Raise your hand if you are already planning your next big holiday, with this past winter break nothing but a distant memory.
However, if the number of flight cancellations in wake of the recent polar vortex is any indication, carefully laid travel plans can easily find a monkey wrench in the mix if you don’t plan ahead.
To prepare you for Murphy’s Law, Emirates 24|7 puts together some top travel tips with help from online travel booking engine, Triperna, to take off for a stress-free travel this 2014.
Do your research
When you travel outside of your country of residence, you are subject to the laws of the country you are visiting.
Prior to your travel, it is important to learn as much as you can about the local laws of the places you plan to visit.
It is also a good idea to be aware of the local developments in the country you plan to visit and whether there are any safety risks associated with these developments.
Don’t purchase the cheapest travel insurance in an attempt to save money, or worse, skip it altogether.
Be sure to cover yourself for full travel insurance, covering everything from medical to loss of personal belongings.
It is also wise to read the small print, especially if you plan to do any extreme sports like scuba diving, skydiving or bungee jumping.
Consider purchasing a policy that is designed for travelers and that covers short-term illness, emergency assistance and medical evacuation in the event of an accident or serious illness.
Vaccination and medication
If you take regular medication, it is essential that you ensure you have enough for your trip. It is also wise to keep a note of the name and ingredients of the medication in the unfortunate event that you lose it and you need to purchase more.
When it comes to vaccinations, it’s not worth skipping them. Vaccinations protect you against many travel-related infections, such as yellow fever, typhoid and Hepatitis A.
Make a trip to your doctor or travel clinic at least a few months before you go to find out what vaccinations or medication you might need.
Email that itinerary to yourself
If we could have a fil for every time someone has forgotten to carry a copy of their hotel reservation… It is always good to keep a copy of your entire travel itinerary on email or downloaded on your phone, if roaming is not an option.
Manjari Kannan, a Dubai resident, found this trick particularly useful when she was on holiday in Goa, with no paper booking in hand and was informed her reservation did not exist when she was checking into the hotel at 3am!
She said: “After arguing for nearly 20 minutes, I finally remembered I had emailed the entire bulk of hotel bookings to myself before I set out on my India adventure. Once the booking was seen, a room was miraculously released to me.”
Leave behind numbers where you can be reached in case of an emergency, if your phone is not on roaming.
Also, make sure your wallet has an emergency contact tucked away in there should you find yourself in an accident and someone needs to inform your family or friends while you are hurt or injured in a strange country.
Carry a backpack
If you are one of those unlucky few who has a history of finding their luggage arriving two days after your flight has landed, due to some airline mix up, or even missed your onward connection after a delayed flight, you may discover it is useful to carry a fresh change of clothes in a backpack in case of an emergency.
When on the move, try not to carry too many valuables around when exploring unfamiliar areas, especially jewelry, money, and passports.
When eating out, be sure that you don’t flash large amounts of money when paying a bill, and if paying by card, be sure to have the waiter bring the card machine to you, rather than allowing them to take your card away.
In the unfortunate circumstance that your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police, and be sure to keep a copy of the police report for insurance claims.
Be aware of the food and dietary habits in the country that you’re visiting.
Hygiene abroad, particularly in developing countries, may not be at the same level as at home.
If you do get a bad tummy, make sure you drink plenty of clean bottled water to ensure you don't get dehydrated.
In addition, make sure you visit a doctor or a hospital if things get worse to prevent any lasting damage to your health.
Try to learn a few simple phrases in the local language.
If you find that hard or you do not understand the dialect, you should at least try to learn to recognise them when written down.
You never know when the phrase for a taxi, cafe, phone, police or hotel might come in handy.
To help with this, why not download a fun translation app for you smartphone such a Fancytran to help you on the go.
Keep an open mind
When exploring a new country, keep an open mind to explore some of the more unfamiliar places and customs.
Take time out to chat to locals and let them offer free advice and insider tips on making the holiday a more interesting experience.
And more importantly, have fun!