Before You Travel

Photo by Brandless on Unsplash

Before you travel to any country, here are 10 Things to do and keep in mind.

1. Research Your Destination: A lot of people travel without knowing anything about the place they’re going to visit. Certain things about a place are vital to know for example the location on the map, the weather, the culture of the place,  the airport regulations, or if the destination airport has a service provider on ground, amongst other details. For example, if I didn’t research Barbados thoroughly before visiting, I wouldn’t have known that wearing camouflage as a civilian is NOT allowed at all and you could end up in a pretty bad situation for it! Give yourself extra confidence while travelling by doing the research prior to your trip.

2. Get Travel Health Insurance: Whether you’re middle aged, older or a young spring chicken, you need a travel health insurance. No one ever expects to lose their passport at the airport or fall off a cliff while hiking the forests of Germany. However if this happens to you, it’s better to be prepared in advance than to have no insurance and end  your vacation with a $3000 medical bill.

3. Tie Up Loose Ends: Depending on how long you’ll be away, before you travel, you should tie up loose ends like; if you have a pet, get a pet sitter, If you have plants, bribe a friend with the promise of souvenirs from your trip to have them water your plants while you’re away. Set your utilities bills on autopay to avoid being cut off, get an international drivers license if you plan on renting a car at your destination. If your passport pages are exhausted, get a new one prior,  get a credit card from your bank that works internationally, also have an evening dinner with all your friends and family before you travel as you’ll miss them while you’re away. Basically, try to organize aspects of your life that might suffer due to your absence, prior to your trip!

4. Get the Right Visa: There’s nothing worse than showing up at immigration at the destination country and realising you have the wrong visa. Make sure to go through the destination countries website to ensure that you have the right visa and if you don’t need a visa, be sure to have a return flight ticket as most immigration officers won’t let you into the country without one.

Tip: You don’t need an actual flight ticket for a visa application, you can get a flight reservation here 

5. Carry Some Cash with You: Never ever travel without some cash with you as you have no idea what might come up and if your card doesn’t work for some reason, you really don’t want to end up stranded in a foreign country and end up with a “vacay from hell”.

6. Learn the Language Basics of the Destination Country: If you’re visiting a country where they don’t speak the language you understand, it is advisable to learn the basics of the language spoken in that country in order to get more out of your trip. From my many travels i’ve discovered that locals are more willing to help you if you speak a bit of their language whether it’s Gracias or Danke schon.

Tip: You can learn a language for free with Duolingo

7. Print Everything: Prior to your travels, it makes sense to have a copy of your flight ticket, hotel reservations and probably health insurance as well. Sometimes, immigration officers ask to see a proof of address and proof of return ticket so its best to be prepared.

8. Plan your First and Last Day: The first and last days of any trip could prove to be the most stressful, so it’s best to plan ahead to avoid complications and if any issues arise, having a plan is better than not having one.

9. Prepare for the Flight: Personally I like to start packing my bags a week prior to my flight, just so I have enough time to decide on the items I need and don’t need and to repack if I have to. Make sure to have all electronics and gadgets fully charged and plan to get a sim card at the airport on arrival to avoid being unreacheable in a foreign country. Check the flight restrictions on carry on and checked in luggage to avoid overpacking as excess luggage fees are not cheap.

10. Fly like a Pro: From my experience on a 10hr Euro-wings flight where I wasn’t given a pillow, blankets or headphones , having a neck pillow and headphones with you is a must! Many people may not know this but you can actually carry your own snacks or meal on to the plane including water, so carry some with you to avoid being hungry or worst, thirsty as the airplane refreshments may take sometime to be served.

Bonus: In case of an Emergency, make sure a family member or friend has a copy of your travel itinerary and if possible, a number they can reach you on.