Before travelling the most important thing to do is photocopy any important documents you’ll be taking with you on your trip. The most important documents you’ll carry is your passport and in some cases a visa. Countries such as Spain, Turkey and France have strict laws which states that everybody in the country, tourist or citizen, needs to have identification on them at all times (which for a citizen would be a citizen card or driving license whereas for a tourist it would be a passport). Some people carry their passport with them but others take a photocopy with them, either way a photocopy left at your accommodation is the safest way to make sure your have your passport information if you do lose it. Instead of photocopying my bank card, which would indeed be a golden ticket for anyone that may find it if misplaced, I note down some important information such as my full name and the expiry date on the card. If this got into the wrong hands then it would be fine since my full card number isn’t on there as well as my CVV number. However, I’d still be able to give my bank some information regarding the name on the card and when it expires, so I’d be able to cancel it if I misplaced it or it had got stolen. Even though I don’t photocopy documents such as tickets for certain attractions, I make sure I have a printed version as well as a digital version on my phone to prevent losing them. If I lost the physical copy then I could cancel it through my phone and if my phone had died with the ticket on it then I have the physical copy to hand. Another document I photocopy is my driver’s license, since it’s another form of identification to prove who I am. Before travelling make sure you have valid health insurance and be sure to have the documents supporting the fact that you have it. I photocopy important information from the fifty pages I was sent, which was a great way to spend an hour of my life I’ll never get back, nevertheless I was able to photocopy my policy number and the key details of what my insurance covered. A holiday can be ruined with a hefty medical bill placed on you for what can be the smallest of injuries or a small dosage of medication.
A previous blog post I wrote, Making an Itinerary, outlines the reasons as to why I make an itinerary as well as how I make my own form of one. In my itinerary I outline key information I’ll need such as what I’m doing each day as well as my plans for transportation - whether I’m using private transportation or directions as how I’ll get to my accommodation using public transport. The main reason for making an itinerary is so if there was anything to happen such as a natural disaster or I went missing then by leaving a photocopy of my itinerary in my hotel room then I would’ve left a literal map to where I would be.
Directions From The Airport To Your Accommodation
As much as I praise technology for making my life a lot easier, it can be very unreliable during the times when you most need it. Before travelling I decide whether it’ll be more quicker and cheaper to either get private transportation to my accommodation or whether to use public transport. If I get a private transfer I’ll make sure I have documents to hand regarding my pick up time as well as the driver who will be picking me up (which usually includes their registration plate for safety reasons). I’ll also take a picture of this on my phone so that if my hands are full and I can’t be bothered to fumble through my luggage then I can look at this while walking off the plane when I land. If I decide to use public transportation to get to my accommodation I write out directions from where to go as well as what lines to take. For example, if I got off at Heathrow Airport I would write down that I need to take the Piccadilly line to Green Park, where I would then get off and get the Jubilee line to my designated stop. When travelling anywhere I always take the full address of my accommodation with me, to help get directions if lost or to give to a taxi driver rather than trying to remember where I’m staying. By doing this there’s no way you can get overcharged by taxi firms, since you’re giving them the exact name and address which also means there’s no way you can get lost.
Emergency Phone Numbers
Something I carry even when leaving my house even for a few hours, let alone travelling to another country, is emergency phone numbers in which I carry a physical copy in my diary as well as on a digital page on my phone. If I’m travelling with friends or family I’ll make them my emergency contacts for the time while away since it’ll be more likely I’ll need to call them if we get separated or to see where they are. When travelling abroad I research the phone numbers for emergency services, which include police, ambulance and fire brigade since they’re different from the phone numbers where I live. Phone numbers that are also important are for my bank since I may need to notify them immediately if my card gets stolen so they can cancel it as well as notify them that I’m travelling abroad (so they know the transactions are mine, not fraudulent).
Personally I feel more prepared knowing the area I’m staying in before even booking my hotel, by making sure it’s a safe neighbourhood and to make sure that it’s located near a metro station or bus stop. This making me feel at ease since from previous experience abroad I haven’t got back to my accommodation any earlier than 8pm as I’ve been out all day sightseeing. An extra step I take to prepare myself before travelling to a country is to research the etiquette and customs of a country so I can try my best to follow these respectfully. For example, if I planned to travel to India then I would find that their customs differ to British ones since in some places it is considered proper to eat with your hands rather than cutlery as well as making sure to use your right hand rather than your left. Even though this differs from what I do, I must make an effort to respect the customs and etiquette of the country I’m visiting. Another important feature of research which is a must for everyone is to find out whether you need a visa to enter the country as well as making sure you’ve declared everything correctly such as your full name when booking flights to declaring if you have convictions or a criminal record (if applying for a visa). It’s also helpful to make sure you research the climate of the country you’re travelling to so you can pack accordingly. This information is easily available by simply typing into a search engine “What’s the weather like in (city) during (month)?”.
The language barrier is one of the most difficult things to be faced when abroad, from trying to ask for directions to ordering food, it can be confusing and time consuming. I download a range of language apps before travelling, most importantly Google Translate, in which I note down important phrases such as “I’ve lost my passport” and “How much is that” to other phrases such as “Thank you”. Some people may assume that everybody understands your home language but this is simply not the case abroad, especially in smaller towns and markets.
In my hand luggage I carry around a medical card which lists what medication I’m currently on as well stating if I’m allergic to anything. This is because if I need to be taken to hospital and have fainted or am unresponsive then there is a record for doctors and nurses to help me get treatment as quick as they can. Before travelling I make sure I have enough medication to last me for my holiday as well as a little extra in the extreme case that my flight ends up being delayed or cancelled and it takes a day or two extra to get home. When travelling I make a cheap first aid kit for travelling, which can be bought, which includes plasters and bandages as well as alcohol free wound cleansing wipes. This is carried in my hand luggage and in my handbag when I’m out throughout the day. It has been used a numerous amount of times, for example when I went out for an excursion in Greece I lost my footing and ended up grazing my knee when climbing up to see The Temple of Poseidon (it’s rock ground that’s very uneven).
Tips and tricks for all aspects of travelling, most of which include saving money.