Most of us love traveling. But we are all different types of travelers. Some of us are last minute planners and packers, and some of us are the ones who need to have a set plan and an itinerary in hand before we travel. And I personally belong to the second category of travelers. I like to have most of my prime things planned out. I usually have a long “To Do List” and a long “To Pack List” before every travel, even if it is just a weekend getaway. I like to be well-prepared for my trips so that I can make the most of the time I have. I research the places I’m going to and plan my itinerary so that I get to experience the best of that place. I also make sure to factor enough time for rest and relaxation in my schedule, as I believe a vacation is not only about ticking off the must-see places but also about taking the time to enjoy the moments.
Sometimes it is difficult to follow through and everything cannot be ticked off. But there are certain things that I consider to the last detail, as much as I can.
For instance, I always make sure to have the right documents and money needed for the trip, as well as the right clothing and shoes suitable for the climate. I also make sure that I have all the necessary items to keep me comfortable during the journey, such as a neck pillow, a water bottle, and headphones. I also make sure to pack some snacks, in case I get hungry during the trip. Finally, I make sure to bring my camera to capture all the beautiful moments!
1. Purpose of the Trip
Whenever I plan a trip to any place, whether I am visiting it for the first time or I might have visited it before, I make sure that I am fully aware of what kind of trip I am looking forward to. Whether the whole purpose of the trip is just to relax in a hotel or whether the idea is to be touristy around the place. Or if it is going to be a mix of both. Having a clear idea helps because we have limited number of days and if we are clear on the kind of trip we are expecting, it is convenient to decide on which place to visit and which places can be left for another time.
Apart from that, I also make sure I have a plan for each day. Deciding in advance which places you want to visit and how much time you can spend in each place helps in saving time and energy. I also like to keep my days flexible so that I can easily adapt if the situation is different from what I had expected. For instance, if I have planned to spend a day in a certain place, but the place is crowded and I don’t have enough time to take in the atmosphere, then I can easily move on to the next place.
2. Location of the Stay
It is of utmost importance for me to know where exactly the stay on the map is and what is there nearby. I have always been conscious about that. But I became much more conscious about it after one of my visits to Kolkata. It was a family trip and the hotel that was booked for us was in a very secluded area of the city. On top of that, the road leading to it was very narrow. It was on the outskirts of the city, and it was impossible for us to walk around anywhere. On top of that it was an internal road, and therefore, getting Uber to locate us was also a difficult task. Post that, I am very conscious about the location of our stay during any of our travels. And most of the time I make sure it is in the central part of the city, and if not in the center, I at least make sure that the accessibility and walkability around the hotel is good.
Being in such a remote location was a nightmare for us and it made it difficult for us to explore the city and also to plan our days. Moreover, the hotel was not up to the mark either, and it was not the kind of experience we were expecting. We ended up spending most of our time in the hotel and it was a big disappointment for all. Hence, I make sure to always research the location and the amenities before booking a hotel for a family trip.
3. Facilities in the Stay
I am a person who would like to stay in a comfortable premises with the facilities in hand while I am traveling. The fact that I am on a holiday, it is nice to have access to facilities. For example, some of the hotels do not have private bathrooms. But for me that is a paramount requirement. I would really like to have a private bathroom with my unit. A couple of the hotels do not have room service even though they do have a restaurant. Room service is sometimes very essential, and I would personally like to have it with the hotel. These are only a couple of the things that I keep in mind. There are several other facilities as well that I make sure to keep in mind. And with my recent and growing love for health, I would love to have a fitness center on the premises as well.
A fitness center is a great way to stay in shape and keep healthy. It would be a great asset to have a well-equipped gym with treadmills, weights, and other equipment. This could be a great opportunity to stay fit while traveling. It could also be a great way to get to know the locals, as I’m sure they would be interested in working out with me in the gym. Furthermore, having a swimming pool on the premises would be a great way to help me relax and find some leisure to my trip.
4. The Finances
I remember traveling to Australia 3 months after India underwent demonetization. It was a new change in currency in the country and the new notes were not accepted globally until then. We were unaware about that and carried Indian currency and thought of exchanging them there. But we got into trouble because of that. Our credit cards were also not functioning properly. Thankfully, one of our cards worked fine and we managed with that. But we got into a real dilemma when the notes were rejected. So, it has become extremely essential for me to have the currency of the country we are visiting, in hand. And make sure that at least two of our cards are working. In addition to that, I would also prefer paying and clearing the entire amount for the stay before traveling. So, in case we run into these kinds of issues, and none of our cards work, we at least have a place to stay until our return.
