In the past we spoke about different types of tourists. To understand better your travel habits you should take a trip at least once. Let’s say you are ready for your first big overseas adventure! Or are you? Making that first big trip is a huge step into a whole world of possibilities. The world is your oyster! Let’s make sure that oyster doesn’t rot before you open it with these travel trips that will help you avoid at least some of the potential disasters that can come with travel to far away lands.
1) Make Copies of All Your Paperwork
Make two copies of your state issued photo id, passport, flight tickets, hotel reservations, car rental reservation and any other trip related documentation. One copy you should keep in the hotel room, off your person, as soon as you get there. The other copy you should give to friends and family, just in case you lose the copies and any of the said items.
In addition to your passport, make sure that if whatever country you will visit or transit requires you to have a visa, said visa is affixed securely to your passport. And although most airlines will not allow you to board their flight to another country without the required visa, you do not want your adventure to end at the airline’s check-in counter at your departing city.
Now that you’ve taken this precaution, you will probably never need the copies. It is just good in case reservations get mixed up, luggage gets lost or you lose your visual identification in a strange place.
2) Make Sure Your Entry Requirements are Valid
Many foreign countries insist that your passport is valid for a minimum number of months after your scheduled departure date from their shores. Make sure your passport has the required validity for the country you will be visiting.
Many countries including most African destinations require you to be immunized against certain diseases and will deny you entry unless you show proof of the required inoculations. Make sure you are not only immunized against the listed diseases, but that you carry the documented proof of immunization or you may be denied entry, face prolonged hassles on arrival or face the possibility of contracting the diseases from which you should have been immunized.
3) Pack What You Need
The only thing you should pack extra of is underwear, Aspirin and Imodium. The best rule to go by when packing is if “you think you need it” or “you probably won’t need it”, don’t take it! It is important to take what you need though, so make sure to triple-check you have all the absolute essentials. There is nothing worse than arriving at your destinations only to realize you left contact lens solution, prescription medication or all your socks at home.
If you check-luggage it is important to remember luggage does occasionally get lost. Do put in your checked-luggage anything you would regret loosing, such as all your favorite clothes, your irreplaceable heirlooms or those over-priced Louis Vuitton heels. If you have any valuables you want to take with you, consider wearing them or carrying them in your carry-on.
4) Avoid Convenience Food
One unexpectedly high cost of vacation is the cost of food. Most of us aren’t used to eating out every meal, so the cost adds up very quickly. To help keep this cost down avoid getting food that is over-priced and poor quality just because it is convenient to your location.
This means not eating at the airport where prices are ridiculous, so make sure to eat a large meal before your flight. Consider taking small, dry snacks with you that won’t break any TSA rules. The only thing you will probably need to buy at the airport is water. You get extremely thirsty on flights from changing altitudes, so make sure to stay plenty hydrated.
It also means not eating at chain restaurants, hotel restaurants or anything that is easy access. Hotel and/or resort food is always over-priced and almost always not that tasty. Opting for easy food makes for one less experience you get to have on your vacation. If you are especially frugal, you may want to consider exploring the local grocery stores for snacks to keep in your hotel room. Depending on the kitchen utilities these can be elaborate or simple meals.
5) Taking Care of Your Money and Your Valuables While at Your destination
Elaborate on taking care of your valuables while at your destination including the use g safes in your hotel, use of credit cards, debit card, cash, and traveler’s checks. Do not be an obvious tourist in certain destinations by the way you dress with the camera hanging around your neck.
6) Get Your Bearings
You can expect to, maybe even plan to, get lost while traveling. Trying to avoid this by learning the area a little bit can save you hours of unwanted wondering. Plus, looking like a lost tourist can get the attention of people looking to take advantage, so make sure to always attempt to look like you know where you are going. Explore the area on foot, via Google maps or by taking a tour. Most destinations have tons of local tours that can help you explore a certain niche of the area like drinks, sites or food.
Holly Williford is an avid traveler from the Washington D.C. suburbs. She recently just added a notch on her traveling belt by taking an exciting and wonderful Ghana tour.