When it is time to travel, it sometimes is at the last minute, it is often at the expense of prior plans, your wallet, and the clear head to be organised for the trip. This list of 20 items to pack, plan for, explore and exploit for last minute travel can make the journey a lot easier.
1. Have a ride when you
It may seem like a funny way to cover yourself for disaster, but missing the meeting, getting caught in bad weather, getting lost in the world can be a disaster. Have a ride app like Uber, Grab, Lift, Free-Now, etc on your phone so you are just a click away from having a ride that you control.
In the ready bag for travel, have a spare phone that has multiple-hotspot connection ability. Even better if the phone has dual sim capacity. The ability to buy a local simcard with data only or a combo data and local number means you will save $$ immediately while being connected. <Hint> Buy the simcard on arrival at the airport and have it installed and test before you walk away…. The airport simcard vendor does dozens of phones a day so can make it work to your satisfaction.
3. Use a Proxy server to Hide Your
Sometimes it is good to be somewhere else. Many websites will not work for ‘foreign’ ip addresses… like your bank when you are travelling. Get a proxy server for setting your IP address to what every country you choose. Hide My Ass works ok… but if you are serious about being connected look at Hot Spot Shield that can automatically protect you and your passwords / email / surfing when you log-on to a public wifi.
4. So much to do… no
Pack an extra battery for charging your phone and your laptop (if possible) for those times when you are caught with out a powerpoint. Best if the battery can charge multiple devices at one… Have extra charge cables just in case.
5. No battery, no spare battery…dead
Your laptop comes with a battery… and it can be used to recharge your phone if you have a connection cable to connect the two. No laptop… you might find a television along the way that has a USB port… many of these also can generate the juice to charge your phone or laptop.
6. Have a spare picture or
If you are traveling internationally have few extra passport pictures with you in case you need to apply for a visa using a picture. Likewise have a picture of you passport and drivers license in your phone in a ‘documents’ file for easy reference. Email yourself a copy so you can find it in the ‘cloud’ in case of a lost phone.
7. Book your flights with a tested agent
Uncle Bernie’s friend is not the person to test for last minute ticketing. Use an agency that has 24/7 support and test them to see if they respond. They should have multiple methods for contact. Eg. Phone, Live Chat, WhatsAp, Viber, Facetime…. the robot should not answer all calls…
8. Travel with a universal currency
card… and a spare
When the time to travel comes, it is good to have a card… and one that works. If your card is stolen/lost/destroyed along the way it very hard to keep moving. Have a spare card that is ‘on file’ and not physically with you. Take a picture/front and back and keep the picture in your password vault. A card like Wirex or Revolut will allow you to have your currency converted to various local currencies or to purchase using Crypto currency and avoid the merchant/exchange fees.
9. How much could it possibly cost….
Just a house or two
You may be heading out the door to cover an emergency need. Don't let the emergency become your crisis. Unexpected things happen when on the way to and from where-ever. If you have time to tick the box, buy travel insurance. The security it buys you for a crisis may be the difference between someone loosing a house to cover your costs and you being responsible for your space.
10. Shop online for the fastest
Last minute travel is often a problem, particularly when the decision to travel is made during the wee hours of the morning. Buying online saves having to wait till the shops open. Choose a full service agency that is also ‘online’. A full service agency can assist you in many cases when you need the extra support to get the best price or a ‘sold-out’ destination.
11. Buy your flights and hotels direct
from an agent, not a meta engine consolidator
Everyone wants to save money and yet still loose money after buying ‘a deal’ found on Skyscanner, Wego, Momondo etc. The meta-engines are geared to display the lowest fares that work for them, not necessarily for you. If you suspect you are not seeing ‘all the options’ in your meta engine searches… you are probably right. Meta engines have side deals to limit what they show (limit competition) and reward advertisers (paid to show results). Find an full service agency that operates an OTA (like Future.Travel) and get the real deals available, not a price changed old inventory model.
12. Don’t trust your phone plan to save
Have a standard number for the world . Today as you travel across time zones and borders it is possible to have a single number to be reached on via a smartphone. Get a WhatsAp, Viber, Facetime, Telegram, Skype social media account that allows for both incoming and out going calls. As a bonus put a little credit on the account to be able to make local calls where ever you travel.
13. Get Debit/Credit card that does not
require an SMS for security
If you travel outside of the coverage area for your phone plan you may find you can not get a text without paying a roaming fee. Data/voice roaming charges on a phone plan can destroy a budget. Find a bank card that allows for 2D security via email, in ap fingerprint, or using Authy or Google Authenticator. Your life will be much more peaceful as you checkout.
14. Phone a friend to get you out of
For the person who has everything, the best thing to have is a friend with money. Leave emergency funds with a friend who can pay for you in an emergency. Things happen we don’t expect, like stolen wallets, hacked bank accounts, skimmed credit cards, lack of internet, SMS requirements for transaction approval and even bad budgeting. Having an offline friend can literally be life saver. Sweet!
15. See the world with clear
If you wear glasses or contacts, always have a spare pair (or 2) in your carry on and checked bags. Nothing worse than not being able to see on trip to see the world… or to see long lost friends when it could be prevented by having a spare pair tucked away for the 'emergency' event of someone sitting on your glasses or you leaving them in the coffee shop before you boarded the departing TGV/Bullet train...20 minutes ago...
16. Put your travels to work for
When you arrive to your destination figure out what you can do to help those in need. Maybe just arriving will be support. For a passive gift book your flights and hotels through an agency that automatically donates to charity through doing business with them (hint: Future.Travel). Tick the box to give a little when you can. What goes around comes around, your generosity is a gift to be shared with others.
17. When you check-in offer to help and
see what happens.
Everyone has a chance to be special. Check-in staff remember who is naughty and who is nice. So as you check in and ask for your coveted aisle seat on the exit row, tell them you are ok to take a later flight if they are over booked or they can move you from your auto assigned existing middle seat to allow a family to sit together. Think of others first and they may think of you first as they move the extra load to first class.
18. Tell the bank you are
A quick call to your bank can save hours of calls trying to sort out a mess of using a card overseas that has been blocked. Call the telephone number on the back of your card and let them know you will be outside your normal buying zone (even country) so they don’t lock your card for suspect fraud usage. Better yet, get a card like N26 that lets you turn the card on or off from your smartphone to prevent fraud.
19. Get local cash from the check-out
When it is time to head out the door have your ATM card enabled for withdrawals and set to a level of spend you can anticipate for your biggest spend day. If 1 card is not going cover the spend have 2 different accounts (2 different banks) to cover you. Use the ATM in the country you arrive in to get your local cash rather than buying cash ahead of time or on the spot from currency exchange vendors as the exchange rate is generally worse than the ATM. Better yet, in some countries as you make a purchase using a card they will let you add a cash withdrawal to the purchase - take the option and save some exchange fees.
20. Translate is the language of love….
When you travel always take a few extra pens and tuck one in every bag, and pocket you can spare. Add a notebook to your carry on for keeping track of important stuff, a list of things, to do, the mud map to the local attraction you just learned about, the address for your new friend…. and for a way to communicate in writing what you want. Your accent may be too much for the locals so the written word works to cross the language barrier. Add Google Translate (down load the languages you will use before traveling) to you smart phone and you will be well on your way to having the interesting times of your life.
This list of the 20 best last minute travel hacks is not the complete list of things to consider when heading out the door to answer the travel call. At Future.Travel we see many disasters made by travelers and this list certainly would cover 90% of them by being prepared before and when traveling. Choose a good support team for your travels which includes a full service agency ready to support you 24/7 where ever you may travel.