37 THINGS TO DO BEFORE TRAVELING INTERNATIONALLY

Sometimes our holidays may not always go as planned, but one thing is for certain: good planning is key to a good trip, especially when visiting a new country. Whether it’s your first trip abroad or you just need a quick reminder, here are essential things to do before travelling out of Kenya.

1. Make copies of your travel documents

We don’t plan on losing our passport while on holidays, but it’s a good idea to make some backup copies just in case: one to bring with you and one to leave at home. This is the essential thing you must do before going to the airport.  No one plans on losing a passport while on holidays, but it’s a good idea to make some backup copies just in case. You can scan them and save them on your email. ( Passport, Visa and your Ticket)

2.Medication

One thing I love about Kenya is the fact that we can easily get over the counter drugs ( medicines sold directly to a consumer without a prescription from a doctor ) In most foreign countries, accessing these drugs can be a hectic job. So to save yourself from all these, always carry a whole pack of Panadols, Antacids; Eno ( Just in case your stomach acts up) and any spectrum antibiotics for the sake of colds and respiratory problems.

3.  Avoid as much as possible making flight bookings with travel websites such as Expedia.

Ticket conditions are very rigid there. Try as much as possible to book with your local travelling agent or directly from the airline you will be using. However, local travel agents tend to be much cheaper i.e TrippyGO Tours & Travel 

4. Mark your luggage

Most people have suitcases that look the same. Because of fatigue and other travel stresses, people may accidentally carry the wrong bags. So mark your luggage with HUGE brightly coloured visible stickers, ribbons or tags. I was once a victim of this.

5. At the Airport Never Hold Anything For Anyone it could be Illegal. 

The warning is worth heeding. Drug couriers and users have indeed used fake water bottles to conceal illicit drugs. In fact, criminals use many clever methods of smuggling drugs across borders. And I don’t want you to be the innocent person tricked into carrying drugs for criminals.  If even if it’s a PK or a bottle of drinking water!

At Dubai Airport a passenger was caught carrying two packed brand new iphones which his friend gave him for his family.
He told the custom officers that he was only helping a friend.
He is sentenced to death penalty.Never “help” anyone to carry any items. Even for family/friends!

6. Plane sitting

When on long flights avoid the rows right in front of the emergency exits. Those seats don’t recline, you will find yourself sitting upright your entire flight. For the ladies, if you’re on a long flight, wearing a dress is the most important thing you will ever do. Jeans tend to constrict your circulation etc.

7. Always Carry Your Yellow Fever Certificate 

Some countries require all travellers to show proof of yellow fever vaccination before they can enter the country. Countries like Tanzania and South Africa are very strict about this document. This is like your Health Passport, always Carry it.

8. Never Use Your Main Bank Account Card While Shopping Abroad.

Most Kenyan banks try to limit their losses from fraud by suspending accounts when a customer’s credit card is used in an unusual location. To avoid this possibility, open a cheap bank account while in Kenya and make sure they give you a Visa. Top it up only when travelling or else your main bank account will be wiped out.

Another important tip: You can always be topping your card using Mpesa when doing online shopping, by this, you will save yourself just in case your card gets stolen.

Also,  get local currency at an atm in the foreign country you are travelling to. Some countries don’t accept the currency exchanged while in Kenya.

9. Public Transport is The Most Convenient and Cheapest Mode of Transport in Developed countries.

Avoid uber and other cab services. Remember that Uber only thrives in places with poor public transport. So, as soon as you land in your destination, get a public transport card and top it up. Check transport rates online before travelling and let Google maps be your friend in guiding you on how to use public transport.

10. Download Google Translate

One good thing about google translate is that it has an instant translation, no typing needed. All you have to do is open the app and let the camera capture what you want to be translated. Technology at it’s best!

11. Weigh Your Luggage Before going to the Airport

Don’t be one of those confused travellers always unpacking your clothes at the check-in counter because your luggage is too heavy. You will look disorganized and nobody got time for that!

12. Remove All The Wrappings and Discard Them Just In Case You Buy Stuff Abroad. 

For instance, if you happen to buy a perfume always remove from box and put it plainly in your suitcase. Those KRA guys at JKIA are no joke,  they will want to charge you for stuff you bought abroad if it appears to be wrapped in a new box.

