11 Things You Need To Know Before Your Next Travel

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And welcome to guide 6, the final of the travel planning series, what you need to know before you travel. If you are new here, check out our summary showing you all the guides in this series.

Should you print off your boarding passes and tickets or download an app? How will you get around once at your destination? And what is the best way to spend your money? There are a few things to think about before you leave. Getting these sorted before you go will help make your trip more enjoyable and stress-free. This guide is full of handy tips to help you get the most from your last-minute planning before you travel.

What we have covered

A few points are specific to the UK but they can be used to guide you wherever you call home. All the links we have included are from sources that we use and highly recommend. They are reliable, up to date, and in our view awesome.

So here we go let us give you everything you need to know before you travel!

Double-check the essentials

Someone using a map to research where to see before they go.

You may have seen our travel essentials guide and have everything in hand. If not check it out. We cover everything from passports to visas, vaccinations, and more.

Currency and spending

A 50 euro note showing currency is something you should think about  before you go.

Currency comparison

You can see different exchange rates all at once using a comparison website. They show you the cheapest place to buy your currency before you go. This could be online where you can have it delivered straight to your door. Or to pick up in-store, or at the airport.

Credit cards

Using a credit card can work out as the cheapest, easiest, and safest option for spending abroad. There are some great credit cards out there that offer 0% on overseas spending, including cash withdrawals. We tend to carry small amounts of currency and withdraw cash when needed using our credit card. As most places now accept card payments.

For the past 5 years, we have used our Halifax Clarity credit card on all our trips. This has been fantastic for us as there are no usage or withdrawal fees. As with all credit cards it does charge interest. But if you make a payment before the due date interest will not be added. As with any credit card always check the small print before applying.

Check-in & boarding passes

A reception check in desk at some accommodation.

There are several options when it comes to transport and accommodation check-in, boarding passes, and tickets. The traditional ways, paper, and print, still have their place. Sometimes we have the option of doing this online before you travel. This has many benefits:

  • Contactless: minimise personal contact with surfaces and others.
  • Easy and quick: save time and energy just scan your ticket and go.
  • Offline use: when you have downloaded tickets to your smartphone you will not need the internet to access them.
  • Avoid queues: skip long queues and have everything you need on your phone, nothing to collect.
  • Sustainable: going green, less paper is needed being kinder to the planet.

Flights check-in

Most airlines offer online check-in saving you time at the airport. You will be notified of this during the booking or in your confirmation email. It allows you to check-in for your flight from 30 days up to 24hrs before you travel. All from the comfort of your own home. You will need to check with your airline to find out their procedure but usually, it can be done through their website or app.

You will be prompted by your airline but make sure you complete the Advance Passenger Information (API) form as soon as you can to make the airport process smoother.

Digital boarding pass

Using the smartphone app as a digital boarding pass will save you time and energy. The boarding pass will be a digital scannable version. Accessed either via your email, downloaded to your smartphone, or directly through the airline’s app. But check with your airline ahead of time as some airlines do not offer this service.

Printing your boarding pass

You can print your boarding pass at the airport before you travel but do so with caution. As some airlines charge up to £55 per person each way for this service. If you can try to print them off at home before you go. If you do not have access to a printer or a smartphone your local library can offer printing services. It normally starts at £1 per sheet for colored and 25p for black and white. Check with your library for current prices.

Train tickets

You can now get train tickets directly to your smartphone. This will be in the form of an eTicket or a mTicket. This is a great thing to know But you can still head to your local station and pick up your ticket before you travel if you prefer.

  • eTicket: an email ticket. Your tickets are sent to your email as a PDF. You can then open this in your email or the rail travel app. You can either print this off or the barcode can be scanned on your phone.            
  • mTicket: a mobile ticket. Like eTickets but can only be used in a rail travel app and cannot be printed. Once the ticket is activated the barcode is scanned at the station on your phone.


Online check-in is becoming more popular. Check with your accommodation to see if they offer this.


If you are going on a cruise, you can usually check-in online 3 months before your departure. And 3 days prior to sailing. Check your individual cruise line for their policy.

Passes & tickets

Another good thing to know before you travel is many attractions, sights and entertainment now offer eTickets and mTickets too. Check with your provider to see if this is an option.  

Getting organised

A note pad with sticky notes showing its important to make a note of anything you want to see before you go.

Keeping all your tickets, booking confirmations and passes together has never been as easy and convenient.

Email folder

You can create a dedicated folder in your email. That way all your booking confirmations and reservations can go straight into that folder for easy access.

Digital wallets

A digital wallet is an app. This is now offered through Apple Wallet and Google Wallet. They let you store and use all your digital tickets and passes in one place. Having them on your phone helps you know where they are before you travel.

Planning app

TripIt helps you plan and organize your trip. We think of it as an email folder above. But it is easier to use. It stores your bookings without you having to do anything. And allows easy and quick access to them when needed.


A close up of someone watching tv. As you should think about your entertainment for when you travel before you go.

