They say that if you have not travelled and seen the world for yourself, you’re missing on key chapters of life. It is only with travelling that you open up to new horizons. It is important that you challenge yourself to see what really lies around the world which is outside your comfort zone.
Having said this, there is a certain amount of preparation that is required when you plan an international travel. You cannot just take your bag and go out, especially if you have just started or are planning to go solo. In fact, I receive messages on my Instagram and Twitter handle where I am asked about how I plan my travels and most importantly, what are the things that I take care of while planning a trip.
To be quite honest, my style of traveling has changed over the years and so has my preparation. Over the years of travelling, I have understood that doing your homework and research before taking a trip is very important.
While I try to reply to your messages as much as possible, I thought it was important to write this blog to share basic tips and things that you must take care of before planning to travel.
Research & plan your trip well: Traveling is probably the best way to discover yourself. When you are alone with no one around to give you company, you will tend to make an effort to try and understand yourself and explore the world more. You will know your strengths and weakness. And personally, I feel traveling helps you build a connection with yourself.
Do the required research, go through internet, read blogs, find people who have been to the place before and talk to them. Getting to know the place beforehand is an absolute must. It’s not at all a bad idea to carry some reference books along. After all, you never know where you will find the need to use them. I find this practice of carrying the knowledge books quite popular amongst foreign travellers and it really helps sometimes. Lonely Planet and other travel guide websites can also be a great starting point.
When you plan to travel internationally, spend a good amount of your time on researching on visas. Some of them have a really complicated process, so it is a good idea to be aware of it beforehand.
Respect your body and prepare for a new atmosphere: This is something I learnt with time and it happens mostly with all of us. Due to erratic travel schedules, we overlook our body and its needs. We tend to not eat on time.
We do not drink enough water to keep our body hydrated. We seldom realise but all of this takes a toll on our bodies. And so, it is important that in trying to make a proper schedule for your travel, you also make a proper schedule for your body and follow it diligently.
Nowadays, I make it a point to reserve at least 30 minutes for myself, no matter where I am in this world. Because, your body is your temple and everything can get ruined in case you do not pay timely attention to it.
Different climates and water types at different locations impact each one of us differently. However, being physically active can combat concerns like jet lag, flus and other unexpected illnesses while travelling. It is important to focus on eating right and avoiding junk as much as possible. This habit of maintaining a disciplined lifestyle can help you get accustomed more easily in a foreign location.
Get a Life Insurance: Continuing from the last point –your life and health are the most precious and valuable things in this world and being insured can give you peace of mind. Think of it this way, when we travel we try to make the best plans, right? And when everything goes according to the plan, a trip can be pure perfection.
But we all know that life comes with uncertainties which can disrupt our plans. That’s where a back-up plan like term insurance comes into play. While researching a plan for my family recently, I came across ICICI Pru iProtect Smart which provides life cover for my family’s protection, in case of my absence and also gives an option to protect myself from 34 critical illnesses. It is easy on the pocket too when it comes to premiums (starts as low as Rs. 2400 a year). It offers you a lump sum payout of up to Rs. 1 crore without any medical bills, in case you are diagnosed with a critical illness like heart disease, cancer etc.
Plan your finances: Avoid carrying a lot of cash while traveling unless you are traveling to remote locations. Anyways, ATM’s are easy to spot these days and therefore, it shouldn’t be a problem to withdraw money.
Please keep someone informed back home (like a parent) who can access your bank account and wire you money in case of an emergency. Carry both MasterCard and Visa card because they are not universally accepted. You should also have two copies of your passport and other important travel documents. Take one set with you and leave the other back home. Losing your passport overseas can cost you a lot of time and money.
What to pack? : Pack light, travel light. This has always been my mantra because it adds to the convenience and avoids the hassle of managing too much of luggage on the go. Like, I prefer taking fast drying clothes that can be washed and dried quickly.
Keep a journal: It’s a good idea to keep a journal or share it online immediately to keep your memories fresh. In case you find that carrying a journal is a hassle, there are plenty of apps available online, which give you the option of journaling your travel every day.
Nevertheless, travel the world with all your heart. Focus on exploring cultures, languages, people and landscapes. There’s a lot to see. The only thing is, whatever you manage to see, you should cherish it forever.
Ready, Set, Go!
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