You can hardly wait for this dream trip or adventure to begin! You just need to pack up your bags, whip up your ticket, and head straight to the airport. Ready? Hold on there, tiger! What happens in the beginning of your sojourn usually sets the mood and tone for the rest of your trip. To ensure that you’ll have a pleasant, seamless, memorable, and enjoyable adventure, you need to set things right from the start.
Aside from thoroughly planning them out, we take time and effort to make pre-trip preparations. Let Team Sweetie share to you, dear readers, our pre-trip tips:
Months or Weeks Before Your Trip
1. Book whatever you can in advance.
Reserving your flight, hotel, tour, vehicle rental, or activity slot way ahead of time gives you bigger chances of confirmation. In addition, many travel service providers (particularly airlines) offer lower rates when you book early. Booking early also allows you to lock-in the rate, protecting you from unexpected price increases.
2. Track and save your communication with your provider.
Never delete your communication trail. This is your proof of arrangement with your providers. The trail is especially helpful when you run into problems with your providers. For instance, if a tour operator insists on a price increase, you can present the communication trail with him showing the agreed price.
3. Provide a detailed itinerary to a trusted family member, colleague, or friend.
If you have seen the movie “127 Hours?” Aaron Ralston’s peril was exacerbated because he didn’t leave a note saying where he’s going. For safety and security, always leave a copy of your itinerary to someone you trust. Include your phone number, email, or any way where you can be contacted. If possible, also include the number of the accommodation(s) where you intend to stay.
4. Arrange with someone to take care of your kids, pets, and property before your trip.
Keep your mind off what you are about to leave behind by asking a loved one to take care of your children, fur babies, or house. Doing so allows you to focus on your trip. If you there’s no one who could take care of them, hire a babysitter or a house-sitter. The extra expense is a small price to pay for total enjoyment of your trip.
A Few Days Before Your Trip
5. Print out your tickets, itineraries, and important papers needed for the trip.
Having a print out of your important papers makes things easier. You can just pull them out whenever you need them. We don’t recommend electronic copies; you won’t be able to access them if your gadget runs out of batteries or if there’s weak WiFi signal in the area.
6. Bring a copy of your communication trail, SMS, confirmed booking form, and/or email conversation with the provider.
Heavens forbid if this happens. But let’s say when you arrived at your hotel, the front office receptionist said that you don’t have a reservation even if you confirmed the booking a week or two ahead. It would be inconvenient and a waste of time to argue with the receptionist. But if you have proof that you communicated with the hotel which resulted to a confirmed booking, then the odds will be shifted to your favor.
A copy of your communication trail, booking forms, and agreements with your travel solution providers is very important. It is your best evidence if you have arguments with the provider.
7. Start packing your travel essentials a few days before the trip.
Packing in a hurry a day before your trip drastically increases your chances of forgetting to include a travel essential—a charger, extra money, an important document. It is better to pack up several days before a trip; Sheila and I do this, and we allot a week or two for longer trips. Doing so ensures that you have everything you need in your luggage. On the day of your trip, you won’t have to think about items you may have forgotten. You won’t have to run to the store on the last minute to shop for travel essentials.
It is also advisable to create a packing list for your trip. Review the list, and match it to the actual contents to ensure that you’re not forgetting anything.
8. Re-confirm your bookings.
This is one important thing I learned during my stint as a sales executive of SilkAir; we re-confirm bookings a few days before the passenger’s flights. Re-confirmation enables you to ensure the booking was successful. More importantly, by re-confirming your bookings, you will be aware of any last-minute change before you make the trip. This gives you some time to make adjustments or call your providers for rectifications.
The Day of Your Trip
9. Put your tickets, cash, passports, and other important documents in a plastic envelope or a small carry-on bag.
This makes it easy for you to pull out what you need, when you need it. Never put cash, important documents, jewelry, portable electronic devices, and other items of value inside your check-in luggage. We have encountered horror stories of travelers whose check-in luggage were misplaced or did not arrive. And they had everything important in there!
10. Be at the airport, bus terminal, or ship port early. Don’t leave the facility once you are there.
You should be at the port of departure at least an hour before your scheduled departure. In airports, it’s better to be there 2 hours before any domestic flight, 4 hours before any international flight. Once you’re there, stay put! Stay within the vicinity of the boarding lounge, and always listen to PA announcements. Most passengers get left behind because they left the terminal to do some last-minute stuff, or they didn’t hear the PA announcement while they enjoyed a meal
11. Call or text your provider once you are about to depart.
While waiting for your departure schedule, contact your providers. Tell them that you are now ready to depart. By doing so, they can prepare for your arrival.
Arriving at Your Destination
12. Call or text your provider once you arrive at your destination.
Confirming to your providers that you have arrived allows them to prepare your welcome. They might call their driver to pick you up at the designated area , serve your hot meal, or prepare your equipment for your adventure.
13. Upon arrival, take note of emergency numbers.
Important phone numbers are usually posted on billboards at the destination terminal. We encourage you to write down these numbers rather than just take a photo of them. If something happens to your smart phone or camera, you will still have your notebook for reference.
Important numbers, hotels, restaurants, must-do activities, and places of interest are also printed in flyers or brochures that are usually free for the taking in tourism offices or information booths—get a copy.
14. Ask the time of the first and last trips of buses, taxis, ferries, etc.
This is pretty important, especially if you are going far from the terminal or if you have multiple destinations. Knowing the time of the trips allows you to adjust your itinerary accordingly. In addition, it drastically reduces the chances of you getting left behind or stranded in one place.
