Somewhere along the course of creating this blog, it seems that I have momentarily lost the primary focus of why I wanted to write in the first place. I have not officially launched this “travel diary” but have shared it with some like-minded friends. I’ve asked for opinions on how I can make this blog a more successful one and I have gotten helpful feedbacks, many of which concern lists of tips, advice etc.
While I am open to sharing my knowledge, I am acutely aware that is not my primary focus. Perhaps not many would be interested to hear the thoughts and emotions of yet another travel-fanatic (HELL, i dont even travel that much!), yet I aspire to write in the way that best portrays “me” and hope that I can meet or even motivate like-minded individuals out there to pursue your dreams (if you are not already doing so).
With that being said though, this entry is specially created for a friend who will be travelling soon. It is safe to say that each of us possess our own niche; mine on travel while her’s on make-up. She could not figure out how i can be so moronic when it comes to beauty tools while I wonder how she could be so obtuse when it comes to travelling.
Dear Princess (and whomever this might help), the following pre-trip preparation list is for you.
101 Pre-Trip Ritual for the Discerning Traveller
1. Thorough Research
Planning is the key to the success of your trip and information is KING. Do you need a visa for the destination that you are travelling to? Is vaccination required? Are there laws and regulations you should take note of (i.e. NO chewing gums in Singapore; No pork/alcohol in Muslim countries etc.)? What currency to change? What are the important contact no. and addresses? The list goes on and on…
2. Leaving a Trail
For security purposes and a peace of mind, do inform your family (or friends) of your itinerary and whereabouts. It helps to give them information on your flights and accommodation etc. If you are travelling to destinations that are deemed to be abit more “challenging”, do inform your local embassy. Eg. Singaporeans can register at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to your departure so that (touch wood!) help will be rendered should you run into any unforeseen circumstances while you are overseas.
3. Travel Insurance
You know what they always say, “enjoy a hassle-free holiday!” While having a travel insurance DOES NOT really ensure you a hassle-free holiday, it does promise to reduce the impacts of unexpected “disasters”. Since we never know what’s gonna happen, it is highly recommended for all to buy your travel insurance prior to travelling!
4. Packing List
A small effort on your part promises a smooth trip ahead! Know your essentials and create a checklist before you do your packing. Always go through the list twice after you have packed. Some of my “essentials” include the phone and camera chargers, medication, torchlights, safety devices, travel adapter (where applicable) etc.
5. Duplicates Matter
Be it travel documents, identification card or the passport, I ALWAYS make it a point to have the documents in hard copies but WAIT! That’s not all. It is most useful to actually have a soft copy of the documents saved in your phone, email inbox etc. In the unfortunate event where you lost your passport when you are overseas (believe me when I said it is very troublesome), having the soft copy of your identification documents shall make things easier for you.
6. Currency Exchange
Research matters. To get the most value out of your cash when doing currency exchanges, it helps to know which moneychanger can offer you a better rate and which day of the week will yield a greater value. On top of that, how about know your money-exchange options while you are overseas? Hotels and airports usually offer poor rates whereas that banks, post offices and ATM machines tend to implement extra charges (in such cases, you should withdraw larger sum of $ at one time rather than to draw incur charges each time you draw money). Did I mentioned that research matters? Refer to point#1.
7. Safeguard Your Money
Nobody wants to fall victim to robbers, thieves or whatever miserable situation that can lead to wealth loss. You can never be TOO careful when you are overseas so… to take precaution, why not invest in a waist wallet? Mind you’ my friend who was backpacking in Europe was spared from being robbed because she stuffed her $money$ down her underwear. Yes, taking precaution does work – even when it seems to be kinda extreme. And of course, do not flaunt your wealth or blatantly tell others’ how RICH you are.
8. Snapshot of Your Suitcase & Belongings
Granted that I only do this when I am going on a long trip far, far away BUT this quirky mannerism is a precaution that I would take. Being the klutz that I (sometimes only!) am, taking a snapshot of my suitcase and my belongings will come in handy if (touching wood again!) my luggage gets lost. Luggage loss happens frequently for all sorta reasons and if you are sooooo unlucky that you cannot retrieve it, at least you would be able to make adequate (and hassle-free) claim from the travel insurers. Note importance of point#3.
9. The Final Check
You are almost ready for your trip, are you sure you have everything that you need in place? Do you have your visa? Is your passport validity date at least 6 months and beyond? Do the final check and go through your packing list. You can now set upon your journey with a peace of mind!
Do you find the above tips useful? Is it similar to what you practise or do you have more to share? Please drop me a line! I would love to hear from you! Next up, quirky tips that I practise prior to taking a flight.