Planning a trip is fun, but not so simple. There are some details that we have to pay attention. That´s why we make our 7 Essential Tips Before Travelling list! Everything you need to sort out before pack and go!
Weekend getaways don’t involve much work and documents checklist. However, if you are going to an international destination or a long holiday you have to organize yourself before traveling. Planning ahead makes your trip easier and hassle-free.
Here it goes our 7 Essential Tips Before Travelling:
(I´m so happy writing this post! I love to-do lists :-D)
1º – Clone your Documents!
Before traveling we take pictures/scan all our documents (passport, visas, driving license, bank cards). Save them on our computer, in a cloud and email them to ourselves. If something happens, we are covered.
And our caution goes further: we made a photocopy of our passports and laminated them. When we go to parties, big concerts or games we carry the copies, no problems if they get wet, lost or stolen. 😉
Bonus tip: Need to leave your luggage in a safe place for a few hours? LuggageHero is the answer, they have over 1100 certified places in 35 cities that can store your luggage for a few hours (or days).
2º – Don’t be a Visa Fool!
If you are going for a holiday get a tourist visa and be super happy. But if you are going to study or work abroad apply for the correct visa. Even if your passport allows you a free visa access, it doesn’t mean that you will be allowed to study or work there.
Every country has it own rules, check it and follow them. I’m sure you don’t want to come back early or be banned off a country because of paperwork. Trust me, it’s not worth it! This is not just an essential tip before travelling, this is a legal recommendation!
3º – Be Light and Be Punctual!
It doesn’t matter if it is a national or international flight, you have to arrive early. Everyday there are more flights, more people flying and more mess in the airports. Avoid the unnecessary stress and get to the check-in desk with at least two hours in advance.
All the flight companies are getting more strict with timing and luggage weight. Look at you booking voucher to see the maximum weight you can carry on your luggage (and hand luggage). Local flights have different standards from the international services. Be in mind that budget airline can be very mean checking all the bags you are carrying.
Some busses companies also have luggage policies, you are allowed one piece for free, to carry more bags maybe you´ll be charged an extra fee.
4º Shut up and Drive.. Drive…
Some countries accept a foreign driving licence, but others don’t. Best way is to go to your local driving license department and ask for an international document. Most of the time it is easy and fast to do it. It is like a translation of your normal license.
Here is another important tip before travelling: with the international document you can drive almost all around the world, but it doesn’t mean you will be able to. In some places you need more than the document, you need guts! 🙂
5º Be loaded €€€
If you are travelling abroad, there are 90% of chances that you will have to exchange currency. Euros, Dollars, Pounds… you should check the rates on internet and have some of them in your wallet when you get out of the airport. Bus, taxis or trains, all of them need to be paid, and sometimes the credit card won´t be accepted.
Tip before travelling: if the rates are good in your country buy some cash in advance, or exchange some in the airport. Look for companies that don’t charge commission or give you discounts when you will be selling your money back. Also consult your bank, withdraw in local currency at destination could be cheaper.
6º Money, bank card, travel cards… I want them all!!
Travel with lots of money in your bag is not the smartest idea. Today banks can give you many options of how to cash and spend money while travelling. The most common is the travel card, that you can pop up money and cash out worldwide on ATM machines. Most of the times it is cheaper than credit card fees, unless if you are from Brazil (like us) and have to pay 6,38% tax of every transaction abroad. 🙁
Call your bank, ask about the services they offer for travellers, see if there is any reward program in your credit card. Information is the key to spend your money wisely. If you are travelling for a long period, consider opening a bank account in some international bank. We did it in Lisbon and works really well for us!
7º Have a plan to get in and out!!!
Most of the big cities have public transport connecting the airport to the town. Search for it before travelling, you can find all the information on the airport website or on the public transport webpage. Taxis can be comfy and easy but will cost a lot , in other hand train and buses are cheap and reliable.
Planning your way in and out from the airport will save you time! Don’t be shy, print a map of how to find the stop in the airport/train station and where you have to drop off in the city. Don’t trust to much on google maps mobile app, sometimes it doesn`t work.
And of course, talk to people, go to the information desk and show your map to the driver. There’s no way you will get lost!
All these 7 Essential Tips Before Travelling were tested by Rob and I on our travels around the world. I have a keen to make a list and organize everything and he keeps following and double-checking them. Be prepared there are plenty of checklists and travels advice to come.