Someone quoted recently “It is easier to travel now but much harder to be a traveller”. How true! Given recent world events and an ever growing crime problem the traveller is no longer shown the amount of hospitality and respect that our grandparents enjoyed, but rather is regarded as a product to produce an income.
Therefore it is necessary to be prepared for any eventuality and to be able to deal with it swiftly and efficiently to avoid problems before they occur.
One of the best ways to ensure that you have a great time is to be well-prepared beforehand. With everything organised and thought out in detail, before you travel, there is little chance of anything going wrong. So do use our traveller’s checklist shown below to make sure nothing has been forgotten for your trip.
Research your destination:
•Read plenty of guidebooks about the area you intend to visit.
•Find out all you can about local culture, including any legal problems you may encounter.
•Buy a good phrase book, even if you speak the language.
•If you don’t speak the language try and learn a few key phrases.
•Make sure you pack appropriate clothes for visiting religious sites.
•Check that are not planning to take anything with you that is considered illegal in the country that you are visiting.
•Be very aware of all customs laws – ignorance could spell a term in prison!
•Check out weather patterns before you book – some countries have a violent hurricane season or a period that is unbearably hot.
•Try not to plan your trip at a time of the year when the locals and holidaymakers block the roads and fill up all the hotels.
•Find out from travel agents, friends or even the internet where the locals like to eat.
•Even in small countries, insect nuisance can vary greatly from region to region. Make sure you are not travelling to a destination where you are a welcome meal ticket for the mosquitoes or worse!
•Research the wild life of your destination before you go -so there are no unwelcome suprises.
Passport and visas:
•Allow plenty of time to apply for any visas you need.
•Make sure your passport is not only valid, but won’t run out if you were detained abroad for any length of time.
•Take a photocopy of you passport and leave it safely at home.
•Try not to change your appearance too much from your original passport photo – you don’t want to go through any embarrassing inquisitions at airport check-ins.
•Always double check your tickets are issued for the valid departure dates.
•Check they are in your name.
•If you have asked for special seats make sure those are the ones described on the tickets.
•Check that the departure and arrival times tally with the tickets.
•Make sure you know exactly when your baggage has to be checked in.
•Ring the airport before you leave home – if the flight has a long delay you might as well sit at home or in the office rather than in a crowded airport lounge.
•Always have a return ticket or the money available to buy one.
Guard your health:
•Find out if there are any particular health hazards at your business destination.
•If malaria is prevalent arrange for a course of malaria tablets and check there will be mosquito nets available at your holiday accommodation.
•Check what vaccinations you need at least six weeks before you travel. Remember some immunizations such as yellow fever are mandatory in particular countries.
•Bear in mind that you may have a bad reaction to a vaccination so give yourself time and space to get over it.
•Pack a basic medical kit for clean civilised countries, try if allowed to carry your own supply of new hypodermic needles if you are travelling through countries with poor health standards or that have a high incidence of Aids disease.
•If you are going to rough it in a country where the water is dodgy make sure you pack some sort of effective filtration and sterilization system.
•Pack a strong factor sun lotion, a treatment for stings, or bites, and an effective medicine for the treatment of diarrhoea.
•If you are already on medication take the prescription and a doctor’s letter also check that your medication is legal in the country you are visiting.
•Get your teeth checked before you leave the country – toothache abroad is not much fun.
•If you wear glasses or contact lenses get a prescription from your optician in case of loss or damage.
Take out adequate travel insurance:
•Allow plenty of time to get your insurance arranged.
•Be aware that you are usually obliged to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions.
•Make sure that it fully covers medical costs and repatriation.
•Ensure that it provides cover for the whole period of your trip.
•Make sure that you are fully covered for all activities and events that your foreign business colleagues may wish you to participate in, including anything especially dangerous such as bungee jumping.
•Arrange for somewhere about your person to carry at all times the 24-hour emergency number and your own policy number.
•Read the policy through in detail and check with your insurer about anything that you have doubts about or seems ambiguous regarding any possible claims.
•Take plenty of money and travellers cheques for your trip – taking more than you need is better than running out in a foreign country.
•Make sure you get the best deal on exchange rates.
•Check the validity and expiry dates on your credit cards.
•US dollars are a treasured currency in some countries, so a few about your person may open unusual doors.
•Check any proposed action of your travel agent in the unlikely event of insolvency while you are abroad.
•If you are travelling with a small relatively unknown airline, check out their safety and reliability with an independent travel expert.
•Write full details of next of kin in your passport.
•Take another form of ID with you in case your passport is lost or stolen.
•Before you travel check with the foreign office for up-to-date travel advice or warnings.
•Leave a detailed copy of your travel itinerary with your employer, as well as family, and make sure they have a way of contacting you in the event of an emergency.
•Have somewhere very safe and out of sight to keep your money, travellers cheques, tickets and passport etc. Be aware in that small bum bags etc. can be slashed and made off with before you have even noticed they have gone!
•Check tickets and flights.