Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to travel around the world and see some amazing places. Travelling is fun and can be a very rewarding experience if you do it right. How do you do it right?
Well, before you even set foot out of your front door on the way to the airport, make sure you are prepared for the journey. Whether you travel for work, education or a vacation, to a luxury resort or to backpack around Europe, it’s always handy to have a few things with you so you don’t find yourself stuck in a sticky situation. Here are my top 5 travel essentials to help make your trip a little easier.
It’s amazing how much we rely on our mobile phones for everything these days. We can book an entire trip on our device without even making a phone call or sitting down at a computer. This can be a curse though – if you leave your phone behind, it can ruin your whole trip. My last trip to Singapore, I was almost at the airport when I realised I didn’t have my iPhone on me. I panicked, as all my flight details, hotel reservations, directions from the airport and all my travel apps would be left behind. Luckily, I left it in my carry-on in the boot of the car. Smartphones are also handy when travelling in-country, as Wi-Fi is becoming more and more available overseas, helping you to keep in contact with those back home, as well as finding out more about your destination, while avoiding costly data roaming charges. Just make sure that you turn off your data roaming before you head overseas! If you want to have internet access without having to search for Wi-FI, it may be a good idea to invest in a local pre-paid sim card. You can buy these once you land, or some websites allow you the purchase and receive them before you depart. Just don’t forget to pack that phone charger, as well as a travel power adaptor!
This is really an extension of the mobile phone. While not an absolute essential, they can help you survive that 14-hour flight across the Pacific. On my most recent trip to the US, I somehow managed to leave my headphones at home, not realising until I had boarded the plane. Some airlines do give you headphones, others may not. I was travelling on an airline that did give you a set of headphones, unfortunately the set I was given did not work. That meant trying to entertain myself for hours and hours between meal services. Not a fun time at all.
3. Travel Documents
This is an obvious one, but one I’ve seen so many people forget. REMEMBER TO TAKE YOUR PASSPORT or other ID if a passport is not needed. If you don’t have this, you won’t be travelling. Take with you a photocopy of your passport, as well as some spare passport photos if you have them. If you lose your passport along the way, this makes it much easier to get a new or emergency passport. If the country you are visiting requires you to have a visa before you arrive, make sure you organise them as early as possible, and take any necessary documents with you to the airport. It’s also a good idea to have two copies of any travel documents, as well as a backup online. If you lose one copy, you still have another. Just keep them separate, as you don’t want to lose both at the same time.
Make sure you have some idea of how to get yourself from the airport or train station to your hotel. Know the address of the hotel, not just the name. In some cities they will have multiple hotels of the same or similar brand, and you don’t want to end up at one that’s on the opposite side of the city to the one you’re staying at. If you plan on taking public transport, make sure you know which stop to get off at, and how to get from that stop to your destination. Make sure you have some hard local currency with you, so you can pay for the taxi or train/bus ticket.
5. Local Currency
Make sure you have a small amount of local currency in hard cash with you before you arrive at your destination. This makes getting from the airport or station to your hotel or travelling around on your first day so much easier and without the hassle of trying to exchange money at airports, which usually charge higher fees or have lower exchange rates. If you’re like me a hate carrying cash, a travel card may be a good way for you to pay on card in country while avoiding often high currency conversion fees on credit and debit cards. Most major banks and foreign exchange outlets offer these cards for a small fee, as do Qantas and Virgin through their Frequent Flyer and Velocity Rewards programs, and may even allow you to earn points on your purchases.
Nick Wallace is an aspiring public relations and communications professional with a penchant for anything lemon flavoured. When not studying hard or planning his next holiday to some exotic or exciting location, he produces content on cooking, travel, tech, or whatever takes his taste.