13. Don’t Buy Stuff For People Using Your Own Money While Abroad. 

Most of us when we travel abroad, our friends and relatives tend to ask us to buy things for them. Always ask them to buy online i.e Amazon and have the stuff sent to your address while abroad. That way it’s easier, you won’t have to hustle looking for stores, and won’t have to always run after people to refund your money when back.

14. Use a Checklist

Before travel date, write down a list of everything you will need for the rest of the of your journey including your travel documents; always tick them off.

15. Carry Chewing Gums With You. 

Chew during taking off and landing. Chewing relieves you of the air pressure which is sometimes uncomfortable for some people.

16. If you are feeling sleepy in the waiting lounge, always pass the handle of your luggage under your foot/leg to secure it.

17.  Always Travel in flat shoes, Preferably Sneakers and Avoid Belts 

I always suggest wearing jeans or pants that do not need a belt. At almost any airport in the world, you will have to remove it for screening, so it is better to just not wear it in the first place.

18. MAKE COPIES OF YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

We don’t plan on losing our passport while on holidays, but it’s a good idea to make some backup copies just in case: one to bring with you and one to leave at home.

19. PRINT OUT HARD COPIES OF YOUR ITINERARY AND CONFIRMATIONS

Don’t assume that WiFi will always be available to pull up your itinerary or travel confirmations – always bring a hard copy with you just in case.

I cannot tell you how many times hotels have made a mistake in my reservations and tried to overcharge me. Having a hard copy handy will be in your favor.

I also like to put a copy of my contact information and itinerary in my luggage just in case it gets lost, so the person who retrieves it will know how to contact me. You can also include this information on your luggage tag.

20. CHECK FOR TRAVEL ADVISORIES / REGISTER YOUR TRIP

Depending on where you travel to, there may be unexpected travel advisories that you should be aware of. Sometimes your travel or health insurance may not be valid if there is a current travel advisory.

You can also register your trip with your country’s embassy so they’ll know where you’ll be just in case of an emergency.

21. CALL YOUR BANK

Before you leave, it’s important to call your bank (the number on the back of your bank card) to let them know that you’ll be traveling. This allows you to use your card to make purchases while abroad.

22. HAVE SOME EMERGENCY CASH ON HAND

Just because you have your bank cards available, doesn’t mean that they will be accepted at every establishment. It’s good to have some extra cash on hand in the local currency, especially for smaller purchases.

23. DETERMINE WHAT DOCUMENTS YOU NEED TO ENTER THE COUNTRY

Most countries require a passport that is valid for six months or more after your return date. You may also require a visa or special documents to enter the country as well.

For example, I needed to purchase a visa in order to enter Turkey earlier this year.

24. CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR OR INSURANCE PROVIDER

Before traveling, it’s best to check with your doctor or insurance provider to see if you will require any prescription medications or vaccines before your trip.

You may also require a note from your doctor to allow you to bring certain prescription medications into the country.

25. RESEARCH WHAT YOU CAN / CANNOT BRING INSIDE THE COUNTRY

The last thing you want to do is to arrive at your destination and find out that some of the items you packed are not allowed into the country. This could be seeds or certain food. Check ahead to avoid any unnecessary disruptions.

26. CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST BEFORE LEAVING

I like to do this about a week before, then just a day before to make sure that I pack appropriately. If it’s cold at home but you’re traveling to a warm climate, chances are you don’t need to bring a heavy jacket.

Also, rain may pop up in the forecast which means you’ll need an umbrella. Check ahead so you can pack accordingly.

27. RESEARCH LOCAL CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE WHERE YOU’RE VISITING

It’s always a good idea to read up a little on the local customs, culture and etiquette so you will know what to expect while traveling internationally.

Sometimes a hand gesture in one country may carry a different meaning in another country; you may need to dress more conservatively than you would back home; tipping policies may vary too – either way, you don’t want to do something silly that could have been avoided if you did your research beforehand.

