When you book a big holiday far in advance, you think that it will take ages to get down to a two-digit countdown. Now that we are in the single digits until my husband Cal and I get on a big jet plane to Europe for the first time, my feelings are certainly mixed. I am excited, happy, slightly scared, stressed out and apprehensive all at the same time. Having never been to Europe and never been on such a long holiday (10 weeks away from the fur babies is going to suck), I have tried to be extremely organised, becoming the Queen of Excel so I know where we will be and what trains to catch.
While I initially wanted to be one of those free-spirited travellers who didn’t need to book trains in advance and chill in a city for a few more days because I loved it so much, both funds (booking in advance does save you money) and my knack to not want any surprises took from the thought of a chill no plan holiday. Don’t get me wrong though. There will be time to purposely lose ourselves in cities we have only dreamed of and meet new people we would have never hoped to interact with during our daily lives.
As an amateur traveller who has only been overseas twice (and that was only in the last two years), there have been some things that have become important for international travel.
- Travel Smart, Travel Well
One of the most important things to arrange when you go overseas is travel insurance. While no-one ever hopes to use it, it is vital to organise before you step foot on the plane. Always make sure you know what you are covered for as some don’t cover you for things like renting a scooter and other similar vehicles. That tirade around Bali or chilled exploration in Mykonos may need to be reconsidered.
Ever wondered how when something terrible happens in an overseas country, media outlets know how many foreign citizens are currently in that area? For Australians, our Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have Smarttraveller. You can register your full trip and provide Emergency Contact details for yourself and your family. While it can be time consuming if you are going to multiple places, keeping your mum off your back and giving her the peace of mind is definitely worth it.
If you have complicated finances, share your assets with others or have kids, updating your will before you go on holidays is essential. You don’t want to make your possible death any more difficult than it needs to be and ensuring you have a clear plan just in case will make it easier for loved ones. Your fur babies will also thank you knowing they will go to grandma who insists on feeding them every five minutes.
- Travel Bag Essentials
While we all know that you need to pack sunscreen or an umbrella depending on where you are going, there are gritty things you need to make sure you have the best time. While you might not always plan to hire a car during your trip, if the urge arises it is good to have an International Drivers Licence. Some countries need more than just your licence from your home country, so be prepared and get one just in case. In Australia, it is only $39 that decides whether you travel in style or are taking the bus (no offence to the bus, we are doing a couple of Busabout tours ourselves).
While it is tempting to just take our usual debit card overseas and deal with the transaction fees, getting a multi-currency card helps to avoid making your already expensive holiday dig a little more into the purse strings. If there is ever a need to use your own card, let your bank or credit union know before you go so they can put a note on your account. There is nothing worse than being denied access to your own funds because your bank thinks you are making fraudulent overseas transactions!
While I could go on and on about the things to do and essentials to pack, the most important thing is to have fun and take advantage of every moment. I’m off to pre-pack the big suitcase and see how much I need to take out. Let me know in the comments what your travel tips are for the amateur traveller.
See you on the flip side!