We check, double-check and check again, but still manage to leave some vitally important items off our pre-travel checklists. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 7 things that we still forget to do before we hit the road, and show you how these simple tips will make you a more organized, efficient traveler.
1. Download Entertainment
In the rush of organizing all your essentials, it's easy to forget the one thing that will make the time spent between destinations infinitely more pleasant – some in-flight entertainment. This could be the latest season of your favorite series, a podcast that you follow, or just a playlist with your favorite tunes. Most content providers, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, allow you to download media directly to your device for offline viewing. By leaving your tablet or phone to download overnight, you’ll have a vault of viewing content to watch when you board – making your trip all the more bearable. *Extra Pro Tip* - don't forget to check that your overnight downloads did not expire before heading to the airport.
2. Pack A Lock
We hate to be fearmongers, but the truth is that you're better off having a line of defense against sticky fingers than not having anything at all. Even if your luggage escapes the clutches of questionable baggage handlers, it always helps to keep your bags ‘on lock’ wherever you’re going.
3. Packing Basic Medication
When you're traveling to countries where conditions are completely different to what you're used to, your body needs to acclimatize accordingly. In harsh climates, this can put quite a bit of strain on your immune system, especially if you have underlying or pre-existing conditions. Some basic medication to always keep handy include painkillers, anti-diarrhea tablets, and antihistamines. There's nothing worse than a high altitude headache.
4. Placing The Most Necessary Items On Top
You know that you'll need your headphones, your passport, and powerbank, but how many times have you insisted on bundling them deep inside an obscure nook in your bag? Leave them out until you've packed everything else in, then be sure to keep those items that you'll be using regularly, on top. It’s one of the quickest ways to save time when you’re on the move.
5. Travel Insurance
Some credit card companies provide a basic level of travel insurance when you book with them, but it's always a good idea to check your policy and take out extra cover in case you ever find yourself stranded, miss a connecting international flight or need urgent medical care while abroad. Domestic travelers could probably skip this piece of advice, but vital cover such as repatriation and evacuation could be the difference in an emergency situation.
6. Notify Your Bank Of Your Travel Plans
No-one ever really visits a bank unless they desperately need to. Why? Probably because of the hassle of dealing with a painfully bureaucratic company is an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, most banks nowadays allow travelers to authorize overseas card usage either telephonically or on an app, making those dreaded trips to the teller a thing of the past. If you happen to need to do banking abroad using your phone, be sure to encrypt your connection using a VPN for an added layer of cybersecurity.
7. Turn Your Mobile Data Off
A nasty surprise on your phone bill is the last thing you want when you get back from a trip abroad. Many a traveler can attest to being slapped with exorbitant roaming charges after returning from their travels. There are two ways to counter this: Either call your carrier and expressly tell them that you don't want roaming charges activated, or play it safe and turn off mobile data completely. Roaming tariffs are often inflated compared to what you would pay for domestic use, so remember to play it safe when it comes to using your phone overseas and seek out WiFi zones instead.
8. Download a Google Map
Just star your hotel, and Google Maps on your phone will download the area around it automatically. If you're in a new country where you can't roam, this is priceless.
Written by: Stuart Hendricks