Everyone, from the free-spirited backpackers, to families going on a vacation, knows that traveling requires a certain dose of planning. Here are some of the things you need to take into account while preparing for your trip.
While this may sound like common sense at first, it is something that is easily overlooked in the confusion of packing and catching a taxi to the airport. Always make sure your papers are in order. This includes your:
- Health Card
- Driver’s License
- Registration (if you’re traveling by car)
The thing is, these things may already be packed, and it may seem troublesome to take them out of your suitcase, but it is certainly a good idea to check the expiration date on each of these documents, as well as any additional ones the country you are visiting requires – like a pet passport for your dog.
Never keep your funds in one place. This goes double if you are traveling alone. Money management and safety are not to be trifled with. Try to keep some of your cash in your wallet, some in your wardrobe and some in your luggage. That way, if you forget your wallet, or get robbed, or lose your luggage, you will still have enough money on you to make it safely home.
Never openly display where you keep your money. Keep a small amount in your clothes, so that you may pay for various traveling expenses and souvenirs.
Additionally, see if you can acquire the currency of the country you are visiting before you get there. Some places at home will not trade your foreign coins, so if you put enough of them together, you could come across a significant increase in your traveling budget.
Don’t forget to pack some clothes in case of emergency, as well as freaky weather. Other things to fill your suitcase with should include a first-aid kit, a map, a phrasebook, some rations (in case you don’t come across any restaurants, or get stranded) and a phone. These days, smartphones tend to use up the battery fairly quickly, so pack a power bank as well – that should help you hold out for a few days.
While we are on the subject of money, make sure you do your research on the local scammers. Many different countries have their own hustlers and grifters, so there are very few universal rules to follow, but we will do our best.
Do not use the cabs near the bus station, train station, or airport. The drivers there usually prey on the unsuspecting tourists and foreigners, taking advantage of the fact that they don’t know the location of their destination, or what the exchange rate is. If you are lucky, you’ll just get a runaround with a ridiculous price on the meter (the foreigner special). If you’re not that fortunate, and are trying to find a good place to spend the night, the cabby will give you a “friendly” tip about a nearby hotel or motel, which is owned by his good friend, with very “affordable” prices.
The exchange rate you will get at the airport or bus stop is usually so bad, it borders on theft. If you exchange money, do it downtown. Otherwise, as stated before, you should bring along some local currency that you had previously acquired.