Preparing for your holiday

Preparing for your holiday


If you are taking your mobile, ensure you have roaming switched on and that your device will work out of your country (you may need to call your provider to unlock it). Check call rates to ensure you don’t come home to an enormous bill!


Just a quick note that roaming data charges can add up pretty quickly, especially if you have a device such as an iPhone with applications that automatically update on the go. We recommend you switch data roaming off while you are away. If you will be using maps then download them before you go. Don’t forget to pack your charger and adaptor.


Skype is one of the wonders of modern travel. Where ever you are, Skype gives you free calls, video calls and instant messaging over the internet, and also allows you to make cheaper calls to landlines and mobiles. You will need to set up an account by downloading it first.  Go to the Skype homepage to download it.


These days your regular ATM / credit card is accepted in most places and are plentiful at airports when you arrive so it’s no longer necessary to take travellers cheques. You may, however, want to get a small amount of your destination’s local currency before you leave just in case. Take a spare card and keep it in a different spot for emergencies.


Ensure you pack only the allowed limits for liquids, aerosols and gases (100mls) packed in a clear plastic bag for your in-flight luggage.


Take your medication on your flight (not in your checked luggage in case of delays or lost luggage) and ensure you have a spare prescription in case you run short.


Less is more: Save some room for shopping!

Don’t forget:

  • Camera including batteries / adaptor / spare film / memory card
  • A spare pair of prescription glasses (or the prescription) – just in case
  • Your international driver’s licence if you are renting a car
  • A copy of your travel documents & passport
  • Useful extra – a Steripen water steriliser for side trips a little bit out of the way

A ) Staying Online Abroad: 5 Tips for Saving Money On Global Roaming

 Staying connected when traveling overseas can result in big bills. Check out these tips to save on data when you’re using your phone in a foreign land.

#1. Use the right apps to reduce your data footprint.

Megabytes cost more when you’re on the road, so use fewer megabytes. Some apps compress the data you use on your smartphone, so those expensive megabytes can go much farther. Use Opera Mini for Android or iPhone to cut Web page data usage by up to 80 percent. For an even bigger overall boost, download Onavo for iPhone or Onavo Extend for Android, which both compress almost all of your Internet traffic.


#2. Consider your carrier’s service plan 

#3. Local SIM cards can save money on single-country trips.

Local SIM cards slot into AT&T or T-Mobile phones, or inexpensive unlocked phones, to give you very low rates in individual countries. Unfortunately, foreign cellphone shops can be difficult to deal with because of language barriers. (I once ended up with a SIM where all the documentation and support was only in Chinese.) If you don’t speak the language of your destination country, Telestial sells single-country SIMs for many countries with an English-language support staff. The company can also help you get an unlocked phone, or figure out how to unlock yours.

#4. Roaming SIM cards can be a good solution for multi-country trips.
#5. For unlimited Internet, rent a hotspot.
 #6. You can use Skype (

 B ) Things to take

1. Boarding passes

These don’t just make nice keepsakes , but it is also better to hold on to those stubs if you need the miles.

2. Hotel Key Cards

They’re meant to be kept, they’re collectible, and you’re probably better off pocketing them, too.

There is a rumor that hotels encode the cards with your personal information. The best way to make sure no one gets the card is to just keep it.

3. Receipts

If you are a business traveler, or part of your vacation is a write-off, you definitely don’t want to throw anything away.

4. Pictures

They don’t take up any space in your bag, and there is nothing better to remind you of your vacation !

 C ) Best Smartphone Apps for travelling.

1 )  XE Currency: This free app for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 enables you to calculate prices with a currency converter and contains more than 30,000 currency charts displaying historical rates. In offline mode, the XE Currency apps offer the most recent rate updates before you went offline and enable you to calculate price conversions.


2 ) Evernote : ( apps (Android, Blackberry, iOS, Mac, Palm, Windows Phone and Windows) enables you to write notes and create to-do lists, and to sync them across all your devices so you can search for the American Express office address you penned or remember the phone number to call the concierge for dinner reservations. You can also record voice notes, take photos and scan your passport and visas for reference. 

3 ) Banking apps from institutions such as Chase and Bank of America (iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, Blackberry, HP, webOS and Android) enable you to find the closest ATM to your hotel using GPS functionality, check your account balances and transfer funds to keep everything in the black, and even pay bills if you are already set up for bill pay with your bank. So with these mobile apps, there’s little need to pack a checkbook and tote a stack of bills when you are supposed to be vacationing. 

4 ) A pharmacy app, such as Walgreens Mobile (iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android, mobile website), is a prescription for a stress-free vacation or corporate junket. If you’re already a Walgreens’ customer, you can receive refill reminders in push notifications and order refills by merely scanning the barcode pasted on your bottles of medicine.


D ) Packing Tips

Some travelers jam two weeks’ worth of gear in their bags for a long weekend. Others pack a bit too lightly and forget important things like medicine or passports.. Savvy travelers strike the perfect balance and bring just what they need — with a little help from our list of road-tested packing tips, of course!

Packing Methods
When packing your clothes, you don’t want to neatly fold them individually as you would in a dresser. If you do, they will crease when compressed. Here are a few alternatives:

Rolling Your Clothes
Backpackers swear by this method. Rolling works well with pants, skirts and sports shirts. Lay the item face down, fold back the sleeves and then roll from the bottom up.

