1. 1. Invest in a good luggage
Backpack, carry-on bag, soft suitcase, rigid case… Today, the choice in luggage is expanding, making it also more and more complicated for the consumer. However, the choice of a good suitcase will allow you to travel more calmly, more slightly – and with more style (yes, it does matter). Here is a guide of all the requirement which should be in order to choose THE good suitcase:
- The strength
For a checked baggage, the rigid suitcases are most convenient, stronger and also prettier than those which are flexible or semi-rigid. Be sure to check also the solidity of the zipper to prevent tears.
- The size
For checked luggage, chose the size which suits you best according to the length of your stay. For carry-on baggage, the limit size differs whether the airline company (especially with low coast companies), so we strongly encourage you to choose a cabin luggage which corresponds at most airline companies’ requirements with a size of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm.
- The wheels
There are one of the most fragile pieces of the luggage, supporting simultaneously the weight of the baggage and all bumps. So make sure you choose a luggage with solid wheels, made of good materials. Also, favour the four wheels’ luggage which bring more comfort and allows to feel less the luggage’s weight.
- The interior storage
If the luggage’s size is significant, the interior storage layout can be an asset. Some baggage can have numerous inside pocket and separations.
- The lock: TSA, code or padlock
More and more baggage includes the words “TSA compatible”, regarding these locks in which the zipper’s nozzles lock and unlock with a code. At this time, this mention is only useful for people travelling to the USA. Indeed, the US customs only has a TSA key for opening the luggage they want to check, rather than having to break them.
2. Travel light
Regardless of the length of your stay, less heavy will your luggage, more pleasant will be your trip. Prepare a list and take only the essentials. That’s why it can be helpful to have a look at your destination’s weather before leaving, this will allow you to avoid all the “just in case” clothes.
Tips to avoid the trap of too heavy luggage/backpack:
- Choose light clothes , which can be polyvalent, with colours that all match together
- For the toilet bag, transfer all the liquids in smaller bottles, that will be less heavy
- Trade your usual books for a e-reader
- Take only two pair of shoes, one functional and one more aesthetic
- During summer, choose a thin and light beach towel
- If necessary, prefer the silk sheets rather than cotton sheets, which are more heavy and less easy to compress
- And last but not least, if you are in a multiple destinations trip, resist the temptation to buy too much gifts/souvenirs at each stop!
3. Choose a travel and health insurance
Travel insurance are too often left-behind during the organization of a stay, however in some cases it can be really necessary. The goal is to cover you from many problems that can occur during your trip. It allows you to benefit of compensations in case of robberies, lost luggage or flight delays/cancellation. It also covers you in case of accident, allows you to stay safe in case of local emergency situation and being quickly repatriated at home.
Some credit cards include a travel insurance (maximum of 60 or 90 consecutive days), and you just have to pay your trip with your credit card to benefit of its insurance. More high-end is the credit card, higher are the benefits. Here are your advantages according to your credit card:
Chase Sapphire Card: Covered the trip cancellation or interruption for a covered reason. Trip delayed more than 12 hours or which requires an overnight stay. Covered the lost baggage up to $3000 and coverage of $100 per day for delayed baggage.
American Express Card: Coverage for lost, stolen or damaged baggage up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage (for each covered person) and $500 for checked baggage.
The Citibank Advantage Signature Card: Coverage for trip cancellation/interruption in case of sickness, injury or death. No coverage for severe weather. Coverage for lost checked baggage up to $3,000 (only $2,000 for New York State residents), but no coverage for carry-on luggage. No coverage for delayed baggage or trip delay.
World MasterCard: Coverage for trip cancellation / interruption in case of death, accidental injury, disease or physical illness of the insured person or an immediate family member of the insured person. Coverage for baggage loss/delay up to $300 and kicks in after just 4 hours of delay. Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance provides coverage up to $1 million for accidents while traveling
The Capital One Venture Rewards Card: Coverage for loss and delayed luggage up to $3000.
United Explorer Visa Platinum Card: Coverage for trip cancellation/delay up to $10,000. Coverage for baggage loss up to $3,000 per person, and for baggage delay up to $300.
