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What to do

before travelling

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELLING.

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What to do before travelling

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BEWARE ITS A LONG READ, BUT WORTH IT! 

When you're traveling anywhere is it important to remember everything you need to bring with you, the last thing you need is to forget your passport or underwear back at home. I am a very organised traveller, ask anyone I've travelled with. The key to being organised is making sure you have lists for your lists. Some of it might seem a bit over the top but that's how I travel, however being a travel agent this is the list I always mention to my clients before travelling. I'd love to hear how you travel and ways you remember things in the comments below.

Legal Documents;

  • Its important anywhere you decide to travel that you have the correct visa and current passport information. Make sure you ask your travel agent or if you intend to book individually ensure you look it up online. Being an Australian citizen most countries in Europe will allow you an on the spot visa or a temporary visa, if you even need one at all for a short stay.

  • Ensure you have travel insurance. I can't stress enough the importance of it. In the past two years I have purchased an annual policy with Covermore. I extend my policy to cover me for my phone,camera equipment (drone, camera, go pro etc) and person effects, and with little excess in case I need to make a claim. If you have any preexisting medical conditions like anxiety, or mental health issues make sure the policy can cover you. Once you have purchased your cover Print out a copy of your policy number and a contact number. I always purchase my insurance as soon as I've bought the first product on my itinerary ie, flights, a hotel, activities etc. 

  • Ensure you have a current medical certificate with you stating your doctor in your country of origin, any medicines you currently take as well as any previous medical injuries or conditions in case of emergencies. 

  • Make sure you research your home countries' embassy in your intended travel destination and have a rough location of it. In the event of an emergency they are one of the people to call for help. 

  • Always carry on you a copy of your next of kin or a contact number for someone you know well locally in the case of an emergency. It will go a long way if the authorities need to find out any information about you. 

  • Have a copy of your full itinerary printed somewhere in your bag in the case you lose your phone, or need to provide information to authorities.

  • If you're Australian, register yourself on smart traveller, put as much information about your trip as you can in. In the event of an emergency at least the Australian government can send help if required. 


Medications;

  • Most countries can be fairly strict on what comes in and about of their country. Be sure to have a letter from your doctor corresponding with the medications you have in your bag.

  • Be sure to take the intend amount of dosage with you. If you don't need 3 months of a medication for a 2 month trip, leave them at home. It can look quite sus if you are carrying too much.

  • Be sure to take only a couple general pain relief or over the counter medications with you. Most of the time you can find what you are looking for overseas, and it frees room in your bag. Also before you purchase anything overseas be sure to check its intended use and side effects online or with 2-3 medical practitioners before you buy. Especially if you can't understand the packaging.

House Prep;

  • If you are an owner of your own home be sure to have informed a close family member or neighbor that you will be away in case of an emergency. If you are going to be away for a while i'd suggest finding house sitting or someone to collect the mail, put the bins out and keep an eye on the place every so often. Some post offices will hold your mail for you - most of the time incurring a small fee but it'll almost guarantee nothing is lost.

  • If you are leaving your house unattended be sure to reduce the amount of valuables in the property as much as you can. Also do an inventory of all valuables in case the insurance company or police need to see it should your property experience theft.

  • It may be a good idea to turn your water, gas and electricity off if you won't be using them. Having timed lights outside may give the impression people are home so keep it in mind when preparing to leave. You can also save money on your bills if you normally have a leaking tap or shower. Also you won't be hit with any nasty bills when you get back.

Finalise Itinerary;

  • I've said this almost every post but if you can get a hard copy of your itinerary to someone back home before you leave it can be a god sent in an emergency. Be sure to leave all contact numbers and help numbers with them as well should the need rise.

  • It's important for you when travelling to have a hard copy incase your phone, laptop, iPad etc get lost or don't work. Most of the time airlines will require you to print off your boarding pass so it's one less thing you have to worry about if you've already done it before you reach the airport. 

  • It's important to go through it a couple of times and with someone who hasn't seen it before to make sure there isn't anything missing or something that isn't meant to be there, most hotels can include transfers but at a hidden cost so make sure everything is checked before arrival, either with the travel agency, hotel or the fine print on the bottom.

Weather;

  • It may sound very silly but if you've got a spare second in the day check upon the weather at your destination/s. Some of the time natural disasters can occur and this can impact your travel or what you have to pack. If your travel is impacted and you have travel insurance be sure to call them and discuss whether or not you are covered if you enter the town/city or any advice they can give to you.

