BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
Top Tips to fit your life into your tiny suitcase when preparing to work overseas:
1. Clothes and Shoes:
Do you really need that many clothes? Ladies, this one’s a difficult one. Do you really need ALL your party dresses? There are shopping opportunities in resort too you know!
While a laptop is a bit of a must-take, perhaps you can forgo the printer. Think about what you can pick up second hand, and best of all, if you do it this way, you can save on the amount of adapters you need to take. What do you do with your new electronic goods at the end of the year? Just sell them on!
3. Paperwork and Books:
You’re likely to have a fair bit of this. The grammar and vocab books could be handy, but prepare to make some cuts with your leisure reading is concerned. Earmark a Kindle as a 'leaving gift' to yourself. As for paperwork? Sort out the bare minimum into a folder that you can easily pop into your hand luggage; at least that way, it won’t be taking up any space in your suitcase!
Is there a certain product you really can’t face a summer / winter without? It’s worth checking if they sell your favorite shampoo/cleanser/hair gel abroad. It’s also worth noting that you can’t take bottles bigger than 100ml on the plane, so any liquid toiletries you do have will be eating into that 15 - 20kg allowance.
You're ALL Important Checklist:
1. Take note of important telephone numbers—this roughly translates as home, British Council, your bank's stolen cards' line, insurance claims', etc.
2. Try and sort out a mobile phone / internet deal as soon as possible.
3. Keep a record of your finances: how much personal money you have, what’s the craic with your student loan, etc.
4. Set up a bank account with internet banking.
5. Warn your home bank that you're going away so they don't block your card once away -- not fun and a lot of hassle to fix!
6. Create a list of people you can check in with. Do you know of anyone out in the country, perhaps not necessarily in the same city, but relatively close by? Ask around (friends, family, university, work etc...) and build a network before going out there.
7. Read up on where you are going. Know the ins and outs of your chosen destination!
8. Write a checklist of the places you want to visit and things you want to do there, so you keep homesickness at bay.
9. Make sure you carry your valuables on your person and not in your suitcase!
10. Label your luggage (old-fashioned but worth it).
11. Find out your luggage allowances from the airline—these vary from airline to airline.
12. Make sure your passport is valid and renewed! Simple, obvious, yet so easy to forget. Remember it can take months to process a passport, so do this as early as you can.
13. Is your prescription covered? If you require any medication, check that you can bring them otherwise they may be confiscated.
14. Photocopy all your important documents! (credit/debit cards, birth certificate, driving license, passport). Make sure you keep one copy of each for yourself and one for your parents. We recommend emailing them to yourself, along with a passport-sized photo, in case you lose your paper copy.
15. Research international calling card plans.
16. Read the small print for insurance policies and get covered—better safe and sound than very sorry if something goes pear-shaped!
The Best Apps:
1) Google Maps:
Whether you’re looking to locate your friends, spot the best bars within walking distance or just want to get a rough idea of where you are in the world, Google Maps allows you to find your bearings worldwide - a travel essential.
2) Word Reference:
Get the best online translating dictionary straight to your phone, read forum posts, get idioms and expressions right, and lots more with this fantastic mini-version of the great site, and the best part? It’s free. Bargain.
3) XE Currency Converter:
Download this app and get an accurate idea of where your pounds/euros/lira will take you...Available on Blackberry and Iphone phones.
Get Skype on your phone and, as long as your friend/family member also has it set up on their computer or mobile device, you can chat for hours on end for free! A real life-saver, when you’re strapped for cash abroad. Additionally, the service also offers discounted calls and texts, should your addressee not have access to it, so that you can call landlines or text.
Never has a travel app been so useful and up to date. If you’re looking to book something cheap, be it hotels, flights or cars - this is the big cheese of the travelling world. Searching over hundreds of carriers/hotels, you’ll get the best deal, straight to your phone!
6) Wifi Finder:
No need to fret about where to plonk yourself and your trusty laptop to reach a decent source of wireless internet - this app tells you exactly where the hotspots are across the globe.