They say travelling is the best way to learn about the world. Mingling with different people and being exposed to their culture seems to be the most effective way to reflect on how different or the same we truly are, so the adage appears to be accurate.
However, as much as we have gained knowledge about the world around us, some of us just can’t seem to get the travelling itself right. Seeing awesome architecture and meeting cool people is wholly different from packing our bags effectively. You can create the best itinerary, but are you done filling out those travel insurance papers to, say, Australia?
The travel hacks listed below can guide you before your trip. This will hopefully ensure that you are able to maximise your outing.
Organise travel documents
Prepare all the important travel documents that you will need and make sure they are organised. For instance, booked transportation and accommodation should be placed together in an envelope. These will be your journey confirmations proof, in case of airports ask about your itinerary and where you will be staying (some airports do this, especially here in the Middle East). If you can, have everything scanned so you have a soft copy you can store in a cloud system so you do not have to carry around printouts, you can just access them on your phone. But make sure you can access the cloud even without Internet.
If you can’t? Well that’s what screenshots are for right.
Book flights while the Private Browsing option is turned on
You know how sometimes there are queries we’ve made before that seems to follow us around while browsing on a different site? That’s possible because of something called “cookies” installed on your browser. Airlines and travel sites have those cookies installed on your browser, so they do not just know you’ve looked at ticket prices before, but now they can record every visit. The problem with this is they can trick you into buying tickets which are pricier than you have originally seen. To avoid falling into this “impulse buying” trap, make sure to turn on Private Browsing when buying tickets online.
This is my husband forte, he is the planner and the booker in our family. I just turn up at the airport with appropriate snacks and children in tow. My terrible habit of leaving it all to my husband came to a head on my recent girls weekend away where I rang him in a panic because I couldn’t work out how to check in online. Still I made it to Muscat and back in one piece.
Get travel insurance
There is simply nothing wrong with expecting the worse, especially when you are traveling. Get yourself travel insurance so that all kinds of emergencies can be covered like medical expenses, delayed flights, lost baggage, emergency departures, and so on. This will keep you at ease while you are out enjoying the world.
In my travelling life I think we’ve used the travel insurance once. And it was before I was properly travelling, on a (dreadful) 18-30’s holiday to Kavos I managed to get bitten by mosquitoes 117 times. Yes. One hundred and seventeen. I know because we counted them. Each one got infected and swelled to the size of a two pence piece, I have never been so grateful as to having insurance to ease the itching, the swelling and the pain.
Pack your bags like a pro
So that there is more space in your bag, roll your clothes instead of folding them. In this way, you will also avoid wrinkling on them. More importantly, though, avoid bringing bulky bags. Research what the weather is going to be like on your destination ad bring clothes appropriate for it – packing for a cruise is completely different to packing for a skiing trip. And then, packing for a cruise with children is different again…
Unless you are about to go on a hike to a very cold place, avoid very wooly and puffy clothes; instead opt for light clothes that are still good at retaining the perfect body temperature. Bring at least one jacket you can combine with any clothing. There are light, waterproof jackets available for purchase, just one of those will be enough. This can be said for the whole family.
Not only that, but alongside packing your suitcase make sure to pack your hand luggage wisely…
Download different travel apps
There are mobile apps that can help you maximise your travels better. You can get Guides by Lonely Planet so you can have access to shopping centres and restaurants that offer affordable food. Maybe you want to learn about the common local expressions, Duolingo or Bravolol can help you learn the basics of a specific language. Download Google Maps so that you do not get lost; though getting lost can lead to some fun adventures I find it’s better to be prepared when I have the boys in tow.
Some apps have specific specialties, too, like Cafe Wi-Fi, which literally just looks for cafes that offer Internet access – especially handy when you’re on a cruise ship and the WiFi isn’t included. This is a much more failsafe option than just following the crew.
There are tons more to learn once you’re out there, but keep these things in mind. Being prepared well before leaving is the best way to ensure you will not have any problems during your trip.