Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Be Safe During Your Holiday - My Travel Tips

These are my travel tips, from my travels and of course my takeaways from the recent incident.

1. Doa, doa, doa.
Not to sound cliche, but always keep in mind that no matter how perfect your planning is or how comfortable you are when and where you are travelling to, there is always a greater power or something beyond your control. So, always pray all to the almighty to look for you and assist you.

2. Travel Insurance
It's always good to have piece of mind in case something happened to you. So, I would recommend for you to buy travel insurance. However, most importantly you must well verse of your insurance coverage. In addition, it is good that your travel insurance also covers travel inconveniences as most travel insurance only caters for personal accident and medical expenses.

my travel folder.

3. Make copies of information. hardcopy, softcopy
Print everything, save everything on your phone, save everything online. I did bring "travel folder" and I simply cannot stress enough the importance of having this travel folder. Technology could just fail on you at the time you need it the most. Your phone could run out of battery and you might be underground (as we were) where you could not be connected to access your information online. I am so pro-travel folder that I think next time I would make two sets. You know just in case. #traumatizedtraveller

By everything, i mean your;

- passport copies
- IC photocopies
- important number (see number #4)
- flight booking
- hotel booking
- transportation booking
- your travel insurance coverage
- copy of your travelers, cheque
- copy of your credit/debit card that you are bringing with you

We had quite difficult time to check in hotel in Paris after we lost our passport. Mind you that we had police report and a nice policeman escorting us to the hotel to assist with the check in, still, the hotel receptionist quite resistant to let us stay at the hotel simply because we did not have our passports. Luckily, we printed out our passport copies and she accepted that as prove of identification.

4. Keep and write down important numbers and information
If you cannot remember your parents or family members phone number by heart, no shame at all in writing it down. Because you know, you might lose your phone. Other important number worth to write down are;

- bank telephone numbers
- credit card direct line telephone numbers
- address and telephone umber of Embassy
- travel insurance telephone numbers

while my credit card bank i.e. CIMB called me to verify the unauthorized purchases, Hannan had to go through pain of connecting to Visa before eventually connected to HSBC Malaysia. So, i think if you had the direct line numbers, the process would be simpler. and please ensure that you try to call the number before leaving to ensure it is IN SERVICE!

5. Passport photos x 2
In case you lose your passport, you would definitely require 2x passport photos in order to apply for the passport replacement. You will save yourself trouble to get your passport photos if you already bring along the photos. These photos sometime used for rail passes etc. In Europe, there are plenty of the passport photo self service machine, and you see them almost everywhere. However, there'll be instances that you just cannot find them, or it'll cost you a bomb especially if you already lost your cash.

Money Belt
Security Holster
6. Always be on guard - use money belt/security holster
As much as i want you to relax and enjoy your holiday, please keep in mind that there are people just preying and looking out for you to be just a little careless. It is better to be safe than a little pickpocket incident that could destroy your holiday altogether. In pack areas i.e. metro, train station, lift, wear your bag to the front. Keep your important and valuable items inside the pocket of your coat or inside your body. By inside your body, i am suggesting you to wear money belt or the security holster. These items keep your belongings close and secure to your body. insyaAllah.

7. Get your to-use items ready
Now that you have safely tucked away your valuables i.e. passport, cash etc. the next challenge is to minimize those items out in public places hence exposing yourself. So normally, from the hotel room, we would anticipate what we would actually need and keep it safe inside jacket pocket, or front jeans pocket. But just the thing that we really need like 1 ticket with little cash. Just enough to buy a drink or two. and if we need more from the money belt/security holster, we ensure that we were not in crowded public places.

8. Keep your important belonging safe - bring extra locks, safe bagpacks, wear moneybelt
As funny as it sound and look, pad-locking your bagpack actually give you peace of mind. However, in crowded places, always bring your bagpack to front. There are many cases where the thief cut the bagpack open instead of opening it.

9. Do not keep all your cash/credit card/travelers cheque in the same place
We were rather glad that the thief found the passport holders first. I think he thought that they were wallets so he did not bother to open other compartments and look for other things. Should he opened the main compartment, he would have found another travel wallet containing more of our valuables i.e. cash (USD, Euro, RM), and more credit cards. So it is always good to separate your cash/credit card. and if you are traveling with spouse, to ensure that each spouse had another set of cash and credit card that could sustain both of you should emergency occurs.

10. Bring minimal cash but always have extra.
as they say it, cash is king! it's important to have cash especially in USD when you are travelling. This extra cash wil be useful in time in need. However, once cash is lost, highly unlikely you'll get it back. Safe to say it'll be total lost. So be extra careful with your cash. Keep it close (see tips no 6). 

11. Pack Light
It's easier to move around and if you are not so busy handling your luggage. Not sure whether I my self could practice this one tho. However, please do some check and balance whether taking a cab/uber would be more practical than lugging your luggage around.

All said and done, do enjoy your day, and enjoy the person you are travelling with. and in time of distress, take one step at time. settle one issue at one time. when you have come prepared, it will be easier and less stressful. However, it is best to avoid it altogether.