We all make elaborate plans for that perfect holiday getaway, but there's always some hiccups, or rather unexpected glitches that could come our way. Traveling comes with its own set of risks and challenges, so in this article we explore 7 practical tips to help you enjoy a stress-free and safe travel experience. 🙏🏽
1. Health Comes First!
It is worth visiting a doctor prior to your trip to ensure yourself fit to fly, especially if you are pregnant or have any medical conditions.
Carry your prescription along with the medications on the trip - it may come handy in case you need extra supplies.
If you wear contact lenses, make sure to carry some extra pairs and lens solution with you in air-tight containers so you don't spill them. It is always a good idea to carry along your prescription glasses as well.
Make sure to understand the health concerns of the country you are planning to visit. Some countries require vaccinations before your arrival so make sure you are immunized in advance.
2. Airplane Travel
With the recent string of tragic air accidents, we advise you to do your own research before choosing to travel with an airline. There are loads of budget airlines today offering fares at dirt-cheap prices, and yes, it is tempting to go for the lowest offers. However, we would always advise you to make the appropriate choice in terms of safety.
There is no definite airline safety rating system in place yet, however do check out this list of airlines which are banned from operating within the European Union.
3. Travel Insurance
If you are a backpacker intending to travel over months, then you must really consider getting yourself insured. A good travel insurance can get you covered not only on medical emergencies, but trip cancellations and interruptions, trip delays, and lost luggage.
There are several third-party travel insurance programs available over the web. You can even get some of them at a zero-deductible.
4. Electronic Back-up of Your Documents
Email copies of all necessary documentation to your inbox so you can access the information from your phone should the paperwork be lost or damaged. Here’s a mini checklist of some of the documents to have a back-up of :
Tickets and Itinerary
Medical Insurance Card
Travel Insurance Card
5. Money and Personal Belongings
(Left): Arjun's Backpack Contents, (Right): Senora's Backpack Contents.
The key rule here is to travel light - Carry only what is 'really required'.
We recommend carrying a day bag with a zipper to store your personal belongings when you are out and about.
It is best to leave behind your passport in your hotel/hostel room locked in a safe. The chances of losing it while you are outside is much higher than someone stealing it from the safe!
Avoid carrying too much cash and bank cards that you just wouldn't use.
When visiting places with a lot of beaches, we also came across a water-proof phone case that you can carry around your neck. Arjun took a lot of underwater photos on his smartphone with this case.
Save phone numbers of your local bank in case you want to block your cards at any time.
Don’t keep anything in your back pockets – pick-pocketing is common in many areas around the world.
Don’t let your guard down to snap the perfect picture for your social media platforms. Keep an eye on your personal belongings at all times and use good judgment when talking to strangers. A big part of the joy of traveling is the opportunities it affords to meet new people and learn about their cultures. But if someone near you is acting suspiciously, or if you feel uncomfortable, leave the area immediately.
6. Phone and Communication
It is always a good idea to get a SIM card with a minimum calling and data plan from the airport itself. This is important for several reasons –
You or your people back home can contact each other in case of any emergencies.
A data plan is important to be able to use navigation apps, as you may not really have access to free public WiFi with a decent speed at all times. In South East Asia, data plans are incredibly cheap and work fast.
7. Driving or Renting Scooters
If you have very little experience with driving, then it is best not to take any chances. Riding a moped or scooter is one of the best ways to explore a place off the beaten track. You can rent one for really cheap, plus we have never been asked for a drivers license particularly in South East Asia! However, three major tips here-
ALWAYS ask for a helmet for yourself and the person sitting behind you, even if it means paying a few extra bucks.
As deposit, you may be asked to deposit your passport or ID with the renters and the thought of it scared us! What we did is left an expired ID and to our luck they didn’t notice! 😉
We have heard about scams where renters blame you for a defect that the vehicle had previously and refuse to return the safety deposit! So before you start driving around, take a good look at your vehicle and click some pictures as well, you never know it may come handy in defense later.
And an extra, but most important tip.....
8. Always....Trust Your Instincts
As basic as it might sound, it is actually the most important. If something feels wrong, it maybe is wrong.