Travel improved

Young woman try to close the overfilled suitcase in the room.

It’s hard to beat a good holiday. The anticipation is half the fun, there’s the holiday itself and then there are the memories…

From a practical perspective, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you go away well prepared and relaxed, knowing all the details have been taken care of.

Learn the lingo

Learning a whole new language for a two-week trip may not be entirely achievable or necessary, but you will feel better if you’ve practised a few key phrases before you arrive. It’s nice to know that you can greet locals, order a coffee, drink or hail a taxi with ease and your efforts are likely to be rewarded in kind – people will tend to help those who help themselves.

To practice speaking a language, try listening to podcasts or other recordings. Even better, enrol in a class in the weeks leading up to your trip – learning a language is excellent for brain stimulation and will help you learn more about your destination.

There are some great language apps available for smartphones and tablets, which can be very helpful on your travels. Have a look at:

Splurge on luggage

luggageAn overflowing suitcase is frustrating, particularly at the beginning of a holiday – there is no room to transport holiday purchases and it is hard to keep it orderly during your travels. If necessary, invest in an expandable case, so you can enlarge it once you arrive at your destination and start collecting souvenirs. Packing your clothing in zip lock bags is a good way to keep clean and dirty clothing separate. It also stops small items from disappearing to the bottom of the case – simply packs all your underwear in one bag.

The other option is to pack an extra bag for additional items you may pick up along the way.

Ensure you secure your luggage with a good quality lock. Choose a combination lock so there are no issues with lost keys, and make a note of the combination somewhere discreet (in the notes on your smartphone perhaps). Take a waterproof or ‘life-proof’ case for your smartphone or tablet to avoid disasters on the road, and always back up your device fully on a regular basis.

It’s always worth investing in a good travel toiletries bag. A well-packed bag should fit full sized products if you are away for a good length of time, and often have a removable section, for travel-sized bottles to take on an aircraft.

Accessories have evolved a lot in recent times – you can easily add jacket grippers, colourful luggage tags and document organisers, all of which make transit easier to cope with. For some additional nifty packing tips in this Travel Tips section on GrownUps.

Lastly, make it a habit to keep your receipts for proof of purchase. You never know when you will need to make a claim and having the original receipt helps to speed up your claim process. It’s important to know that travel insurance is very different to home and contents insurance – if your claim is accepted, your lost or stolen items will have depreciation applied so it’s worth considering only taking essential items with you when you travel.

Record your memories

ian-dooley-280928You’ll never forget that meal or that darling little market right? Well, it’s easy to overload your memory with experiences and become a bit jumbled. Take a few minutes everyday to note down where you’ve been, interesting people you met or details which really stood out. Make it a habit, (it need only take about the same time as a shower each day) and you’ll be thankful upon your return – it’ll be much easier to caption photographs and recount your experiences. Instead of gathering every brochure, menu or itinerary, it may be easier to simply photograph them – it’ll save on excess baggage.

If you don’t want to write everything down or type it out, use the voice record function on your phone or tablet and dictate a few pertinent notes. If you can’t back up your device while you are overseas, it may be safer to email your notes to yourself, so you don’t risk losing precious information. Pack your camera, tablet or other precious electronics in your hand luggage to help prevent transit damage.

lastly, don’t forget to protect yourself.  As a GrownUps member you can get 50% off your travel insurance, thanks to our friends at Cigna – click here for more information.