Regardless of the kind of trip you're planning, it is all too easy to forget that ______ (insert crucial item here). Well, no fear! This, our by-no-means exhaustive list of travel advice, comes from our combined experiences of having spent many years on the road around the globe. We hope you find it helpful!
Once you've booked your trip, one of the first things to check is whether you'll need immunisations. The NHS's 'Fit for Travel' website allows you to search by region and country, informs you about vaccinations needed, along with information on whether the area is malarial. If malaria is a problem in the country, details of the relevant anti-malaria medication is specified. This should be high on the list of priorities as some courses of medication take several weeks to work properly. Vaccinations and anti-malaria tablets are prescribed by NHS doctors.
Make sure you know where your passport is, and check that it is valid for at least six months and has a minimum of two blank pages left. It's also imperative to check whether you're required to have a visa when travelling. This varies according to your nationality, and where you're visiting. The easiest way to find this out is on the Original Travel Visa Machine. It's always a good idea to take copies of important travel documents and identification (usually a passport), and carry them separately to the originals in case of loss or theft. Travel insurance is another major point to investigate; check what level of cover you need according to what you're doing, where you're going, etc. Leaving a rough itinerary or airline/hotel contact information and details with relatives is a good idea for safety and peace of mind.
Whilst ATMs are generally accessible in cities around the world now, it's always a good idea to take some local currency with you, especially if you're heading to remote areas. Some countries require you to buy a tourist visa at immigration, and often this process is sped up paying cash. Besides local currency, some countries also accept (and prefer) US dollars, so check this before leaving to make sure you're carrying the correct currencies. A quick read in to whether tipping is appropriate is crucial too, as not doing so (or indeed doing so!) can offend.
An eye mask and earplugs or noise cancelling headphones are the key ingredients to being able to sleep anywhere; a must for anyone travelling. Some trips, particularly active holidays or safaris require specialist clothing and a few bits of equipment such as binoculars, camera (and charger/spare battery) etc. Original Travel can recommend items according to holiday type, as well as ideal clothing, suggested reading material, guide books and maps.
For regular commercial aircraft, hard luggage is ideal as in some countries it's not uncommon for canvas or soft bags and cases to be slashed and searched by baggage handlers looking for small items to steal. On smaller, light aircraft it's quite usual for luggage to be restricted to soft cases with a weight limit of 15kgs per person. If your journey combines both types of aircraft, it's best to pack in a hard case for the long-haul flight, and carry some soft bags to re-pack into for the small aircraft, as even a small cabin-sized hard suitcase can be impossible in a light aircraft. Luggage with an integrated lock that is TSA approved is ideal, as in the US, the TSA have the legal right to open any bag in their possession, if a bag is locked, they will break it open. Remember that on-board luggage must be no larger than 56cm long x 45cm wide x 25cm deep.
When it comes to packing, there are a few simple but very useful tips. Firstly, never put valuables in your checked-in luggage. This way they are less likely to get lost or stolen. For on board luggage, remember that liquids have to be in bottles of 100ml or less to get through security at the airport. It's also a good idea to pack a few clothes in your carry-on luggage in case your luggage gets lost i.e. a bikini/underwear!
We all know that using the internet on our phones whilst abroad can cost an extortionate amount. To minimise this, research and down load whilst at home any travel apps that will be useful while you're away. There are apps for checking the weather or snow conditions at your destination, translation tools, help for finding taxis abroad, and much, much more! Checking mobile phone coverage and networks with your provider before you travel is a smart move too.
Policies vary from airline to airline, and are definitely worth exploring. Emirates, for instance, offer a free transfer to the airport if you travel in their Business Class. Weight allowance can vary too, so check your allowance and weigh your luggage before you leave. Checking-in online is usually faster, and means you get to pick your seats on most airlines. Getting a boarding pass on your smartphone can help decrease the amount of bumf you're keeping track of.
To discuss any of these points further, or to book your bespoke holiday, contact Original Travel.