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Seamless Journeys

Travel knows no boundaries



The Miscellaneous section is the widest and wildest section in all of the planning process. There are myriad areas which need "plugging in" before and during travel. My list is comprehensive but not exhaustive. It is only a rough guide provided for reference purposes.

For the sake of convenience they are broken down into points.


This is the most crucial of them all,since the group can range from small to big. Being Organised in money matters will help staying out of confusion at all times. (A) BEFORE TRAVEL : (1) Most Bookings like flight, travel and transport , sight seeing and activities are better off being done much ahead of travel. These costs can be apportioned per person and the accounts can be settled under what we refer to as STAGE 1. Start afresh with upcoming expenses during the tour, under STAGE 2. (2) For miscellaneous expenses, collect from each member, an approximate amount of cash, in home currency, after arriving at a rough total estimate. (Also read PLANNING FOR FOOD ). To arrive at this estimate, check the food prices of the particular country. These are readily available country wise on the internet. To the total rough estimate of food expenses, add prices of the activities that are yet to be booked and other little expenses you think you may incur. The prices of activities are usually constant and do not fluctuate, unless there is an underlying "offer " specifying an expiry date, that you need to grab immediately. To this total amount add a fair value towards expected / unexpected contingencies. This exercise ensures carrying lesser cash during travel . Of course individuals are always free to carry some amount for their personal purchases and expenses falling outside the tour arrangement, for eg. shopping , purchase of souvenirs etc. You can purchase groceries locally, if they are cheaper. For us , it has been cheaper to purchase them in our home country. In case you plan to pick up a few items, to be carried along you need to allocate home currency towards the same. After purchase of required groceries & other items, towards the said travel, in home country, convert the balance amount entirely into the relevant foreign currency / currencies. This would avoid unnecessary queuing up at "foreign exchange" counters and parting with a higher price, during the trip. A designated person can then handle this foreign currency cash for all miscellaneous expenses during the journey.

My cousin recently came across an app "SPLITWISE", that makes allocation of expenses amongst individual group members easier while on the move. We are yet to try it during our travel. I am, therefore, unable to comment on its convenience right now.

(B) DURING TRAVEL : (i) It is best to carry travel cards that can be used safely while travelling. It is easy & safe to use and convenient to carry. (ii). If it is necessary to handle hard cash, avoid flaunting the same openly. Stay vigilant.

Make a note of all expenses incurred, each time, date wise, separately. Ensure tallying of accounts at the end of each day. Keep your accounts transparent and clean. Else, try using something like the SPLITWISE app.

(C) AFTER TRAVEL : Once back home settle the accounts amongst members , whether excess/ shortage and ensure circulation of final accounts among all for clarity. Quite a job isn't it. Try it , its fun.

2. PASSPORTS : Ensure all passports are valid for more than 6 months after the last date of travel. Sometimes late realisation can put the group through misery. Let the group carry 2 sets of passport copies, one in the luggage and one in hand baggage/ purse/ backpack. Ensure that passports are safe and kept away from possible interactions with any liquid at all times. It is best to avoid leaving passports in accommodations, unless it is absolutely safe to do so. Also, for certain activities and attractions it is mandatory to produce individual IDs to gain entry. Therefore, it is better to stay prepared and carry the passport along in a safe and secure manner at all times.

3. VISAS & TRAVEL INSURANCE : Process your visas well in advance. This will give you peace of mind and avoid last minute blunders. You have a choice of getting it done through agents, but again, that would come with a price. It is best to spend sometime getting your visas processed yourself as per requirement. It is not only a learning but also helps saving money. The original Travel Insurance document is generally a part of Visa processing documentation. Remember to carry a hard or soft copy of this travel Insurance while on the move. Though travel Insurance is not mandatory in certain countries during a holiday visit, it is suggested that you have one to stay on the safer side. Take note that medical expenses overseas can get expensive.

4. BACKPACKS /HAND PURSES : Carry a sturdy hand baggage. Keep it light. Never leave it out of sight while on the move. Entrust it to one of the group members if you must leave. Keep cash and other expensive items covered and well tucked in. Avoid unnecessary flaunting in crowded areas. Stay cautious at all times. A small unwarranted happening can ruin the trip. It is good to carry a light rain coat. Keep your passport away from water or rain.

5. CLOTHING, SHOES & OTHERS : The biggest lesson learnt over these many years is to TRAVEL LIGHT. Carry as less as possible. There are plenty of light clothing options these days. Check the season and climatic conditions of the country of visit and pack accordingly. Most self-catering accommodations have facilities of washing machines with a complete dryer. Make use of the facility wherever available.

6. ADDRESS & CONTACTS : Ensure that the all travellers maintain a list of all important contact numbers and addresses of people back home. Also provide the each group member with a list of contact numbers of hosts & the corresponding addresses of all accommodation/ (s) booked for use during the entire tour. Make it mandatory to carry the same in their hand baggage, at all times. This will come handy in case the group gets split up for any reason or finds any navigating difficulties locally. It is also suggested to leave a copy of this information with any contact back in your home country.

7. MOBILE PHONES & CAMERAS : It is of course a requirement to carry these around while on the move. Their safety and security is therefore of utmost importance. Make prior arrangements to safeguard them against liquids at any point in time.

8. SAFETY & FIRST AID : Stay safe at all times. Do not venture into dangerous activities. Carry a common, small first aid kit and few general medicines.

9. BOOKINGS MADE : Take care to carry the print outs of all bookings made. In cases where tickets can be stored on mobile phones, ensure that they are readily available for retrieval.

10. LUGGAGE IDENTIFIERS : It is always useful to add distinct & loud LUGGAGE identifiers (get creative) on all baggages of all members, preferably corresponding passenger names for easy identification in crowded areas, especially in airports and stations. There are similar looking baggages all over the place and it is best to avoid interchange.

11 : Read the CUSTOMS rules of destination countries thoroughly, to ensure that prohibited items are not being carried by any member of the group. This is important. Have a Safe & enjoyable trip !

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