Moreover, I have learned to always keep some extra cash with me just in case. This way I also make sure to have a certain amount of cash with me. This is done to make sure that I don’t face any difficulty while traveling. In case I runout, withdraw the amount from an ATM. But, it is important to make sure that the ATM accepts international cards. Therefore, before leaving for a trip, I researched the best ATMs to use in the area.
5. Check the Weather
A lot of the times we are misinformed about certain things, about a place when we do not research it well, and mostly it is about the weather. But there is global warming happening at a very fast pace, and weather in all the places has changed drastically over the past 2 to 3 years. Recently during my travel to Cherapunjee, we were expecting very foggy and cold weather with low temperatures. We did not bother to check much on the weather forecast and ended up carrying a lot of warm clothes with us. But it was extremely hot there during the day. Only when we walked in the shade, could we feel the temperature drop. Otherwise, we did not require any warm clothes at all. Though during the nights, it did get quite cold. That is why I would say it is extremely important to keep a check on the weather and have a read on the weather trends of the place we are visiting. Otherwise, without proper attire it can be extremely difficult to enjoy.
For this reason, I always prefer to carry a lightweight matter where I am going. This way, I am prepared for any unexpected change in the weather and can enjoy my traveling experience. Of course, I also make sure to dress according to the weather as well. I try to pack light and make sure that I am not carrying too many unnecessary items. This helps me to travel more comfortably and also enjoy my trips to the fullest.
6. Mode of Transport
In addition to the locality of the stay, it is also essential to research beforehand on the modes of transport available, either private or public. For a cheaper travel, public transport is the most convenient option. However, in case we are in a hurry, or we need to move around after public transport has closed for the day, we will need a private transport service. One can rent a car and drive around. But if not, we need to be aware of the taxi services available and their rates. This would make moving around and staying extremely comfortable.
We can also look for the local travel packages available for tourists, which usually include the best attractions in the area. These packages can be a great way to save time and money, as they usually include airfare, hotel, and car rental costs. We should also look for discounts and deals on the packages. That way, we can make our stay even more economical. In conclusion, careful research and planning is essential to have a comfortable stay.
7. Type of Shoes and Water Bottle
Of all the traveling that I have done so far, this has been one of the most important prerequisites. All our travels have always required a lot of walking to be done. More so because we go visit a lot of natural adventure places like waterfalls, islands, and caves, which demanded a lot of walking. Therefore, it has been of paramount importance to have comfortable walking shoes. And not only for that, even when we are flying, it is essential to have comfortable footwear.
The other essential thing that we always carry for our travels is a water bottle. We need to stay hydrated, especially when we are walking a lot and are exposed to the sun for long hours. The water bottle helps us to stay hydrated and also serves as a reminder for us to stay hydrated. It also keeps us from buying expensive bottled water and from the environmental perspective, it is a much better and more eco-friendly option.
8. Regular Medications
Carrying my regular medications with me, no matter how long or short a trip might be, is a priority. It is absolutely wrong to ignore our health while we are traveling.
Plus, having those medications on hand can save us from a lot of trouble if something unexpected happens. Keeping a spare set of medications is also a great idea in case we get delayed or lose our luggage. This way we can avoid the hassle of getting a new prescription and having to find a pharmacy in the new area.
Being a woman traveler, safety has always been a concern for me. Though I am not much of a solo traveler, it has been of utmost importance for me to check on the safety of the place we are staying and the locality we will be staying in. Make sure to check the safety ratings of any of the security measures taken by the place. I also prefer to stay with friends, in a new place and carry a pepper spray with me, just in case. I also do a lot of research on the place I am traveling to, so that I am aware of the culture and traditions of the place. This helps me to be a local and to respect their customs and beliefs. I also try to learn a few basic phrases in the local language, so that I can communicate better with the locals. I also carry an emergency contact list with me, just in case I need help.
10. Vaccination and Testing Requirements
And last but definitely not the least, the current Covid-19 vaccination and testing requirements of the destination. In the entire world, different Covid-19 protocols are in place and different airlines are also following different protocols. Therefore, it is important to research and be aware of the current Covid-19 restrictions and protocols in the destination country, and make sure to follow them. This is particularly important if I plan to fly, as some airlines may deny boarding if I do not meet the Covid-19 protocols. All of this information needs to be considered when planning a trip abroad. It is important to make sure that I have all of the necessary documents and information to provide a smooth and safe trip.
These are some of the most essential prerequisites for me as a traveler. And I try and make sure to tick all of these off on my list before I move. Additionally, I also make sure that I have enough money to cover any unexpected expenses. I also make sure to have a valid passport and visa, if required, and check the end dates of both. Moreover, I also make sure to check the validity of my travel insurance, and if I need to buy any additional insurance policies that might be required in the destination country, such as medical insurance. It is also important to have all of the necessary contact information for the consulate/embassy of the destination country. This is especially important in case I encounter any problems during my trip.