Hello everybody, I hope that you are well. I have made a fair few mistakes in my travels over the years but I’m always so grateful when I make these mistakes because I always learn something. So today learning from my mistakes I have compiled a list of eleven practical things to do before traveling abroad. So if you have a trip coming up get ready to write this down as your checklist. Because these are the 11 things That you’re definitely not going to want to forget.
1. Make Sure Your Phone is Unlocked
This is something that you’re going to be wanting to think about at least a week or two before you leave. Because it can take a bit of time. If you have just bought your phone as it is and it’s not connected to any specific ISP (Internet Service Provider). In this case, you won’t have a problem here. Your phone should already be unlocked, however, if you have bought your phone as part of a specific network contract.
The most likely thing is that your phone is locked to that network. This means that when you arrive in a new country and you may want to get a local SIM card, which I always recommend doing. You may not be able to do this if you have not unlocked your phone. Because your phone will not be compatible with this new network.
So you can unlock your phone by calling up your network, or taking it to a phone shop, or there are various ways that you can actually do it by yourself online. It does cost a bit of money, and it can take a little bit of time, but it’s something that is really worth considering. Especially if you think that getting a local SIM card is something that you’re going to want to do on your travels.
2. Download Your Destination Map Offline
Make sure to download your destination offline on Google Maps or whatever Maps system you use. Because when you arrive in the country, let’s say you haven’t got your local SIM card yet. So you don’t have access to data, but you can still make your way to your accommodation. You can still find your way around using the maps on your phone, but you don’t need access to data to do this.
So it can be so useful, I always make sure I’ve downloaded my destination offline. So that when I get in the taxi or the bus when I first leave the airport I can see exactly where we’re going, make sure we’re going in the right direction to the hostel or accommodation.
It really makes me feel at ease and grounded, knowing that I know where we’re going and I can follow it.
3. Have Some Local Currency Cash
Make sure to get out some local cash for your destination before you get there if you can. I know this might sound obvious to some people. But this is something that I stopped doing quite a while ago because I was having success every single time by arriving at a local airport, and getting some money out of the ATM.
However, when I arrived once in Bangkok Thailand for the very first time. My bank card was not compatible with a single one of the ATMs at the airport. I didn’t have any local cash on me, so I was in a little bit of a pickle.
Yes, it’s rare that your card will not work at any of the ATMs. But clearly, it’s still very much a possibility. So if you want to be on the safe side, make sure you always have a bit of the local currency with you before you arrive at your destination.
You don’t need too much, maybe a hundred dollars worth is enough to get you to your accommodation and through your first day or two.
4. Bring Several Bank Cards With You
Just in case your bank card doesn’t happen to work in any of the ATMs. I highly recommend getting a travel cash card. If you don’t have one already, sign up for a virtual bank. These are some of them:
There are so many out there now that you can sign up for and get a free card. It’s the best way to carry money when you travel.
Also, there is another step up, you can sign up to get a free curved card. It is not a bank, so what curve card does?
Well, when you order the card, you also download the app. And what you could do is input all of your other cards onto this one card, and launch the app. What this means is that when you’re out and about traveling, you only need to bring this one card with you. Because using your app you can switch out which bank accounts you want to take the money from.
You get the best exchange rates by using the curve card. You can use it as contactless, you can get money out of an ATM, and you can keep track of your spending and of which cards they’re coming from.
5. Travel Insurance
Make sure that you have travel insurance for wherever you are going. You never know when something’s gonna go wrong, even if you think that you’re super safe you’re not clumsy. More often than not, when you need travel insurance, it’s for something that wasn’t actually your fault.
You never know when you’re gonna get injured, when something’s gonna be stolen, and when you don’t have travel insurance this is gonna cost you an awful lot of money. I personally am insured because of my curve card, I have the Metal membership.
There are so many insurers out there to choose from. It can be really hard deciding which is best for you. I always recommend WorldNomads, for backpackers because it’s one that you can update along your trip, and it’s made for backpackers.
But if you’re just going on a shorter holiday, I recommend going on something like comparethemarket.com, where you can type in all your details of your trip, and it will give you a list of all the different insurers that you can go with, how much they cost, what they provide, and you can choose which one is best specifically for you.
6. Travel Vaccinations
Make sure you are vaccinated correctly for your destination. Maybe you don’t need any vaccinations, but it’s really worth checking with your travel health clinic if you’re not sure, or just having a look online, type the destination that you’re going to, and the vaccinations that you require, then make sure that you personally are up-to-date.
Because there are some destinations where there’s a risk of hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. Many of us have already been vaccinated for them, so you may not need to be really vaccinated if that makes sense. but it’s definitely worth checking.
There are even some destinations I know specifically in Africa where it actually requires you to have vaccinations. So do just make sure you check that. And if you may need any Malaria tablets, this is actually something that you’re gonna want to do as far in advance as possible actually before your trip.
