5 Things To Consider Before Traveling That Don't Go In Your Suitcase
When it comes to travel, most people tend to have a packing problem.
What will the weather be like? What will I be doing? Who will I meet? What will I end up needing?
And while the things that go into your carry on, or your third checked bag, are important, there’s also a couple of things here and there that can give you a leg up that won’t put you over your 50lbs limit.
1. Travel Insurance
People get hurt, there are accidents, and some things just can’t be planned. And that’s why travel insurance is important. You may think you’re full proof, but the world isn’t full proof, and it’s much better to get insurance before you get in a car accident in Beirut than after. Take my word for it. And bonus: you can get your baggage returned, or even fully compensated, if they lose it mid-trip—and trust me, it’s great protection to have.
2. Visa Requirements
Most people don’t think about visa requirements before heading out, primarily because they’re not staying long enough for it to really matter, or they just don’t care in the first place; Americans who travel to Cuba through Canada, I am definitely talking to you with that last one.
But either way you look at it, the way visas and foreign relations work is difficult if you plan on staying somewhere, or wanting to go back. For instance, the Schengen area of the EU has a string 90-days per 180-days rule that you just can’t get around, and if you overstay even by a day, they can fine you, or prevent you from coming back inside the Schengen for 5 years or more, and that’s not ideal.
3. SIM Cards
Are you a fan of using your phone anywhere in the world? Yeah, me too. It’s why I always get a local SIM card wherever I go, even if it’s for a couple of days only—it’s just cheaper, and safer that way. Not only do I spend less than $20 on most SIM cards plus data for a week, the bars are better when you use a foreign provider than anything you’re going to get at home, plus the home provider is going to charge you 4 times for it. I’m not into that, and you probably aren’t either.
The only other thing that could factor into this equation, is whether or not you have unlocked your phone. Some phones come already unlocked, and if that’s the case, then you’re good to go with putting your new SIM card straight into the phone. But if you bought your device from a provider like Verizon or T-Mobile, it’s possible that the SIM card won’t work automatically. If that’s the case, then just follow these steps to get that fixed. Then you’re good to go!
Headed to Thailand? Have you heard about yellow fever? Do you want it? If the answer is yes to the first, and no to the last two, then you better get vaccinated. There’s certainly a lot of things that you can’t prevent against—look up Dengue fever, I dare you—but some things you can prevent, and if you want to be safe and healthy, it’s easier to get the shot than to spend your vacation in the hospital. It’s not rocket science, it’s just good prevention methods. Hit up the CDC's website if you’re interested in knowing the latest about the risks of wherever you’re heading, and get thee to a doctor’s office!
5. Airline Ticket Insurance
It’s not necessary, it’s true, and sometimes $30 extra might be just stretching the budget to much—which believe me, I get—but if it’s in the cards, the extra protection is something really great to have. Especially with flights being the way they are (this international political climate means big delays in flights, extra security, and lots of time-costing precaution), it’s worth it to have a little back up plan ready to go. If you miss a flight because you’re bogged down in customs, or you get a little tired and don’t want to continue your journey, or rain days, or any matter of delays, you can always fall back on your ticket insurance if the nice person at the ticket desk isn’t being exactly nice.
Whether you’re going for 5 days or 5 weeks, these pointers can make or break your trip, and even if you don’t take my advice, it’s better to know beforehand than after—because then at least you can be prepared for the next time. Bon voyage!