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Prep like a pro: 10 things to do before your next trip

Your next big adventure is just around the corner, but before you take off, remember to get ready the right way and prepare just like the most experienced (travel) pro would. Here are the best ten tips:

1. Know the rules

Depending on where you’re travelling to, the rules on how long you’re allowed to stay as a tourist can vary hugely. Make sure you know the rules and have the appropriate Visa (if needed). Also verify that your passport is valid for at least six months after your planned return as many countries demand that. And lastly, make sure you know what vaccines you need in order to travel safely – a quick Google search and a visit to your doctor will give you the info (and vaccines!) you need. And remember: If you’re traveling to an exotic country – for a safari, for example – plan your vaccines a few months in advance – some vaccines have to be administered a few times before you travel.

2. Stay connected

I think we’ve all been there. You know, when your phone battery is down to four percent during a conversation that could possibly change your whole life, and you start writing faster and faster in order to say everything you wanted before your phone dies on you. That’s not a pleasant feeling and the only savior in this situation is your charger. Make sure you always bring along a charger AND an adapter so that you can charge all your essential tech gear wherever you are in the world.

3. Map it out

If you are travelling with an iOS or Android device, then you’ll never have to worry about getting lost again. This is because Google has enabled both iOS and Android users to save maps offline in order to access them without needing an internet connection (say goodbye to costly roaming charges). You can save regions as big as the Paris metro area and up to 6 maps at a time. If you already know what cities you’ll visit during your trip, do yourself a favor and download the maps before you leave.

4. Go local

And while we’re still on the phone subject… If you’re staying in the same country for a longer time, it’s worth investing in a local SIM card. It’ll allow you to stay in contact with (local) friends, call taxis and search the internet without worrying about roaming fees or wifi. Make sure to bring an unlocked phone with you though as you won’t be able to install a local SIM card on a locked phone.

5. Do your research

Make sure you do your research before you leave. Almost all cities, even the smallest ones, have a local website where they list local events in the coming months; local editions of TimeOut magazine are a great resource as well. And don’t hesitate to ask friends or friends-of-friends for tips on social media – you’ll be surprised by how many people are more than happy to share tips about their beloved city. The more research you do, the better prepared (and excited!) you’ll be.

6. Start networking

If you’re going away by yourself but don’t necessarily want to spend all your holiday on your own, start networking and making connections before you leave. Let as many people as possible know your itinerary by starting a travel blog (Tumblr is a good choice as it allows you to hashtag by destination, for example) and by connecting with friends or friends of friends via Facebook or Instagram – again, most people will happily share tips with you AND meet up for coffee if they’re around.

7. Spot it, snap it, save it, show it

Let me take a wild guess: you’re probably going to snap thousands of photos on your trip. Every new city, every poolside hang-out, every morning cappuccino and every historic monument is fantastic fodder for your Instagram feed. But if you’re taking photos the old fashioned way – with a camera and not with your phone – then there are much better ways to save and show them than Instagram. Upload them to your blog, or create an online photo gallery with Flickr or Snugmug. (And don’t forget to check out our top tips for travel photographers.)

8. Learn local lingo

Knowing how to communicate with the locals is key to making friends and feeling at home in your new city (even if you’re only staying put for a few days). You don’t have to be fluent, but knowing some basic phrases will help you a lot, and the more you know, the better, of course. Before you leave, buy a phrase book (they don’t cost much and are light and easy to carry around) and study up a little. Being able to book a taxi, buy some groceries in the local market or explain your allergies to a non-English speaking doctor can literally save your life, believe me!

9. Bring some cash

Unless you’re going to Sweden where the government is aiming for a cash-free society, the reality in most countries, especially less developed ones, is still that “cash is king”. You don’t want to end up in a worst case scenario where you’re not able to pay for food, transport or accommodation because there’s no card machine or ATM nearby, so make sure to exchange enough money before you leave. But beware of pickpockets – never keep all your money in one place and never leave your money on your bed when you leave the hotel room.

10. Pack like a boss

There’s nothing more annoying that hauling around a massive bag full of stuff you probably won’t wear, and not having enough space to bring any of the awesome things you bought home with you without paying for excess weight on your return flight. To avoid this situation, make sure you handle one of the most essential (and least fun) parts of travel prep like a boss. Go carry-on if you’re going on a weekend trip or traveling to a city for a week or less, roll your clothes instead of folding them, and re-evaluate every item and outfit you’ve packed before zipping up that suitcase – you can make do with a lot less than you think. For a full list of our top packing tips, check out this article.

And now that you’re prepared and ready to go – Buon voyage! Buon Viaggo! Have a nice trip! Trevlig resa! Buon Viaje!

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