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- Posted:Monday, December 2, 2013
- Comments: 6
Whether you plan everything months beforehand or just plan to take things as they come, there are a few things that you can do before you leave to help your trip go smoothly. Once you've covered the basics, like having your passport handy and packing your toothbrush, here are a few things you may not have thought of, as told by guest blogger Kathy Calmejane...
1. Scan and store your ID and important info online
Losing your ID while your abroad is possibly one of the most annoying and time-consuming things to have to work around. Likewise, you probably won't want to drag around your insurance paperwork, your bank's phone number and all that jazz, even though it can be handy in a pinch. One thing you can do is scan all that important info and store it online in a secure place. All you'll need to access then is an Internet connection and a password.
2. Write down a list of important numbers
On a similar topic, it's a good idea to make sure you have a hard copy of all the important phone numbers, email addresses and other contact info, both for your holiday and back at home. We all have our phones full of contact info, but drop it in a puddle or have it stolen and you're stuck without any idea how to call home, contact the place you're travelling to or – heaven forbid – send a postcard home to nana. A couple of sheets of paper or a small notebook, safe inside a zippy freezer bag, will ensure you have everything handy when you need it.
3. Pack properly and weigh your bag
Taking a few extra minutes when you pack can mean a lot less hassle while travelling. Make sure all those liquids are set apart, sharp objects kept out of your carry-on bag and all the usual airport protocol stuff.
Try rolling up your clothes rather than folding them flat; it will save space in your bag and will also help prevent creasing.
If you’re travelling with a rucksack, think about the rough order in which you might need things and put the more immediate ones on top.
If you can, weigh your bag before you leave to avoid any last minute re-packing at the check-in counter. There’s no need for special equipment – just hop on your bathroom scales with and without your bag and do a quick subtraction.
4. Research the basics
If you're travelling to a country you've never visited before, take some time to look around on the web for some handy things to know. If you don't speak the language, learn a few basic things like ‘hello’, ‘good-bye’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘help’. You can often learn the pronunciations online, too. Be on the lookout for words or gestures to avoid; some things that seem universal like a thumbs-up or a nod can have completely different meanings in other countries.
If you want to visit specific museums or buildings, especially religious ones, check if they have a dress code and pack accordingly. Find out a bit about the area where you’re staying and how to get there; that bit of extra knowledge can help you look a little less like a helpless tourist.
5. Break in your shoes
You don't need to be trekking through the Andes to need good shoes! For your own comfort, either take well-weathered-but-solid shoes with you, or – if you have new ones – make sure you wear them for a week or so at home to get them used to your feet. People often tend to walk far more on holiday than at home, without necessarily noticing it. Don't be tempted by a fancy new pair that will give you blisters on the first day and leave you sore for the rest of your stay!