Because there are some vaccination jabs, like the rabies jab. For example where you need to get a few done over a period of time. So as soon as you know you’re going on a trip, check what vaccinations you need, and protect yourself against the dangers.
The next four tips are going to be specific if you’re gonna be catching a flight to your destination.
7. Hydrate Before Flying
Do not forget to hydrate very well the day of your flight. Flights can be very dehydrating with the air conditioning that’s going on. So try to drink as much water and fluids before you get on the plane.
You know when you’re at the airport and you drink at the airport, then you’re probably gonna need a wee on the flight. But I’m talking about several hours before you get on the plane, drink lots of water. Flights can be fantastic places to pick up other people’s germs, so if we can build up our immunity as best as possible that would be great. So drinking lots of water, and eating the right foods is really going to help you out here.
8. Liquids Should Be Under 100ML
This is something that a lot of you may think is obvious. But it’s something that people forget every single day at the airport. And that is making sure when you’re getting on the flight that in your hand luggage none of your liquids is over a hundred mil.
Your water bottle for example is one liter. if you had it filled up to the top, Oh-Oh I wouldn’t be allowed to take it with me. Often they ask you to drink it all now, or you got to throw the whole thing away. They don’t often give you an opportunity just to empty it out.
And it can be really sad if it’s something like your favorite water bottle which you’ve just forgotten to empty.
But it goes the same for your toiletries. Just have a look at all of them and check how much they are. So make sure all those bottles you are bringing with you like, moisturizers, sprays, etc… Do not exceed 100 mils. Because you would not be able to bring them with you in your hand luggage on the flight. However, you would be able to put them in your checked-in luggage if you wanted to.
If you are going on a trip where you do not have a checked-in bag, you just have hand luggage only. But you’ve got to bring shampoo and conditioner and things like this. You can either get travel-size versions of these bottles.
But what I like to do is bring squeezy bottles. These are from a brand called Go.travel. I love them, there are a hundred milliliters each. What I can do is dispense my shampoo, my conditioner, and my shower gel into these and they are perfect for bringing on flights.
9. Weigh Your Bags
Make sure you have weighed your bags before you leave your house. To make sure that they comply with the weight restrictions. It’s always very embarrassing when you get to the check-in desk, you stick you back on and they say that’s too heavy, you’re gonna have to take some stuff out. It’s a situation that you can avoid if you are prepared.
So make sure you’ve had a look online, and see who you’re flying with. Look at your ticket, specifically your baggage allowance. Because it’s not just dependent on the airline but also you may have paid for a specific ticket which allows you a certain weight limit. For checked-in luggage, it can be anything from 15 kg to 230 kg.
Hand luggage can get really strict, a lot of airlines say that your hand luggage can’t be over seven kilograms, which sucks a lot. You may get lucky sometimes, some airlines don’t weigh your hand luggage but some of them do. So, it’s not really something that we can predict either.
But what you can do, is get yourself one of those baggage weighing scales. So that you can weigh your luggage before you leave your house. You can prepare for these things before you go so that you’re not sitting on the airport floor in an absolute kerfuffle, trying to rearrange your luggage into something that fits the specifications of the airline.
10. Check For Your flight Before Arriving At The Airport
This is a lesson that I learned very recently, and that is to make sure to check online for your flight before you get to the airport. This is something that I never really used to be bothered about. Sometimes I check-in online beforehand but if I forgot or if I just didn’t do it it didn’t matter. Because I could always do it at the airport right!
Well, on one of my recent flights I forgot to check-in online beforehand, so I thought that’s fine, I’ll check in when I get to the airport. It was an EasyJet flight, I’ve flown with them many times. I’ve done it this way before, but when I got to the airport, actually two hours before I got to the airport. They said the flight is overbooked and you’re definitely not getting on, and you’re the third space reserved.
I was naively thinking that it was always a guarantee you’re gonna get on a flight that you’ve booked. Well, this is not the case, so what I have learned is that from now on I am always going to check-in online before I get to the airport if I can to avoid an overbooked flight.
Learn from my mistake, and make sure you always check in online before you get to the airport if you can. It’s not always possible with all airlines, but if you can try to do it.
11. Travel With an Open Mind
Wherever you are traveling in the world, travel with an open mind, this is so important. Things are not always going to go according to plan. They’re not always going to go smoothly. You’re gonna meet people who are very different from you, the customs are going to be different, the cultures gonna be different, their way of life is going to be different.
I’ve seen so many travelers who don’t travel with an open mind. Most of them end up getting quite frustrated, it feels like the world is against them. They also are potentially disrespecting the place they are visiting.
So no matter what happens, please just try to remember to travel with an open mind. Be open to new experiences, new opportunities, and this is the golden way to ensure that you are going to have the best time on your trip, and come away with such a better experience.
I hope you guys enjoyed this article and I hope you will enjoy your trip wherever it is gonna be. Please subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and tricks about traveling.