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.