In the days leading up to their trip, loads of student backpackers do extensive research on their destination, from the absolute must-visit, to tourist scams to avoid, and even cultural sensitivities to be aware of.
What people usually neglect is the planning for the pre-travel essentials. Whether it’s streamlining your packing list or getting a travel insurance that actually has decent coverage (looking at you, airline “travel insurance” add-ons), here’s a list of pre-travel essentials for the budget, student backpacker!
All-In-One Swiss Army Knife + Fork and Spoon
Bringing a Swiss army knife is always a given, but how about one that includes stainless steel utensils as well? It’s going to make meals on the road much handier and you won’t have to hunt for utensils. Get yours from Amazon!
Register With The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Regardless of the political stability or safety levels of your travel destination, it’s always good to register your trip with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It’s a grim truth that terrorism’s always looming over our heads, but we shouldn’t let that deter us from travelling. Instead, do possible damage control by registering with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and providing your trip details, as well as contact information of your next-of-kin. In the event of a natural disaster, this also speeds up rescue efforts by accounting for your presence and tracing your whereabouts according to your itinerary.
At some point of time, every novice traveller has been thwacked on the head for opting in on the travel insurance add-on for budget flights. (Reference: My mother)
DON’T DO IT!!!
Travel insurance isn’t just a *magical* one-fits-all piece of paper, you gotta look at the coverage it offers. A quick scan through the T&Cs will reveal oddly patchy areas and a pitifully low ceiling for claims. For backpackers, we arguably have a lot more to worry about because we’ve chosen to (gladly but responsibly) rough it out, on top of facing greater budget constraints. Great Eastern’s TravelSmart Premier provides extensive coverage for all the nitty gritty things, whether it’s losing our valuables from always being on the move, personal injuries, delayed flights… you get the drift.
The above two having been said…
Photocopy of your passport and travel insurance
Ideally, you should invest in a hidden travel pouch (only $4.30 on Lazada!) to stash your passport, money, and yes, the photocopy of your passport and travel insurance. Write down the contact details of your next of kin as well! Plus, don’t forget to save all the necessary contact details on your phone, such as the number of your insurance provider, the nearest Singapore embassy at your said destination.
Vaccinations, Medicine and Basic First Aid Necessities
Get all your necessary vaccinations (Your yearly flu shot? Typhoid? Hepatitis A/B?) done in advance. I also strongly advocate being a walking medicine cabinet, because it’s the blessed equivalent of using a health pack (FULL HP!) so you can continue forging ahead on your journey. Head to your family doctor and ask to stock up on the medicine for the usual ailments like flu, sore throat, cough, diarrhoea etc. Some backpackers should consider getting an extra inhaler or motion sickness pills.
Basic first aid necessities are also great to have. Weighing this against other travel necessities like shampoo, soap, mosquito repellent etc, I would argue that it’s more important to have basic first aid items because they’re not as obtainable. Throw in tweezers, nail clippers and a small flashlight for good measure as well!
Ultimately, the whole premise of taking care of pre-travel essentials is to be ready in the case of emergencies and/or inaccessibility to resources. So things like renting a wifi router beforehand is still pretty subjective because certain countries offer a pretty good mobile + data plan as well. Use these 5 Pre-Travel Essentials to point you in the right direction and you’ll be well on your way to having a great backpacking trip!
This post is powered by Advisors’ Clique, a group of financial advisers representing Great Eastern Financial Advisers Private Limited. From now to 18 September, get 50% off any travel insurance plans with campaign code TPAC50. For more details on, visit ac.gelife.co/1150701-TR or contact Billy at +65 9475 6701 or BillyTan@advisorsclique.com.sg