Welcome all jetsetters,
Whether you are traveling short or long term, for business or for pleasure, staying in hotels or hostels, moving every few days or remaining in one destination for weeks/months, traveling solo or traveling with companions, it is crucial that you put in place certain precautions prior to travelling for your peace of mind. Once these simple steps are in place your mind will be clear for the fun part – exploring your new destination and all that it has to offer.
1. Travel Medical Specialist- consultation, vaccinations, and first aid kit
Once you have completed the exciting stage of researching the destination or various destinations that you desire to travel to it is essential to consult a Travel Medical Specialist such as Travel Doctor in Australia. This should be done at least 4 weeks prior to departure to determine the specific vaccinations or medication, if any necessary, for the particular destination you are travelling to (travel medical specialists can be found worldwide in your own home location so no you do not have to travel especially to Australia for the Travel Doctor).
Personally, before commencing this trip that I am currently on I had to endure six different vaccinations and was subscribed five other types of medications as a precautionary measure. The Travel Doctor is an excellent website that is easy to navigate even if you do not live within Australia acting as a source of information needed on vaccinations for each country, health alerts in various parts of the world, travel health fact sheets for each country, as well as providing advice on the items needed for your medical/first aid kit which can be location specific.
2. Be a Smartraveller
Smartraveller is an excellent Australian website maintained and updated frequently by the Australian government. The beauty of this website is that it includes information and guidance specific to all type of travellers from backpackers, families, women, students, business, volunteers, and the list goes on. In conjunction, this website provides you with the updated knowledge of each country such as entry and exit, laws, safety and security, health, etc.
For myself, I found it helpful to subscribe to the travel bulletins that are released by the government These include travel advice on various countries in term of security level, health concerns, viruses, and natural disasters that could affect your travel plans.
Another important service that Smarttraveller has created and monitors is the Registration of your Travel Plans. This is very valuable once you have decided upon your travel itinerary as through registering your travel plans either yourself or your family can be contacted in case of an emergencies.
3. Travel Insurance
TRAVEL INSURANCE is CRUCIAL, ESSENTIAL AND DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS!
I can not stress this enough. Whenever you are travelling it is vital that you spend the time to conduct the proper research, compare quotes and even if the costs can seem quite excessive that you do not cut travel insurance from your budget just because you believe you can get away on pure luck and the universe is on your side.
There are a multitude of travel insurance companies with lengthy policies, inclusions, and exclusions that will give you a headache when you begin to go through them to find the most suitable for your particular trip. During this research time I grab a nice cup of tea and give myself the time to sit down properly to analyse and review each quote in terms of what it covers such as medical assistance, dental care, accomodation and flight cancellations/delays, loss of luggage, theft, and much more. However, I also look into the company itself with the ease of its claim process and reviews fron other travellers that has used this service. Also, ensure you read the fine print on what they also do not cover as this is equally as important.
For this trip I decided to go with Itrek due to being reasonably priced, but more so that their inclusions were more fitting to the type of travelling I would be embarking upon being more suitable to the needs of a backpacker, the excellent reviews from other travellers that have used Itrek and also how easy it is to submit the claim whilst travelling.
4. Travel Documents
Whilst organising your travels, whether this be for a weekend away, a few weeks, or for a whole year, it is still important to arrange your travel documents in an orderly fashion (no time for organised chaos when you are at the check in counter at the airport and you can not find your passport).
Not only is it important to have them secured safely in an easy to reach location (a travel wallet will become your best friend) but it is also vital that you make sure each and everyone of these documents are backed up sufficiently. I have learnt from my own personal experience of having my wallet stolen in Paris that the ordeal would have been much more stressful if I did not take the necessary precautions to back up my credit card details.
It is recommended to have at least two photo copies easily located on hand and provide one to a family member or friend. In addition, it is advised to scan a copy of each document so that it can be backed up on a USB for a quick orint out if required. It is good practice for a copy to be emailed to yourself and a family member or friend that you can easily contacted for a copy of the documents. I decided to go the extra step and also backed up a copy of my documents through an online cloud such as Drop Box.
It is also an excellent idea to write down important phone numbers on paper (yes we do not live in a world completely void of the old school way of pen and paper) and kept securely as although we all live in the age of technology, we also know that this can at times fail us potentially leaving us stranded without the necessary information to get us out of a pickle.
The types of travel documents that you should be copying/backing up include:
- Passport (the identification page)
- Credit Cards
- Travel Insurance
- Travellers cheques
- Drivers license
- Vaccination documentation
- Travel Itinerary
- Airline/Bus/Train Reservations
- Accomodation reservations
- Pre-Paid Confirmations
5. Notify your Bank and Credit Card Institutions of where you will be travelling
Depending upon where you are traveling to (not as crucial for traveling domestically) you should always notify your bank and credit card institutions of where you are traveling to and for how long. This will mitigate the chance of your bank/credit card institution from pending your credit card access temporarily under the impression that your innocent holiday transactions could be fraudulent and the work of scam artist (slight dampner on your holiday splurges).
6. Check in regularly with a family member or friend
Despite majority of the population being active users of various social media streams updating the world of your social engagements and your travel explorations through mediums such as Facebook, which is currently the largest social media network and according to Pews Research Centre in 2015 reaching 62% of adult population of active users. However, this is not necessarily the safest and most accurate way of your family and friends ensuring that you are safe due to the fact that like many online accounts, Facebook can also be hacked into and your identiy can be stolen leading to the culprit being able to impersonate you and your whereabouts without your family and friends being any wiser.
This is why it is important to arrange with a family member or friend a regular time to check in via email or message just to let them know that you are safe, your whereabouts and also your next travel plans. I currently have this agreement set up with my sister who I message regularly and also let her know in advance if I will be in an area that is out of range of internet access and not easily contacteable. This may seem excessive to check in frequently as if you are a child reporting to their parents, but similar to many of the other tips that I have provided above these are all done as precautions for your own safety.
I hope you found all of these tips and suggestions useful to include within your current or future travel planning process as so often these little details can be forgotten in the excitement of travelling. Please feel free to comment or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish.
With lots of love,