Many people before a trip feel excited yet for their upcoming trip. Counting down the days until you are finally on holiday whilst frantically trying to tick off everything off your to-do list could be quite hectic. Here are some travel tips to prepare you and make that count down as smooth as possible. Bon Voyage!

Packing

Playing dress up is usually fun, however having to pack a weeks+ worth of clothes and essentials in a suitcase of let’s say, only 20kg, can be challenging.

  • Pre pick your outfits to ensure you don’t waste any space with unneeded items. Remember daytime outfits, beach/gym items and dinner outfits. Lay them out day by day with the accessories you need and plan ahead. Considering a hike or waterfall trips? Ensure you pack the essential footwear and prepare for unexpected whether such as chilly nigh times.
  • Once you have the outfits it’s time to pack. Save space by placing socks inside shoes and stuff your bags and straw hats with clothes so that these items will not get crushed and lose shape.

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  • Check with the airline and be sure of your luggage allowance. Over weight bags can cost a fortune at the airport and cause delays and stress that could be avoided. If you do need an extra bag, add this onto your booking online before you leave as it will be cheaper than the airport charges. Most airlines allow a hand luggage which is not weight restricted, so it could be smart to place some heavier (non liquid) items in your hand luggage.
  • Organise your stuff into bags and then pack them into your case. Put your liquids and toiletries into a plastic bag to avoid spillages. Underwear in a separate bag, jewellery, make up etc. This will make unpacking a blast, and you will know exactly where everything is.
  • Avoid putting liquids in your hand luggage. You can have a few liquids and pastes with you if they are under 100ml and must all fit into a clear bag. Anything else you will have to dispose of at the security check. Avoid putting battery power banks in your hold luggage as many airlines forbid this.
  • Carry an extension lead with one adapter plug. Hotel rooms have limited plug sockets so having an extension lead allows you to maximise the use of one plug.
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Airport

The holiday really begins at the airport so get there early to enjoy yourselves. Allow time for lengthy queues and unexpected delays whilst still being able to relax and get into the holiday vibe. Shop around and treat yourself to discounted cosmetics, sunglasses, clothes, bags or beverages in duty free, have a bite to eat or enjoy the leisure of an airport lounge. Many airports offer a range of services that you could use to pass time, especially if you have a long lay over. Research the airport before hand, you may be interested in getting your shoes shined, a massage or manicure or even check in to the airport hotel if you have long hours to pass.

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  • Arrive at least two hours prior to your flight departure for short haul flights and at least three hours for long haul/international flights.
  • If you wish to use a lounge, book this beforehand online and compare prices and what’s included.
  • Check in online up to 24 hours before your flight departs.

What you need

  • Carry your passport and boarding pass with you at all times along with your money and card. A pouch or side bag allows you to keep your important documents close and safe.
  • Purchase travel insurance before you leave and have this on your email and/or print this out and bring along. It is also recommended to carry a photocopy of your passport with you as a backup.
  • Some people like to use a padlock to secure their bags and this is a good idea if you may be sharing a dorm room with strangers. Another tip is to tie something recognisable on your case so that it is easily identifiable when collecting your luggage on arrival.

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Safety

Safety is very important when travelling abroad and you want to ensure you remain safe at all times. Different countries may have different laws to your home of residence and it is worth researching the country prior to departure to avoid any difficulties. For example, drinking laws vary in many countries as do smoking laws including vapes. Flying drones may be forbidden and there may be some dress attire rules you have to abide to.

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Always be aware of your surroundings. A good tip when travelling alone is to upload photos/videos of your location a day later so you can’t be followed but always let a friend or family member know where you are at all times. Google maps and WhatsApp allows you to share your location with someone you trust which is a great tool to use.

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Some tropical countries have some risks of illnesses as our bodies may not be immune to them. Check with your GP if you will need any jabs or medication for your travels. Carry insect repellent to protect you from mosquitos. Tiger balm is great for this, simple apply some to your pressure points and your ankles to repel mosquitoes, and apply some to any bites you may have to reduce redness and itching. Aloe Vera is great for relieving the symptoms of sunburn.

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Currency

Check the currency of the country you are travelling to and shop around to find the best conversion rate. The airport does not have a good rate, so change up your money before hand at an exchange bureau with good rates and zero commission. Some bank accounts allow you to withdraw from foreign cash machines free of charge however some charge a fee and not the best conversion rate.

  • There are many currency cards available which allow you to use your card abroad and withdraw cash free of charge and have the best exchange rates. These cards are very convenient as you can track your spending from your mobile phone and not have to worry about carrying large amount of cash with you. Check out the benefits of using a Monzo card.
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  • It is a good idea to have your money in different areas in case of lost or theft. (Especially if travelling for a long time) Keep some cash with you, have some money on your Monzo card and some on another card, so it is easy to transfer in case of an emergency.
  • Bare in mind that you can send money from county to county via Western Union if you ever need cash and don’t have a bank account for someone to send it to.

On the plane

Travelling on airplanes can often leave people feeling a bit sluggish. The air on the plane is artificial and it recycles the entire journey, which leaves your skin feeling dry and is a common place for germs to spread.

  • Keep hydrated on the plane. Whilst many like to take advantage of the free alcohol offered on some airlines, it is important to drink water. Your skin will thank you and so will your liver.
  • Stretch your arms and legs and get up and walk every so ofter. This will reduce your chances of blood clots and swollen feet and legs. If you have bad circulation, consider buying flight socks.
  • Wash your hands every time you use the bathroom and take some vitamins before and after your flight to strengthen your immune system and avoid catching an illness such as the common cold.
  • Hydrate your skin using a moisturiser, especially after you have a suntan. The plane often dries out skin and already dry sun kissed skin is most likely to peel and your tan will fade quicker.
  • Get into the right time zone. One way to tackle jet lag is to determine whether you sleep on the plane to get ready for a whole day ahead in the arriving country, or to stay awake and sleep in your hotel if you are arriving at evening. This will allow your body to easily adjust to the time zone and you won’t be feeling as jet lagged.

Plan ahead

  • To get the most out of your vacation, do some research and know the good stops to visit before departure. Organisation is key if you only have a short amount of time and you want to do lots of exploring. You can also get great advice from the locals as to where to go and what to do, but have an idea of average prices so you don’t end up paying more than you should be. Familiarise yourself with the transportation links and weigh up whether it’s best to hire a car or bike.
  • If you know what hotel you are staying at, write down the name and address as this may be needed on your arrival card.
  • Buy a SIM card for data and calls in the country to avoid high charges on your mobile phone. These can be purchased in the airport on your arrival.
  • Some hotels offer free transfers so look into this before jumping into an airport taxi. Some countries have Uber which is relatively cheaper than airport taxis. You can also pre book your car so your journey is smooth and stress free. Bare in mind that some counties have tourist tax which is often paid to the hotel or on arrival.

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