There is always a sense of excitement before the first International trip. What to do, what not to do, where to go, what to book etc. And in that excitement we sometimes ignore or overlook a lot of small but important things which we regret later. There are few myths which I will try to simplify here-
- Choose Destination Wisely- I know this usually upon person to person but what I suggest is to choose a less frequented place. This helps you break away from crowd as well as helps to enjoy your trip more. Also choose the season you are going in based on your liking. A lot of countries are cheaper in certain months. Hit those shores when no one expects you. This will also help you get offseason rates. Having options that lets you tap into your interests can elevate your experience, and allow you to appreciate your destination’s culture all the more. Also check the weather you are going to. This will have a lot of impact on your trip.
- Getting the Visa- Visa- This part is one of the most tricky for me. Since the Indian passport is not the strongest in terms of getting a visa on arrival for spontaneous trips, one has to be certain and prompt for applying for the same. Having gone through the process of applying for it a few times and one particular visa just a few days before my travel, I have realised that it’s important to start the process as soon as possible. Besides the document, the thing that matters the most for the visa is the Return Ticket and enough amount in your bank account that you can return your native country. If you are on a roadtrip or you don’t know where all you want to go in the country, then just create a quick itinerary, book some refundable hotels (Booking.com is the best to get free refundable bookings) and apply for visa. Once you get the visa you can always cancel and make your own pit stops later.
- No amount of information is too much information- Read & research as much as you can. It is fun spontaneous but reading and researching in advance helps you creating an outline of the trip. Get a guidebook like Lonely Planet. Guidebooks usually include maps, key words or phrases, and give you enough detail on certain sites that you won’t need to purchase the pamphlet at the venue.
- Develop an Itinerary- Usually there are pre made lists travel plans based on the duration of time you want to go for on the internet or in guidebooks. I usually compare multiple lists and pick and choose what I want to do/see. If you like to set your Itinerary then decide on all the places you want to go, create a rough itinerary but always keep a day or two as free days. So that you are not on a tight schedule and if something goes wrong you can still fall back on those extra days at a particular place. Sometimes, the best part of travel is the spontaneity factor but still always plan yourstill always plan your First & the Last day.
- Tickets, Hotels Etc- Book your Tickets well in advance as it will always help you get a good deal. Also if you can get refundable ones even better. Apps like Skyscanner are super helpful in this. If you are going during the peak season then book your hotels/hostels well in advance or be ready to pay a bomb on the spot. I prefer Booking.com, Hostelworld.com & Airbnb to get the best deals.
- Look up the monetary conversion before you go- Make sure you do your math before you travel to get a sense of where the conversion rate is at. This will help you plan the trip and your budget better
- Always have local currency- Not all places accept cards, so always carry local cash well in advance or whenever you get the best rates. I suggest never to exchange at the airports as it doesn’t give you best of the deals unless there is an emergency. Thought don’t carry too much as one can always use the ATMs in the countries. They are still a better option
- Get Travel Insurance- Though I believe that the probability is low of things going too wrong during the trip but then never say never. It’s always good to have travel insurance which helps you securing your trip from the several potential risks out there. There are quite a few in the market like the Royal Sundaram Travel Insurance Plan etc where you can check the Insurance cover and get one quickly online. Choose a plan as per your travel frequency and benefits and youa re good to go.
- Travel light- You don’t need to bring everything. Because if you are going to then remember you are the one who has to carry it (unless your BF or Husband decides to do for you). Carrying a heavy suitcase on a flight of stairs or dragging it around town is never fun. Do carry the essentials but leave space for the knickknacks you pick up. I prefer not checking in my bag and save that time waiting for my luggage to come. So pack accordingly. Buying small things abroad will cost you cheaper that paying for that extra luggage on the flight.
- Calling Back Home– I don’t suggest taking international roaming. Either buy a local sim card or use apps like Skype, Viber or Whatsapp wherever you get free Wi-Fi which is common these days.
- Always Carry a local Map- If you can’t speak the local language then point at the map and it will be helpful enough.
- Check your Camera & Spare Batteries or the charger
- Be open to meet people & share experiences- There’s so much you can learn from the perspectives and experiences of people from other countries and cultures. Learning a few simple words in the language of the country you are going to will help you a long way.
- Be ready to experience what you have never- For a day or two take the risk of doing what you have never done. Because you might not get that chance ever.
At last. Enjoy your trip. Once this Travel bug bites, the cure will be more travel plans. Get ready, Pack and Just go 🙂