Top Ten Travel Tips for Before you Leave
Your trip away is imminent. Hopefully by this point you have followed my top ten packing tips part 1 and part 2 and your bags are by your front door ready to go. But the most likely time to forget to do something is the time between leaving home and arriving at the airport. Once you're at the airport so a check list of must-dos is a useful thing! What else do you need to remember before you leave for the airport?
1) Make Sure you Have Travel Insurance
I can’t stress this enough. If something goes wrong while you are away, you will be glad that you remembered to do this. Hopefully, you will have an amazing trip with no problems whatsoever. But what if your flights get cancelled, you’re in an accident and need medical help, your hotel burns down with all of your belongings inside, you lose your passport or there’s an earthquake and you can’t get home? Things happen, things can go wrong. Protect yourself! Travel insurance doesn’t have to be expensive. Use compare websites to find the best deal, but make sure that you have everything you need covered (medical cover, extreme sports). In some cases, if you travel a lot, an annual policy will be the best value for money.
2) Make Copies of all of Your Important Documents
In case of an emergency, make sure that you have copies of all of your important documents. I suggest making physical copies of your passport and keep them somewhere safe. This will be invaluable if you lose your passport while you’re abroad. Make digital copies of your passport, birth certificate, travel insurance, flight and accommodation confirmations. Email them to yourself with emergency contact numbers of any family and friends, your credit card provider, bank, phone company and your embassy.
3) Consider Your Currency
Check your bank or credit card provider’s policies and charges for withdrawing money abroad and using your card for payments. In most cases, it will be cheaper for you in the long run to withdraw cash abroad than it will for you to change cash into currency. Many companies that have a bureau de change will charge commission and even if they don’t, their rate of exchange will be hiked up to make up the difference. Consider getting a travel friendly credit card that won’t charge you for withdrawals abroad such as the Halifax Online Clarity credit card, the Lloyds Bank Premier Avios credit card account, the Creation Everyday credit card or the MBNA Everyday Plus American Express credit card. Just remember to pay off your credit card in full every month.
4) Tell Your Bank Where you are Going
Most banks will register that you are abroad and where you are the first time you use your card in a cash machine and enter your pin number. But to be on the safe side, call your bank and tell them where you are going and when, before you leave.
5) Lighten the Load of Your Guidebook
When we pack our bags, we have to be concerned about staying within our weight allowance and books can take up a lot of space and weight. Buy your travel guide before you go, research and take photos of the pages you think you’ll need. Then leave your heavy book at home and read about your destination from your smartphone or tablet. Alternatively, let Roam the Earth plan you the perfect trip for you, completely customised to your interests and travel style, all within your budget and have your unique travel e-guide ready to go. Check out our travel packages here.
6) Download Maps and Additional Travel Guides Before you Go
You are not always going to have a wifi connection, especially outside of your hotel. Download anything you might need before you leave and you won’t be tempted to use data abroad. Google maps will let you download pages of maps up to 120,000 square feet to keep on your phone. Your phone’s GPS facility will also help to guide you offline.
7) Download the Navmii App
If you’re not a fan of google maps, try the Navmii app for maps and routes without using data. Naomi is smart navigation and it’s free. It comes with pre-loaded maps, route planning, voice prompts, mileage tracking and real-time hazard reporting. Once you’ve downloaded it to your phone, it doesn’t need any data to find routes or search, or access its maps, using your phone’s built in GPS to locate you. You can even get voice prompts from Homer Simpson or Snoop Dogg. What more could you want?
8) Download Your Holiday Entertainment
Everything can be digital these days. If you are taking a tablet or laptop with you, download movies, TV shows and ebooks for your journeys. If you’re travelling budget you won’t have an inflight entertainment system to keep you occupied so create your own. Downloading e-books will save you space and weight too. If you have an iPod or MP3 player, download any music you want to take with you and any podcasts you might enjoy too. If you have a long flight or you are going to be spending hours on buses to get across country, you’ll be glad you have something to keep you busy! My favourite is Spotify. I do pay for the service, but it means that with a wifi connection, I have access to any music I want and I can download it to the app to listen to offline.
9) Learn Some of the Local Language
Trying your best at a foreign language can not only help immensely in some situations but you will make friends too. The locals love it when you try to speak their language. A little bit can go a long way too. Learn how to say hello, how are you, please, thank you and goodbye at the very least. If you can manage simple phrases like do you have a table, can I have a drink please, where is the toilet, where is the bank etc. then all the better. You’ll have fun trying them out and you’ll be learning something new too!
10) Download Offline Language Packages
If you struggle to remember how to say certain things, or you need to know how to say something specific, a language app such as google translate will save your day! You can save your desired language as offline too so you’ll not even need an internet connection to learn your useful phrase. You can even take a picture of a foreign phrase and it will translate it for you. Useful if you’re in a supermarket and everything is in Russian!
Follow these top ten tips and you will be ready to go!
Why not read some of our other Top Travel Tips?
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