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I have been traveling all my life, and I think that one of the most important elements of a successful voyage is proper preparation. If you get ready for you trip in a correct and thorough way, you will have less to worry about when you are in the foreign land. Traveling is stressful as it is, so there is no sense in making it even more so. Hence, prepare early, prepare well and prepare carefully.
First of all, you need to make reservations at least two or three months in advance. For some trips, a reservation as far ahead as four of five months is advisable. You need to be ahead of time for several reasons: Sometimes, there are very few seats on certain very popular flights and many seats out of your airport may already be booked very far in advance. If you book early, you will have plenty of time to change your reservations should something come up. After you make the booking, check it carefully. On certain occasions, travel agents make mistakes. They can also give you not enough time to change planes at airports. Some travel agents are young and inexperienced and thus make serious errors. Some may be tired and book you on wrong dates. So, check your reservation on the Internet. Is everything correct? Are all flights confirmed? Some agents forget to confirm a flight. If that happens, you can be stranded at some foreign airport. Also, make sure that hotel reservations are also in place; either reserve one on the Web or ask your agent to get you a room. They can often get room rates that are way below the ones you can get at your destination if you try and find one by yourself.
Second, pack well, but do not pack too many things. Put only the most necessary items in your luggage. Do not take too many heavy objects as you are usually only allowed twenty kilos with you on your flight. Also, some suitcases are very heavy. If and when you go and buy travel gear or bags, it is often better to buy soft ones. These are lighter and you can pack much more into them. Moreover, when packing, do not put your documents, your laptop, digital camera, phone charger, or other such vital items into the bags that you are going to check in. And, please, never put any money in there. If, God forbid, your luggage is sent to the wrong destination, you will not be able to get to them for a long time. So, check-in bags are for clothes and shoes, and carry-on bags are for documents, laptop computers, electric/electronic items, cameras and toiletries. Do not forget to put a few pairs of clothes and underwear in them, too. You may need those in case you have a long stopover in some foreign city and feel the need to change your garments.
The next thing has to do with electric appliances and cell phones. Your phone chargers go into your carry-on luggage, remember? Do not forget to buy an electric adapter, as well- some countries have different types of electric sockets and some even have different voltage. Any big supermarket will have those and please shop around- the Chinese ones are cheap, the Japanese are expensive. Cheap Chinese ones will do for short trips. Do not forget to charge your phones before your trip and, also, ask your telecommunications company about how to dial from overseas- if your phone roams in a foreign land and locks into a local network, you may have to dial differently from there than you do from here.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your most important items such as the cell phone, tickets and your passport are the things that you will need to keep on yourself. I recommend that you get a special travel pouch which you can wear on your chest under the shirt or dress. Or, you can get one that you can affix on the inside of your hip or under your arm, beneath your clothes. In this pouch, you will keep your credit and ATM cards, your cash, travelersâ€™ checks and other such personal articles. If your cell phone is small, you may want to keep it in the pouch, too; if it is big, I recommend getting a special holder for it which you can attach to your belt. Also, you may want to consider buying a belt bag or a small over-the-shoulder bag to keep your valuables in. If you travel to big cities with many poor people there, keep in mind that there are many thieves that are constantly looking for victims to steal from. Tourists and foreigners are their favorite targets. Do not become such an easy mark for those criminals, always check your personal items and keep your hands on them as much as you can.
Finally, get to the airport early. If it is an international flight, be there at least two or three hours before the departure. It can be boring but so what? You can buy a book or a magazine after you have checked in your luggage and gotten the boarding pass. If you get your boarding pass three hours early, which is called pre-boarding, you can spend the next couple of hours relaxing, getting snacks or reading a newspaper while others are jostling each other in the long lines. If you, however, get there late yourself, you may be in for a mad rush, long lines and unneeded nervous tension. So, the motto is better early than sorry!
If you follow the above-mentioned steps, your will be able to have a very pleasant trip and save yourself many headaches. Proper preparation is important in any endeavor, but trips to foreign lands deserve an even more thorough groundwork on your part. He, who prepares well, travels well. Let that be your slogan from today onward.
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