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Things you mustn’t forget when traveling abroad

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

Why It Is Worth Getting Cruise Travel Insurance

Cruise holidays have recently hit the headlines after a spate of horrifying incidents, from power outages to norovirus outbreaks to the terrifying and disastrous event of the Concordia in Italy.

All have seen cruise passengers subject to terrifying and shocking circumstances, that none of us would wish on our greatest enemies and highlighted the importance of cruise travel insurance.

The most recent incident on the Carnival triumph left over 3,143 passengers and 1000 crew stranded for almost a week off the Gulf of Mexico after a fuel leak caused a fire. The ship lost electricity, air conditioning and functioning toilets leaving passengers in shocking unsanitary conditions.

While incidents such as these are hopefully rare, it makes a huge case for protecting yourself against the worst. Aside from the recent bad press, cruises can be a fantastic break. They offer a few weeks away exploring a wealth of interesting countries and new cultures before embarking to a new one. In between, you spend time on an impressive and vast cruise ship, with choices of entertainment, food and new people to meet.

Cruises are famously social, and you could end up making friends for life on a cruise as you encounter them every day or your journey around the ship. A cruise offers an easier and cheaper way of exploring an area of the world and expanding your horizons and experience of the world.

For avid cruise goers, a cruise is something they may spend months or years saving up for and is an event that sparks excitement and much planning. For something that costs so much money and an event that people have been planning for years, it would be awful to think they weren’t protected if they didn’t have cruise travel insurance.

If the cruise is cancelled or something goes wrong during the trip, passengers could be thousands of pounds out of pocket if they aren’t insured. Cruise travel insurance covers the unexpected such as illness, injury, trip interruption, lost luggage or security evacuation – so even if something does ruin or disrupt your trip, you’ll have some kind of compensation for it.

So rather than letting the recent events of some cruise trips ruin your views of setting sail, it is much better to just make sure you’re covered before you take to the seas. Nobody can predict incidents occurring but it is much better to protect against them if they do.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: sxc.hu

Ben Austin is CEO of comparison site Cost.co.uk, allowing customers to compare deals on travel insurance, car insurance, credit cards and more.

What Happens To Your Lost Luggage?

lost luggage

Every Year millions of pieces of luggage are transported by airlines across the world. Most items are successfully reunited with their owners on arrival at their destinations but inevitably some pieces are lost in the system and despite great efforts to trace the rightful owners they end up languishing in storage. The airlines are in the business of transport, not storage and second hand goods, so what happens to the bags that remain unclaimed?

Auctions

Any luggage which remains unclaimed in the UK usually ends up at auction houses where the bags and their contents go under the hammer and are snapped up by enterprising individuals looking for a bargain. Lost luggage from Heathrow, the country’s largest Airport, is auctioned every Tuesday at Greasby’s in Tooting, South London. Prospective buyers can view the lots the previous afternoon. Before being entered into sale the bags are opened by the auctioneers and any obviously valuable pieces are removed and sold separately. Any personal documents or hazardous goods are also taken out and so the remainder are simply bags of clothes and small items. The luggage is sold closed and so buyers have no sight of the contents before purchasing and are relying on good fortune to snaffle a bargain. The auctioneers are also given to mixing the contents of the bags so even taking the logical step of bidding on a piece of premium luggage may result in finding you have purchased a case load of uninteresting dirty washing rather than a haul of designer clothes.

Profits

Despite the obvious pitfalls there is no shortage of buyers for the goods who then generally sell on their purchases on ebay, market stalls and in shops specialising in second hand items. Many individuals attend the auctions every week and have done for years, accepting the ups and downs of the business. The pieces of luggage usually sell for between £20 and £50 and the cases and bags themselves often realise a good price even if the contents are of no value. Purchasers often report selling the goods for 5 to 6 times what they paid for them and sometimes make lucky finds like cash in garment pockets and good quality items that have been overlooked by the auctioneers.

America

In America a well-known and hugely success business was founded on selling lost luggage. In 1970 Doyle Owens rented a van and filled it with luggage purchased from an airline. When he started selling the items he realised what a good business he had stumbled upon and started a full time operation. Over the years deals were done with airlines and transportation companies and now the Unclaimed Baggage Centre occupies 40,000 square feet of retail space and attracts 800,000 visitors each year. The outlet is now a bit of a national institution and ironically has become the biggest tourist attraction in the state of Alabama!

A New Home

It turns out that luggage is not so much lost as misplaced and then goes on to find a new home. The practice of selling off the material for profit has enraged some but the fact is Airlines make no money out of the procedure and indeed spend a lot of time and money trying to reunite bags with their owners and paying compensation when they fail. The bags that are left unclaimed have to go somewhere and at least selling them on will ensure that wastage is minimised and at least someone benefits from the situation.

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Sally S is a frequent traveller and has in the past experienced the aftermath of lost luggage. Sally writes on a large range of subjects including travel, music and technology. You can find out more about Sally Stacey via her Google+ profile.

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