I’m not talking literally of course — just figuratively — and wearing my travel agent hat! Easter has always traditionally represented the start of the summer season as this is when tour operator summer charter programmes begin and winter charter series end. It is also then an appropriate time to remind people of the kinds of things that they need to think of/prepare for, before setting out on their overseas travels.
What follows is a (far from exhaustive) check list that you and your travelling companions should all go through before setting off on your next adventure. The superscript numbers relate to the qulaifying notes that appear towards the end of this blog.
Don’t say you weren’t told!
Visas — If applicable2
International certificate of vaccination3
International driving permit7
Credit cards/laser card8
First Aid kit16
1As a general rule of thumb, passports should be valid for at least 6 months after your return home from your chosen destination. If travelling to the U.S., your passport must be machine-readable. Always take photocopies of your passport and bring them with you, keeping them separate from the original. For further information, check online at: www.dfa.ie or www.travelbug.ie
2 Please allow plenty of time to procure any necessary visas, as many embassies require that you forward your passport to them for stamping. Always take photocopies of your passport and bring them with you, keeping them separate from the original. For further information, check online at: http://foreignaffairs.gov.ie/home/index.aspx?id=376
3 Some inoculations take several weeks in order to become effective so allow plenty of time before your intended trip to an infected area. Remember also that inoculations do not provide immunity, they just reduce the risk of infection. You still need to take all reasonable precautions as per medical/travel advice.
4 Never travel without adequate and comprehensive travel insurance. Advise any pre-existing medical conditions pertaining to yourself or any immediate member of your family to the relevant Health Check company. Take out additional cover and pay the higher premium if you intend to engage in hazardous activities whilst abroad or travel to destinations at high altitude. Make provision for adequate cover of valuables such as jewellery, cameras, laptops etc under the ‘All risks’ policy of your house insurance as the single article limit on travel insurance policies tend to not exceed €250. In EU countries, presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to emergency treatment and care on the same basis as a national of that country under a reciprocal arrangement with Ireland. It is important to note however, that since these reciprocal arrangements apply only to state health care schemes and do not include transport costs back to Ireland. You may also need to consider the more comprehensive cover afforded by a proper travel insurance policy — assuming, of course, that you have not already effected such travel insurance. This card may be obtained from your local health board or can be applied for online at www.ehic.ie The EHIC replaces the E111 which is no longer valid.
5 Ensure that you have all necessary vouchers in your possession in respect of services such as accommodation, transfers, meet & greet, car-hire, excursions and so on as they represent proof of existing reservations and/or pre-payment.
6 Provisional driving licenses are not acceptable for hiring a car. Also make sure that your license has not expired or will not expire during your time abroad.
7An international driving permit is often required in addition to your national driving license in countries where English is not commonly spoken. Permits may be obtained through the AA. Logon to: www.aaireland.ie for further information.
8 Remember, that you cannot hire a car whilst abroad unless you are in possession of a major credit card. Credit cards are also handy for covering unexpected expenses in situations such as emergencies, flight delays at the end of a holiday etc. You can also use them to obtain cash advances from ATM’s if you happen to run low on funds whilst abroad. You will need to know the PIN number associated with your credit card. See: http://www.mastercard.com/us/personal/en/cardholderservices/atmlocations/index.html and also : http://visa.via.infonow.net/locator/global/jsp/SearchPage.jsp
10 If you are on medication, don’t forget to bring a supply that is adequate for your needs for the duration of your stay abroad as some proprietary drugs may not be available in the country of your destination. It is also worthwhile to bring a copy of your prescription with you, just in case your medication is lost. Do not put your medication in your checked luggage. It should always be placed in carry-on baggage.
11 If you are travelling to a sunny destination with children, they should all be provided with proper sunglasses, just like the adults.
12 The proper use of appropriate sunblock products is extremely important — especially on children whose skin is much more sensitive to UVA and UVB radiation. Checkout our recommendations on: www.travelbug.ie
13 Be careful what you photograph (and where!) whilst abroad. Some buildings/locations may be militarily/security sensitive. Ask permission if you want to take someone’s photograph. If your camera doesn’t take standard AAA batteries, be sure to pack the charger for the camera as well. Also consider purchasing an additional SD card or other memory enhancement for your camera if it is digital as people often underestimate the capacity of their equipment. If you use a film-based camera, then purchase adequate supplies before you travel as film tends to be much more expensively-priced — particularly in tourist hotspots. If you are travelling with a laptop, you can also download your digital pictures to your laptop and then upload those to any number of cloud-based resources such as Box.net, Dropbox or Live Drive.
14 If you bring your mobile phone with you, remember to also bring your charger and an adapter appropriate to the pin configuration of your destination country. See: http://www.kropla.com/ for detail on electrical configurations worldwide. Also, you may wish to purchase a special sim card that will help you realise cost savings of up to 90% on roaming charges, whilst abroad. See: www.gosim.com
15 A typical First Aid kit should contain some/all of the following items:
Antihistamine Cream & Tablets
Sun Tan Lotion
After Sun/Calamine lotion
Motilium (upset stomach)
Travel Sickness Pills,
Sugar or glucose solution
Antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
Hydrocortisone cream (1%)
Small Bandage Roll
List of emergency phone numbers