  • Be sure to keep an eye out also for changes in the weather. I know Sydney can go from a very hot day to rain in a matter of hours - if you're aware of this change in the climate you can be more equipped for your trip and not be caught out. 

  • Always pack according to weather requirements - if you're going to England in the winter there is no need to pack a short sleeve dress in the hope it'll get hot enough to wear it. If by some miracle that day arises you can hop to the shops and pick yourself up a new outfit otherwise keep the space in your luggage! 

Customs;

  • Legal

    • Be sure to look up or be aware of what things you can bring legally in and out of a city. The law has no leeway for accidentals or mistakes in your packing and it can get you into serious trouble. 

    • Avoid taking foods in your luggage - no matter where you go, you never are going to know what conditions your bag will be subjected too in the cabin or bag hold. Food can be bought anywhere, don't risk it because customs officers don't tend to be too lenient towards people who push their laws. 

  • Traditional

    • I can't stress enough the importance of looking up the customs and traditions of you destination. It can be very embarrassing for yourself and the local people if you do not know or follow the laws, and traditions of the country. Most of the time your travel agent, previous travellers and government officials can tell you what is right and wrong to do in the country.

    • Asia and Australia are very close in proximity but have every different cultural, historical and traditional beliefs so despite the distance just check up on how you should wear, behave and present yourself in other countries.

Researching your destination;

  • I can't stress enough the importance of knowing about your final destination. Simple things like the weather, local shops, how the public transport works will help when you arrive and not leave you in a fit of stress when you landed for the first time. 

  • Know the customs and traditions. The law differentiates in various countries so if you want to stay out of trouble, follow the rules. 

  • Research the area you're staying. Most of the time Airbnb will give you an idea of the suburb you're in and so will most reviews. It doesn't hurt to head over to tripadvisor or check out a few reviews of the neighborhood. We did stay in a few bad neighbourhoods but having the heads up or knowing what to expect was so much better than the initial shock when you arrive. 

  • Make sure you research the currency rate. Its important to know how much you're spending on things in that country before you purchase them. Some times it ends up being cheaper to buy things back home! 

Important things to pack;

  • Never pack more than 300-400 dollars cash in the local currency and never carry that much around with you on a day to day basis. Invest in a travel card to store all your money and that can be controlled from your phone in the event you lose it or it gets stolen. 

  • Always have a sim card with you. First order of business should be to buy a sim card in the local store. If you have some spare time before you leave just check out the deals currently on for that city, it can save you a tone! You can pre purchase a sim card with simsdirect.com.au and have it ready for when you land. I have done this in the over the last 12 months and I couldn't recommend them.

  • If you're anyone like me the first thing that goes into my luggage are my chargers. I usually always have my laptop and my DSLR with me to capture my memories. I did say to try and limit the items thieves might target but I make sure I always have an eye on my laptop and equipment. Your camera doesn't have to be the most expensive one on the market, if you are happy with the quality then hey why not. Phones these days also have great camera quality. 

  • Pack your hand luggage light. I always keep my most expensive items in the hand luggage so there is no risk of it being lost or broken with my check in bags. I do recommend you do the same but just be careful of your bag weight limit.

  • Always have your legal documents organised and placed in your carry on in the event you need to use them. I also pack a spare change of clothes, some essential travel liquids: small deodorant, hand sanitiser, lip balm, tooth paste/brush etc just to keep you feeling fresh and energised. 

  • Try and pack 50% - 75% of your baggage allowance and always make sure you never fill it to the top. If you're anyone like me, you will give in a buy a few things on your trip and it is the worst when you can't fit it in your bag or go over your weight. 

  • The brings me to my next point: Pack practical. If you are going on a trip that has a lot of travel and you move around quite frequently I would not recommend to pack a large suitcase or big bag. It's such an inconvenience and a waste of time. Try and invest or borrow a large travel backpack and roll your clothes to save space. Make sure you pack at least one pair of runners, one pair of open shoes and if you need to- one pair of dress shoes. 

  • Make sure you have your chargers + battery packs. The last thing you need is to be stressed because you can't order an Uber or know where your hotel is because you haven't got any battery on your phone.

Your head is probably overwhelmed by now but I hope if you're a new traveller you've learned something and if this isn't your first time abroad that you agreed with most of what I mentioned. I've got an e-book with all this information including packing lists, to do checklists before you pack and more. You can find it below.

If you use the code: 'EBOOK100' you will receive it for free.

What to do before travelling - E-Book

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