Have a checklist before hitting the road
Ready to go on your next journey? Almost...
- Download offline map of the city via app such as Ulmon or Mapsme. This way, you’ll be able to find your way just by turning on GPS, not needing internet connection.
- Download the city guide from my posts (hopefully I have one); go to your browser’s menu and click print, then save as pdf.
- Mark each of the places you want to visit and stay at, on the mobile map. If you’re gonna use a physical map, try to get one at the airport or from tourist infos.
- Most likely, the first thing you’ll want to do is to reach the hotel, right? So, make sure you have the exact name, address, phone number and info on how to reach there (the means from airport or train station). Even if the hotel provides you with transfer, that’s just for one time. Do have this information with you, as you’ll need to get back to hotel at the end of each day J
- Check the weather from timeanddate.com for history as well and decide to take proper clothing & accessories; umbrella, jumper or sunglasses, hat with you. A multifunctional buff is incredibly handy as a scarf, sun-guard, ponytail holder and so on.
- Essential travel gears: Chargers for phones, tablets, laptops, whatever electronic medium you have with you. And remember to check if you’ll need a voltage converter or a plug adapter. Adding wifi hotspot, power bank and usb, sd cards to that bulletpoint.
- Passport itself! Check if you need a visa or not, if so, is it one you can get at the airport, online or one you need a couple of weeks to apply with tons of documentation?
- Some countries require passports to be carried at all times. What most do, is to keep it in the safe at the hotel and have a photocopy on.
- Keep a physical copy of your travel / health insurance with you at all times. I sometimes forget to, with the relief that it’s within a reach of an email but you never know when you’ll need it and have such time to look for it. Have a copy in your wallet.
- Have a travel medicine pack of your own, as a precaution for prescription only or different branded medicine that you may not find where you go. Along with basics like sunscreen for face (the least), headache pills, cream for bruises, consider motion sickness tablets if you’re gonna ride a speed boat for instance, or antiacid tablets for spicy food, perhaps a mosquito repellent.
- Indispensable are comfortable shoes. Your feet will take you to those admirable places, they cannot once they are pinched. I prefer trainers, am not a babbette fan. And for packing, a shoe that fits all, with the color and style, is the ideal choice.
- Speaking of which, pack light. Believe me, it IS possible to reduce your big luggage to a cabin bag. This will save you from extra costs as well as extra time you’ll wait for it to show up after landing or while checking it in.
- Check if the hotel provides towels. For the beach, consider a loincloth (sarong) rather than a towel, as it is so much lighter and dries quickly.
- Warning you in advance, my bald friends can skip this one,. Again check if the hotel provides hairdryers or you’ll need to bring one of those foldable ones.
- Let’s hope you won’t need one but earplugs may be necessary in case of a construction next to your hotel or something. I try not to forget my eyepatch for light, for instance.
- Having a pen with you is essential not just for immigration forms but also when you wanna note something down. And try to develop the habit of taking notes to remember and recommend that restaurant where you had the most delicious dessert or rank that bar on tripadvisor or warn a friend for the right port by the harbour.
- Have a name tag with your address, phone number on your suitcase.
- Decide which book you’re gonna read along the way or pack your kindle.
- Long journey ahead? Travel pillow could be good for your neck.
- Do checkin online. I don’t know why some still don’t prefer to. It saves you time but most importantly may help secure your seat. Did you know some airlines prefer to offload passengers based upon the latest checkin time in the case of overbooking? For those of you, unfamiliar with the term, overbooking is actually selling seats (or rooms in the case of hotels) that don’t exist to make up for no-shows. More likely to encounter especially on popular dates when there’s too much demand.
- Beware also of overbooking issue in hotels. Again, “first in” mentality here. If you can, if the time you get from the airport allows, try to check in the room as early as possible, to avoid that. It happened to me a couple of times and all were in the evening.
- Don’t stress out, pack timely, be at the airport early enough to sip on coffee. You can’t be that lucky to have an attendant at the counter even though checkin was closed, every time.
- Before getting on the plane or crossing the border, if you have roaming concerns, do not forget to turn off your mobile data.
Now you’re all set, guys! Lean back, ready to explore, meet new people, learn different cultures and have lots of fun. Keep a positive attitude.
And once there, before getting back home, don't forget to get your magnet! I’ve learnt to stick with magnets after buying every other souvenir item. It’s light and cheap aaaand a patchwork of’em looks cool on your fridge 😉