Whilst travelling you should expect the unexpected – things can never be guaranteed but by the laws of logic the more you plan ahead, the smoother your trip should be.
Read traveller reviews
The internet has really changed the way we plan our travels, we have a lot more freedom now to make informed choices about where to go. Traveller reviews are a good source of information to give you an idea about a place/hotel/restaurant. They can be very useful combined with other sources. As an expat, traveller and writer, I am constantly reading about travel and going on trips. I would never advise solely relying on a site like Trip Advisor, it does have useful information, but be wary, opinions can be skewed. Reading travel blogs written by people who live in the destination you want to visit is a good idea, so is checking out a site such as ours, (not to toot our own horn too much). Also it’s a good idea to take a good old fashioned travel book, especially if you want to keep your phone bill manageable. Remember not to roam abroad if you can avoid it; it can really kick you in the teeth when you return.
This is my personal downfall. I feel the need to take everything, everywhere. Packing can really spiral out of control for me. I am learning to fight against it. The trick is – be strategic about what you take. You always need less than you think, especially if you are heading to a beach. If you are travelling around a country then it is worth investing in a good, sturdy, light backpack. In terms of the actual packing, shoes are a space eater so try and limit how many pairs you take; also remember to pack things into your shoes, such as socks and underwear. Wash bags are also unnecessarily cumbersome, so pack your toiletries into a zip lock bag for maximum space optimization.
Copy your important documents
This is something that can save so much time and effort if you get into a tricky situation. Take a physical photocopy of your passport, and print out your insurance details. Write down a few phone numbers of people you may need to contact in an emergency. I also take pictures on my mobile phone of everything I may need. But in case of (heaven forbid) my phone going down, I like to have physical back-ups. In addition it’s always an idea to e-mail copies of important documents to yourself. Before you fly, take a picture of your check-in bag, along with a picture of the baggage label. Just on the off chance it gets lost. Pictures are very useful, especially if you need to communicate what something looks like in another language.
Buy travel insurance
This sounds like an obvious point but it’s amazing how many people forget. The last thing anyone wants on holiday is to be faced with crippling medical bills or expensive items lost or stolen. So make sure you take out a policy before you leave. Be honest when filling out your details, if you are planning on doing high risk activities make sure to tell your insurer. Just in case something happens and you end up in a situation where you aren’t covered. Read the small print. Another tip is to buy your insurance from a third party insurer, not the company who you are buying your holiday from.