If you are reading this post, you are probably as passionate about travel as I am. And so, you too have been missing the thrill of exploring new destinations and creating long-lasting memories abroad, and have been dreaming about the day we can travel safely again. Here’s everything you need to know before travelling the world again.
Although COVID-19 has caused the world to enter a standstill and there is little certainty as to when people will be able to travel freely again, many countries are hoping to open their borders to tourists again in late 2021/early 2022. For travellers who love to frequent and explore exotic countries or people who enjoy a small holiday here and there, this is a great cause for excitement. After all, it has been well over one year of lockdowns at home and quarantines, social distancing and remote working, of time spent away from our family and friends, with little room for exploration or even performing your usual and normal everyday tasks.
It is important to know that tourism in a post-pandemic world may be different from now on. The coronavirus has impacted the way we live and even how we work, so when it comes to exploring the world and satisfying our travel bug, you may need to adapt and even change what you pack in your suitcase.
Whether you are a first time traveller, looking forward to a small break with your loved one or wanting to return to the backpacking lifestyle you know and love, here is a handy guide to teach you or familiarise yourself with the best travelling tips out there.
What to Pack in Your Suitcase or Backpack
Packing can seem stressful, especially if you are a backpacker and hoping to take as little as possible (after all, you don’t want to be weighed down with heavy bags that limit your movement). However, there are some items that are a necessity, such as underwear and pyjamas, light or warm clothes, suitable shoewear, toiletries, electronic devices, etc…
Here are a few packing tips for you to help you gather the right things to bring with you and travel like a pro.
Firstly, you will need to decide on where you are going to go. Your destination will greatly influence the types of clothes you will need to pack and take as certain countries may have rules regarding what you can and can’t wear. Abiding by these customs is important.
Furthermore, you will also need to research the weather. If you are heading to Japan during the summer months, for example, then you will need to take loose and breathable clothing so that you are as comfortable as possible. The last thing you want to do is bring the wrong items of clothing and have to either suffer through it or buy different clothing items.
You will also need to determine the type of holiday that you are going on. If you are heading to a resort so that you can sunbathe next to a pool, then you may only wish to bring swimwear, dressy clothes for the evening, and your usual essentials. However, if you are heading to South Korea in the hopes of exploring, you may need to pack trousers, comfortable tops, and trainers that will prevent you from gaining blisters.
Coronavirus Protective and Preventive Measures
Although there is a vaccine program underway, you will still need to abide by the rules and regulations that are put in place. Each country may have their own rules, such as showing a negative Covid-19 test result at the airport/hotel, or downloading a track & trace app, or filling and signing a health declaration. The Re-open EU app is a helpful tool that provides an overview of the health situation in European countries.
Be sure to research these beforehand for a stress-free travel experience. However, you cannot go wrong if you pack the usual preventive and protective gear. It is important to pack and always carry with you a face masks. I always use a KN95 disposable surgical mask for extra protection when I’m in the airport and for the entire flight. Everywhere else, I use cotton masks that I wash and can be reused every day, so there is less waste. You may opt for a reusable air filter face mask for highly-protected and eco-friendly travel. I have my own personal water bottle with me that I refill with tap or bottled water and keep clean all the time (and do not offer it to anyone). I also carry hand sanitiser in my purse, even though it is usually available in all shops/restaurants (but not always).
It is also a good idea to carry wet wipes to clean surfaces such as airplane tray table or restaurant tables, protective covers and gloves (although it’s worth noting that the risk for catching the new coronavirus from surfaces is low).
Electronic devices are a necessity in today’s society, even if you are travelling. You will want to ensure that you are taking your mobile phone as well as its charger (ensuring you have the correct plug adapter), but you may also wish to take a Kindle, laptop, noise-cancelling headphones and any handheld games consoles, such as a Nintendo Switch or Nintendo DS.
Your important documentation will be your travel documents as well as any documents that help protect you while travelling or prove that you have made a booking with accommodation, for example. It could also include a map of the country or city you are visiting.
The usual travel documents that you may wish to consider printing out and storing in a safe space include:
- Driving licence
- Health insurance
- Travel insurance
- Proof of reservations
- Credit/debit cards
- Cash in local currency (refrain from taking out too much)
- Emergency contacts (if you lose your phone, have them written down somewhere)
Also, you can never have too many photocopies of such documents. You may wish to store copies in both your carry-on but also your main luggage, as well as electronic versions (i.e. photo scans saved in your email inbox or Dropbox or Google Drive).
Prep Your Mobile Phone
Before travelling, make sure that you have the right mobile phone and SIM card so that you can get the best deal possible and with the right amount of coverage you need for web browsing, emergency calls and to use the best travel apps. There are many places that allow you to compare the best SIM only deals, meaning you can find the right plan for you. This is ideal for travellers who will need to have a SIM that is useable in certain countries. For instance, check out this website for SIM only deals that are great value for money and offer international minutes in 41 countries – perfect for backpackers and frequent vacationers! Lebara offers 30-day rolling plans and any extra costs out of the bundle are capped, which is perfect if you are travelling overseas.
Confirm Your Flights and Bookings Beforehand
Sometimes bookings can go awry, which can cause hassle to a traveller’s lifestyle, plans, and enjoyment. Flights can get cancelled and overbooked, whereas hotels can accidentally lose a booking, or the payment may not have gone through. Rather than risk heading to the airport or hotel and being turned away, you should double-check your bookings and ensure that everything is in order.
Simply checking for an email confirmation can be enough to help ease your mind, but sometimes reaching out and phoning up the airline or hotel can provide you with that extra layer of protection.
Be Mindful of Different Cultures
Heading to another country means that you will engage with and experience new and exciting cultures and customs, some of which you may not be familiar with. Therefore, it is important that you research how to behave so that you do not accidentally insult the locals. For example, when visiting Japan, you must remove your shoes before entering a person’s home and certain establishments. What’s more, tattoos are associated with the Yakuza. This means that you may not be able to enter certain establishments such as an Onsen (although a few owners will simply ask you to cover them up or ignore them).
Travelling is a very exciting pastime, which is why, if you are fortunate to explore the world, you need to remain organised and mindful of the countries you are visiting.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.