Lots of planning goes into travel.
From packing to choosing the perfect place to stay, your travel checklist may seem never-ending. This is especially true when traveling abroad. Thankfully, travel planning can be almost as fun as taking the trip and it’s a great way to pass the time until travel day.
Before leaving your fair shores, here are a few things you should never forget.
1. Book with a responsible travel company
A travel company will cut out a lot of your stress, and they will tailor a vacation package to suit you. However, some are better than others.
TripAdvisor is full of nightmare stories about companies who misprice the holiday package, fail to communicate, or ignore requests for refunds. Commit to a little research, such as reading review sites online or asking friends and family for recommendations.
A good indicator is the travel companies website. We were particularly impressed by Sbtravel.com, due to the incredible number of awards it has won and customer testimonials. These are signs of a respectable company, so consider this when shopping around.
2. Renew your passport
You know you shouldn’t forget your passport, and you probably don’t need to be told to renew it.
However, many people forget the six-month validity rule. While your passport may be valid, some countries will turn you away if you have six months or less remaining on it!
Check your passport well in advance, and while it is possible to get a new passport quickly, it’s risky business.
Of course, life happens. My sister lost a passport the week of our trip to India and had to get a same-day replacement three days before our trip. It was a nail-biting experience that I would not recommend!
3. Register with an Embassy
Hopefully, your time away will go by without a hitch. Still, it’s better to take precautions, and this includes registering with the Embassy in the country you are visiting.
Should you lose your passport, run into trouble with the law, or find yourself in the middle of a natural disaster, the folks at the Embassy will be able to help.
Be sure to let your friends and family know of the Embassy’s details too, for their peace of mind when you are away.
4. Sort out your medical needs
It’s bad enough being ill in your own country, but it’s even worse when you are away. Being a stranger in a strange land will never seem so overwhelming when you’re sick. So, there are a few things you need to do.
Taking out medical insurance should be a priority, even if it’s only on a short-term basis. You should also check with your doctor as to the vaccinations you need, to protect you from a range of diseases that are prevalent abroad. Finally, research the area you are staying and pinpoint local pharmacies and surgeons that may be able to help you in case of an emergency.
Oh, and on the subject of pharmacies, make sure you hand in your prescriptions early, so there is no delay in getting any medication you may need on your travels.
5. Learn the lingo
You don’t need to become proficient in the language of the country you are visiting, but it is still important to learn a few key phrases.
Although many countries have English as a second language, make an effort to fit into the country you are visiting by learning some local phrases.
Keep a phrase book or language app ready. You never know when you might need to get into a conversation beyond the usual “hello,” “goodbye,” and “where is the toilet?” Of course, you could also take a class online and become fluent in the region’s language, impressing both the host country and your friends.
One of my favorite apps to learn a language is Duolingo. Check it out!
Wherever you travel this year, make sure you follow our advice. By doing so, you reduce the chances of anything going wrong, and while we can’t predict every situation, you should have a fantastic trip if you remember what we told you! See you out there!