If you’re travelling abroad for the first time and need some pointers, we’re your guys. We’ve ticked off 34 countries from our bucket list so far and don’t intend on stopping there! We’re currently on an open-ended trip around Asia and will be visiting another 9 countries within the next 12 months.
Our first time abroad was a little daunting, as the thought of being so far away from home and not really knowing where we were going was scary. You’re taking journeys you’ve never taken, and are instantly submersed in totally different surroundings and cultures. You want to be well-prepared and ready for any scenario, which is why we want to help you.
So whether you’re wondering about what to pack and what you’ll need, how to go about booking your trip, or just simply want some first timer advice, we’ll cover some basics below for you as we know just how you’re feeling.
PAYING THE RIGHT PRICE FOR YOUR TRIP
When initially booking your trip, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal, right?
There are a couple of basic methods that you should use to help you get the best competitive prices, and cheap accommodation when booking. It’s fun to see how much money you could potentially be saving!
Skyscanner is a money saver! The website is free to use and scans thousands of flights, hotels and car rentals worldwide and ultimately provides you with the cheapest price online, and provides you with the company to book through. It clearly lists your options and prices to be able to compare, and is very easy to navigate.
Airbnb is our new best friend, and we now personally prefer to use this over booking hotels. It provides a huge list of rental homes, experiences and restaurants across the globe, with a modern, user-friendly site in which you can create your own lists and trips. You can choose from booking a shared room, a private room, or you can even book an entire place for a reasonable price! We always find this is cheaper, if not the same as hotel prices, but you tend to get more for your money.
NEW to 2018 – there is now Airbnb Plus. This provides us with a new selection of only the highest quality homes, with hosts known for amazing reviews and great attention to detail – to ensure you have the perfect stay.
THE COMPLETE PACKING CHECKLIST
Now your dream trip is all booked, on to the fun part… PACKING! (Hmm?)
To ensure you don’t forget anything when packing, here is a personal list of necessities that we always pack for travelling, which should have you prepared for any situation! We’ve made a point of including the smallest of things, which to us make the world of difference when you realise you’ve actually taken them with you – result!
BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
BE SURE TO CHECK…
Always ensure you have travel insurance set up before you go away. This covers you for things such as lost, damaged or stolen baggage, flight delays, personal liability and medical cover.
We love to use World Nomads travel insurance, which is used by 15% of travellers worldwide, and is even recommended by Lonely Planet. New post coming soon with more info on what they cover and what they don’t!
Be careful, it’s not always the best option to go for the cheapest deal – make sure you’re covered adequately for all activities and gadgets, but most importantly for your health!
Inform your bank
Give your bank a quick ring before you travel to inform them of where you are going. If you don’t, your bank card may get cancelled when you try to use it abroad, so doing this will save a lot of and hassle and phone calls in the long run.
Check in online
If flying, be sure to check in online before you leave (some airlines have now made this compulsory). This will save you time at the airport, and if you happen to only have hand luggage, this will allow you to go straight through to your gate! We mostly use EasyJet in Europe, and they allow you to have your boarding pass on your phone to save you printing, which you can add to your wallet for easy access (for iPhone, alternatively download WalletPasses for Android).
Print boarding pass/tickets
Regardless if you can scan your boarding pass on your phone, always be sure to have a paper copy of everything, at least until you get near a computer/printer where you’re headed – most hotels will let you use their printer, just ask. If travelling in a couple (or group), there is the suggestion of having each others boarding passes/tickets as well as your own. If someones phone dies on the way to a flight, hotel or excursion, you’ll have back up of their ticket.
Hand luggage allowances – have liquids prepared
Airlines such as EasyJet, who we mainly use for Europe, have strict restrictions on hand luggage. You are only allowed liquids in bottles a maximum of 100ml. Any liquids then have to fit into a clear plastic bag no larger that 20cm x 20cm. This has to be taken out of your hand luggage and shown separately when going through security checks, so always have these to hand. The clear bags are also supplied at airports, so don’t worry if you don’t have any. To save any concern, just place all liquids in a suitcase/bag that’s going in the aircraft hold, as there won’t be many restrictions this way.
Do you need a Visa to enter a country?
We’re not experts on visas, but we suggest always checking, prior to your trip, if you need a visa upon entering a country. A visa is endorsement on a passport indicating that the person is allowed to enter, stay or leave for a specified period of time in a country. If you are an EU member travelling within the EU (i.e UK citizen flying overseas), you will not need a visa. If you are from outside of Europe, you will need an entry visa in most European countries. You can check if you need a visa online, or just contact the embassy of the country your are visiting.
MUST HAVE APPS
This app works around the clock to bring you updated, live currency exchange. It’s a great way to see how much your money will convert when visiting abroad, and it can also analyse any fees too. It provides every currency in the world, and is very quick and easy to use.
WE LOVE THIS APP! It’s the ultimate worldwide city transport app with real time departures, and covers places in Europe such as London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, Stockholm, Moscow and loads more! If travelling outside of Europe, the app also supports Asia, Australia, USA and Canada, and are constantly expanding. Using the app is straight forward, and it covers all modes of transport including tube, bus, rail, train, Uber, cycling and walking – they even run a SmartBus. The getting lost days are over!
We all know Google is our go to, and this language translation app adds to the many reasons why. The best feature is the instant camera translation. Simply select the camera mode in the app, and point your camera to any road sign, poster, menu, book or handwriting, and it instantly translates in seconds! It also offers translations via photos and real conversations, and covers pretty much every language. Incredible.
Another fantastic google app, helping you plan your entire trip from booking flights, hotels, reservations, things to do, day plans, discounts, food and drink and also save your favourite places!
That’s it from us and our first time abroad travel tips!
We hope we’ve covered enough to help you along your way, and if you feel like we’ve missed anything out, please let us know as we’re continually expanding and moving forward!
Chat to us! If you have any more questions, big or small, or need any more advice about travelling Europe, feel free to drop us a message via email or on social media, we’d love to share our experiences with you!
Wishing you all the best on your adventures!
Kelly and Luke