As you guys may know already, I am off to Thailand for three weeks on Sunday with my sister Briona! It’s my biggest trip away so far (certainly my largest #CODtravels project to date) and I’m so excited to take you guys along with me via my blog, Youtube and social media.
Myself and Briona will be working with the Thailand Tourism board and traveling around different areas in the country, we’ll be in Chaing Mai, Bangkok, Lampang, as well as the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao, so there will be lots of internal flights and traveling around during the trip itself. As you can imagine, I have been doing so much organisation and preparation to ensure this trip runs as smoothly as possible, and I wanted to share a few of my favourite travel perparation tips with you:
1: digitalise everything
On long trips like this, save on luggage space by digitalising as much as you possibly can. This includes the important things like flight details and boarding passes, but also any maps or touristic information that I’ll need on the trip. I like to email all my important documents to myself (including a photocopy of my passport) so they’re all saved in my inbox in case I need them, but I also like to save everything as a document file on my iPhone, so I can access everything easily without internet. Even snapping photos of documents and tickets on your smart phone can save you so much hassle down the line.
Top Tip: Google maps has a feature for many countries and regions to download their maps offline, which basically means you can use the app without a wifi connection, (so no hefty data charges) I’ve done this so many times before and it’s a real lifesaver! Unfortunately this function is not available for every country (such as Thailand) but I can still save or “favourite” all the important locations (airports, hotels, restaurants, etc) on the map, so they will still show up when I open the map and i can navigate my way towards them if needed, or simply show the address to a taxi driver.
Shop my travel essentials
Accidents can happen anywhere in the world, but they’re all that more stressful when you’re away from home. So before a big trip like this, I always call my health insurance provider to buy an extra health insurance package that covers the countries I’m in, plus all the activities ill be doing. You’d be surprised at how cheap it is, my cover package only cost €35, which is pretty great value considering it’s a three week trip, which will include lots of outdoor activities, and even diving!
No one wants to end up stranded in a foreign country with their bank cards blocked, so do yourself a favour and let your bank know where you’re going before you leave! It’s such a simple process and can even be done online with most banks, so there’s no excuse not to do it. It’s also worthwhile to give your local bank manager a ring to ask about what’s the safest and best way to pay for things while your abroad, as they may have some handy advice for you.
This might not apply to those traveling within Europe, but when you go further afield, you better make sure you get your vaccines first! I went home to Galway earlier this week to visit my family, and used the chance to pop into the Tropical Medical Bureau to get the necessary vaccines for my trip away. The whole process is quick, relatively painless (it’s only a little needle prick after all!) and the doctor also gave myself and my sister some really valuable advice about staying healthy while traveling. Just make sure to book an appointment in advance as they fill up fast. Among the brilliant tips she gave us, the best one I heard was to never order a drink with ice in it, as the ice cubes are often made from tap water (which you are to avoid drinking) and travellers often don’t think about the ice, and that’s how they end up getting sick.
Top tip: Don’t forget to hit up your local pharmacy for some Dioralite, Imodium, Motullium, and Paracatemol… all that good stuff!
Another tip is to download any ebooks, movies or series BEFORE you leave on your trip. E-readers, tablets and even phones can hold so much media on them these days, it would be a shame not to use it! You’ll thank me when you’re on that 4-hour train journey with no wi-fi, and you can happily pop your earphones in and zone out with some great entertainment.
Top Tip: Check that all your batteries are charged before you leave, and invest in one or two good battery packs to recharge devices on the go. They are a LIFESAVER, trust me!