|this is my backpack|
This preparing stuff is not literally a check list but usually I do these or share with my group to do that stuff. This preparing stuff, for sure makes me more confidence to do the trip, especially to the foreign country which is my first time visiting there. Moreover, it also makes my trip efficient, effective and organized, well yes I am an organized kind of man hehe.
1. Book a flight, usually this has to be made long enough from D day for promo or cheaper fare. Well let’s say there’s no promo event nearby the D Day.
2. Search for sightseeing, attractions and culinary which are interesting to see/taste. Find as many as I can rather than make a priority list while the others will be in additional or backup schedule.
Personally, I love to taste any kind of local meals. Having a culinary adventure is one of my passions. This step is very important to Moslem friends because it’s difficult to find kosher meals in some country and avoid wasting time in the trip to find kosher meals.
3. Check the weather in the destination city/country around our arrival period. This is for minimizing my luggage and to avoid bringing something that do not match with the weather, like winter jacket, umbrella, waterproof jacket, etc.
4. Check Term & Condition at sightseeing and attraction, especially what I should wear properly according to their policy. Like in some place that I should wear trousers, long leaves shirt, shoes, etc. Well some places provide rented clothes but why I have to spend extra money if I can prepare those things by myself.
5. Make a list of my belongings. It sounds like too much organizing but it works, well at least for me. It works for avoiding over packed or less packed. The list will be my check list when I pack my bag when I get home, to avoid any of my belongings get left behind.
It happened to my friends, she forgot to bring her IPod back in Pattaya because it slipped inside a blanket. The other was almost lost his short if it’s not found by housekeeping while we’re waiting our ride after checking-out.
Once the list is ready, I will review and reduce to minimize my luggage.
6. Check what kind of electrical plug provided in the destination city/country. It’s trivial but important, well I can’t imagine if I don’t bring the match electrical plug and I can’t charge my cell phone and digital camera as well.
7. Search destination country’s currency and looking for any tips that the exchange rate could be higher than in Indonesia if I bring USD to the destination (like in Vietnam for instance).
8. Make copies of all ID/Passport/Credit Card, etc. This action just for preventing, that under any circumstances, we need the copy of it (if my bag/wallet stolen, etc).
9. Search for daily living cost in destination city/country, souvenir price and admission fee to sightseeing and/or attraction to make my budget more realistic.
10. Make a budget for the entire trip. Well I told you that I’m a traveler with limitation of budget, so I have to make a budget to maintain my trip’s expenses. I always add another 10% additional from total budget for any miscellaneous un-budgeted cost.
Once my budget is ready, I will review and reduce hehe.
11. Make an itinerary trip complete with details and time frame. Maybe it looks like kind of strict but it’s not, this itinerary is flexible for sure. It helps me to avoid “Have no idea” or “Where I have to go?” in destination city/country and make my time optimize. Remember my vacation always has limitation of days.
12. Search any possibility to use public transportation in destination city/country. This will make my trip more memorable because I can try other daily public transportation and compare it with what I’ve got in Indonesia, beside it will reduce my transportation cost for sure. Public transportation always way cheaper than taxi hehe.
My concern is public transportation is not always safe for foreigner. I always looking for the cheaper one but I also consider about safety and a couple other consideration.
I also always search if any availability for return ticket which is usually cheaper than single trip fare.
13. Submit my annual leaves way before the D Day before my backup colleague submit his/her first.
14. If I want to visit another city in my destination country in a day, I always compare the price, safety, effectiveness with local daily one day tour.
15. It would be great to find out about standard habit, manners and attitude of people in destination country, so we know how to act and avoid any awkward or inconvenience moment with locals.
For instance: in Indonesia, I have to give something to other using right hand or in Thailand is forbidden to touch head even toddler’s.
16. Some friend of mine, who joined me to Singapore back in 2011, also searched the nearest place of worship.
17. Book a hotel or hostel. I always try to find the cheapest one but with proper facilities and environment, also it has to have easy access.
For sure dormitory is usually the cheapest but I have found dormitory cheaper than private room for only USD 1.00/day. So for me, who will stay for a short time, it looks way better to pick the private room.
This step for me is to avoid spending a lot of time to find a hotel or hostel, especially during high season. Well if I don’t book any hotel or hostel, at least I already looked for hotel or hostel area at destination city.
18. I always reduce using my credit card abroad but I always bring 1 or 2 of them, just in case I need it. Credit Card also is the best solution for group’s cost. I mean when I traveled in a group of 4 persons, it’s not easy to pay our part individually, especially when the fare isn’t even number or there’s additional cent, etc.
My concern is always asking first the credit card payment availability.
19. I always inform my trip to my family and my cell phone number (if I’m using locals or new number), just in case of emergency.
20. At last, I always make my gift/souvenir recipients. Once ready as always review and reduce hehe.
Usually I will see the final list in my day one in destination city/country and looking for gift or souvenir in day one, so I can enjoy the rest of the days to myself.
Hopefully this sharing and/or tips can help you to prepare your trip, especially when the trip is limited with days and budget, like I always got hehe.
Special thanks to Addie for my English translation review.