It is important to notice than none of the US cards offer medical insurance. To choose the best insurance, you can ask to your bank but also to a travel insurance or a specialist.
We recommend you to evaluate all your coverage needs. What will be your travel schedule, what is the length of your stay, what contingencies you need to consider, what high-value material you take, etc.
4. Exchange your currency
If you are travelling in a different currency country think ahead to exchange your currency before your departure. Indeed, arrive in a new country with local currency is more reassuring to pay the first expenses (taxi, restaurant, etc.). However, keep in mind that the dollar can be used in almost all countries, and euro in all UE countries + some exceptions.
Furthermore, some backward countries make no or very little use of credit card. It is therefore indispensable to come with cash: dollar or local currency if possible.
To obtain currencies, you have several options:
- Order them directly online and receive it at your place or go get them in a partner shop
- Ask your bank for all convertible currencies, you need to order them at least two weeks before your departure. The commissions fees are often quite high
- If your currency is not convertible, you can ask to an exchange office, especially for the dollar or the pound sterling, because the commission fees is far much less high than bank commission (about 2,5%)
- Exchange your currency directly at the airport (warning: the exchange rates are not as good as other options)
- Download Revolut application on Apple Store or Android, allowing you to transfer cash on your profile, receive a credit card at home, and then, withdraw cash in any bank distributor in any country in the world. If you use less than 1500€/ an, it is totally free of charge and with the better exchanges rates.
5. Anticipate the jet lag effects
For a long-haul or a medium-haul flight, the jet lags effects can be relatively significant. Here are some tips to prevent or counteract their effects on your body:
- Start to adapt your bedtime few days before departure. Go to bed earlier if you travel towards the East, or later if you travel towards the West.
- If necessary, you can advance or back up the time of medication intake few days before leaving
- Get a good night sleep the day before leaving
- Try as much as possible to rest during the flight, and drink enough water (avoid alcohol on the flight, coffee and energy drinks, that disrupts the sleep)
- Adapt alimentation: protein breakfast and lunch to increase awareness and stay in top form, and diner full of slow sugar to promote sleep
- If your trip last more than few days, you need to directly adjust your body to local time by staying at most at daylight
6. Download the good applications
- Your airline company application, to check in easily and quickly, and see in real time all your flight information. But also to catch up all the flights delays!
- Google Drive, to store all your important documents (passport, identity card, travel vouchers, insurance certificate, etc.)
- A translator application to avoid the language barrier, and to translate instantly all words, expressions, flyers, restaurant menus, etc.
- A currency convertor, to see in real time all the exchange rates and make easy conversions
- A GPS application, to find easily your way
7. Plan a Wi-Fi solution to avoid the roaming fees
Nothing is worse than ending a trip with an astronomical communication bill, especially due to exorbitant prices of roaming costs.
That is why it is better to be watchful and plan your solution ahead. Here are different options:
- Choose a hotel/accommodation with an unlimited and free access to Wi-Fi
- Buy a SIM card in a specialized shop once arrived in your travel destination. With this new SIM card, you will have a new phone number, you can therefore make intern calls, send text messages and connect to Internet. Careful, your phone must be unblocked all operator for this option.
- Rent a pocket wifi online and receive it at your home before departure, or at your hotel/accommodation at your arrival. These are tiny mobile hotspot which provides a 4G high speed private network around you, allowing to connect all your devices. This is the less expensive solution, especially for group or family trips. To stay connected in Europe, you can order at www.hippocketwifi.com. In Asia, at www.tepwireless.com, and in America at www.xcomglobal.com.
8. Free up some space in memory for photos
Nothing is more annoying than realize your memory is full only once arrived on a idyllic place. To avoid this awful scenario, make sure to store all your photos on your computer before leaving, to free up a maximum of memory.
9. Take a portable battery
While travelling, we want to spend a maximum of time outdoor, and who says staying outdoor, says that you can’t recharge your smartphone!
To avoid getting lost in an unknown city with dead battery on your phone, we recommend you to invest in a backup battery. Also useful during long-haul flights, these small and light batteries can recharge at one to three times most of Smartphones, according to capacity.