7 Important Tips For Travel Preparedness
So, let me admit from the get-go, I am not the kind of person to ever ‘wing it’.
I never assume that things will be okay, or that those dreaded and frustrating scenarios won’t happen to me. I very much air on the side of caution in life, and so to, in my travels, which is probably totally unsurprising considering the personal stuff I revealed previously.
Is that such a bad thing?
Being prepared does not stop me from having amazing, spontaneous and unpredictable experiences, not at all, it simply means I can enjoy them more, because I’ve taken care of my little niggling worries and taken moves to protect myself should certain annoying scenario's arise.
When you're travelling, maybe thousands of miles away from home, or even only a few hundred, it’s likely that there will be admin associated with it; from travel insurance, to itineraries, there will always be boring (but important) aspects to deal with.
I want to make it easier for you to deal with the duller part of travel prep, so I have compiled a list of 7 tips for travel preparedness, ones which you can adapt to your own travel circumstances:
7 Tips For Travel Preparedness:
Making copies of important documents and ID
Before we left the UK we made a scan of both our passports and driving licences.
We assumed this might make life easier in the event that these things could go missing. We keep these paper scans in a separate folder and also have the copies emailed to a trusted family member.
If you acquire important documents whilst travelling, a good app to use is GeniusScan, which is a fairly self-explanatory way to make digital copies.
Having duplicates of important documentation just ensures that all is not lost, if something is lost.
I also printed off a document which specifically detailed the steps to take in the event I do lose my ID's so I can quickly refer to this, making an annoying situation easier to deal with.
Create a ‘While I’m away’ file
I had no choice but to make this file before leaving the UK as being self-employed meant I had a UK tax return due whilst I was away. To make my life easier and forego having to worry about doing this whilst I was 1000’s of miles away from my paperwork, I passed the job onto to my ever helpful and willing mother. I knew what data my tax return would require so I ensured I had all this documented for my mum to reference.
If you don’t have business affairs to deal with as I did, or maybe you are only off on a short trip, your file could contain anything important that your loved ones might need access to in your absence. My file also included copies of my insurance cover details with relevant contact numbers. It also contained a copy of my visa entitlement plus my passport photocopy.
I know, I am a tad OCD in my preparedness. But I would rather be too prepared than not at all.
Use secure password storage software
It’s a good idea to note any important passwords/logins, especially when it’s to do with money, not only for yourself, but so that someone else (someone trusted) can help you deal with anything online-related.
There are a few highly secure systems out there where you can safely store password hints and then assign a master password which your trusted person can access if required. Of course, there's good old-fashioned pen and paper, whereby you could note important passwords before you head abroad and your trusted person can keep them safe.
I had something happen whereby I needed to access my business email address (which was attached to my visa application) but as I hadn’t logged on in months, I had forgotten the password.
Long story short I couldn’t get into my account, as my old UK phone number was still attached to the verification process. I also had a third party taking payments out of my UK bank (which I couldn't stop without accessing the email account) for my old business website. If I'd had the foresight to use a storage programme (or note the passwords down at home) then my poor memory wouldn't have been a problem, or, at least I could have asked my mum for the details.
I simply didn’t realize that this would arise but we often manage so many online accounts (especially as bloggers), differing our passwords for security reasons, that we can cause unprecedented issues when we are in faraway lands trying to deal with boring things like visa’s and banking.
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Write down international contact details for cards
I have the international telephone numbers for my most important cards written down on one page in my notebook, along with other contact info, so that in the event I lose a card, I can straight away notify my bank.
You could also leave these details in your ‘While I’m away’ file.
Notify your bank of your abroad travel
Be sure to notify your primary bank of your travel destination and dates.
You can do this online for some credit card companies or in branch for your main bank accounts before you leave home. Whilst your destination may change, your bank at least needs an indication of your intent to be abroad and potentially use your card there.
Be aware that when you do try to manage your home banking from abroad, it can be difficult to assign a trusted person to do this, as banks like to deal with the account holder directly (naturally), so try to make provisions for this happening by keeping them in the loop.
Tell your trusted family member where your important paperwork is kept
I have made sure that my mum knows where my important files are, ones not necessarily related to my travels. It just gives me peace of mind knowing someone else knows where I have squirrelled away certain things in the event that they need to access them.
Get insurance and printing off the certificate
Okay, so it’s a good move to secure insurance for your trip, being that in many places you need to contact your provider as soon as any issue arises, but do you leave the documents in your email account, or just saved on your laptop?
It can’t hurt to have them printed off (as well as forwarded to a family member) and put into your travelling file so that your travelling partner (or someone else) can do what needs to be done if you are indisposed.
Prior to leaving your home country, its worth trying to ensure that you are prepared for a few irritating eventualities, as likely or unlikely as they may seem amidst pre-travel excitement and optimism.
Setting aside some time before your travels, designated to these steps, will ensure you can travel happily and worry a little less about what could happen; by creating a clear action plan, and inviting someone in on it, it will help you easily deal with the boring and annoying stuff that could arise.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!
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