Fold Clothes Together

Take two or more garments, for example trousers, and lay half of one pair on top of the other. Fold the one on the bottom over the pair on the top. Then take the other and fold it on the top. This gives each pair some cushion where you’ve folded it so it’s less likely to crease or wrinkle .

The Bundle Approach
This ingenious method of packing, which we learned from Judith Guilford, co-founder of the Easy Going travel store and author of the “The Packing Book,” has now become our favorite. It’s a bit difficult to explain without a demonstration, but we’ll do our best. You need luggage that opens up and lays flat to do this. You will also need a flat, soft, pouch-like rectangular “core” with dimensions that are at least 1/2 to 3/4 the size of your luggage compartment. This can be a pouch filled with underwear or something similar.

Start with your sports jacket or the longest, most wrinkle-prone item you have. With the collar or waistband flat, place it against the bottom edge of the bag and drape the rest of the garment over the opposite side of the bag. Take another garment and place it in the opposite direction, flattening and smoothing out both garments in the bag and draping the remainder over the side. If you have trousers or other narrow items, do the same with them in the narrow direction of the bag. Keep alternating your items, ending up with the most wrinkle-resistant clothes you have.

When you finish, place your “core” in the middle. Now you’re going to start folding the garments over the core and each other in the reverse order you put them in. If you fold something over and there’s excess draping over the sides of the bag, tuck it underneath the bundle you are creating.

What you will end up with is a bundle of all of your clothes that looks like a pillow. You can pick it up in one piece. It’s compactly packed and doesn’t waste an available space in your luggage. Plus, because of the way things are folded, your clothes will wrinkle less.

To find something in the bundle, lay it flat and unwrap until you reach the layer you want. Take the item out and refold the remainder. If done properly each layer should result in a self contained bundle at each layer.

Tissue Paper
For delicate items, try tissue paper. Lay the item face down and place tissue paper on top. Fold it up with the tissue paper inside. Use additional layers of paper as you fold the garment so it is completely wrapped in and around paper. This is easy enough the first time you pack, but becomes a pain if you have to keep repacking. We only use this approach for evening clothes that we don’t want to crush.

Tips for Air Travelers

  • You may not pack liquid or gel substances in your carry-on unless they are in individual containers of 3.4 ounces or less and enclosed in one clear, quart-size, plastic, zip-top bag per passenger. Any larger containers of liquids and gels must be packed in your checked luggage.
  • Be aware of restrictions on the size and number of bags you may bring onto your flight. Many airlines now charge a fee for every checked bag or have lowered the maximum permitted weight limits for checked luggage.
  • Do not lock your checked bags except with TSA-approved locks; otherwise, if your bag is selected for random screening, agents will have to break the lock to get inside.
  • Do not overpack your bag. Screeners will have a difficult time closing your luggage if selected for inspection, which will only lead to wrinkles and the potential for lost articles.
  • Carry all film with you onboard, as screening equipment for checked luggage can damage undeveloped film.
  • Place any packed belongings you don’t feel comfortable with strangers handling in clear plastic bags.
  • Do not stack books and other documents on top of each other; instead, spread them out throughout your bag.



Personal Items and Hygiene

Body lotion Clothesline Cologne/perfume
Conditioner Contact lenses and solution Cosmetics
Cotton swabs Curling iron/hair straightener Deodorant
Eye drops Face wash Feminine hygiene products
Floss Glasses Hairbrush or comb
Hair care products Hair dryer Hand sanitizer
Lip balm Moist towelettes Mouthwash
Nail clippers Razors and shaving cream Shampoo
Soap Tissues/paper towels Toiletry bag
Toothbrush Toothpaste Towel/wash cloth
Universal sink stopper Woolite packets

Clothing and Accessories

Beach cover-up Belt Comfortable walking shoes
Dress(es) Dress shoes Extra hangers
Gloves/mittens Hiking boots Jacket/fleece
Jewelry Knit hat Long underwear
Pajamas/sleepwear Pants/trousers Rain boots
Raincoat Sandals Scarf
Shirts Shorts Shower shoes
Slippers Socks Stockings
Suits and ties Sweaters Sweatshirts
Swimsuit Sneakers T-shirts
Underwear Watch Water shoes
Wide-brimmed hat

Medications and Health

Allergy pills Anti-itch cream Bandages
Cold medicine Contraceptives First-aid kit
Herbal supplements Malaria tablets Motion sickness remedies
Nausea and diarrhea remedies Pain relievers Prescriptions
Sleep medications Vitamins Water purification method


Camera and charger Cell phone and charger Converters and adapters
Extension cord(s) Extra memory cards or film GPS
Laptop and accessories MP3 player PDA
Shortwave radio Spare batteries Tablet/e-reader
Travel alarm clock Underwater camera Video camera and charger



Label, label, label – What happens if you only put one luggage label  on your luggage and it falls off? We don’t want to find out! Always tie a second label to the outside of your case and then place a third label, with details of your flight and destination, inside the suitcase itself. Better to be safe than to have to wear your husband’s shorts for day one of your holiday!

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on one of our trips, you won’t be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company’s 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by us.

If you have credit card insurance , we will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank’s name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.


Please check our  links to various travel insurance providers: