When you’re daydreaming about your ideal vacation, the word ‘planning’ probably doesn’t come up very often. In fact, ‘thorough planning’ and ‘relaxing holiday’ can feel like polar opposites. Yet, it’s difficult to have one without the other. Planning is an essential part of travelling.
Still, planning doesn’t have to mean stress. Rather, being prepared can often provide extra peace of mind, thereby taking some of the stress out of travelling. With this in mind, we’ve come up with five fantastic travel preparation tips, so you can have the perfect preparation for a perfect holiday. Trust us, all this planning will be worthwhile when the wheels of your flight touch down and you’re having the time of your life!
1. Research makes perfect
Some say practice makes perfect. We disagree. When it comes to travelling, research makes perfect. As any dedicated traveller knows, it’s never too soon to start researching your next trip. In fact, the sooner the better. That way, if you run into any unforeseen issues, you have plenty of time to resolve them. First and foremost, this means checking your passport is valid, up to date, and you have everything you need to gain entry into the country you’re planning to visit.
Once you’re certain that your passport is valid, it’s time to do location-specific research. Some questions you might want to ponder include: what is the exchange rate in the country you’re visiting? Are there any local customs that you should be aware of? Are there any must-see attractions to visit? Will you rent a car or use public transport? What is the weather usually like in the season you’re visiting during? How will you get from the airport to your accommodation?
All of these questions (and probably many more) will need to be answered, which is why we recommend leaving no stone unturned when preparing for your journey!
2. Make a list
Santa may check his list twice, but we recommend taking it a step further: make a travel essentials checklist and check it thrice. The last thing you want is to arrive at the airport, only to discover that you’ve forgotten your passport. For optimal results, you should start writing this list the second you start planning your holiday. For example, if while booking your accommodation you notice there’s a beach nearby, add ‘swimwear’ to your list. That way, you won’t miss out on all the fun, simply because you forgot to pack a towel.
Not only does making a list ensure that you pack everything you’re definitely going to need, but it can also prevent you from packing things that you won’t need. After all, there’s no point packing three thick jackets if the weather will be scorching hot every day!
Then, when the big day arrives, check, check, check your list until you’re 100% certain you have everything you will need to make your holiday a massive success.
3. Plan your route and pre-book parking
Whether you’re a first-time traveller or a frequent flyer, it never hurts to pre-plan the best route to the airport. You may think you know the way like the back of your hand, but there’s nothing worse than encountering unexpected roadworks which make you late for your flight. Likewise, if you’re catching public transport, check that your bus/train is running on time without any track works or unexpected delays.
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Additionally, if you are driving to the airport, then pre-booking your parking is a must. Not only does this take the stress out of rushing to find a park at the last minute, but it also gives you the peace of mind that your car will be safe and secure while you’re away.
4. Weigh your luggage & check baggage allowances
Even if you have travelled recently, you should always check baggage allowances, as they could have changed since your last flight. Baggage allowances tell you what size/weight your baggage can be, as well as what carry-on baggage you are allowed to take on your flight.
Further, baggage allowances can vary from airline to airline. This can be particularly problematic if you have a connecting flight with a different airline. Your bag might be the perfect weight for your initial flight, but too heavy for the connecting flight!
To avoid any nasty surprises, it is best to check each airline’s specific baggage allowance policy, and then weigh your fully packed bags before leaving the house. That way, you can avoid finding out your bag is too heavy at the airport, and frantically digging through your luggage searching for items to discard!
5. Travel Insurance
Last, but certainly not least, buying travel insurance should be a vital part of your preparations. Despite our best efforts, accidents happen. That’s life. However, when you travel halfway around the world only to find that your bags were sent elsewhere, these accidents can quickly turn into disasters. It’s during times like these that you will be grateful you purchased travel insurance. It’s no exaggeration to say travel insurance can be the difference between a relaxing, memorable holiday and a full-blown disaster.
Most travel insurance policies cover things such as delayed or cancelled flights, lost, stolen, or damaged luggage or personal items, and medical expenses. This final point is particularly pertinent, as not all countries have reciprocal health care agreements with Australia, and travel insurance usually covers more than just your medical treatment. Accordingly, travel insurance can give you the peace of mind to enjoy your holiday, safe in the knowledge that you are probably covered in case of emergency.
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