There’s nothing that expands your horizons like a good trip abroad. Experiencing new cultures, trying new food, and just getting a change of scenery can broaden the mind, refresh the soul, and distract from personal woes. That being said, it can be tricky to navigate unfamiliar waters, and small mistakes can lead to major stress. Here’s how to stop the problems before they even happen.
The great luggage explosion
Sure, you want to look cute in all those Instagram photos, but is it worth incurring massive baggage fees and lugging heavy luggage around? Save yourself a world of grief by packing light. Choose versatile separates that you can mix and match for variety, with a few lightweight accessories to add a little oomph. Maximise your space by packing techniques such as rolling jeans and tank-tops, using the Japanese folding technique (loads of tutorials are available on YouTube) for shirts, and stuffing socks inside your shoes. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re breezily rolling a compact suitcase through the airport while everyone else is sweating over their massive luggage.
Frozen 3: the credit card edition
What do you do when you’re in a foreign country and realise your credit cards are frozen? Save yourself a world of trouble by informing your bank and/or credit card company about your travel plans, and make sure you’ve cleared your outstanding bills (or at least discussed this with your bank). Of all the problems to have abroad, financial ones are the worst.
Kill (phone) bills
You don’t have to sell your kidneys to repay massive overseas phone bills. Check your local data plan to see what the roaming fees are like, and turn data off when you’re flying, just to be safe. You can use the Wi-Fi hotspots at airports, and if checking messages is supremely urgent, grabbing a local temporary SIM once you’ve arrived at your destination can be a much more affordable option. Also, this is the age of Whatsapp, Viber and Skype, so if you need to stay in touch, lean on these apps for communication.
Dude, where’s my passport?
On a scale from one to “aww hell naw”, losing your travel documents is probably the scariest thing to happen on a trip, but statistically speaking, it’s probably going to happen at least once in your lifetime. Save a scan in your phone, in your email, and carry printouts in your luggage, so that you can access them in a number of ways.
Waiting for taxi
Maybe your flight was delayed. Maybe you missed your connecting flight. Maybe your agent messed up. There can be many reasons why your designated pick-up isn’t waiting for you at the end of your flight. This is where a little prior research before the trip can make a huge difference. Is Uber available in your destination country? Have the app downloaded to your phone even before you get on the plane. Most airports have some kind of taxi/shuttle service. Do some reading to find the best option for you. Some countries like Malaysia and South Korea even have a comprehensive mass transit system that’s a super affordable option.