Sujata is an architect by profession and has a passion for writing. She shares her life experiences through writing, hoping to be of help.
Most of us love traveling. But we are all different types of travelers. Some of us are last minute planners and packers and some of us are the ones who need to have a set plan and an itinerary in hand before we travel. And I personally belong to the second category of travelers. I like to have most of my prime things planned out. I usually have a long “To Do List” and a long “To Pack List” before every travel, even if it is just a weekend getaway.
Sometimes it is difficult to follow through and everything cannot be ticked off. But there are certain things that I consider to the last detail, as much as I can.
I have listed the top 10 out of those here.
1. Purpose of the Trip
Whenever I plan a trip to any place, whether I am visiting it for the first time or I might have visited it before, I make sure that I am fully aware of what kind of trip I am looking forward to. Whether the whole purpose of the trip is just to relax in a hotel or whether the idea is to be touristy around the place. Or if it is going to be a mix of both. Having a clear idea helps because we have limited number of days and if we are clear on the kind of trip we are expecting, it is convenient to decide on which place to visit and which places can be left for another time.
2. Location of the Stay
It is of utmost importance for me to know where exactly the stay on the map is and what is there nearby. I have always been conscious about that. But I became much more conscious about it after one of my visits to Kolkata. It was a family trip and the hotel that was booked for us was in a very secluded area of the city. On top of that, the road leading to it was very narrow. It was in the outskirts of the city, and it was impossible for us to walk around anywhere. On top of that it was an internal road, and therefore, getting Uber to locate us was also a difficult task. Post that, I am very conscious about the location of our stay during any of our travels. And most of the times I make sure it is at the central portion of the city and if not in the center, I at least make sure that the accessibility and walkability around the hotel is good.
3. Facilities in the Stay
I am a person who would like to stay in a comfortable premises with the facilities in hand while I am traveling. The fact that I am on a holiday, it is nice to have access to facilities. For example, some of the hotels do not have private bathrooms. But for me that is a paramount requirement. I would really like to have a private bathroom with my unit. A couple of the hotels do not have room service even though they have a restaurant. Room service is sometimes very essential, and I would personally like to have it with the hotel. These are only a couple of the things that I keep in mind. There are several other facilities as well that I make sure to keep in mind. And with my recent and growing love for health, I would love to have a fitness centre in the premises as well.
4. The Finances
I remember traveling to Australia 3 months after India underwent demonetization. It was a new change in currency in the country and the new notes were not accepted globally until then. We were unaware about that and carried Indian currency and thought of exchanging them there. But we got into trouble because of that. Our credit cards were also not functioning properly. Thankfully, one of our cards worked fine and we managed with that. But we got into real dilemma when the notes were rejected. So, it has become extremely essential for me to have the currency of the country we are visiting, in hand. And make sure that at least two of our cards are working. In addition to that, I would also prefer paying and clearing the entire amount for the stay before travelling. So, in case we run into these kind of issues and none of our cards work, we at least have a place to stay until our return.
5. Check the Weather
A lot of the times we are misinformed about certain things about a place when we do not research it well and mostly it is about the weather. But there is global warming happening at a very fast pace and weather of all the places have changed drastically over the past 2 to 3 years. Recently during my travel to Cherapunjee, we were expecting a very foggy and cold weather with low temperatures. We did not bother to check much on the weather forecast and ended up carrying a lot of warm clothes with us. But it was extremely hot there during the day. Only when we walked in shade, we could feel the temperature drop. Otherwise, we did not require any warm clothes at all. Though during the nights, it did get quite cold. That is why I would say it is extremely important to keep a check on the weather and have a read on the weather trend of the place we are visiting. Otherwise, without proper attire it can be extremely difficult to enjoy.
6. Mode of Transport
In addition to the locality of the stay, it is also essential to research beforehand on the modes of transport available, either private or public. For a cheaper travel, public transport is the most convenient option. However, in case we are in a hurry, or we need to move around after the public transport has closed down for the day, we will need private transport service. One can rent a car and drive around. But if not that, we need to be aware of the taxi services available and their rates. This would make moving around and stay extremely comfortable.
7. Type of Shoes and Water Bottle
Of all the traveling that I have done so far, this has been one of the most important prerequisites. All our travels have always required a lot of walking to be done. More so because we go visit a lot of natural adventure places like waterfalls, islands and caves which demanded a lot of walking. Therefore, it has been of paramount importance to have comfortable walking shoes. And not only for that, even when we are flying, it is essential to have comfortable footwear.
Also, having a bottle of water to oneself is non-negotiable. There have been a lot of times when for very long distances we would not find a shop or outlet to buy water. And we have remained thirsty and dehydrated. Therefore, it is essential for us to carry water at all times.
8. Regular Medications
Carrying my regular medications with myself no matter how long or short a trip might be is a priority. It is absolutely wrong to ignore our health while we are traveling. Traveling can keep happening, but ignoring health and fitness is not acceptable. There are already a lot of issues that pop up when we travel, let us not make our health one of them.
Being a woman traveler, safety has always been a concern for me. Though I am not much of a solo traveler, it has been of utmost importance for me to check on the safety of the place we are staying and the locality we will be staying in. I usually read up on the destination from women travelers and other travelers in general and make sure we choose the stay and the places to visit where safety has been taken care of.
10. Vaccination and Testing Requirements
And last but definitely not the least, the current Covid-19 vaccination and testing requirements of the destination. In the entire world, different Covid-19 protocols are in place and different airlines are also following different protocols. A lot of the countries are allowing entry to visitors with double vaccinations without testing, but the carrier airlines mandatorily demand a negative RTPCR report for boarding a flight. Some countries allow citizens from only certain countries, and not all. And a lot of the hotels also following their own rules and regulations for Covid-19. So, in today’s time, it is extremely essential to remain updated about the latest Covid-19 protocols of the place we plan to visit and stay.
These are some of the most essential prerequisites for me as a traveler. And I try and make sure to tick all of these off on my list before I move. And I hope that this helps someone to draft their own prerequisites as well.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Sujata Hazarika