Saturday, September 20, 2014

Going Overseas: The Extra 5 Things You Might Want To Do Before You Leave

Anyway, for people who don't know, I am preparing to go travelling very soon! Next week I am going overseas for a work trip and the week after that I'll be going for a short vacation away!

So, today on my lazy Saturday, I've been doing personal errands and preparing for my trip. It suddenly occurred to me that there are actually quite a few things that you should do before a trip. Of course, they definitely are not compulsory, but these are just some of the things that I do when I prepare for a trip myself. I just thought I would share it since I it is still fresh in my mind!

1. Print out all documents regarding plane tickets, hotel (hostel) bookings, tour bookings, email correspondences.

Usually you would only encounter problems like this if you go to areas that are not developed, or if you picked a really cheap accommodation / package. I think having a physical copies of your bookings makes the whole process easier. If there is a language barrier, sometimes this helps too. It takes 5 minutes to search your email and print out your document. Never worry about forgetting the address of your hotel or wondering which terminal you should go to again!

2. Dump an online softcopy of all your travel itineries, as well as important information such as passport, passport photo, I/C and any else into your Dropbox.

This might be a bit extreme, but in case of getting your belongings stolen or you lose your physical/original copies, you can always log onto the internet and retrieve that information that you need. Very very handy if you need that information when making foreign police reports or going to embassies and consulates to make official documents. All it takes is just 15 minutes and you're set for life! Scan and upload an your documents, you will feel extremely at ease, trust me!

3. Activate your credit and debit cards for overseas usage

Although I know that most people like to have cash on hand, both local and the foreign currency, I think it is always prudent to have a Plan B in case you run out of money. You won't be able to get the good FX rates that are quite nice in Singapore, and many areas lack money changers, so the only source of money you might be able to draw from is the ATM network. When I was travelling in Europe, I visited a money changer just once, and the rate that I got was so bad! After that, everywhere I went I just withdrew the local currency directly from the ATMs if I had to. There is a small charge, but it is largely quite fair and for the convenience, it is hard to complain!

4. Notify the government (Men only)

As Singaporean males, we have our duty. So do notify the SAF if you are going overseas for more than 14 days. I am sure the government will postpone any activities and wait for your return, haha.

5. Apply for travel insurance

Of course, this is purely based on preference and comfort. I have written about this before. My short summary to this: If you can afford it, get it. If you can't afford it, then you must strong belief in yourself to safely navigate yourself back to Singapore.

There are other basic things that you ought to do before leaving for an overseas trip, like packing your luggage, changing foreign currency and of course, applying for leave way in advance. However, those are the things that people are really good at doing. The ones above? Maybe not so much. Hopefully you find some of my suggestions useful!

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