Some people love it, others hate it: Packing before going on holiday or travel in general.
I love to travel and gathered several interesting tips for you, also suitable for business traveling.
There are several things you can do before leaving home. Others are more adequate during travel or on the actual trip and finally some tips are about the first steps upon your arrival. In order to optimize this article, I created 3 parts, one for each phase of traveling.
So this article focuses on 12 useful tips before you are actually leaving.
1. Create a full backup of your portable. Use your corporate backup system or save your data on a spare harddisk, dvds, etc. Probably the best way is to perform an online backup (I personally use Mozy.com).
2. Scan all your important documents (flight tickets, hotel vouchers…) and make pictures of your passport, drivers license, credit cards, etc. Create a compressed file (zip, rar…) and encrypt it (or at least put a password on it!). Email this file to yourself, so that you can access it through your webmail. Very handy in case some of your documents get stolen or lost! Lifesaver! Extra how-to info
3. Bank token : Some time ago, my bank decided to change the online payment policy. Every time I want to book and pay something online and using my credit card for it, I need a special token (Digipass) to approve the transaction. Regardless of the fact that a lot more secure and more efficient measures exist, I now need to take this token with me, everywhere I go. Quite ridiculous, but if I want to re-book or pay something online with my credit card, I can’t get it done without (unless I go for Paypal, but it’s not always accepted yet) that token.
4. Extra plastic bag : pretty handy whenever you need to carry something extra with you. I know that some shops give you one when you buy something. I sometimes take 2 with me. A small, light-version and a more heavy-duty model. You can also use it to put your wet clothes in (I like to swim before going back home) or an extra souvenir or … It can be handy to use these when your hand-luggage is slightly over-weighed or too big, just put it in an extra plastic bag. You’ ll get away with it in most cases!
5. Pocket change. I always advise to take with you some pocket change, both your own currency (flight delayed?) as the one of your destination. If you have a little amount of the local currency with you (like 100 or 200 €, £ or $), you can immediately leave the airport when you arrive. Otherwise you first need to change money there. Always bad rates! And even while you are waiting for your suitcases, you can buy a drink or snack or give a tip to the bellboys, etc. You pay them in their currency, which is cheaper than to do that in your own currency!
6. Bring your business cards : I agree, a classic one, but often forgotten! Even on holidays, you never know who you run into. Can be the deal or prospect you’ve been waiting for!
7. Save weight : think twice before leaving home : take out extra loyalty cards, leave all keys besides your home keys (and carkeys?). You won’t need them at your destination! Also extra papers like bills, drivers licence (if unlikely you’ll rent-a-car), coupons… can be taken out of your wallet. Unnecessary to take them with you! Some people even have 2 wallets : home-version and travel-version.
8. Credit Cards : 2 types of credit card is always handy: Visa, MC, AmEx… If one doesn’t work, the other probably will. Happened to me! By the way, in some countries there is a significant difference between Visa and Mastercard, just that you know…
9. Park your car at airport? Make a picture of where you park your car. When you return just review the picture. Don’t loose time looking for your car…now where did I park it? Right!
10. Inform neighbours, family and friends : Let your neighbours and family know you’ll be traveling (if no one’s home). Also let the Police know. They make extra surveillance rounds in some areas if they know you’re on holiday…You might even ask your neighbours or family to empty your letter box, making it less obvious for thiefs that you are not at home!
11. Visa required : Is there a visa required for the country you travel to? Better check this upfront. You don’t want to arrive at your destination without the proper papers to enter the country. At least a lot of timewasting and in some cases you are not allowed to enter the country.
12 Spare battery : It’s always handy to have a spare battery for your mobile. Whenever there is no plug at hand, you can at least still communicate with the outside world. Of course, a spare battery for your laptop helps too :-)
What interesting travel tips do you have ? I invite you to share them here. Thanks!