One thing you can be sure of when you travel is that you’ll have plenty of documents to keep track of! From passports and plane tickets, to maps and money – and more – there are so many bits and pieces, and losing any of them can be disastrous. Ensuring that you have everything organised is crucial for a smooth journey. British T.I.P.S. staff have travelled all over the world and have plenty of tips to help!
VERY IMPORTANT! When travelling internationally, your passport MUST be valid for 6 months AFTER your date of return or you will not be permitted to go. Make sure all Passport is valid the moment you find out you’ll be travelling and, if it’s not, head straight for Home Affairs – be there early in the day and allow at least 2 weeks for the passport to be issued.
Checklist. A couple of weeks in advance, sit down and spend time writing a detailed list of every single document you will need. Check off what you already have and follow up on what you still need to arrange. A week beforehand, go through your list again to make sure everything is ready. When you pack your luggage, have your list handy and ensure you are packing everything you need.
Just before you head for the airport, station, or harbour, scan your checklist again to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
Keep copies. Make copies of EVERYTHING and keep them in your carry-on luggage so you have access to them, even if your checked-in luggage goes missing. It’s a good idea to have the important items, such as your passport, certified at a police station. Look after the copies as well as if they were the real thing.
Scan it! Scan all the travel documents (or take a photo) and email them and any e-tickets and confirmations to yourself – easy to access and download! You might want to cc a trusted friend or family member in so that, if worst comes to worst and you can’t access your own email address, you have someone who can help you out. Alternatively, save them to a cloud storage such as Dropbox or iCloud.
It’s best to save them as jpeg files as pretty much any computer will be able to open these.
Don’t ‘put all your eggs in one basket’. Distribute cash and copies of documents all over your person. And avoid putting anything important in a handbag or back pocket as it’s all too easy for crafty pickpockets to snatch them.
Money matters. A credit card is really helpful for emergencies but remember to advise the bank that you’re going if you’re planning on using your credit card or you may end up with a frozen card when the bank thinks your card has been stolen.
Don’t forget to get a prepaid travel money card – you load it with currency and then use it as you would a debit card. This way, you know exactly how much you have and there won’t be any nasty exchange-rate surprises later on.
Be ahead of the game. Do not leave things to the last minute and prebook anything you can. People often don’t realise just how busy the top attraction scan be (for example, people without prepurchased tickets for Madame Tussaud can easily stand in a queue for 4 hours!).
This is particularly important during peak season (June to September and Christmas).
Doctor’s notes. If you need to carry medication with you, ask your doctor or pharmacist for a copy of the prescription to prove that you do have to carry the medicine with you – just in case you get questioned about it. And, if you need vaccinations, keep a copy of the vaccination certificates in your hand luggage for easy access.
Student/Seniors Remember to take your cards with as many places offer discounts for students or those over 60 – but they do require proof.