How to Travel Like a Pro with Good Planning and Smart Preparations
From a previous article about how to deal with delayed or cancelled flights, it is easy to see how you can keep your entire trip enjoyable – and under control – even in the worst situation. In the case of a cancelled flight, knowing your rights and how to best handle the situation can help turn a nightmare situation into a manageable one.
The same approach actually works with other parts of the trip too. You can travel in utter convenience – and style, of course – by knowing how to handle different situations like a pro. From experience and from talking to others who love to travel, I have compiled a huge list of tips on how you can better prepare for the trip and travel like a pro every step of the way.
Cover the Basics
Preparation is an important part of the equation. The more you prepare for the trip, the better you will be at handling different situations along the way. Thanks to the best travel resources, websites, and apps available today, planning a trip has gotten so easy.
If you are travelling internationally, schedule an appointment with your doctor and make sure you get in touch with your insurance company. If you don’t have sufficient health insurance coverage for your trip, consider getting travel insurance to fill the gap.
You also need to get your papers in order. Make multiple copies of your passport and photo ID and store them in different bags for safety. Remember, not all countries offer Visa on Arrival or VOA, so double-check if you need to get a visa approved before the actual trip.
Speaking of papers, leaving a copy of your passport at home with someone you can trust is also a great habit to get into. Should you lose your passport while in a foreign country, you can ask for a copy to be sent to you digitally; this alone will make dealing with the emergency easier.
Once you cover the basics, it is time to start planning for the trip. As mentioned before, there are so many resources that can help you plan an international trip better. Let’s say you are going on a trip to Canada and you need flights to Montreal. You can find information on flights to Montreal with a few taps on your smartphone screen.
Before jumping the gun and start making reservations, take the time to compare flights, accommodations, and deals. With flights to Montreal, you can find the best deals on booking sites, as well as the official airline website.
Check the regional airlines and local hotel chains for deals as well. Since you are flying to Montreal, you want to see deals from Porter Airlines before making any booking.
The Budget for the Trip
Money is always an important thing to manage when travelling. A lot of emergencies arise from money-related issues. When you run out of money in the middle of the trip – usually due to unexpected expenses – the rest of the trip will be far less enjoyable.
Money management is something you can do before, during, and after the trip. To get started, set a clear budget for the trip. Don’t worry about expenses just yet; your goal is knowing exactly how much you can afford to spend on your next holiday.
With that budget in mind, you can go into the details and begin planning for the expenses you need to cover along the way. This includes the cost of flying to and from the destination, hotel costs, food and other expenses, and a bit of an emergency fund for safety.
If you are travelling to another country, check the conversion rate and find the best time to exchange your money to local currency. In some countries, doing the exchange at the airport will give you the best rate. In others, you want to make the exchange before departing to get the best deal.
You also want to make sure your credit cards will work. This may not seem like a necessary step to take, but I’ve had instances where my credit cards weren’t accepted, despite having Visa and MasterCard logos. It is always better to be safe than sorry, isn’t it?
One extra step you want to take – while checking if your credit card will work – is taking the time to inform your bank about your travel plans. This too is something I learnt from experience; one of my credit cards got declined because the bank – upon seeing the transaction coming from a foreign country – thought it was stolen.
Do Your Homework
Booking the best flight is only the beginning. You still need to play for the rest of the trip. This is where the fun begins.
Take your time and do as much research as you can about the destination country (and city) before you start planning your itinerary. Once again, the internet is on your side. With sites like Trip Advisor (and, of course, Don’t Cramp My Style by yours truly) offering insights and content from other users, researching the destination city is now as easy as it gets.
There are a few details you want to get right before the trip. Find out more about the neighbourhood near your hotel of choice to be on the safe side. You should know where to get groceries or everyday items, how far it is from your embassy, and other crucial details; writing down the best restaurants within walking distance is also highly recommended.
While planning your itinerary, don’t forget to find out more about attractions other than the ones you already have in mind. The popular travel destinations and tourist attractions are great, but every city has its hidden gems and you can boost your chances of finding them by doing your homework before the trip.
Be sure to leave gaps in your itinerary. Even with a carefully-planned trip, there are always interesting new things to try. There will be local restaurants, interesting activities, and other attractions that you cannot find online; at least not every detail about them. Leaving enough room in your itinerary gives you the flexibility to be more spontaneous while travelling.
The rest should be easy from here. With an itinerary in place and preparations made, you can travel like a pro every step of the way. Before you do, there are a few extra steps to take just to be on the safe side, starting with packing travel chargers and extra cables for your devices. Your smartphone is an incredibly valuable tool to have while travelling, and the last thing you want is having it die on you because you don’t have the right adapter.
Packing is also something you want to do with extra care. Travel light whenever possible and try to limit the number of items you bring. Travelling light is how you can stay comfortable throughout the trip. Besides, not having to lug around a big backpack or suitcase means you don’t have to deal with the usual hassles of travelling, such as waiting for luggage to appear on the carousel.
There are smarter ways to pack too. Even when you need to bring more clothes and extra items, you can fit them in a smaller bag by knowing how to pack them properly. We all know that rolling is better than folding. Using travel organisers and compartments also help. Don’t forget to weigh your bags once you are done packing.
Bring at least one good bag that you can use as a daypack. You can leave most of your items in your hotel room while you go out and explore the destination city. The only problem with that is you still need a good daypack for the travel essentials. This is where having a multi-functional daypack comes really handy.
Follow these tips and tricks and there is no travel emergency that you cannot handle. Travelling is a lot like doing makeup; the more you do it, the better you will be at it.