With the festive season upon us, many of us will be swapping the snow for sun soaked beaches and jetting off for hotter climates. Holidays are a very exciting time, but in order to enjoy your trip abroad it’s important to take precautions to keep yourself safe and prepared.

Here are ten travel tips to help you make the most of your holiday:

Take out Travel Insurance

Comprehensive travel insurance may appear to be just another unnecessary expenditure, but it can really help give you peace of mind on your travels. It will provide you with cover for the places you want to visit and activities you want to try.

Sort out Visas

Some countries require you to apply for certain visas. Make sure you have applied for the right ones for any countries you may be visiting or transiting through. Also check if there are any other entry or exit requirements for your holiday destination.

Check your Passport

Check your passport

Photo: madmack66 / Flickr

It is important to make sure that your passport has at least six months’ left of validity from the planned date of your return from holiday. Also check that there are spaces in your passport pages for travel stamps. If your passport is full but is still valid you will have to apply for a new one and pay the relevant fees.

Make Copies of Important Documents

In order to make sure you are prepared for the worst, make a copy of your passport, insurance policy, traveller’s cheques, visas, credit card numbers and other important travel documents. Keep these separate to the originals and leave a copy at home with family and friends. It is also a good idea to take passport size photos with you in case you need to apply for a new passport whilst away.

Ask your Doctor about Vaccinations

Before leaving for your holiday, ask a health professional for information on recommended vaccinations for the country you are visiting. Depending on where you are visiting, vaccinations may be an entry requirement. Also make sure you check which medications you can take abroad. Some countries have strict rules on certain medicines.

Obey Laws

Educate yourself on the laws of the country you are visiting. Even if they may seem unfair make sure to obey and respect them. You should not expect to be treated differently from the locals just because you are a holiday maker.

Only pack what you need

Only pack what you need

Photo: Mat Honan / Flickr

Don’t be tempted to cram your suitcase or rucksack full of clothes and gadgets you don’t need. Most people can survive on half of what they take. Make a detailed item list before you start packing so you can travel lighter and easier.

Keep in Touch

Many people want to stay in touch with friends and family whilst away, but cell phones can end up costing you a lot for calls, texts and downloads. Instead of traveling without one to avoid being greeted by a huge bill when you return home to the US, rent a cell phone which is fitted with a global SIM card for your destination. Companies offer international cell phone rentals which will save you from roaming fees when traveling around the world. Alternatively if you want to keep your own phone, you can also choose a global SIM card providing your phone is unlocked and works on the GSM network (which is used in Europe) .

Don’t Buy Too Much

Instead of buying bits and bobs which will take up precious baggage space, spend your money on things that you won’t need to carry. Buy tickets to plays, museum visits, meals or activities. By all means, buy gifts for friends and family back home, but remember photos will spark memories of your travels better than some cheap merchandise.

Take Precautions to Avoid Becoming a Target

In order to avoid being a target of crime, make sure you don’t wear conspicuous jewellery or carry expensive looking items around with you. Keep cameras out of sight in a bag when they are not being used and do not carry excessive amounts of money on your person. Leave any precious and sentimental items in the hotel, or even better at home.

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