What you need to know before you go!
So you’ve reviewed Part 1, booked your trip, packed your bags, and are ready to leave the house. Here are a few things to consider:
How early do you need to be at the airport for your particular destination? Sometimes I get made fun of, I’m one of those earlybirds when it comes to checking in at the airport. If you’re unfamiliar with the travel customs of the country you’re in, make sure you check your booking confirmation or boarding pass. There’s nothing worse than thinking you can leave it to an hour before (why not? I have no luggage!) only to find on arrival that you have to go through security, an agriculture check, and a passport check, all before boarding the plane! Know your process, then make a call.
What is the airline carry-on luggage allowance? It’s not two pieces everywhere anymore! Some are different sizes, some make you pay to carry both on, and some make you pay if you want more than a fanny pack! Don’t get caught paying the higher fees at the airport because you didn’t realise you had too many items.
Have you separated your liquids in your carry-on luggage? Some people think this is simple. But I used to work at an airport, and now I nearly live in one, and the amount of people trying to take full bottles of Pantene in their carry-on bag is unreal! Less than 100ml, all in one small plastic bag, and placed visibly in the tray for security screening. Help us all get through security in good time!
Pro tip: Some airports are picky about the style of your liquids bag (I’m serious), so if you see them being offered for free always grab a couple for your next trip!
What is the voltage and plug of the country you’re going to? I plugged my hair straightener in and it just won’t get hot. My hairdryer was working on the first day, but it doesn’t seem to want to turn on now. Don’t risk killing your expensive appliances! I was recently in Northern Italy and was shocked to see that they use a smaller version of the European plugs. Even I had no idea! Here is a list of plug, socket and voltage by country.
What will the weather be like when you’re there? (Otherwise known as: help with packing light)
Stop throwing your whole closet in to your biggest suitcase, then paying all the overweight fees. You know you’ll never wear all that! The first thing I do when I’m headed somewhere is pull out the calendar to see how long I’ll be there and what I’ll be doing. The next thing is to check the weather for those days! If you’re going to end up in New York during an ice storm, or in London during the rainiest weekend of the year, you’ll want to pack accordingly. Who needs those strappy wedges when all you want are your wellies for the rain?
Do you tip taxi drivers? How about the bartender?
Most places in Europe don’t tip, but in North America they nearly survive on them. Just Google it. It will save you a lot of frustration, and awkwardness, when you arrive. There’s nothing worse than a sassy waitress telling you off because you shortchanged her on a night’s pay.
Are there any dress codes or cultural nuances you should be aware of?
It’s not the same everywhere. Something that you say, do, or wear might be completely fine where you’re from, but frowned upon, or even illegal, in a country you’re visiting. Do a bit of research before you visit different cultures. Your home country’s government website will often outline how travelling somewhere is for its citizens.
What’s the one thing you need to see, experience, eat, photograph, and purchase as a souvenir?
Start your trip off on the right foot. You don’t have to head to every tourist spot in Paris if that’s not your thing, but read up on your destination. What is something that suits your travel style and personality that might be cool to see when you’re there? Is there a particular waffle/gelato/french fry/cocktail that you just have to try? Don’t miss out! Do your homework.
All good? I think you’re ready to go! Make sure to review the Essential Pre-Travel Checklist – Part 1 again just in case, and remember to have fun!
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