Essential Things To Do Before Travelling
Travelling and going on holiday are meant to be pleasurable and memorable experiences for all the right reasons. Sadly, for many people their travelling and holiday experiences are not so good and are memorable for all the wrong reasons. Ironically, many of these unpleasant experiences can be avoided and the reason people experience them, is simply through the lack of pre-planning and checking that certain things are in order before travel. Yes, of course there are times when holidays and travel can unfortunately provide bad memories through things that are out of your control such as illness but generally, it is through ignorance and complacency that cause things to go wrong.
This may sound like common sense and much of it is but you will be amazed at how many people get very complacent and leave everything until the last minute. By doing so, they then realise that they do not have enough time to rectify their problems. In many cases people simply do not realise they have a problem and by the time they do, it is too late.
The following list is designed to help you ensure you have everything in place before you travel and as well as ensuring everything is in place, it will hopefully save you a lot of stress, hassle and money. Also, it will hopefully ensure that your travel and holiday is a memorable one, for all the RIGHT reasons!
A List Of Things To Do Before Travelling
Check Your Passport
Yes, this is definitely one of the obvious things you need to check before you travel but believe me, so many people fall fowl of this one problem.
Checking you know where your passport is, is one of the first things to do before travelling because if you cannot find your passport, you will not be able to travel until you get a new one! Sounds silly but so many people think they know where their passport is but when they go to get it (usually the night before or in the morning of departure), they cannot find it! It’s better to spend time looking for a misplaced passport in earlier in advance when you have time, rather than when you are in a rush and don’t!
Check that your passport is current and still valid. Some countries will not allow you entry unless you have 3,6 or even 12 months left on your passport. Check the regulations of the country to which you are travelling to regarding their requirements for entry. You can check the regulations of the country to which you are travelling to at the following website: https://www.gov.uk/browse/abroad
Check that your personal details on your passport are still correct. If they have changed any since you last used your passport, you will need to inform the Passport Agency.
EHIC – European Heath Insurance Card
If you are travelling from the UK to any country in Europe, you will need the EHIC. It was introduced to replace the E111 and entitles holders of the card to receive state health care from any countries inside the European Economic Area. This card is FREE and is essential when traveling to Europe. To read more about the card, what it covers and how you can register for one, please click on the following link: European Health Insurance Card
Vaccinations And Imunisations
Certain countries require vaccinations and if you intend travelling to one of these countries, you should ensure you have all the relevant vaccinations. Having your vaccination in advance is one of the most important things to do before travelling to any of these countries and you will need to know how far in advance you need to begin your vaccination jabs. You can read more about vaccinations and which countries you are required to have vaccinations for on the following webpage: NHS Travel Vaccinations.
As we have said many times throughout this website, please, please, please do not travel without travel insurance. It is essential to have your own Travel Insurance in place whenever you travel and it is frightening to hear how many people travel without it (Over 25% of people still travel without insurance). I do not understand the mentality of people who travel without it whether they think they cannot afford it and will save money, it is a waste of money or they think it is clever to do so, one thing is for sure, they won’t feel clever if they need medical attention and are hit with a £20,000-£50,000 medical bill! Travel Insurance is very cheap nowadays and the bottom line is very simple, if you cannot afford to buy Travel Insurance, you should not be travelling! There is no excuse to travel without it!
Decide how you will be paying for your items whilst abroad and whether you will be taking cash or using your bank cards. Many people think that it is free to use their bank cards abroad and then when they get back home, discover they have been charged large fees for using their card. Yes, there are several cards that offer no charges but if you do not have one of them, you will be charged. If you intend using your own card abroad, ensure you check your ‘Terms and Conditions’ to see whether any additional charge will be applied if you use it abroad.
If you intend taking cash on your travels, the best deals on currency exchange can generally be found online. If you want to buy your currency online, you will need to order your money in advance and either collect your money from the bank or currency exchange or have it delivered to your home address.
Note: Even if you are taking your bank cards to use whilst you are away, it is always a good idea to take a little local currency in cash just in case you are unable to get to a cash machine or that you cannot use your cards in certain places.
Tip: If you are travelling to a country and cannot exchange your money on the high street then another option is to order your money online and collect it at the airport. This means that you will get the best exchange rates and simply collect your money when you arrive at the airport.
Inform Your Bank You Are Going Abroad
Banks are trying to clamp down on fraudulent activity and you should always let your bank know you are going away, especially if you intend using your cards abroad. This will save you time, hassle and stress and will prevent your cards and transactions being blocked whilst you are away!
Organise Your Travel Documents
Check you have all the correct and relevant documents you need for your travel. These document can include: Passport, Boarding pass or tickets, Visas, Insurance documents, EHIC card, Driving license, Car hire voucher and booking reference, hotels booking details. Place all your travel documents in a plastic folder and make sure you are organised before you leave.