15. Ask how much are the standard commuter fares and other pertinent rates.
Sadly, there are unscrupulous people who take advantage of visitors by quoting the latter with exorbitant rates; this is very prevalent when it comes to transportation fares. Avoid getting ripped off by asking locals, policemen, or LGU officials how much are the standard fares from one place to another. Most are willing to help you; we have encountered instances where locals actually defend you from abusive and greedy money-makers.
These tips have worked very effectively for us. As a result, most of our trips as you’ve read in Adrenaline Romance went without a hiccup. These pre-trip tips may take a bit of work on your part. However, they are certainly worth the effort to ensure that your sojourn or adventure is something that is hassle-free, pleasant, and memorable.
Thanks for mentioning the importance of taking note of the emergency numbers in the destination because more often our excitement will make us not to mind this very important thing.
Oh yes! That is very important in case something untoward happens to you. We take photos of the numbers (if they’re posted in the billboard) then write them in our travel notebook. We are a stickler for hard copies because we can refer to them in case our gadgets run out of batteries.
I agree with Budget Traveler. I had never thought of taking note of emergency numbers upon arrival! I generally follow every step you have written above, and these things make a great difference. In addition, I have stored copies of important documents, the email trails, important credit card emergency numbers, etc. In One Note (or Evernote, for you Apple folks), so that I can access that information from any computer, should something happen to my phone. Great post! ~ Lynn
That suggestion of yours in putting those numbers and trails in One Note or Evernote is fantastic! You can access that information anywhere, which makes it very convenient.
I love it when people give solid tips about taking notes on emergency numbers, it’s really important. Great Post Adrenaline Romance!
Hi Maam Ferna,
Yes, it is really important. When you’re out there in a strange place, it really pays to have a record of those emergency numbers.
From now on I will never forget to give the details of my itinerary to Someone i trust.
Cuz i always leave without any details where to go😊
We always do this for safety purposes. We never know what would happen to us when we are out there. Check out the movie 127 Hours.
YAY! These are great tips. I will share this to my friends who keeps on asking me how to travel right. 🙂
Thank you so much for the kind words and the share. 🙂
Wonderful idea this 15 tips are really valuable but some tips are not clear. Can you give me some more information about 15 number tip. I am waiting for your reply.
Thank you, Sheila Kim! But what exactly do you want to know about Tip 15?
Great idea to create a checklist in advance, it can save so much time and I personally feel calmer when doing so. Thanks for sharing with us your tips!
You’re welcome, and thank you too for your beautiful words. 🙂
Great tips here indeed. Always helpful to be organised and well prepared before travelling. I always like to ensure travel insurance is booked and paid as soon as I have booked my flights. You just never know!! 😉
Hi A Mindful Traveller,
Oh yes. The adherence of a pre-trip preparation system will truly make a difference.
Great post. I know that this will be helpful to new travelers, but is is also cool for us who travel a lot, to check to we do all steps.
Thank you. We have heard and read stories of nightmare trips, and most of them are the result of the lack of planning and pre-trip preparations.
This post is going to help everybody who travels. As much as winging it is also fun going to some places that are really remote you have to be prepared. Great tips!
Thank you for the kind words, Lisa. We do hope that with these tips, one can have a hassle-free trip. 🙂
This is such a great list for people who love to have everything organised. We love to book just for the first days and then just wing it but this depends on the destination. We never give a detailed itinerary to someone as we don’t have one most of the times but we did give all our savings, investments and bank accounts to someone we trusted before we went to Cuba lol. Thank you for writing the list.
You’re welcome as well, and thank you. We haven’t tried entrusting our money to someone else yet. Just our itinerary. LOL! 😀
Wow, you’re really organised! I do most of the things you recommend, but have never called the place before leaving. However, I must try these when organising my next travel.
Hi Following the Rivera,
Thank you! Calling the place before leaving—-yep, we learned it the hard way. Hehehe! 😀
Wow! What a list of important tips! It’s very useful for first time travelers, so we’ll definitely share it with some of our friends and family members who rarely leave country. Usually, we keep repeating these things to our niece or nephew, have you done this and that… so next time we’ll just print out your list and hand it to them, hoping they won’t forget to check it regularly! haha… Thank you for this!
Hi Mei and Kerstin,
Thank you very much! We are definitely happy that this little article is useful to you. 🙂
Great tips for new travellers a very regimental activity/list, for me normally I just plan for a couple of days on my trip and I leave 1-2 days to just do random things like relaxing etc. ( unplanned activities tend to be more fun)
Thank you very much! Although unplanned activities and trips add excitement and a sense of the unknown, we are sticklers of planning due to our outside-of-travel situation. We are parents and full-time employees, so we need to plan out our trips thoroughly.
Everytime I remember how I booked my trip to Japan a couple of days before for such a cheap price, I still can’t believe it happened 😂
Really useful tips, though, specially the ones when arriving, which I believe may be the most forgotten ones!
Great thanks for the kind words! 🙂 We hope we would have the same luck as you when we book for our providers on our first trip abroad. 🙂
Those are definitely helpful tips! Booking flights and hotels ahead will save you’re money for sure! And It is important inform family where you are! And we should always remember that our passport are the most important item while we travelling so we should always have extra care!
Thank you, Stylish Travlr, for the kind words. 🙂
These are some really good trips. A lot of this is autopilot for a lot of us but then there are some that are just ignored. Like the point that you make about saving your communication offline. I always forget that internet can be a precious thing when traveling and ultimately sometimes fumble. Thankfully I have not had any major incidents but well, you can never be too careful. Cheers
You’re absolutely correct. 🙂 Thank you for the kind words. 🙂
Really good tips! I’m more like “we can figure out everything on the way” type of traveler. But I’ll try to follow your tips
Thank you for the kind words. We always plan out our trips because of our limited budget and work schedule. We need to make every cent and every minute worth it. 🙂