A traveller’s checklist: Are you ready for your trip?

Itinerary suitcase on the globe

The start of a brand new year is a perfect time to round up those trips that haven’t been finalized yet.

It is a brilliant idea to plan ahead by booking months in advance but this is not always pragmatic. After all, the cost of living is sky high and travelling isn’t always affordable. All is not lost, book that trip at a convenient time when you can.

Even though these suggestions might appear too obvious, particularly for the frequent traveller, book your trip online or with a travel agent in the best organized way as possible, within a timed window. Here are some of the strategies I’ve adhered to whilst travelling with family.

Whether you’re going on day trips (staying on home soil), a package holiday, travelling solo or as part of a tour group, you might want to book your coach, train, flight as early as possible. Accommodation, if required can either be booked separately or as part of a package deal (site examples, Eurostar, Easyjet, BA, etc.) Get it out of the way.

Are you ready for your trip?

Look out for those cheap deals if there is such a thing!

The longer you spend time searching for a bargain online the more likely you are to discover a deal. I usually visit Booking.com for International and UK trips as well as British Airways and sometimes Easyjet.com. This concept will depend on your destination. If going on a long haul flight there might not be a reduction in prices within a short period of time. Having said that, some travel agents provide schemes that support payment plans like Sackville travel 

Book transfers online, apparently it’s cheaper.

Prepare your itinerary well ahead of your travel date.

Blue suitcase

Buy a sturdy but light suitcase, clean it out and the moment you remember an item needed for your trip, simply place it in your luggage or write the item’s name on your to do list.

Travel insurance 

Check if you have one incorporated within your bank account before buying one.

Medical card 

Eticket or Hard copy 

Check for accuracy and discrepancies then print 2 copies, one for hand luggage and the other for your hold all. Additionally, print hotel confirmation, transfers, etc. Alternatively, save all itinerary on your phone but make sure your mobile is fully charged on the day your travelling. Download itinerary to your phone in case Wi-Fi fails on the day to save you worrying. Remember to read the small print and keep a copy of your itinerary in your luggage in case it gets lost. 

Baggage

Always check baggage requirements to avoid disappointment. Buy a colourful suitcase if you can because almost everyone has a black case. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with buying a black suitcase but they are the most common ones used and can easily get mixed up with someone else’s.

Avoid taking the kitchen sink with you! Travelling light is the perfect way leaving you with less baggage to carry around. Carrying someone else’s luggage is a no-no unless it’s for a family member travelling jointly with you.

Items to include in hold all:

Pack foreign currency or Post Office money card.

Walking and party shoes.

A Sunhat for those sunny days.

A cool pair of Sunglasses

Travel adapters phone/tablet chargers and earphones.

Earplugs for those noisy hotel guests.

Tips on how to cope with noisy guests in hotels

Shower gel

Deodorant

Shampoo

Conditioner

Shower cap

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Makeup and makeup bag

Party wear

Casual wear

Insect repellant

Female hygiene products.

First Aid Kit including Painkillers, Diarrhoea tablets and prescribed medication kept in original package incase you are interrogated.

Antibacterial hand wash

Inform family and a well-meaning friend about your travel details and location. Wise choice!

Stay Punctual

Keeping to time is one of my strengths. But not everyone’s. Work out your journey time starting from the time you need to leave home (or your hotel) to the time required to check in at the airport, train or coach. My motto is to add an extra one-hour to your journey since traffic or unexpected events are inevitable.

Exchange a lift with a friend or neighbour to the airport or train station and save on taxis. Return this favour when they need it.

Listen out for the announcements at the airport, train station or coach station and keep an eye on the display board just in case there are delays or other changes.

Do you organize your trip or get an agent or friend to help out? Are you a last minute planner or does it make a huge difference to booked at the very last minute? Have you ever forgotten anything behind? Drop me a line as always.

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10 Responses to “A traveller’s checklist: Are you ready for your trip?”

  1. Doreen Pendgracs February 16, 2018 at 2:26 pm #

    Great tips, Bola! The only one that doesn’t work for me is to have the suitcase out early. If you have cats, you know that they very quickly identify the suitcase with anxiety separation about being away from you (the owner.) so I’ve been a last minute packer because of that.

    • Bola Akande February 16, 2018 at 7:27 pm #

      Oh yes! Your cats might think that you’re going away any minute soon. Sometimes packing at the last minute works.

  2. Monika February 16, 2018 at 4:02 pm #

    Yes, thanks for these tips Bola. I find that to be truly organised I have to write a list (or lucky me, three: one for myself and one each for my children) and tick things off as they go in the suitcase. Otherwise I forget what I’ve packed and have to start again!

    • Bola Akande February 16, 2018 at 7:25 pm #

      These tips save us a lot of time and stress. More so with children, If possible you can get them to give you an extra hand. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Donna Janke February 17, 2018 at 4:11 pm #

    I am a planner and tend to do my own organizing and planning for trips, sometimes well in advance, but as our schedule now gives us a great deal of flexibility sometimes last minute. Even though I travel relatively frequently, I have not yet got preparation and packing down to a science, because it seems each trip has its unique characteristics. I do maintain a spreadsheet with a complete list of things I may need to pack and preparations needed. I don’t need everything on every trip, but it is a good checklist to remind me of things to consider.

    • Bola Akande February 17, 2018 at 10:07 pm #

      You have a really good plan in place. I like the idea of having a spreadsheet and yes every trip has its unique characteristics.

  4. KemKem February 18, 2018 at 2:10 pm #

    Definitely a good idea to have a hard copy of your ticket. We once missed our flight to Mallorca because wifi failed us at the last minute. It was crazy! Very useful tips, thanks Bola.

    • Bola Akande February 18, 2018 at 5:28 pm #

      In spite of technology being as good as it is, it’s still not 100% reliable. Hope you were able to get to Mallorca that same day. What an inconvenience!

  5. Carol Colborn February 18, 2018 at 9:30 pm #

    Very good tips. We book flights 60 days before (supposedly cheapest) and yse Skyscanner or Google flights. Accommodations, which are timeshares, are booked 10 months in advance usually. And packing is started a week before departure by laying out the luggage in the sofa in the den. Traveling light is accomplished by sticking to a single carry-on unless it is more than a month’s trip. Then I only have 4 packing categories: clothing, medicines, toiletries, and papers.

    • Bola Akande February 20, 2018 at 9:25 pm #

      Travelling light is ideal and what a clever idea you have in place by organising your luggage in to categories.

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