Whenever you’re travelling, there are always a lot of things to think about. Some of these (like buying a toothbrush) can remedied if you’ve forgotten them; others can’t. Travelling at Christmas can also present its own challenges.
If you need to get the best advice, ask an expert: and fortunately there are some experts in Hungerford High Street. Fare Wise Travel has organised countless trips for their clients over the years and have helped many of them overcome and solve unexpected things that cropped up before, during and after their holidays. Prevention is, of course, better than cure, so we asked Fiona Poole from Fare Wise to give us her 12 tips for travel at Christmas (and, indeed, at any other time of the year). Here they are…
1 If travelling for Christmas don’t wrap presents or carry crackers. The presents may well be opened by customs (and not re-wrapped again) and the crackers will be confiscated.
2 Don’t take all your most expensive jewellery: ostentatious wealth may make you a target for robbers.
3 Be aware of other country’s customs and check the specific requirements for anywhere you are visiting. For instance, a number of places do not allow camouflage shirts, trousers even hats. Bear in mind that customs and taboos can vary from one part of a country to another.
4 Should you need assistance at airports (if, for instance any of your party has mobility problems or if you’re travelling with small children), make sure to arrange this in advance. Most airports have play areas so indulge your youngsters and get rid of some excess energy before the flight.
5 If you have a special diet or a medical condition remember to advise the airline, train operator or cruise line in good time. You should also make sure that any medicines you take with you can be imported into the country/ies you’re visiting. You should also establish whether you can get further supplies should you lose the ones you have or run out while abroad and what they are called locally. Your GP should be able to help.
6 Be flexible and build in enough time to allow for delays. A great idea, therefore, not to book a flight that, if all goes well, will get you to New Zealand just in time for that big family wedding. Also – and this is easy to say sitting at a desk – but try not to get upset if things go wrong or get delayed. Patience is extremely important when traveling.
7 Make a list. If you’re sure you can trust your memory, make it in your head. I can’t trust mine, though, so about a week before I start writing things down. The best bit, of course, is crossing them off as they’re done.
8 Learn common phrases of the local language. If nothing else, “please,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry” in the local language goes a long way. I also like to learn the word for beer, but that’s just me.
9 Alert your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, particularly if you’re going somewhere you haven’t been before. Some systems depend on algorithms which can interpret a payment made in an unexpected place as a possible case of fraud and put your card on hold.
10 Always buy travel insurance. This is really important so I’ll say it again – always buy travel insurance. A medical emergency can wipe out your savings. Make sure also that you read the small print and check if there any restrictions such as needing to report pre-existing conditions or the fact that the policy might be void if something happens when you’ve had too much to drink. Ensure that cameras and phone are insured when taken out of the country.
11 Make photocopies of important documents like passports, travel documents, driving licence and credit cards (though you might want to delete one of the blocks of numbers and remember that in another way). We advise making two copies, leaving one with someone in the UK you can contact if you need to and taking the other with you (and kept in a different place from the documents themselves).
12 Always bring a sarong. Sarongs can be used as a wrap when you are cold, a sun-shield when you’re hot, a towel when you’re wet, a curtain when you want privacy, a pillow when you want to rest your head or a piece of clothing that can be worn dozens of different ways.
If you need any help, advice or suggestions about booking your next holiday, whether it’s a weekend break in Europe or a six-month round-the-world trek, feel free to contact the experts at Fare Wise Travel in Hungerford. You can visit the website here, email email@example.com, call them on 01488 686 858 or drop in to see them at 19 Hungerford High Street.