The 10 essential things every traveller forgets

Galloping off to some far-flung corner of the planet has now become so commonplace we don’t think twice about it. Money, passport, air ticket and we’re off, and if we’ve forgotten anything, wasn’t that why shopping was invented? But familiarity breeds neglect. Inevitably, there are things we forget, details we probably once observed when we travelled, and since it all worked out perfectly okay last time, why bother? Time to lift our collective game. Here are 10 must-dos for the next time you’re out and about in the world.
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Photo: Alamy

Simple to do, and one of the most effective ways to block a lurgy from entering your digestive tract – but how many times do you finger-pop a samosa or a cavalo nero and prosciutto bruschetta into your mouth, or dip into the tapas without washing your mitts? Bacterial swabs taken from unwashed human hands have been shown to harbour more nasties than railway station benches, more than kitchen sponges, more even than the average TV remote control, and there’s no way you’d be licking one of those. Email all docs to self and someone who cares

Passport info page, air tickets, travel insurance policy, licence, itinerary – these are all stuff you’re likely to need should you and they through misadventure part company. Save them in as many places as you can think of – email, the cloud and at the email addresses of trusted friends and relations who can be called on if your hour of need arises. Advertising your absence” src=”http://www.smh成都夜总会招聘.au/content/dam/images/g/y/c/a/9/b/image.imgtype.articleLeadwide.620×349.png/1504688017299.png” title=”” width=”100%”>

Photo: Alamy

This is a real Facebook post form a friend: “Hey everyone, having a fabulous time at Nusa Dua, still got another week of heaven to go.” This is maybe not such a smart message to broadcast to your Facebook friends – and remember that attractive person with the mysterious name who sent you a friend request way back when which you accepted? That could be information of interest to them, or anyone else for whom your absence might constitute an opening for personal enrichment. Maybe keep a lid on your movements and if there are kids in the picture, a word about zipping the lips, the circle of trust, the need-to-know principle etc. Surely this Bangkok motorcycle taxi is the smart way to get around?In Bangkok, get a tuk tuk.” src=”http://www.smh成都夜总会招聘.au/content/dam/images/g/y/c/a/m/8/image.imgtype.articleLeadwide.620×349.png/1504689156902.png” title=”” width=”100%”>

Travel in Bangkok can be tenuous. Photo: Alamy

The two-wheeled version of The Fast and the Furious, Bangkok’s motorcycle taxis are the way to beat the city’s gridlocked traffic when you’re in a hurry. Locals use them all the time but they’re risky, and not for the faint of heart. Expect a high-speed slalom ride that sometimes involves weaving through markets, up one-way streets the wrong way, onto pavements and those red lights are strictly advisory when there’s no cop around. Possibilities for catastrophe are ever-present. You won’t get a helmet most likely, and if it’s wet, you’re better off walking. In fact if sense prevails you’ll probably walk anyway, or use the excellent BTS Sktrain. The seatbelt sign is off, so why should I keep it on?

Turbulence is not always predictable. Hit an air pocket and your aircraft might fall several metres, but you might not if your seatbelt is flopping by your side, causing your head to meet the overhead bin in a bruising and possibly bloody encounter. Not knowing the exchange rateKnow the exchange rate before you get to a destination.” src=”http://www.smh成都夜总会招聘.au/content/dam/images/g/y/c/a/d/9/image.imgtype.articleLeadwide.620×349.png/1504688406821.png” title=”” width=”100%”>

Know the exchange rate before you get to a destination. Photo: Alamy

So you’re in Florence and figuring on around 70 Euro cents to the dollar, give or take. Which makes that leather jacket at 500 euros just a shade over $700, right? In fact more like $770 because at the credit card rate, your dollar is worth only around 64.8 cents, so maybe not such a bargain. Knowing the exchange rate in wherever you find yourself can save you from a nasty surprise down the line, and reach for a calculator if there are big sums involved. Remember too that the rate you get from an ATM is probably slightly better than the rate on a credit card transaction. Also, know what the local currency looks like. I once paid for a meal on the waterfront at Split in Croatia mistaking the euros in my wallet for local kuna. For a lunch that cost HRK70, about $13.25 at the time, I paid ???70. I might have even added a tip. The waiter took the cash and disappeared, never to be seen again.

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Photo: Alamy

Ever tried miming a headache in Hindi? Or busy bowels in Burmese? You can waste heaps of time in pharmacies trying to find the stuff you need to fix simple and predictable ailments, and it’s plenty worse if you’re struck somewhere remote and they’re not available. Read your travel insurance PDS

The product disclosure statement that comes with your travel insurance policy is an insomnia sure-cure but it’s a necessary read. The ifs and buts can bring you undone if you try and claim for something your insurance excludes. If you’re relying on the travel insurance that comes when you use your credit card to pay for your travels, extra care is needed. Some of these policies need to be activated and others limit the amount of medical cover they provide without clearance from the insurer, and that’s something you need to know.

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Your wallet and it’s probably loaded with goodies. All your cash, cards, the whole deal that keeps your holiday afloat. And it might be sitting in your back pocket, or tucked inside a handbag, maybe even with the zipper open. Should it go walkabout in a stranger’s hands, you’re possibly down to whatever bits of silverware are jingling in your pocket and that’s not a happy place to be. Take out what cash and cards you might need for the day and leave the rest in your hotel, preferably in the safe or else locked inside your luggage. If there are two of you, divvy up the loot between you. Register travel plans with DFAT

Logging onto the Smartraveller website and telling the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where you’re going takes about five minutes. Recent terror attacks have shown that there is just about no place where you can take your security for granted, and DFAT needs to know if you’re in-country when things turn nasty.

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