Make A List And Email It To Yourself
A good way to ensure that you have all the essential details, phone numbers and booking references is to make a list of them all and email it to yourself. This way you will have a back-up of all the information you require should you lose any documentation on your travel. Make a note of your passport number and any emergency telephone numbers that you may need.
You can also take a photo on your phone so you have the list at hand if you need a quick reference but obviously, if you lose your phone, you will not have your list and this is why you should always email it to yourself!
Settle All Bills
Many trips can be miserable simply because you have not packed the correct items and items of clothing. It sounds such an obvious statement but a large number of people do not do their research and as a result are left suffering for the duration of their holiday. The reality is that you can pretty much buy most items anywhere in the world but this is all more expense. Check the weather reports and pack the appropriate clothing and footwear.
Make Yourself Familiar With The Laws And Regulations Of the Country You Are Visiting
Remember, every country throughout the world has its own laws and regulations and these can be different to the ones in your home country. It is always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the laws and regulations of the country you are visiting and this will hopefully prevent you from breaking any of the laws during your stay.
Take A Photo On Your Camera Of Your Contact Telephone Number
Losing your camera can be an emotional experience, especially if it has a large number of photos or videos on it of your holiday. These are things that you cannot recapture and sadly the fact is that if you lose your camera, if it is found, nobody knows who it belongs to. Well, a really good way of increasing the chances of your camera being returned if you lose it, is to right your contact details on a piece of paper and then take a photo of it on your camera. Simply write down on a piece of paper:
This camera belongs to (your name) if found please contact: (your telephone number) or return it to: (your home address)
This way, when somebody finds your camera, the chances are they will turn it on and look at the photos, if they see a photo of your contact details, they can then get in touch with you and return the camera (that is providing it is found by an honest person!)
Put Your Liquids In A Transparent Plastic Bag Or In Your Hold Luggage
If you are travelling with Hand luggage only, ensure that all your liquids are in a transparent sealable bag and that no bottle exceed 100ml. If you have Hold luggage, place all your liquids in your hold luggage, especially any that are larger than 100ml. If you do not do so, you will have them confiscated and if you have spent a small fortune on cosmetic, perfumes or aftershave, it will be a waste of money! Be warned, this can put a very bad start to your holiday if you lose hundreds of pounds worth of products.
Give Yourself Plenty Of Time
If you have a drive to the airport, allow plenty of time for your journey and for any delays that may occur. I cannot understand the mentality of people who do not give themselves the time they need for their journey. If the journey to the airport is an hour, they set off an hour before they should be there and then moan when they are late and miss their flight. The airline will not wait for you if you are stuck in traffic or breakdown, save yourself the stress and set off earlier. It is much better to be sat in the airport an extra hour and knowing you will be on your flight that sat on the motorway or in traffic stressing whether you will make it or not!
Save Money By Booking What You Can In Advance
Book All Your Onward Travel In Advance
Not only will it save you money but booking all your onwards travel in advance will also provide you the peace of mind that you need when arriving in a foreign country. Car hire, airport transfers, rail tickets and taxis are all things that can be prebooked in advance and if you would like to read more about this, please visit the following page: How To Save Money On Your Visit To The Airport
Check Your Weight And Luggage Allowance Before You Leave Home
How many people stress out before they arrive at the airport simply because they are worrying whether they are underweight or whether their hand luggage will be the correct size. Why stress out? Weighing your luggage before you leave home will save you all the stress and the humiliation at the check-in if you arrive with luggage that exceeds the weight allowance. Remember, if your luggage exceed the weight allowance then you will be charge a fee! Investing in some handheld digital travel weighing scales can save you money and then you will always be able to keep your eye on the weight of your luggage!
Charge All Your Electricals
You should make sure you charge all your electrical goods before you leave home, especially your laptop or iPad. It is now a requirement at Security that your laptop or iPad has charge when you take it with you through Security. You should also ensure that all your electrical entertainment items such as Gameboy and Kindle are fully charged, especially if you are travelling with children. Make sure your phone is fully charged as you never know when you will need it.
Home security is one thing that many people overlook when they go away travelling or on holiday. There are certain things you need to do and certain things that you can do to ensure your home is safe and secure when you are away. To read more about this and to get some useful tips, please visit the following page: Secure Your Home Before You Go On Holiday
If you have pets, ensure that they have sufficient care whilst you are away. If your pets are ok to be left in the house and just need feeding and cleaning, try to, organise several people to look after them. This will mean that if one of them cannot make it on a certain day, one of the others will be able and your pets will not go without food or care.
As you can see from the list above, there are a number of things to do before travelling and you should try to ensure you have them in place before you travel.