. So you are ready to strike off, one of the greatest goals on your bucket list?
Take notes from frequent travellers on what not to forget before you start your overseas journey.
- Research the weather thoroughly. Just knowing the forecast during your stay can greatly help you pack well. You will know exactly how to dress, what kind of shoes to carry and if you need any special gear. If you do, you know where to rent it.
- Familiarise yourself with the map of the city/country or island in advance. If you know where you will be staying, figure out what is around. The satellite view on google maps can be quite useful in this regard. Pay attention to major streets/highways and public transit stops. Find out all you can about the public transportation system and tourist or special passes if any.
- It helps to know a little about the culture, dining practices and monetary systems in the country you’re visiting. Get to know the denominations and currencies so you are not easily tricked by notorious money changers. Take note of tipping systems since it is a norm in some countries while in others it can be a mere choice.
- Often neglected, it is essential to check the fees for your credit/bank card before you set out. If possible use credit cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees. Notify your bank of your plan to travel internationally in advance and make sure to enable international travelling on your credit card so your transactions are not declined.
- Your passport is the most important travel document when travelling abroad. Always keep a copy of your passport on your smart phone and leave one at home, just in case you fall in trouble. Saving it on your phone will make it easily accessible at tourist spots, without actually carrying it with you all the time. If you must carry your passport, be sure it’s secured and safely tucked away from pickpockets.
- Frequent travellers always leave a copy of their passport, ID, copies of tickets, credit cards/insurance cards with a trusted loved one in case of a travel emergency. Depending on your security concerns, you can also add copies of your important documents and cards to Google Drive, Dropbox or any other cloud service you wish to use and always make sure to keep at least one loved one informed about your whereabouts or the secret island you are headed to next.
- Vaccination policies are often neglected. Check ind advance for the country you are visiting (or for returning to your own country) at least 6 months prior to your trip! Some vaccinations take time to be administered.
- The last thing you want is to come back without your bags. Find a safe travel bag designed to protect your personal possessions. If you can avoid it, you should never carry all your cash/cards with you while sight-seeing. Go for a trackable bag tag that significantly increases your chances of finding your lost valuables.