There is always a calm before the storm and if we are talking about backpacking, you should never relax and think you know you already packed everything. You should always recheck what you did and make lists of what you need, what you are taking and what you should take. Here is a list of some things you can´t forget before getting in a plane.
1. Take a copy of your passport, ID & credit cards
Taking your passport, identification cards or insurance card with you is something I shouldn’t remind you of. But you should also save a copy of all these documents on your cloud storage or email account. You never know when you will lose your documents and need to proof your identity at the embassy (happened to me in Thailand). Taking with you only your credit card number is also really useful, then you can just leave the card save at home and check the numbers before you book a flight or hotel.
2. Take some medication for unexpected situations
Headache or stomach ache can happen everywhere, so take some medication with you for those situations. You will thank me when you can´t sleep because of a headache and you just need to get your bag and take some pills.
3. Check the free baggage regulations with your airline
The usual regulations are 23kg luggage and an 8kg handbag, but some airlines have different regulations. For example Etihad Airways have 30kg free luggage for economy class passengers, most people don´t know that and prefer to leave some things at home which they might miss on the road.
4. Take a family and close friends telephone list with you
You never know when your cellphone will die, so take a short list of your most important contacts in case of emergency. It will be the most useful thing when you are out of battery in Hanoi´s airport and you need to call your mom to unlock the credit card you took to withdraw some money.
5. Write a list of hostels before you arrive
The description of the room forgot to write about the cockroaches at the bathroom or the broken celing? It happen not so often, but it might happen.
I don’t like to book a place for more than 2 nights without seeing it first. I prefer to take a list of the hostels located in the location I like and check one by one. Sometimes in low season some hostel owners even give you a discount if you say you are looking at several places.
6. Take some clothing for unusual situations
It doesn´t matter if you are traveling to Morocco in summer, take a small jacket with you. You will never know if the aircon in the bus will be too cold or if the plane doesn´t offer a blanket. Same thing when you travel to cold places, take some shorts, tank tops and maybe swimming stuff with you. You are not expected to use them, but if you have to, you’ll be glad you packed them.
7. Check the public transport map of your destination on the web (and save it with a screenshot)
This is another thing I shoudn´t have to remind you. However, if you are arriving in a new city (no matter what time of the day) and you are not planing to take a taxi, check the public transportation plan and save it on your cellphone. If you want to search how to get to the city center, check the website of the airport or check websites like TripAdvisor or Wikitravel. They have detailed information how to get around in a new city.
8. Take a small lock with you
A lock is not only useful when you give your luggage at the airport counter, but also at the hostel, bus or any other situation you might not expect.
9. Check the visa regulations for your nationality
As a Colombian traveling can be a little exhausting, visa here and visa there. Some nationalities might not need to worry so much about that, but you will have to go to an Embassy for a visa at least once. Check the regulations, passport validation and health recommendations before. A visa shouldn´t be a last minute surprise for the travel.
10. Bring a charger adapter
There is nothing more annoying than wanting to charge your cellphone after a long flight and find out that the electric plugs look totally different and you forgot your converter. Check on the internet about the power plug type in the country you are going to and take a multi-adapter with you, it´s definitely much better than buying an overpriced one at the airport or running around a new city looking for one.