Phoren Travel Tips

STATUTORY WARNING – use your own judgment wherever necessary!!

I wanted to blog about this for a long time, but never got time. Here are my free tips for someone travelling abroad for the first time –

I blogged similar travel tips earlier also keeping in mind first time Indian travellers …. here are some old links –
Rest of this post is about the actual tips, here they go –
Do your Homework before you fly
v Email o Email your ticket/iternary to your near and dear ones in home country and foreign country… so that everybody is well informed about your flight number, when you are reaching etc. v Google Maps o If you have free time – research on google maps about foreign location … use satellite pictures, normal maps etc…. This will definitely help reduce your xenophobia …. You can research following things (just example) – § Try to find your rented apartment § Try to find your office/college § Try to find following near your apartment or office or college · Try to find nearest shops · Try to locate all nearest hotels · Try to locate hospitals · Try to locate restaurants etc o TAKE PRINTOUTS OF MAPS WHEREVER REQUIRED v Cellphone o See if your cellphone is compatible in foreign country. o Research if you can easily buy a simcard etc there at foreign location? (I recommend) o Or if you should buy some kind of local/international roaming simcard from your home country? (I DON’T recommend) v ELECTRIC PLUG CONVERTER o US uses a different kind of electric plug …. You will get very cheap in India. v Weather o Research about weather on … o you can even research monthly/yearly average temperatures etc. example – v Money o When I say cash below – I mean foreign currency… o Don’t carry too much cash – (for obvious security reasons) § Try to get some kind of international ATM card § You can have travelers check also … but in new country you will have to goto bank to encash them. o Don’t carry too little cash – many places they don’t accept card. o (I recommend carrying (500-1000$) v Insurance o Many countries need you to have some kind of insurance … make sure you have one if needed. v Calling India from foreign o To call India From US, I recommend … there are couple of similar other companies but I used reliance and never felt need to go to some other company § Reliance service — There is no physical card … it is all “virtual” … hence you can buy reliance from india itself if you wish. Trick is to use an indian phone number to register.. something like 1981XXXXXXX …. and use indian credit card for payment. (this can obviously be changed later when you reach US and want to use a US cell number and change credit card) v Check your airlines website o How much weight is allowed in checkin and cabin luggage. o What is allowed and not allowed to carry in cabin luggage o Which movies are they playing these days as in-flight entertainment J Packing v Cabin Luggage o Keep all your important belongings in cabin luggage. (that means your necessary documents, certificates, expensive things etc) § make sure those things are allowed to carry in cabin luggage … else you will have to throw them at airport. § Eg – don’t carry sharp objects, don’t carry any kind of liquid .. § don’t carry any suspicious electronic item (feel free to carry normal eletronics like ipods, walkmans, camera, or anything else “normal”) o This is important à Keep at least one set of “complete clothes” in cabin luggage (complete clothes mean all innerwear to outerwear) … just in case airlines loose your checkin luggage, then you will not have to live with stinky clothes in a new country. (see my foresight !! J ) … well, this is not my idea … one of my bosses told me this who went through similar experience once …. lol) v Checkin luggage o It is normally allowed to carry PACKED FOOD ITEMS … declare them in new country if needed. o You can carry kitchen knifes etc in your checkin luggage …. My friends told me earlier that you are not supposed to carry knife while flying (and hence I didn’t used to carry) … but then I researched and now I understand that it is only for cabin (not for checkin) … still avoid if possible. o DO NOT CARRY ANY INFLAMMABLES … LIKE LIGHTER ETC … IT IS FOR YOUR OWN SECURITY v General Checklist that you should be carrying o Passport / Visa / Insurance / Ticket o Money o Google Maps Pritnout o Address Information of where are you going? Office/college etc? o Cellphone numbers of Local / foreign locations … of ALL CONTACTS o Confirmation for Hotel Booking, Taxi Rental Booking … or any other booking. o EMERGENCY phone numbers of foreign location (medical etc) if you want to be extra careful. v I also recommend multiple photocopies of your passport/visa/other important documents and then keeping one set of copy in each separate luggage … this is recommended for worst case scenarios in case your passport/visa is lost … or some luggage is lost … then you will still have your identity. v After finishing packing – weigh all luggage … checkin cabin everything … try to be 1-2 Kgs less from max if possible. (my own bad experience in 2008 itlself when we tried to be exact as max, but we came out 1-2 kgs more and then airline staff in IGI was ridiculously bad/rude not to accommodate … normally they do … ) General Tips during travelling v I recommend keeping your passport/ticket always with you. v Be friendly and smiley with all air staff (right from boarding/checking, in flight, leaving etc) … and they will also be nice to you. (Gandhijee’s mantra …. it applies in general life too !! 🙂 )
When you reach your destination – v Get a local simcard asap… that helps a lot. v Call your near and dear ones … both new home and old home … to inform you reached safely. Some random Definitions v Cabin luggage – is what you carry with you in airplane cabin. v Checking Luggage – is what you “handover” to airlines before boarding and you “hope” that you will get it back safe and sound when you reach final destination.