Travelling is one of the great joys of life. But the first step — choosing where to go and preparing for the trip — may seem like a daunting task. Where do you begin? Are there affordable airfare or accommodations to holiday destinations right now? Can you afford these?
With thousands of destinations to choose from, how do you pick the best one to visit? Let us help you answer these questions and help make your vacation stress free. Here’s a checklist to guide you through the preparation.
1. How long will you be away?
Include your travel time to the number of days of your vacation. You are looking at an aggregate of all the days you’ll be away from home. This figure will influence the activities you can include in your itinerary.
Don’t cramp too many activities in a limited schedule. Otherwise, you’ll squeeze in the tasks, which would kill the fun to be had during the trip. To trim down the itinerary, best to pick the activities that will be refreshing and that you have longed for. Sundowners and good accommodations would be great, so is high-end shopping. And to ensure that you’ll have enough cash for the whole duration of the trip, go for relatively cost effective options. Remember that each day on vacation is a challenge to day to spend money.
2. Be informed about the country you’re touring
Ideally you want to go to a country wherein it’s safe to go around and interact with locals. Plus, it should have the holiday perks you desire and ones that would not go over your budget. Moreover, choose to know something about the culture within the area.
And before you decide, factor in the following:
– Security situation
The government will often issue travel warnings or alerts for countries not safe for tourists.
Details on such situations are also likely to be available on the website of your country’s
embassy with that particular country.
– Health situation
Depending on where you are going, you may need a particular type of vaccine before heading out to certain countries. Bodies like the Centre for Disease Control, or CDC; and the World Health Organization, or WHO will have specific recommendations for the necessary vaccinations. You can access such information of their respective websites.
– Cultural awareness
When travelling, you should be ready to immerse yourself into the culture. That’s why you should research on the culture beforehand. How do people dress? Do they require you to dress the like them? What’s the popular religion? It’s important to learn about the people’s values, cultural norms and customs so you won’t experience culture shock. Learn the dress codes, attitudes, business etiquette, hand gestures and more. If it’s not too much trouble, try and learn a few key phrases in the native language; this will get you a long way in building good relations with the folk.
– Driving rules
Most traffic rules are the same in most countries. Still, it doesn’t hurt to know that some countries have the driver’s seat on the left hand side of the vehicle while others have it on the right. Your life will be much easier if the driver’s seat in the country you’re visiting is the same side as at home.
Otherwise you must be ready to make a few adjustments. The country’s local travel or car rental company sites should have the kind of information that will help. Don’t forget to carry your international driving permit with you.
3. Decide when it’s ideal to travel
Once you’ve settled on a country to visit, you need to determine the right season for the kind of activity you are drawn to. Normally this will be determined by the weather in that country at that time. Think about the main things you want to do in that country. It should then be easier to decide the time.
You don’t want to travel all the way to South Africa from USA for the whales only to realise you won’t be seeing any, apparently because it’s not their season. The best time for watching the country’s southern right whale is from June to November. Whatever your destination of choice is, just be sure to pick the right season.
4. Consider the required documentation
While some countries require that you have a travel visa, there are others where you don’t need a visa to visit. Contact the embassy of the foreign countries you consider visiting so they can give you the details on this. Make sure to have your passport ready in good time, plus the visa if it’s needed.
5. Determine your budget for the trip
While deciding on your travel budget, consider the expenses and the conversion rates of the currencies (your home country’s currency and that of the country you’re visiting). Ensure you have extra money to be on the safe side. And just before you leave, notify your bank and credit card company that you’re travelling.
Otherwise they can freeze your accounts for security reasons upon noticing the unexpected overseas transaction. Factor in everything you’ll need money for: your travel and communication expenses. You may want to buy an international SIM card to help you manage your communication expenses.
You can get one from OneSimCard and save up to 85% on your communication expenses in
over 200 countries. This way, you’ll have one thing less to worry about.