Here is the second part of necessary steps you should take before every trip (you will find the first one here):
7. PLAN A TRANSFER FROM THE AIRPORT
You landed where you wanted to and now what? How to get to your hotel?
You have a few options. If you rent a car you don’t really have a problem. If not, in the well-developed countries you can easily catch a train, metro or a bus from the airport to the city center. You can also think about private transfers (most of them are buses), which will take you right to the hotel. You can buy a ticket in the arrivals hall.
You can also take a taxi, but be careful, because the fare at the airport may be higher. In some places (like South-East Asia) you can try to bargain. In others, like South America you have to be extremely carful (robberies and kidnappings happen). You should avoid taking a taxi right from the airport. The best idea is to ask your hotel to send you a hotel taxi (it’s a standard for most of the hotels).
8. BUY AN INSURANCE
Remember about buying a good travel insurance, before you start the trip. This is undisputed. Even if you are super healthy and probably everything will be ok during your trip, you need to be well prepared. I’m not writing about an unexpected accident, but about regular things that may happen, like toothache. This small thing may be very expensive in some places (like USA or Australia). The travel insurance works as follow: is case of disease you are going to the nearest doctor and pay for the visit by yourself. After coming back to your country, you ask the insurance company for a refund (based on documents like: a bill, an invoice and a prescription – don’t forget to take them back to your country!). Another option is that you contact the insurance company before you visit a doctor. The insurer helps you to organize the visit and pays for everything. I prefer the first option: it’s easier, faster and more convenient. When you are sick you don’t have desire and enough time to discuss with an insurer. You just want to go to the doctor as fast as possible.
Always choose the biggest and most popular insurance companies. Another thing is that, the cheapest insurance doesn’t really mean the best. In this case I would suggest investing money in better insurance. It’s your health and at the end of the day that’s the most important thing you have.
Unfortunately, I had to use my travel insurance many times (e.g. in South Korea or Australia), but I saved a lot of money thanks to it. If you are a student, you can think about ISIC card. It is not only a worldwide insurance, but also a touristic discount card.
9. DO THE VACCINATIONS
They all have pros and cons. The problem is that, even if you are against vaccines, you will need to have them in some countries. Otherwise you won’t be able to enter. The choice is easy: you vaccinate yourself or you don’t go. There is a whole list of vaccinations that are recommended e.g. Hep A and B or rabies. In South-East Asia and South America you should also think about tetanus, typhoid and diphtheria. You definitely should think about them in advance. Most of them have to be taken a few times before you reach the required immunity level.
Here you have a list of recommended vaccines: http://www.who.int/ith/vaccines/en/
Where can you vaccinate? Just go to the general doctor. Most of the vaccines can be applied right away.
10. EXCHANGE MONEY
Remember to take care about money in advance. Especially, in case of popular destinations. Rule no. 1: never change cash at the airport! Exchange rates are really poor there and you will lose on this transaction. If possible, change the money in your country. The more cash you will have, the less you will lose on currency conversions and cash withdrawals from the ATM (commissions may kill you!). Check how big the commission is in your bank before you leave the country. You won’t be surprised later.
There is one golden rule: cash is the king. However, it’s less convenient and you need to be extra careful (never carry all cash in a one place).
11. PACK YOUR STAFF
For many, all the steps above are next to nothing in comparison with a nightmare of packing :) Especially in case of longer trips, the packing list is growing up endlessly. To avoid it, you should remember about one thing: minimalism is the key.
We live in the global world. If you don’t plan a trip to a jungle or dessert, you can buy most of the things in the place you visit. At the beginning, leave all the heavy bottles of cosmetics at home. They will only make a load in your luggage. Make a list of stuff you want to take with you in advance. It will help you to prepare your luggage.
Another issue is to plan in what are you going to pack your stuff. Everything depends on a type of the trip. Are you going to spend some time in the nature and move a lot? Take a backpack. If you have a plan to stay in one place and only explore the nearest area, you can easily take a suitcase.
I’m in a suitcase team :) When I had my trip to Asia I took a backpack and it wasn’t the best idea. I don’t know what I was thinking (maybe that I’m a super backpacker?). I could easily move around with a suitcase and my clothes won’t be in a huge mess during the trip.
If you consider what I wrote, the plan of your trip is almost ready. Happy planning :)