This is it! You’re going on the trip you have saved up for these last few months. The planning stages can be quite daunting and overwhelming, but with smart preparation, especially for overseas travel, you will be able to enjoy your getaway and create so many memories without having to stress too much. Where to start? Follow our tips below.
1. Do some research
• Make sure you have the necessary travel documents ahead of time. Most websites of the embassies of the country you intend to visit have this information. Take note of the requirements and secure them weeks before your travel dates.
• While most general laws all over the world are similar, ordinances in world cities may vary, such as those concerning curfew, food, and others. Be mindful of these subtle differences as this is especially important if you are traveling with family or small children.
• If you have trusted contacts in your destination, it pays to get firsthand information from them.
• While researching on the best food or shopping spots before you leave adds up to the excitement, it also helps if you approach your upcoming trip with an open mind. Plan to live like a local while you’re there! You should also be prepared for chances of bad weather, transportation delays, and other unexpected events that may happen.
• If you’re the couch surfer type, try to get to know your host beforehand. Send them a few e-mails or messages ahead of time. Even if you’re only arranging for a local to give you a tour-around, trust your instincts and choose only the ones that have good recommendation posts on their couchsurfing profiles.
2. Be vigilant
• Have photocopied or scanned copies of all your travel documents—passport ID, proof of sufficient funds, travel insurance. Keep them in a safe, waterproof bag, just in case the originals are lost.
• When traveling solo, have an open heart and try to make new friends, but also keep your guards up for those who might want to take advantage of you.
• Always put your valuables within your sight and reach.
• Does your credit card come with fraud protection? Track your spending and report suspicious transactions to your credit card provider ASAP.
3. Be prepared
• Buy a universal travel adapter—not all electrical outlets are the same. In Europe, for example, many countries use plugs with two round prongs, so you’ll need an appropriate adapter to connect to a power source.
• Wear comfortable clothing. Be aware of the customs and culture of your country of destination and try to dress appropriately. In Morocco and other Islamic countries, for instance, exposing your shoulders and/or legs is considered disrespectful by some locals.
• Anticipate and prepare for passport or document mishaps at the last minute, delayed flights, and even losing your valuables.
• Invest in security. Nothing says prepared better than getting a good travel insurance package. The best ones have the following:
- Coverage in multiple countries
- Covers injury and sudden illness
- 24-hour hotline and emergency services
- Covers baggage delay
- Covers damaged personal possessions, including electronics
- Covers travel cancellations – flights, hotels, and other transportation bookings
- Provides emergency coverage, including medical evacuation and repatriation
SmartTraveller, a travel insurance plan with worldwide coverage* has 24/7 emergency assistance, including accident and medical coverage*. Other coverage includes:
- Overseas medical expenses
- Overseas hospitalization
- Travel cancellation and postponement
- Baggage delay
- Baggage loss or damage to personal belongings, including electronics and travel documents
* excluding Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Cuba, Crimea, Belarus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Russia, and Ukraine
* excluding pre-existing conditions
SmartTraveller offers three plans for you to choose from—Essential, Classic, and Elite, each suited for a particular budget and travel itinerary.
The Essential plan has got you covered for most destinations, but if you’re going to Europe, you might want to opt for Classic or Elite, as both are Schengen Compliant.