Travel Tips: Before you leave.
Abacus International
Tuesday, 21st February 2006
For most people, part of the fun of going on a trip is planning it.

Plan your trip
If you are travelling independently (as opposed to joining a group tour), pre-trip research is a must. Researching about the area you are travelling to will save both stress and lost time. With the Internet now at the disposal of most households, it is increasingly easy to find out about a destination before you even get there.

Country Guides
To start, check out country guides to give you basic understanding of the country as well as important information such as currency, banking hours, cultural nuances you may want to take note of, airport taxes, transfers, public transportation.

Websites: travelsmart-asia.com and lonelyplanet.com

Travellers Review sites
You can also go to sites that host consumer reviews of the destination. These might yield gems of information such as a little unknown restaurant, or a shop that's off the usual tourist path.

Websites: virtualtourist.com and Holidays-exposed.com 

For a host of different services to check destination weather, time, embassy, do a flight search, use the travel tools within the TravelSmart Asia website.

"In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower 

Health & Safety
The emphasis on health and safety when travelling has never been greater than recently with the outbreak of different viruses in Asia and terrorism attacks throughout the world.

With additional measures now in place in countries trying to protect themselves, and also with greater attention by travellers to health and safety aspects before and during travelling, the overall result has meant safer travel all around .

A key ingredient for a great vacation: taking the necessary steps to make sure you and your family have a safe and healthy trip.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind: 

  • Listen to advice on places to avoid when given by your tour operator or travel agent. 
  • Make sure someone knows where you are and where you will be.
  • If staying for an extended period of time, register at your local embassy.  Do not carry large sums of cash. Carry a credit card and travellers checks instead. 
  • First aid kit. It's a good idea to keep a first-aid kit handy for any emergencies that may arise during your trip. It should include:
A first-aid manual

  • Throat lozenges
  • Bandages, gauze and tape
  • Anti- diarrhea medication
  • Scissors
  • Motion sickness medication
  • Tweezers
  • Water purification tablets
  • Thermometer
  • Antacid
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Insect repellent
  • Antiseptic
  • Calamine lotion
  • Antihistamine
  • Cortisone cream
  • Aspirin
  • Sunscreen
  • Cold and flu tablets
  • Health and vaccination records
Before you go, check out these sites for health advise and the latest updates on the health situation in the country you are going to.

Website: travelsmart-asia.com and World Health Organization who.org

Travel Insurance
With the latest highly sophisticated technology, air travel is considered very safe. Nowadays, buying travel insurance is to protect your health and livelihood, trip and belongings from trip cancellations, delays, theft, losses and damages.

If you require medical assistance of any kind while overseas - including medication, physician visits, or a hospital stay, it will cost you a bomb. Many hospitals in the United States and other countries won't even admit patients lacking medial coverage of some kind. Therefore, buying travel insurance can provide you a peace of mind for your trip. 

Ensuring safety of your property

  • Make your home look like someone is living in it. Don't close your curtains in daytime as this shows the house is empty. Use automatic timer-switches to turn your lights on when it goes dark.
  • Cancel any newspaper deliveries.
  • Avoid discussing holiday plans where strangers may hear details of your absence from home.
  • Cut the lawn before you go and trim back any plants that burglars could hide behind.
  • Uncollected mail is a sign that you are away. If you are away for an extended period, you might want to consider redirecting your mail or asking a relative or trusted neighbour to clear your mailbox.
  • Consider leaving important documents and valuable items with other family members or a bank. Or lock them in a safe.
  • Do not put your home address on your luggage when you are travelling to your holiday destination.
  • Make sure that you've locked all outside doors and windows and, if you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set.
  • Get help from your trusted neighbours. It's a good idea to get help from your neighbours. You could ask them to collect the mail, sweep up leaves, open and close curtains, and so on -anything to make the place look lived in. You can repay the favour by doing the same for them. Warn your neighbour not to put your surname, address or even your house number on your keys in case they fall into the wrong hands. Let your neighbour know when you will be away and, if you can, give them details so that they can contact you, or some one who can act on your behalf, in an emergency. 
© 2006 Abacus International. All Rights Reserved

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