How to prepare for a great trip: 24 preparation tips

As Aristotle said, ‘well begun is half done’. It saves you a lot of time, many worries and a bigger chance for the best deals and nicest hot spots, when you prepare your travels well. In this blog, we share 24 travel preparation tips to make your journey smoother. Being prepared saves a lot of time

1. Don’t plan

Go on a spontaneous trip

Don’t plan your days from morning to midnight every day. Many great moments on your travels come from spontaneous decisions and the ability to be flexible and be able to jump on the opportunity or extended invitation. So, leave enough room in your travel plans for these moments to appear and for you to take full advantage of.

2. Plan

At the same time, it’s wise to plan ahead, to prevent tickets for popular attractions or events to be sold out. You’ll usually get the best deals on accommodations when you book early. This way you can save a lot of money or upgrade your stay without busting your budget. The same goes for transportation tickets, they can either be sold out or be much more expensive when you decide last minute. And while you make your plans, investigate the calendar for national holidays, festivals and religious events, these can have a huge impact on the availability of transport and accommodation. And while some religious festivals can add to the experience others can subtract from it when a lot of things are closed.

3. Travel insurance

Nobody plans to get sick or robbed, but these things sadly do happen when on holiday. So be prepared and make sure that you have the right type of coverage for the area you’re going to and the activities you want to engage in. Pay extra attention when you want to do adventure sports like kayaking, mountain climbing, etc. Some countries even demand that you have health insurance to be able to enter the country and or get a visa. For more tips about staying healthy while travelling, click here.

4. Extra passport photos

Whether it is for a visa, an emergency passport or some obscure form you have to fill out, it never hurts to have some extra passport photos on you. Or you can be old school and give them to your holiday crush.

5. Learn some words in the language of the country you’re travelling to.

Knowing a few words in the local language goes a long way. It’s a good way to initiate contact with the locals. It gives you more credit and people tend to try just a bit harder to help you.

6. Bring earplugs and sleep mask

Being well rested is of key importance whatever your travel plans. Whether you’re trying to sleep while travelling or staying in noisy hotels or hostels, earplugs and a sleep mask bring relief in most situations. Alternatively, you can use them on that crowded beach to help you imagine being alone. A neck cushion might also be helpful, to get some rest while travelling by train or bus.

Traffic outside Shanghai Hotel

7. Bring multiple debit and credit cards

It’s usually a good idea to have at least one debit and a credit card. But it’s even safer if you have multiple from different banks when your one bank has problems or is not accepted by the nearby ATM.

8. Expect the worse

This goes with the travel insurance advice. Plan for the worse, this way, things can only look up while you’re there.

9. Write down the address of your accommodation

Write down the address of your accommodation, your phone battery may die on you or get lost. It’s especially useful to have it in the local language so you can be sure taxi drivers know where they are taking you. And while on the topic, double check with taxi drivers that they know where they are taking you.

10. Have a check out routine

Develop a check out routine so you make sure that you check for all your important belongings and don’t forget anything when you check out. Before I leave the room, I at least always check if I have my passport, wallet and phone.

11. Inform your bank of your travels

Most banking apps nowadays let you set your card to world setting via their app. But still it doesn’t hurt if your bank knows where you are, so it won’t decide to block your account because of activity on the other side of the globe.

12. Pack light

Check-in luggage is expensive. Moreover, big luggage items are a drag to carry around and to leave in luggage lockers. So, make your life easier and cheaper by bringing less stuff. There are even schools of thought who believe that the abundance of choice is the main factor for present-day stress.

13. Test-walk your shoes and backpack

Test your gear before you go away. It’s common practice to do this with shoes, really don’t forget to do it with new shoes, because you will get blisters. But also do this with your backpack, is it comfortable to wear for long periods and make the right adjustments to lighten to load on your back.

14. Pack your bag the night before

If your bag is ready to go, you’ll sleep a lot sounder and minimize the risk in forgetting stuff when in a morning rush. It also gives you a little bit more time to sleep in and especially when sleeping in a bunk room, it keeps the noise down for the other guests. Nothing more annoying than people who start to pack at 5 a.m. and waking everybody with the sound of crackling plastic bags.

15. Have enough money, travelling is expensive

Travelling is expensive, make sure you have enough money. It’s a shame if you can’t enjoy yourself while away or if you have to skip going to special places because you have run out of money. Plan ahead and save some more. Travelling is almost always more expensive than you think.

16. Unlocked phone / Mobile WiFi

Phone booth
Who knows how to use this?

While roaming costs have been abolished within the EU, they still exist in the rest of the world and are stupidly expensive. So, avoid this by buying a local sim card. This way you’ll be able to use almost as much data as you would at home for the same price. Either put the sim in your phone, especially easy if you have a dual sim or use a mobile Wi-Fi device. We use a TP-link 4g mobile hotspot, so all our devices are connected all the time without the need to tether and thereby saving valuable battery power of our phones 😉 Additionally this way you can also use a VPN on all your devices, since tethering and VPN doesn’t seem to work together.

17. Bring your favourite clothes

Unless your wardrobe is totally unsuitable for the place you’re going to, wear your favourite clothes. You want to look good in your pictures, don’t stand out as a tourist in your fast-drying cargo pants and feel comfortable. The easiest way to achieve this is in your favourite clothes.

18. Bring some toilet paper

Russian Toilet

Especially handy to do when you’re travelling to an area with squat toilets.

19. Bring a power strip/extension block

Most hotel rooms are not built for multiple device owners. A camera, a phone, a battery pack and a laptop are just a few of the devices the modern travel needs power for. An extension block makes charging that much easier without the need to rotate your devices. It also saves the need to have multiple travel adapters when in a country with different power outlets. You use your one adapter for your power strip and the rest of the devices can use their normal adapters.

20. Know local customs

Don’t be an idiot and be respectful of local customs.

21. > 6 months validity on your passport

For most countries, your passport doesn’t just need to be valid but needs to be valid for at least another 6 months. Be sure to check this well in advance so you can get a new one if necessary.

22. Bring your student card

If you’re a student, don’t forget to bring your student card. This can save you massive amounts of money especially when you plan on visiting a lot of stuff. Almost all museums and other tourist sites have a discount for students.

23. Know how to pack

Practice packing beforehand, so you can keep your luggage organised. Also, practice the clothes roll technique. It saves a lot of space.

24. Coordinate colours

To get the most out of the clothes you bring make sure that all items fit with each other and can be worn in different combinations. This also decreases the need to bring multiple outfits.