Whether you are a business owner, a student or a stay-at-home mom, the odds are that you travel at least once a year, if not more.
Although travelling was once a rare luxury, it has now become commonplace. Cars, buses, trains and aeroplanes are the most popular modes of travel. Whichever one you use, there are some simple things you can do to make your trip go smoothly.
Travelling is an acquired skill- the more you travel, the better you get at it. There are various small but invaluable tips that frequent travellers pick up on their many journeys that greatly enhance the travel experience.
If you are a first time traveller, or even a seasoned one, and you are looking for ways to travel stress-free and avoid unpleasant hiccups along the way, we have some practical pointers for you.
Plan your trip
When laying out your travel plans, make them as detailed as possible. It is advisable to have your plans in written form, either on a device or on a sheet of paper, for a visual representation of your itinerary.
Carefully plan out the logistics of your journey and stay, as well as which places you want to go or things you need to do. Lookup public transport routes, save maps on your phone and locate restaurants, grocery shops and supermarkets near your resting place. All of this research will add to creating a seamless travel experience.
Additionally, it is good to have a checklist of things you need to do right after arriving at your destination. This article has some excellent tips on how to manoeuvre the first day of your trip.
Budget in advance
Draw up a budget sheet that lists all your expected expenses. Managing the cash flow on your trip becomes significantly more comfortable if you have a clear idea of the things you can afford to spend on and helps to prepare you for incurring whatever costs travelling entails. This way, you don’t return to an overwhelmingly empty bank account.
It’s a good idea to hit up your bank before your departure. The importance of keeping some cash at hand when you are on a trip cannot be stressed enough- it is especially useful in a tight spot.
If you are travelling overseas, check the current exchange rates for the local currency of your place of arrival to get an idea of how much cash you will need to withdraw when you arrive. Also, call your bank or credit card provider to prevent them from turning off your card as a security measure when you make a transaction from your foreign destination.
Settle your finances
Pay off all outstanding bills (and any buddies you owe money to) before you embark, to guarantee that you have nothing to worry about while you travel. There’s nothing worse than having a disgruntled friend call you on your holiday to remind you that money is due.
Once you have decided on your travel dates and duration, make sure to place ‘stop orders’ on regular deliveries to avoid coming home to a pile of unread newspapers. If you want house cleaning or other services to continue, advance payments ensure that these arrangements carry on in your absence.
Double-check your documents
One cannot emphasize enough on how crucial it is to double or even triple-check your documents before a journey. Often, it just so happens that something gets overlooked the first time around. Also check for validity and expiry dates, especially of your visa, if going to a different country.
Your passport, identity card, ticket and credit cards are the essential documents to carry. If you plan on renting a car and driving after you reach your destination, a valid car license (internationally valid, if travelling abroad) is another must-have.
It also helps to have scans uploaded to your email or cloud, and photo-copies of all your documents, just in case.
Don’t overlook your health
One of the most frequently ignored aspects of travel is one’s health. People are usually so preoccupied with preparing for their trip, that they forget to take stock of how they feel and what they need to have at hand to stay in good shape throughout their journey.
You should check with your physician to see if any vaccines are required before you travel to your destination, and if they are, get them administered. Fill prescriptions for medicines you need to take with you. Too busy handling the travel arrangements? Registered online pharmacies like Click Pharmacy have made it a breeze to get your prescription filled. All you have to do is send it online, and the e-pharmacy will deliver your medications to your doorstep, with zero effort on your part.
It is necessary to keep a basic first aid kit whenever you travel. It should contain band-aids, alcohol swabs and over-the-counter medications for migraines, stomach problems and jet-lag. Including an EpiPen in your bag can be potentially life-saving, especially when travelling to exotic new places, where severe allergic reactions may be provoked by exposure to new environmental or food triggers. Carry wet wipes and sanitizer to wipe down surfaces like the seat you’ll be sitting on, the toilet in the plane and the phone at your hotel- all these surfaces are hot spots for disease-carrying germs.
Pack according to your needs
What you pack is very subjective and depends entirely on where you are going and what you will be doing there.
However, there are a few staples you cannot forget to pack. Other than the obvious items like clothes, shoes and phone chargers, consider packing snacks and some weather-appropriate apparel: you don’t want to be caught in a rainstorm with only cotton shirts and shorts to protect you.
Be smart about what you put into your check-in bag and carry-on. You should also give thought to whether you need a check-in bag in the first place. If you can get by with just a carry-on, your trip will become tremendously more convenient, especially if you will be taking several connecting flights with differing luggage rules.
If you want more tips, travel blogs like this one give travellers an insight into effective ways to maximize their trips. After all, the steps you take (or don’t take) to prepare for your trip can make or break it. By implementing the simple measures mentioned above, you can turn any travel experience into an adventure for the ages.