One of the wonderful things about travel is experiencing things that are new, different, and even unexpected. But, what about those surprises that aren’t so pleasant?
Expecting the unexpected on holiday involves more than brainstorming wet-weather sightseeing options and packing for temperature swings. It’s also smart to consider which travel essentials you simply cannot live without. Could you replace your contact lenses at short notice? What happens to all the music you bought if your music player plops into the swimming pool?
Some basic back-up measures will save you a great deal of hassle in case of travel trouble – and online services can help you out, too. Making a Plan B for your holiday will help you avoid losing your sanity, even if you lose your suitcase or spending money. Here are some handy tips to keep your vacation smooth sailing:
Up in the cloud
Everybody does a final check for passports and tickets before jetting off, but what about all your other documents — and what should you do in case of loss or theft? Follow tradition and leave copies of your itinerary, insurance and important numbers with a family member or close friend, plus pack a spare for yourself. But, to feel extra secure, scan your documents and store them online (that is, the cloud), so you can access them anywhere in the world. Email your documents to yourself and a loved one, or save them on a secure online storage website like Dropbox, Google Drive or another cloud service. It’s simple!
Baggage (without the emotion)
Fortunately, losing your luggage is a fairly rare occurrence but, if the worst happens, you’ll be glad for a baggage Plan B. Pack a spare outfit in your carry-on bag (yes, even socks and underwear), as well as anything you can’t live without, such as medications, prescriptions or a spare pair of glasses. Track any missing luggage easily via Mylostbag. Need to buy new clothes in a hurry? Check size-conversion charts online for an instant overview of local clothing and shoe sizes. Not only will new outfits let you breathe a sigh of relief, but they could also double as souvenirs.
Few things will dampen the exuberance of a holiday more than losing your money or credit cards. To prevent loss or theft, divide your cash and credit cards between your hotel room safe (or other hiding spot) and a money belt that fits discreetly under your clothes. Consider also preparing a decoy wallet with some small bills and expired credit cards, to hand over in case of robbery. Remember also to write down the contact details for your credit card companies (and not just on a post-it note in your wallet), so you can call quickly to cancel any lost or stolen cards before they get used.
Get your web surfing in sync
Want to stay connected online this summer? Some web browsers let you synchronize information like your bookmarks and passwords across your computer, phone and tablet. So, even while on the go, your favorite websites or the travel pages you saved on your home computer are backed up on your mobile.
Those bad old days of taking pictures on vacation, and “hoping” the film is okay when you eventually get home, are (thankfully) far behind us. But, whether you take pictures on a high-end camera or just snap away on your phone, it’s well worth preserving your images online during or after your trip with free photo storage facilities. Try services like Flickr, PhotoBucket or even albums on your favorite social network. That way, if something happens to your phone or camera, the precious memories you want to share back home are still intact.
Get in tune with music and books
Can’t live without your tunes? When it comes to music, your best bet is to back up your library of purchased or previously downloaded tracks to an external hard drive before you leave on your trip. When it comes to e-books, however, you can store your purchased titles in a virtual “library” where you can re-download them if needed. Most stores keep all your purchases on your profile, so even if your device accidentally takes a swim in the pool, you still have all of your favorite downloads from Amazon, iTunes and most other app, book and music download stores.
Different countries use different power outlets. A quick check online will tell you if you need to buy an adapter for using your appliances, and a visit to an electronics store or airport shop should soon set you up. Without an adapter, your mobile phone, camera and laptop will be useless — and you don’t want to waste time tracking down a local cable at your destination when you could be seeing the sights, sampling local cuisine or relaxing on the beach. If you find yourself in a bind, ask your hotel about borrowing an adapter or charger cable or ask whether they have one in their lost-and-found pile. (They usually do!)
Being prepared for a holiday is not just about checking the weather and making sure you have the right clothes. Follow these tips to save yourself time, money and stress, as well as ensuring that your well-deserved vacation is as smooth as possible.