Whether you’re planning on traveling for a week or a few months, there’s a long list of things to remember depending on where you’re going and what you’re doing. Here are 11 crucial things that you'll forget at your peril regardless of your destination.
1. Passport, visa and other important documents
You probably think this one is a given, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of people who remember to pack absolutely everything, minus their passports or other important documents. Do some thorough research on the place you’re traveling to, to see if you need a visa or paper work for any medication. You usually need to apply and then wait a while for paperwork to come through - don’t get to your destination only to be denied entry!
2. Something to differentiate your suitcase
Having something that sets your suitcase out from the other 30 black suitcases at the baggage collection can save you time and money. Luggage tags, ribbons, or some other form of decoration will help you more easily see it when you're blurry eyed after a flight and others will be less likely to mistake your suitcase for their own. Be wary of getting something that stands out a little TOO much. Airport security around bags in some countries is not always the best.
3. Vaccinations and medication
Checking to see if you need any vaccinations before you leave can be crucial to staying healthy, or even alive, while saving on medical costs in the event that something happens. Research where you're going and ask about the vaccinations with your doctor. Take any important medication with you like malaria tablets, allergy meds, asthma remedies or even simple pain killers. Check the legislation where you're going too to avoid having it confiscated or receiving a fine.
Keep your phone, appliances, laptop and camera charged with the right adapters for the country you’re visiting. While there might be somewhere you can buy adapters from, you may not want to take that risk. A universal adapter is handy if you're planning on visiting a few destinations.
Sunglasses can come in very handy, whether you’re going somewhere cooler or warm - a skiing holiday can be just as sunny as a beach get away! Wherever you are, be prepared to protect your eyes and the skin around them from the sun’s rays and always check the protection level; some cheaper sunglasses can cause more harm than good.
Did you know that harmful rays from the sun can still reach you on cloudy days? Scary but true! Keep yourself protected against skin cancer - and wrinkles - even in the less sunnier destinations.
7. Appropriate clothing
It’s important to know what clothes the locals wear and take your own appropriate clothing with you to avoid a culture shock. You definitely don’t want to stand out and look like a target for scammers, or worse, to be arrested for non-compliance of local laws. Dressing like you belong there can ensure you have a more authentic experience without upsetting anyone along the way.
8. Moist towelettes
These little things are a god send when you travel. They are perfect for wiping down just about anything, from your hands to door handles, and can make for a replacement shower when you know it's going to be a while in between washes. Use them in the airport, in public restrooms, wherever you are to ensure you’re kept refreshed and clean.
9. Offline Google Maps
Google maps is a huge help when you’re traveling somewhere you’ve never been, but you might not always have connectivity. While maps will sometimes work without connection (very helpful!), allowing you to see where you are and what’s around you, you can’t search for things or zoom in to see the detail that you might really need. Before you travel, get an idea of where you’re going to go and download or screen shot the corresponding Google map page to stay on track when you're offline.
10. Travel insurance
The amount of people who forget or forgo travel insurance is alarming (I used to be one of them!). Insurance has helped me on several occasions to cover insanely high international medical bills or to recover costs from lost and stolen belongings. Don’t get left in the lurch when you travel. Trust me - get insurance! Always read the product disclosure statement and list any special items you might have like jewellery or camera equipment. Match your insurance to your travel plans so that it does what you need it to do.
There’s something about travel which always involves waiting at some stage. You never know when you might get stuck in a really long line or have your flight delayed. From earphones to a good book, it can save your sanity when you’re left with nothing to do but wait. As always, traveller beware of expensive equipment that looks appealing to clever thieves.
Come back from travel feeling better than when you left, with plenty of the good stories. Forget these 11 things and it will be at your own peril! For other tips on travel or how to live the life of a digital nomad, feel free to get in touch.
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