28. RESEARCH EVENTS AND FESTIVALS HAPPENING WHILE YOU’RE IN TOWN

Knowing if there are any major events happening while you’re in town is good to know. You may want to attend a concert, a festival or just in general, be aware of what’s taking place in the city.

29. FLIP THROUGH GUIDE BOOKS

I know some travelers prefer not to consult with travel books, but I always like to flip through them to get tips, see what sights or attractions are worth visiting, etc.

Many of them also include maps of the different neighborhoods in the city, so it gives you a better understanding of the layout of the city. If you don’t want to invest in a guidebook, you can borrow one for free from your local library.

30. GET ADAPTERS / CONVERTERS FOR YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES

This should be self-explanatory, but not every country has the same voltage. You can always pick one up from the airport if you forget, but you will pay more there. Instead, I recommend picking up a world travel adapter before your trip.

31. LEARN A FEW KEY PHRASES IN THE LOCAL LANGUAGE

One of the best things you can do is to learn at least one keyword or phrase in the local language. Even if you don’t sound like a native, the locals will still appreciate your efforts.

I noticed that this was especially true while I was in Paris. Even though I could only say a few words, I could tell they appreciated that I tried to communicate with them in French first before switching to English.

Also, don’t assume that everyone knows English, because this is not the case. Once you step outside of the main tourist spots, fewer and fewer people speak English.

32. WATCH A VIDEO ON HOW TO USE THE CITY’S PUBLIC TRANSIT SYSTEM

Most metropolitan cities are equipped with a decent public transit system. Instead of paying the high price for taxis, try learning how to use the city’s public transit. You’ll save money and get around town quicker than by car.

If you do decide to hire a car, check ahead to see if you require an international driver’s license.

33. DETERMINE A PLAN FOR YOUR MOBILE PHONE

Whenever I leave the country, I always turn off my mobile data and switch to airplane mode. I use the city’s WiFi to make calls and text using apps like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.

If you require data, talk with your phone provider ahead of time to determine the right plan for you.

34. BUY TICKETS FOR PLACES YOU WANT TO VISIT / SEE BEFORE YOU LEAVE

Sometimes you can get a discount when you buy your tickets in advance. This also allows you to skip the ticket line and save time while you’re on holidays.

35. RESEARCH HOW TO GET TO YOUR HOTEL FROM THE AIRPORT

To avoid paying high taxi prices it’s a good idea to research the best way to get to your hotel from the airport. Sometimes taxis offer a flat rate which you should know beforehand in case they try to rip you off.

Most options include taking a shuttle, private car or using the city’s public transit.

By knowing how much each option costs and how long each option will take, you’ll be able to make a choice that fits your budget and needs.

36. RESEARCH LOCAL TOURIST SCAMS WHERE YOU WILL BE VISITING

Chances are you’ll be able to spot a scam, but unfortunately this is not always the case. Understanding what to look for is a smart idea so you can prevent being a victim of a scam.

Always keep your wits about you and your personal bags in sight at all times.

37. PACK SOME OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATION AND TOILETRIES WITH YOU

I understand some people want to pack lightly by leaving their toiletries at home, thinking that they’ll be able to buy them at their destination.

Keep in mind however that some items might be hard to find in other countries. If you are traveling to Korea, it will be hard to find deodorant there, so make sure to bring some with you when you visit.

Over to you — what do you do before traveling internationally?

Bonus tip: This one applies to airlines and hotels, so I won’t count it against the tips: The most important thing you can program into your phone is the phone number of your airline; the second-most important is the direct phone number of your hotel. Do it now…NOW!

We don’t plan on losing our passport while on holidays, but it’s a good idea to make some backup copies just in case: one to bring with you and one to leave at home.

Source https://www.mintnotion.com/travel/20-things-to-do-before-traveling-internationally/ and https://victormatara.com/17-important-things-you-must-do-before-travelling-abroad/

About the Author

Sande Kennedy is the founder and Editor in Chief of SandeKennedy.com & Kenyans247.com He is a Kenyan-based Internetprenuer,blogger Political Activist & informer who has an interest in politics, governance, corporate-fraud and human-interest. Kindly drop me a note if you feel aggrieved on any matter that you would want to be highlighted  WhatsApp: +254791890826 Read More about me here