10 Best Travel Tips 2017
10 Best Travel Tips for 2017 and Beyond
Cross international borders in a breeze with these tips from the pro herself
SANDY CUNNINGHAM, OUTSIDE GO PRESIDENT
Born in South Africa and with a travel schedule that makes even our heads spin, our president Sandy Cunningham has a few tricks up her sleeve when it comes to international travel. She knows not only how to get a spot in some of the most exclusive base camps, but how to avoid nightmarish plane rides, passport fiascos, and more. Here are her top tips for travel this year, and always.
1. DON’T PROCRASTINATE ON DATES
Left in line at the grocery store on the day before Christmas because you didn't plan ahead? Don’t make the same mistake for your vacation days. You’ll need to plan twelve months ahead to secure a spot at the best hotels, camps, and lodges worldwide. This is especially true if you’re hoping to catch peak migration and wildlife season in Africa or any popular holiday dates. We specialize in these exclusive, boutique camps and want you to experience the magic of them too.
2. PACK YOUR LUGGAGE LIKE A PRO
There’s nothing worse than wearing the same outfit 12 days in a row because you didn’t pack light. If you can’t stow it above your head, you run the risk of gone-for-good luggage. When you’re jumping around Africa or Australia on puddle-jumper flights and staying in remote locations for only a few days at a time, the likelihood of your luggage catching up with you can be slim to none. Pack all medications, valuables, and an extra set of clothes in your carry on if you decide to check your luggage at all. Don’t worry, we can help you make excellent decisions on packing light.
3. PROTECT YOUR TRIP WITH INSURANCE
Left in the lurch because the airlines cancelled your flight? Don’t get stuck at home for three extra days with no chance of getting out during peak season—get travel insurance instead. We insure every other part of our lives, and a trip you’ve worked hard to save for shouldn’t be the exception! Our travel insurance partners have exceptional 24-hour emergency hotlines to help get you out of a pickle if needed, and will be much more helpful than we could ever be on our cell phones in the middle of the night.
4. DON’T FORGET THE TECH
“No more photos for me!” There’s nothing worse than moping sadly while a pride of lion sit around your safari vehicle preening themselves under a gorgeous backdrop in the Serengeti, unable to take any photos because you forgot to pack the right adaptor. Before your flight departs, always check the outlet and wattage requirements of your destination. And if you think this might be the first of many international trips, get an adaptor that fits every socket on the planet—it’ll be the best $30 you will ever spend!
5. OUTSMART YOUR AIRPLANE COMPANIONS
Sleepless night on the plane because of the screaming child with ear ache next to you are the worst. Avoid this all-too-common problem by purchasing a pair of noise cancelling headphones (we like BOSE brand). They're the ticket for a good nights sleep, no matter whatever noisy situation you've encountered, on any airplane.
6. MAKE USE OF YOUR MILES
If you want to book your airfare using miles, know your dates way ahead of time and mark your calendar however many days out to when they would be available. If you strike out with an uncooperative agent on the phone, politely hang up and call again, and again, and again until you reach that miracle person who makes your day with an effortless 'yes' to every question and gets you and your family on the best flights without breaking the bank. I also suggest calling after 10 PM (ET) when there are fewer calls going through and less waiting time to get service.
7. PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE
…For the worst. There is no greater disaster than losing your passport halfway through your multi-country safari, but it does happen. In the event of misplacing your wallet, luggage, carry-on, or the entire ensemble, you’ll want to make sure everyone in your group has a copy of everyone else’s documents. Duplicate everything before you leave home; passports, tickets, itineraries, and emergency contacts. Replacements are so much easier to obtain if you have paper copies on hand (digital copies work too).
8. UNPLUG, FOR GOODNESS SAKES
Even the most determined among us have trouble truly unplugging from our connected lives. While your iPad and smartphone are great distractions to have on the plane, make sure to turn them off when you reach your destination. Even a two or three day detox from any gadgets will allow you to let your remaining four senses come alive—and it’s these tastes, textures, smells, and sounds of your trip that will form memories that last a lifetime, even if you don’t always have iPhone photos to remind you.
9. CHECK IT OFF
How do our trip planners manage dozens of trips at a time without missing a beat? We make lists. Create an all-inclusive to-do list with the most important details of your trip at least three months prior to departure. By doing so you’ll avoid troublesome scenarios such as realizing that your passport is expired (or doesn’t have enough pages), your carry-on doesn’t fit on small bush-planes, or you forgot to tell your credit card company you’ll be out of the country. Don’t worry, we’ll help you design the exact list for wherever you’re traveling. But it’s up to you to check the items off!
2-3 Months Prior to Take-Off
-passport check (triple-check the expiration date and number of pages)
-any necessary visas
-any necessary immunizations (pin the medical card in the back of your passport)
1-2 Months Prior to Take-Off
-check your wardrobe first before buying a ton of gear
-do a packing trial-run—light is the ticket!
3 Weeks Prior to Take-Off
-let your credit card company know you will be out of the country
-email copies of your flights, itineraries, and emergency contacts to any family members in the event of an emergency
10. GET READY TO HAVE FUN
There’s only one final step to maximize your experience on the ground. Get to know your destination! Read up on the cities, conservation areas, and wildlife (fiction counts), chat with friends who have been, and ask us questions. Now that you’ve made all the right planning preparations in advance, all that’s left to do is get excited and look forward to the greatest trip ever.
Outside GO is an adventure travel company with decades of experience. We'd love to help you plan your next trip. Rest assured it will be authentic, stylish, and built around your wildest dreams.
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10 Best Travel Tips
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