The festive season is here with us. To many, it is not only a time to relax and enjoy a break away from the hustles and bustles of life in their homes but also a moment to travel abroad and enjoy all that the far away lands have to offer.

There are things that should always come first whenever you intend to travel. As a matter of fact they are a MUST-have for any trip abroad. These include:

1. Maps and guidebooks

Maps provide vital and useful information for travelers. You can use the paper map or the digital one on your smartphone.

Either way you will be able to access information on navigation routes, accommodation places, holiday camps, airports and many other things you would be interested in on the map.

Pick the guidebooks on the front desk of your hotel or from the embassies of the countries you wish to visit. Alternatively you can also download them from their respective websites. These will give you firsthand information on the places you wish to tour abroad.

Maps and guidebooks help to keep you safe and confident when abroad. They spare you from traps of tricky tour guides who may cause you a lot of distress by providing the wrong information. Always HAVE them!

2. Chargers

To avoid having your gadgets stay off for long hours, always remember to pack the chargers.

Solar powered charger

If you like going out for camping, nature walks or game drives, a solar charger is a gadget you cannot afford not to have. Usually such places have no access to electrical outlets that can allow you to recharge your gadgets and therefore solar powered chargers come in handy at such times.

Always carry with you a camera whenever you travel abroad. Let yourself be a photographer; act like a professional and capture the best moments of your tour. Photographs help to keep memories alive.

Remember to take an external memory card just in case the photos data size fully occupy the available space of the internal memory of the camera.

Always be responsible when taking photographs. Do not take photos of institutions or people without seeking their consent. This can cause you a lot of trouble abroad. AVOID it!

4. Travel documents

At no point should you ever forget your travel documents. Make sure you always have them in your wallet, bag, purse or whatever place you may choose to keep them.

Travel documents help in identifying and paving the way for you whenever you travel to other countries. Other governments are able to recognize your purpose of visit and the duration of time you intend to be there.

Passport is the most common travel document. You should ensure that your passport is valid and that it will still be valid by the time you will be traveling back. Also ensure that the entry and exit stamps are in order.

Have photocopies of your travel documents. This will act as an interim one if you happen to lose your original passport. However, you should report to immigration authorities immediately. With a photocopy, you can have your original document replaced within a short time since you have the proof that you are the original holder.

Take travel insurance before you travel. This will bear the financial burden of things that go wrong when on your trip. In the ugly eventuality that bad luck strikes, you will not be stressed with sorting it out with your own money.

Some of the issues you would like to have covered include: accident, emergency medical treatment, cancellation, trip interruption and curtailment, medical evacuation, personal liability, missed departure, belongings and legal expenses.

5. Reading materials

Have some reading materials to keep you busy in your journey and ones you can refer to while there. Choose the ones that you enjoy reading. Novels and magazines are common reading materials to many travelers.

If you are touring a country whose national language is different from yours, then you will need a translational dictionary more than a magazine of your own language; after all learning never ends.

6. Medicine

If you are on medication make sure you carry enough of it to last till you travel back. You should always carry the drugs in their labeled containers, but also check whether you are allowed to bring them on board with you.

Consult your doctor to know whether it is safe and healthy for you to take the medicine when traveling. Do not make your own medical assumption that taking medicine when at home is one and the same thing as taking when traveling.

In case you fall ill abroad you can always go for over-the-counter drugs but you need to be careful since they may vary with those from your home country.

7. Communication devices

Do NOT leave your cellphone behind when you travel abroad. Register for the foreign mobile telecommunications network so that you enjoy having conversations with your family and friends back at home.

Keeping the communications alive assures them that you are safe. Lack of communication triggers panic, confusion and even fear to them.

Your laptop can act as a good communication device when you use it to keep your social networking sites active. For example, by posting photos you communicate about your tour to friends and family.

Be careful how you use these devices. Avoid talking openly and in loud conversations over the phone. It is also advisable not to overdo posts on the social media.

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net