10 Tips to prepare well for your next trip

Your next big adventure is just around the corner, but before you set off, remember to prepare the right way and prepare like the most experienced traveler. Here are ten top tips:


Depending on where you are travelling to, the rules regarding how long you can stay in the country as a tourist can vary greatly. Make sure you know the rules and that you have a visa (if required). Also check that your passport is valid for at least six months after your return date, as many countries require this. And finally, make sure you know what vaccinations you need to travel safely - a quick Google search and a visit to your doctor will give you the information (and vaccinations!) you need. And remember: If you're travelling to an exotic country - for a safari, for example - plan your vaccinations at least a few months in advance of your trip, as some vaccinations need to be administered several times before you travel.


I think we've all found ourselves in that situation. You know, when your phone battery is at four percent during a conversation that could change your whole life, and you start typing faster and faster to say everything you wanted to say before the phone goes dead. It's not a pleasant feeling and your only saviour in this situation is your charger. Make sure you always carry a charger and an adapter with you, so that you can charge all your electronic devices wherever you are in the world.


If you're travelling with an iOS or Android device, you'll never have to worry about getting lost again. That's because Google allows Android and iOS users to save maps offline so you can access them without having to connect to the internet (say goodbye to expensive roaming charges). You can save areas as large as the Paris metro and up to 6 maps at once. If you already know which cities you'll be visiting during your trip, do yourself a favour and download the maps before you leave.


And while we're still on the subject of phones... if you're staying in the same country for a longer period, it's worth investing in a local SIM card. It will allow you to keep in touch with (local) friends, hail taxis and search the internet without worrying about roaming or wifi charges. Make sure you have an unlocked phone with you, as you won't be able to install a local SIM card in a locked phone.


Be sure to research before you leave. Almost every city, even the smallest, has a local website that lists local events for the next few months; local editions of TimeOut magazine are also a great resource. And don't hesitate to ask your friends or friends of friends for advice on social media - you'll be surprised how many people will be more than happy to share information about their beloved city. The more you research, the more prepared (and excited!) you'll be.


If you're travelling on your own, but don't necessarily want to spend your entire holiday unaccompanied, start networking before you go. Let as many people as possible know about your itinerary by starting a travel blog (Tumblr is a good option, as it allows you to tag by destination, for example) and get in touch with your friends or your friends' friends on Facebook or Instagram. Again, most people will share tips and information and will agree to meet you for a coffee if they are nearby.


Let me guess: you're probably going to take thousands of photos during your trip. Every new city, every poolside spot, every morning cappuccino and every historical monument is a great place to feed your Instagram account. But if you're taking photos the old-fashioned way - with a camera and not your phone - there are much better ways than Instagram to save your photos and show them off. Upload them to your blog or create an online photo gallery with Flickr or Snugmug (and don't forget to check out our top travel photography tips).


Knowing how to communicate with the locals is key to making friends and feeling at home in your new city (even if you're only staying for a few days). You don't have to master the language, but knowing a few basic phrases will help you a lot - and the more you know, the better. Before you leave, buy a phrasebook (they don't cost much and are light and easy to carry) and do a bit of study. Being able to book a taxi, buy some food at the local market or explain your allergies to a doctor can be a life saver, believe me!


Unless you're going to Sweden, where the government is pushing for a cash-free society, the reality is that in most countries, especially developing countries, cash is still king. You don't want to end up in the worst case scenario unable to pay for food, transport or accommodation because you don't have a cash machine nearby, so make sure you take enough cash with you before you go. But watch out for pickpockets, don't keep all your cash in one place and never leave it on the bed when you leave your hotel room.


There's nothing more annoying than lugging around a huge suitcase full of stuff you're probably not going to wear and not having enough room to bring home those amazing things you bought without having to pay excess baggage fees on your flight home. To avoid this situation, make sure you have an expert grip on one of the most essential (and least fun) aspects of travel preparation. Pack small if you're taking a weekend trip or travelling to a city for a week or less, roll your clothes instead of folding them, and re-evaluate every item of clothing and outfit you've packed before you close your suitcase - you can do with a lot less than you think. 

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