Travel Tips

These tips are for budget traveller. I am giving the tips for a first time traveller. This may look simple for frequent traveller.

Passport : A document given by the native country generally to pass the port like seaport, airport or land border.
Visa :  (Visitor Intended to Stay Abroad ) A sticker pasted on your passport of the visiting country after verifying your travel documents from the embassy of that country with number of entries and validity of stay.

These days a paper visa is issued by some countries called e-Visa which one can print and take it along with while travelling.

Before travel :

 

  • Take copies of the first two pages and last two pages of your passport along with the copies of the valid visa issued on your passport. This helps in case you lose your passport abroad & to get the fresh passport from Indian embassy of that country. The copies of the valid visa are for easy clearance from that country.
     

  • Spare copies of the flight tickets and travel documents like information about your accommodation and tour plan. One can store the same on mobile phone and e mail.
     

  • Originals of the above should be with you in cabin bag. Because as soon as you land, you are required to fill the disembarkation card (if any) where in you have to fill the details. I have seen people struggling at the immigration for not having the above documents with them on person.

  • It is better to have contact details of your country of origin for example for Indians - Indian embassy (corresponding embassy for other country travellers). In case of any problem, embassy of the native country always comes for rescue.
     

  • Copy of the credit card /debit card details and pins to be kept safely.
     

  • Information about your tour plan should be given to your close relatives before start of the journey.  In case of death or any major problem they can trace you easily.
     

  • A copy of all the important documents to be saved in your email or pen drive or mobile so that you can take a print of it in case you lose anything.
     


Travel

Checklist for the entry at the airport :

 

  • Passport with valid visas, air tickets, pen, medicines of personal use, FE / credit card, local currency & biscuits preferably glucose/chocolates (this comes handy when flights get delayed).
     

  • Generally Cabin baggage should be less than 7 kgs and check-in baggage less than 20- 30 kgs. Better clarify with the airlines.
     

  • Never carry any liquids as this is not permitted. I have observed people arguing with security personnel on this matter.
     

  • Never carry razor blade as this is not permitted in cabin bag, but you can send them in check-in baggage for your later use.
     

  • At check-in desk, please make sure your baggage is checked to proper destination, particularly when you have multiple flights connectivity.
     


Once you get your boarding pass, rush to immigration, fill the form and complete the formalities plus security clearance, then go to your designated gate number. This is because, most of the international airports are very huge & it will take lot of time to reach the gates.  Also, immigration & security clearance may take long time if the queue is long. I have observed people panicking as the departure time approaches & still not completed the above formalities. If you reach early you can pass time at the lounge/duty free shops after immigration formalities plus security clearance.

You must have always some local currency, because some time there can be requirements for departure tax (Any way, these days it will be included in the tickets but not always true for some countries).

Do not neglect to put tags with your contact details for the cabin baggage and valets.  In case bag is lost, it will be traced and delivered to you.

Never receive any bag or any packets from strangers. Sometimes fellow travellers request you to carry telling their limit of baggage is slightly more & transfer it to you.

Flow diagram at the time of boarding :

Baggage check-in and boarding pass collection > immigration  >  personal security check > go to designated gate and enter the flight

Flow diagram After landing :

Immigration  >  personal security check >  Baggage collection  > custom clearance > exit

 

  • Soon after baggage collection, make sure there is no damage to the baggage. If so, go to corresponding airline counter which you have travelled with boarding pass and baggage tag and lodge a complaint. You will get new suitcase or follow the formalities of the airline you will get back cost of the suitcase.
     

  • Next, change your money that is from USD/EURO (International currency) to local currency of that country. Because USD/EURO are very strong money & will be accepted all over the world.
     

  • Do not change more money, unless your stay is long. Because when you leave that country you may have to change back to USD/EURO, you lose money when converted due to the commission.


 

  • Once you exit the airport, better avoid taking a taxi to reach your destination. As per my experience, all the taxi drivers in the world have same mentality to make more money from the tourist. It is more in advanced countries. You must take taxi if…..you are 3 or 4 members or you have more baggage.
     

  • In advanced countries, metro trains run inside the airport. So, buy day pass which is cheaper and you can use it for the whole day even after you reach your accommodation rather than buying a single way ticket.
     


Local Sightseeing

Before start of the travel, please workout the spots/ sights you wish to see in that city/place.

 

  • You can always get this information from websites or at your hotel reception. You can collect local map and metro map.
     

  • You MUST collect business card/visiting card from your hotel as soon as you check in. If you are more number, let everybody have one each. This is very important in case you get lost, you can show to a taxi he will bring you back to your accommodation. Most of the time this card will have address, phone contact in English and local language with map.
     

  • Buy a day pass and start your sightseeing.  Please note this day pass is valid in train/bus/tram etc  … please confirm when you buy the pass at the counter.
     

  • Entrance fee at sightseeing spots - there will be always discount for students, group and family, so while buying the tickets make use of this facility. Sometimes on national holidays /Sundays entrance will be free, so enquire & make use of this facility.
     

  • Keep your passport at hotel safely.  Carry only photo copy, in case anybody asks, you can show the copy along with your hotel visiting /business card. Because if you lose passport it is too cumbersome to get another passport.  You will lose all your happiness of travel.
     

  • As a general safety measure, it is better to reach hotel in the evening & not too late in the night ...unless you have local person escorting you.

  • If you don’t want to do the day tour on your own, take the help of your hotel travel desk, they will arrange tour for you. Here also better to take group tour for economy.

  • Always keep spare cell /battery, DVD, memory stick, tape etc. for your camera so that you do not miss the photos for your life time memories.
     


Low Fare Tips

You pay less if you plan your tour well in advance. The closer you are to your travelling date, the more you pay.  So, while the airlines stick to the business folk, a well-organized vacationer can take advantage. For best fares on KAYAK, plan your trip 21 days or more in advance, for next best try for 14 or more.

If you are flexible with the date of travel, it can result in dramatically lower fare. So, when you search on KAYAK, select the flexible dates option.

Traveling mid-week (Tuesday or Wednesday) is usually cheaper than Monday or Thursday/Friday. Business people love to travel on Monday mornings and fly back on Thursday. The key to getting lowest fare is to fly when others are not, like off season. The fare will vary by route and timings (early morning, mid-day and late night are good for it is usually best for low fares). Select the "Anytime" option for cheaper fare.

Avoid peak travel seasons. Don't travel when everyone else is. Flights and also hotels are cheaper during off season.

If your travel distance is less, better chose LCC low cost carriers. Low cost carriers like JetBlue, wow air or Easyjet offer lower prices more often, but, ‘no pain, no gain’ since LCC doesn’t offer free refreshments on board.  You may have to pay & eat, but expensive. Please read the instructions before booking for baggage capacity is normally low, so if you have more baggage think before booking.  My sincere advice is – Better travel light & take the advantage.

Most of the low cost carriers fly into alternative airports in the same city and what they save in airport fees they pass onto you. You may also appreciate the added benefit of less traffic and fewer people at the airport. So whenever you search with KAYAK, select option rates from nearby airports.

 

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