Travel Planning Tips
- Check whether there are any special occasions such as public holidays/local elections/political conferences/major sporting events in the destinations you are travelling to. As well as affecting prices, hotel availability and traffic, security may be heightened and the likelihood of terrorist attacks can increase.
- Make three copies of your itinerary, passport & visa. Pack one copy separately from the originals, leave one with your office and one with your emergency contact person. Please note: many countries will require you to carry your passport/id at all times. Having another copy in your luggage will help if your originals are lost/stolen/confiscated.
- Email any important documents to yourself - if you lose your memory stick or your laptop gets stolen, you can still access your email in the hotel Business Centre. And that one phone number you didn't find before you left the office will be the one you really need - make a list of contacts before you leave the country.
- Use hotels you know and trust. Reputable 4/5 star hotels are not just for comfort, they have higher security standards and good medical emergency procedures. When possible, pay your hotel room booking in advance to avoid having to make large transactions in-country.
- Ensure you have more than one source of funds. Do not rely on a single credit card, always have a reasonable amount of local currency, and pay whatever you can in advance (hotels, airport transfers etc).
- If you are travelling to a country you have not been to before - do some research. While you may have been to a neighbouring country, there will be differences and country-specific issues to consider. Don't just visit the FCO website - have a look at our insurers travel advice website Drum Cussac. Go to 'Map' to find the country you are visiting. Click on the country name link to access travel advice and the Country Report (pdf).
- Consider your arrival time in a city/country you have not been to before - will it be after dark? How far out of the city centre is the airport? Make sure you arrange an airport pickup through your hotel or a local contact whenever possible.
- Source a reliable travel agent with high standards of customer service. Online companies may be convenient to use and a little cheaper but they can be inflexible and ineffective in an emergency.
- 'Budget airlines' can be a false economy. By the time you use the add-ons (luggage, meals etc.) the cost could end up the same as regular airlines. You may not be able to change your flights at short notice and they may use a terminal a long way away from the main body of the airport. If your flight is cancelled or the airport closes due to adverse conditions, your flight may not be refundable or valid for an automatic transfer to another flight.
- Check the medical provision in-country before you go. Although you will be covered by University insurance, you may not be admitted to the hospital without cash payment on arrival (even as an emergency case in an ambulance). Visit Drum Cussac to check the medical provision before you go. Go to 'Map' to find the country you are visiting. Click on the country name link to access travel advice; key health risks and vaccination advice can be found under 'Travel Risk Advice' tab, medical provision advice can be found under 'Medical Overview'.
- If you wear glasses or contact lenses, pack an extra pair. When carrying your own medications, take a copy of your prescription with you and the generic names for the drugs. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country first. Keep medicines in their original, labelled containers. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. Take enough medication for the duration of your trip plus 7 days.
- Take a photo of your luggage with your mobile phone camera - if it goes missing you can show the image to the baggage desk staff at the airport, making it easier to find it for you.