“Luck favours those who come prepared” – this saying is being used in my country and can´t be more than a truth, especially when talking about planning your trip. If you are going for few months backpacking journey or just for two weeks holiday, the last thing you want is to encounter any kind of a problem that will cost you extra money or will steal hours or days of your precious time. That´s why I have put together a list of things you should not forget before leaving your house.
I have met people who travelled around Asia and did not have any vaccination. Or if you are going to Thailand to a 5 star hotel and you know you will not leave the hotel, then the risk is minimal. BUT if you are a backpacker going to explore few Asian countries, you are planning a trip into a jungle, elephant tracking and eating at the local markets , you have to consider it! The basic is tetanus (which you should have anyway), hepatitis A/B and typhoid fever. Contact your doctor or the local centre of travel medicine few weeks before your departure and discuss further details.
Without questions, this is a MUST. The health care is expensive anywhere! When I have a flu at home I don´t pay anything for the check up and in most cases nothing for the pills. In Thailand I ended up paying 36 USD only for this and thanks to my travel insurance I got the money back. In case something more serious happens you can expect a bill stating hundreds or thousands dollars.
Secure your documents
Before your trip make a scan of your passport and save it to a place where you can access it online. The best would be Google Docs or Dropbox. Also make a photo copy and put it in a different bag. If you travel by night bus in south-east Asia, get yourself a bum bag, put your phone, money and credit cards inside, tight the bag around your body and cover with t-shirt or hoodie. I don´t know if this is a true but have heard stories that in Thailand they put sleeping pills inside the bottled water they give you and then they steal from you while you are asleep.
Valuables in your hand luggage
The last thing you want is to have your camera or laptop stolen before you even arrive into your final destination. Yes, it happened to me as well. I was so stupid and put my camera in my checked suitcase and somewhere between Prague and Brussel it got mysteriously lost. Well, I have learned my lesson and ever since my phone, camera, laptop, all possible chargers and any kind of electronics is always with me in the plane.
Create a contact list
You might be surprised how many numbers you don´t remember anymore as you rely on the technology. Your phone is like your third hand so why you should bother remembering any number? Well, your phone might be stolen or broken. That´s why you should create a contact list in your diary where you will write down all the family members numbers, embassy contact details and a phone number you have to call in case your credit card has been stolen as well.
Check the visa requirements
The worse possible nightmare must be not to be let in the country of your destination. Unfortunatelly, this is happening to people. I have witnessed a Filipino woman arguing with the officer in Jakarta airport who was telling her she is not allowed to enter the country. This advice might sound pointless to you but also check how many days you get on arrival. Did you know that for example in Thailand if you arrive by plane you get 30 days but if you cross the boarders by bus it will be only 15? (depends on your passport)
Is there something else you take care of? Did I forget to mention it? Let me know!