So, in reality, I learnt this lesson quite late. You can say that I chose to learn it late. Packing tips for travel. All my life I had never really undertaken the adventure of solo travel. And that too far away places. I learnt a lot of skills in School, College and in Work life, basically how to be responsible and take care of yourself. Also, manage travels locally as well as far. But there was always the comfort zone of being able to fall back on a Plan B or make a Plan B even if there was no Plan B. It was not really difficult. Nothing prepared me for the adventures I took later on and that’s exactly why I am here to tell you.. don’t do the mistakes I did.
See, travel is all about getting outside your comfort zone and daily routine. That’s when you begin to experience a whole lot of new things, and this exactly is the reason why people travel. Travel life is an unforgiving teacher, you make mistake, you suffer for it. And if you are alone, you suffer alone, which can be scary at times. No one can say what can happen when you are on the road. It can be a road to hell or a road to heaven if your luck is right. You have to make decisions several times every day keeping in mind the consequences. You can meet someone exciting or can be robbed on the streets in the broad daylight. You can enjoy the lovely local cuisines or you will miss them due to food poisoning. You have to be alert and must think on your feet and must be street smart all at the same time. Even then there is no guarantee that something won’t go wrong. And that’s exactly why solo travel is so exciting.
First and foremost, you have to become friends with yourself, because no matter what, come any situation, you have to manage yourself, your moods, your body and your health. Any mistake here and your travel will be spoilt. Remember this.
Always be prepared for the worst, as then you will always be safe no matter what.
Start with travel insurance. Buy a cheap one, but please buy one. A lot has been said, discussed and written, but I still do not see a lot of people buy insurance. It will just cost a couple of bucks but you will be guaranteed safe no matter what. And trust me, I have had accidents and illness in my travels and I know how important it is to be covered under insurance. Accidents can happen due to the fault of others as well, what are you going to do then? I have seen several people getting severely injured for no fault of theirs and had to pay a huge amount to the hospital and also expensive flight tickets back home. Don’t take this risk its not worth it.
Always carry some spare medical kit as it comes very handy. It should have all the first aid kit and also some medicines. Carry some basic medicines like Crocin (Paracetamol) which is a fairly safe medication and can be carried to most countries without any issue. This is good when you are having a body ache, fever, headache after a long party of drinking or a general feeling of being unwell. This is basic medicine but will see you through the illness faster without going to the doctor. Also, carry an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial powder, use it in your socks and on skin injuries. Very helpful.
Do not forget to pack all your electronics and chargers and multi-point power adapters. Buy them before you leave as they are always expensive in another country. I always bump into people who have forgotten something or the other. I will soon write another blog on the perfect travel checklist.
Do research about the destination before you travel. The tourist point, the tourist scams, the safe and unsafe areas, the locality where you will be staying, the current news of that city/town. This will help you in being prepared and you will have some idea about the place and not land up completely blank. Learn some local phrases like Hello, Good Morning, Thank You, Can you Help me. Download google translator for that language to help you survive the situation if the need be. Thank me later.
Backup Contact numbers
Always note the important addresses and phone numbers before you travel, for Police Hotline, Insurance, Tourist Office, Hospital, your Hotel/Hostel, local Taxi’s, any local persons contact that you may have, important numbers of your friends and family. Do carry a print out of all your important friends and family, if in case you lose your cell phone. Else it will be a complete tragedy. I have seen it happen very often.
Nothing less can be said about this application as it saves us a lot of trouble. Download the google and maps.me offline maps for the location you will be travelling beforehand. Ensure you have all the necessary applications (local taxi, couch surfing, hotel booking, flight booking, tour booking, local travel booking) you need while travelling there. Research everything you need before you leave.
Split Cards and Cash
You can be robbed, Yes!! This is a very real possibility. Do ensure to split and keep your cash and cards in 3 different places. Use your judgement to hide it. So in case you get robbed, you will still be safe. Don’t be a fool and keep the most cash with you as it will be all lost in a robbery. Be careful in the same way when you keep your valuables in a hotel or hostel. Everything is prone to be robbed, keep your eyes open and stay smart to stay safe. More on this in a different blog, but I am sure you got my point.
When taking a flight, always carry 1-2 days clothes with you in your hand luggage. Keep all your money, valuables and electronics with you. There is a reason for this. In case your baggage is delayed, in which case its usually delayed for 36-72 hours, what are you going to wear. Will you run after the airline guys and track your baggage or try and hurry to some store to buy stuff at expensive prices. When travelling, you will usually be tired an all this running around will eventually wear you off. Therefore, its best to keep some clothes for emergencies like these. Keeping electronics and valuables will ensure, you carry the most expensive stuff and lose the least expensive stuff if its permanently lost. Because airlines pay a very basic amount of money per kilo of baggage lost. Hope you understand.
Paper Print Outs
Keep photo copies of all your travel documents, tickets, hotel bookings, etc. This is in case you lose your mobile or you need to show physical copies to the officers. In addition note the Phone number and address of your country’s embassy in that location, so that you can contact them if in need.
Carry Home Food
Carry some local dry food or packed food with you when you travel. This is because everyone misses home food at some point or the other. In that case, the food that you carry will get you through that period. Trust me, it really feels amazing to enjoy your home food when you are travelling in a foreign land where anything everything is completely different.
International Roaming Activation
Ensure all your mobile connections have International Roaming enabled so that you can receive calls and SMS (OTP for financial transactions) when travelling. This is very important and I cannot stress the importance of this. Enable International usage on all your debit and credit cards, you have to call all the banks in order to do this, else the card is blocked on the first transaction. This is applicable even if you have International cards. do this several days before and not on the last day.
This is enough information to get you started but are just the basics that I have covered. There will be more information in upcoming blogs. But this should get you prepared at least. Stay Tuned for more.