More and more people are travelling abroad for their vacations than ever before and hopefully the great majority of them return home with many enjoyable experiences to remember and to recount to their maybe less fortunate friends.
Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen and the reason is often down to lack of preparation and planning on the behalf of the traveller.
Having travelled extensively through my work and because of my passion with learning about the world and its people I’d like to pass on a few tips picked up from personal experience that may help anyone travelling to far climes.
Some of these tips may seem silly but I have seen some dire results of not taking them seriously.
1. Find out if you and your family will need visas to enter the country you have chosen to visit and if so how much they cost, where you get them from and how long they last. Simply do a Google search for “?country? visa requirements” You may find that the visas will cost you more than your vacation.
2. Before leaving home take photocopies of all your passport’s main page and visa page if you have them. Keep these copies in a different place to your original documents. If you have any other photo i.d. take that as well. A lost passport with no other form of identification can turn into a nightmare.
3. Do some research on the climate and then pack appropriate clothing. Or, of course, just take a pair of swimming trunks and be prepared to shop till you drop whilst there. Investigate not only the cost of living but also the tourist prices in the area; they do not always tie in together.
4. Be sure that the medical and travel insurance coverage you have is adequate and the payment method will be acceptable at your destination. Your insurance company will tell you this. Find out through your local medical centre if it is suggested that you have any special vaccinations or inoculations.
5. If you intend taking any electrical appliances with you check that the Electrical Supplies are correct and if you will need a power outlet adapter. You will probably be able to get then at your destination but the prices will, most likely, be high.
6. If you are using different airlines to get to your destination, or plan to use local airlines once you get there, check the baggage allowances for each of the airlines you intend using. The majority of the smaller, budget airlines have lower baggage allowances and will sting you for being over weight baggage. I have seen many very angry passengers who have suddenly found they have to pay quite substantial charges to be able to complete their journeys. Also, remember when packing that you are liable to bring more stuff back with you that you take!
7. If you are travelling to a tropical or sub-tropical destination and security at your departure airport allows it I suggest you take Sunscreen, insect repellent and maybe an insect killing spray or device; arriving at your accommodation in the middle of the night to find a horde of stinging things are already in occupancy is not a great way to start a vacation!
8. If you plan to drive in the place you are travelling to, check that you have an acceptable licence. You may need an international driving licence, for example. If you can familiarise yourself with the local driving laws where you are going it will stand you in good stead and probably reduce frustration later.
9. Finally, and this is from personal experience. On long hauls, say 10 hours plus, if you have any stopovers think seriously about extending one of them to an overnight stop if your carriers will allow it, book a hotel at the stopover location effectively breaking your journey into two. I have found this to be an extremely good idea particularly on the return journey and it will mean that you arrive back home ready to hit real life again. You may think that a 6 hour stopover will be enough but 6 hours in some airports can seem like a lifetime, especially if it is not a major airport and all the facilities are closed.
10. Whatever else you do, ENJOY yourselves