Tips & Tricks to help you plan your next adventure
Keep a Travel Diary!
I swear the only reason Sean and I remember half of our first big trip (Central America in 2012) was due to writing in a diary every day. When we got home the whole trip seemed so surreal that when going over it with our friends and family we would need to look through the diary and our photos to to remember what we'd even done. Even only a week after getting home, our diary was able to prompt many nice "oh yeah, remember when we did that" moments.
I mean sure there were millions of details we remembered, we were away for 6 weeks, and we visited a few different countries, we met lots of cool people and we had a really great time... But what really made up each day? What companies did we use for tours? Where did we stay? What was that amazing restaurant overlooking the water with $2 cocktails and free tequila on Tuesdays? Those are the kind of details that escape the mind after time, and those are the times I want to remember forever.. So if you want to remember your trips.. read on.
The main motivation for our diary entries is to keep a record of our trip, so that we can reminisce and keep those memories forever. However it also comes in handy when recommending (or NOT recommending) accommodation and tour companies etc we have used along the way. The best part about it is that most of our entries only took us a minute or two to write! It is super easy to do if you make a habit of writing something down every day in your downtime. If you forget one day, that's ok, catch up on the next. But if you leave it a whole week between writing, you end up having big gaps in your diary, and the process of writing becomes a lot more difficult and less enjoyable.
What we like to have in our diary entries:
- Accommodation (location, how we found it and price) i.e. is it good? bad? would we recommend it to friends?
- Tours (where we went, what we did, what company we used) again would we suggest anyone else
- A drawing of our days major activity (Sean and I both suck at art so this is kinda just more for fun)
- A ticket stub or flyer from the activity we did or the place that we visited
- Restaurant/bar info
- Funny quotes/occurrences (Pretty much anything memorable, e.g. weird border crossings, kooky fellow travellers, sketchy incidents...)
Some days will have WAAAY more in them than others, and thats okay! It's just really rewarding to be able to sit back and glance through your adventures even years after you took the trip. The memories really do just come flooding back.
What you need in your diary entries:
- Absolutely anything that YOU want (der, it's your diary)
Be creative, write the things that you enjoyed the most, the things that made you smile, and even the things that made you angry sad or scared (I promise with enough time even most of these will make you smile). These are the kind of moments you can easily forget about with time and these are the kind of little moments in life that we think are the most important to remember.
No-one want's a good trip ruined by something that could have been avoided with a little preparation at home.
Here are 5 THINGS YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO LOOK INTO BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME.
1 - Passport
2 - Visas
3 - Money (Credit cards, travel cards, debit card, cash etc)
4 - Travel Insurance
5 - Vaccinations
Have you got one? Yes. Good.
Now check the expiration date (how long it is still in date for), some countries require that you have at least 6 months validity left before you enter.
Check the requirements of entry for the countries you plan on visiting. Some countries you pay for a Visa upon arrival, others you will need to sort out before you leave home. These can take 1 month + to apply for. Get planning!
Have a look here for information, www.visamapper.com/# or check with the consulate
Money makes the world go round, and having a credit card or two as a back up is not only smart but also a safety net. If something goes wrong on your trip and you absolutely need to book a flight home that day it is nice to have the security of a credit card to get you out of there.
Also a lot of places may require a Credit Card to hire a vehicle.
Depending on your home country, there are many options as to taking your money overseas. Whilst in the Western world we are used to paying for everything with plastic, many amazing travel destinations deal mostly with cash. Prepaid travel cards and some special international debit cards are generally much safer than carrying around wads of cash, however all of these tend to have their own fees and costs, some more hidden than others. Do your research thoroughly and look for the most up to date information, as prices, fees and circumstances are always changing.
Get it. Travel insurance is an ABSOLUTE MUST on any trip, be it 7 days in Bali or 12 months trotting around the globe, you need it. Overseas medical bills can reach the hundred of thousands mark very easily, and that is not something you want to be dipping into your own pockets for.
AND travel insurance isn’t only for medical coverage, it covers everything. Lost your suitcase? Stolen Camera? Family emergency back home? You’re covered. It’s something everybody needs, but that you hope you never use.
Travel insurance pricing can vary quite a lot between brands but there are a few things to check and double check:
- Medical & Dental: Make sure the cover is UNLIMITED, you never know what could happen.
Lots of policies have unlimited medical but only a small amount of dental cover, make sure your policy is unlimited for both!
- Cancellations: Make sure the amount is MORE than whatever you have already paid/still need to pay for your trip. You never know if you’ll need to cancel everything last minute! (Unfortunately we've been there, done that, with family health problems meaning that a trip to Hawaii was cancelled in the week before our flight!)
It is important here to note that lots of travel insurance policies can cost LESS than your private health premiums that you pay in your home country. So for the small price (some lower than a dollar a day) you’d be an idiot not to get it.
Shop around for travel insurance too. Many large companies with quality coverage will happily price-beat their competitors. You may be able to get the best possible coverage at the cheapest possible rate!
Also, remember to talk to your private health insurance provider about putting your home country private health insurance on hold, especially if you are going on a trip longer than 1-2 weeks. Save your cash here and use it on travel insurance!
Visit your GP to check what vaccinations you will need before leaving, and anything you may need to take over there (i.e. Malaria tablets). Also once you've got your vaccinations keep a record handy for when you're travelling, some countries need proof of certain vaccinations (such as Yellow Fever) to enter and/or exit.
A great website to check out with lists of vaccinations necessary listed by location is: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/travel/vaccines_index.shtml
An Aussie who loves travelling, hiking, trail running and pretty much any activity you can do outdoors.