I received an email from Dropcam for an invitation to share some tips for a stress free travel. Having travelled to all sorts of countries around the world, I feel that it might be good for me to share my experiences with fellow travellers. Ultimately, travels are supposed to be relaxing where you see things that you haven’t seen before and taste food that you haven’t even heard of. Refrain from stressing yourself because of a slipshod itinerary, missing a plane (Oh no…), losing personal belongings or even finding yourself stranded overseas.
So here it goes~
Plan your itinerary well – I cannot stress this well enough. This is especially important if it is a free and easy trip. Note down what time the train departs and where to board and alight. If you need to arrive early at a particular place, write it down on the itinerary. Ensure there is sufficient communication with your travel buddies prior to the trip with regards to the scheduling so that disputes do not arise during the trip. Do make sure that all your travel companions have a copy of the itinerary so in case anyone loses their way in a foreign land, they will know where to find you next. Check that you have activated your credit cards for overseas use (just in case you decide to buy more than you have planned and you need urgent cash). And, make sure you apply your VISA early.
Read up on the places that you are going – One way to do this is through googling other people’s blogs. There are so many travel bloggers out there, including me, and their blogs are filled with crucial information. For example, if you are planning on café hopping in Korea, you should definitely find out the opening days and hours of the selected cafes. It would be a major wet blanket for all to discover that the restaurant is closed when you have specially made a trip down. You could have tried one other restaurant on your list! There and then, your travel buddies might start sulking and perhaps blame you for your poor planning and make you feel stressed out! So do read up properly. Also, there are places which require you to be properly attired, like the temples in Thailand. So be sure to bring scarves or wear pants on those days. No short skirts please!
Set your office mailbox to Out-of-office Mode – Most of the time, we travel to break away from the daily stress at work. So do remember to set your office mailbox to send out automatic out-of-office replies! There was once I forgot to do it before my overseas trip and I ended up getting numerous calls from companies on my mobile phone as they did not know that I was overseas. It is pretty frustrating, considering that your purpose of travelling is to forget about work and enjoying yourself. It was a harsh reminder for me not to ever forget doing this.
Inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about your travel plans – This is important if you are travelling to potentially dangerous places (either due to natural disasters or possible terrorist attacks). If there is a sudden earthquake or strike (or any other crisis), the local embassy will contact you and perform an emergency evacuation. This simple step of registering yourself before you travel would save your life as it could be extremely hard trying to get a plane out of a country when disaster strikes. Here is how you can do it. Also, read up on some travel tips collated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of which is to bring along a photocopy of your passport when you are overseas to prove your citizenship. (NOTE: Don’t show your actual passport if any random man dressed in police uniform approaches you on the streets!)
Inform your family members and your neighbours about your travelling plans and ensure that you are contactable – Remember 127 Hours? I am sure no one would want to be trapped in a place out of nowhere and ended up having to amputate one’s arm with a teeny weeny knife so please make sure that you let your family know where you are heading to. Do not wander off without telling anyone your whereabouts, especially for solo travellers. I know this is part of the thrill of travelling alone where you enjoy performing the disappearing act for one day or two (and perhaps, even longer) but this also means that if anything unfortunate happens, no one would be able to locate you. Also, do try to remain contactable. I have been to Taiwan so many times and have never bothered to get a local number. However, my Singapore mobile number is set on auto-roam. If there is anything, I can still make a call back to Singapore and my friends and family in Singapore will still be able to reach me.
Take good care of your personal belongings, especially your passport – Have you ever lost your passport? Apparently, around 7,000 Singapore passports were reported lost or stolen every year! That is quite a huge number considering that your passport is one of your most valuable assets and knowing jolly well that a Singapore passport is highly sought after in the market because we can travel to many different countries (in fact all countries that you can name). When you are overseas, if the hotel can be trusted, leave it in the safe deposit and make sure you lock it up properly. If not, bring it around with you in a safe compartment of your bag and watch after it all the time. Sometimes, I tend to trust the hotel more than I trust myself and I will just keep it in the safe. (I tend to neglect my personal belongings once I am on a photo-taking frenzy or a shopping frenzy.) BUT if you have already lost your passport, click here to read out about what you should do.
“On hindsight, it will all be hilarious.” – Just remind yourself that travelling is supposed to be enjoyable. Do not be too upset if things do not go as planned. If it does, stay positive and think about alternatives. Although you should always plan your itinerary well, you should be prepared that things do cork up. I’ve once made a trip to an island in search of the legendary windmills and to take photos of a historical fort. I managed to snap some photos of the windmills but when I was there at the fort, I realised that I was too late. The people who were supposed to man the place had left. Even though we could have easily walked into the place, it was filled with stray dogs and they all have super menacingly looking faces! They look like they will spring on us if we get any nearer. In the end, we decided not to risk our lives for the historical fort and we left. Obviously, I was pretty disappointed because we made a trip over to the island but ended up missing out on this iconic landmark! However, when I was back in the hotel and recalled my day, it turned out really hilarious. Those stray dogs actually protected the fort like it was entirely theirs! And, much bigger human beings like us were petrified by their expressions. Who knows, they might be sneering at us cowardly fools. So keep telling yourself, “On hindsight, it will all be hilarious.”
Of course this list could go on and on but these are the basic rules of thumb for a stress free travel! Do share with me other tips that you can think of! 🙂
If you are going on a trip soon, here’s wishing you a fabulous and FUNtastic trip! 🙂