There are many ways that you can keep entertained while on your trip. If that is watching films and TV shows, reading, or listening to your favorite music or podcast. Getting these sorted before you leave means you will have plenty to keep you busy. Check out our post for 14 top tips to keep you entertained on your travels.

At your accommodation

You can look at buying a USB streaming stick such as an Amazon Fire TV Stick. These are great if you want to watch films on a larger device such as a laptop or TV. These sticks plug into a HDMI port letting you use streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Disney+. You will need an internet connection for these to work but it is great to use at your accommodation. It lets you watch your shows as you normally would while away from home. Check with your accommodation beforehand to see if the TV in your room has a HDMI port. 

Keeping your tech safe

From smartphones and watches to cameras and tablets, our tech list seems to be getting longer. Technology is making travel easier and more convenient than ever before. To keep it all safe make sure you know your travel insurance limits as some might not include gadget cover, see our travel essentials guide for further information. Another tip included in our packing and luggage guide is to use TSA locks on your luggage and to pack all valuables with you in your carry-on and personal item.

Camera and video

A camera as its important to make sure you have got a good camera and video recorder for your trip.


Your destination and type of trip may determine the best way to capture your travels. Most smartphones have fantastic cameras built-in. This could be your best option as they are compact and lightweight. Another option is taking a camera such as a DSLR. Although larger they allow you to take professional photos.


Most smartphones can also double up as a camcorder. But you have more options here too other than a traditional camcorder. Drones and handheld devices like Go Pros offer you an opportunity to capture some unique footage of your trip.


An external hardrive as you will need one for putting all your photos and videos on to free up space on your device.

Online cloud storage

If you are like us, chances are you will be taking loads of pictures and footage of your trip. On top of that, you may have films and TV shows taking up even more space on your devices. Cloud storage can help free you up. Basically, it stores all your “stuff” (pictures, films, etc.) over the internet for you instead of on your device. You will need access to the internet to view and upload your “stuff” onto the cloud. There are a few cloud storage providers including Dropbox, Google, and Apples iCloud.

Portable hard drives

If you have limited internet access a portable hard drive may be the answer. They are compact and give you constant access to your “stuff” no matter where you are. You can download all your films and TV shows to it before you leave. Storage options range between 1 and 5 terabytes (TB). For context, a 1 TB hard drive can store around 250,000 pictures or 250 movies.

Secure digital (SD) cards

If you are planning on downloading music, podcasts, films, or TV shows to your devices through an app, you may need extra space. For example, 1 film downloaded to your Netflix app will take up around 1GB of your device’s internal storage. With a 1-hour episode of a TV show taking 250MB. Along with anything else stored on your devices, such as photos and videos, you may not be left with much space. A great thing to know before you travel is to get micro SD cards that can help. Ranging up to 32GB you can make your devices internal storage larger, meaning you can get more onto it.

Using and charging devices

You will need to have a travel adaptor and charger for charging your devices.

Travel adapters and converters

If traveling abroad chances are you will need to get a travel adapter. This lets you plug in your devices when the plug sockets are different from what you use at home. One thing about these to know before you travel is you can get them specific to origin and destination, for example, UK to the USA. Or some offer multiple destinations, World to the UK. These could prove better value as you can use them for more than one trip. Check the voltage of your destination too. If your device is dual voltage (many are) you will be able to charge/use it. If not you may need to get a converter or transformer.

Power banks

We have been there too often. A perfect photo opportunity arises and our phone dies. Luckily, we have power banks. These portables batteries allow us to charge any device while on the go.

Apps, maps and more

Someone using maps to plan their trip before they go.


There are loads of travel apps available helping you get the most from your trip. TripAdvisor has an app you can use. Reviewing restaurants, attractions, and more. It helps you to choose where you would like to visit before you travel. Once you have a list of places that you want to visit apps such as Citymaps2Go helps you get there with their offline maps.


Google Maps offer another way to download maps offline. If you do have access to the internet “near me” is a great tool if you have not decided where to go. It will list restaurants and attractions near where you are and give you the directions to get there.

If you are driving on your trip Navmii can help. Download the map of your destination onto your device before you leave. Like a Sat Nav, you do not need the internet to use it. It uses real-time traffic updates so it will redirect you onto the quickest route.

You can also get good old paper maps.

And more: websites

Once you know where you are going websites like Rome2rio and Seat 61 come in handy. It gives you a list of transport options getting you to and around your destination. Including how long it will take and how much it will cost.

Using your phone abroad

A person using their smartphone to take a picture of somewhere they want to remember.

Before you leave check with your mobile contract provider to see if you have data roaming. As it can be expensive to use. If you are unsure turn your data roaming off and only go on the internet when you can use free Wi-Fi.

Internet safety

A good thing to know before you travel is some public Wi-Fi areas might not be secure. And it is important to stay safe while browsing. Anti-virus software can detect, block, and remove any suspicious viruses. And there are some free options too.

Serendipitous tip

Write a “to do” list before you leave home. Things like canceling any deliveries, emptying the fridge, taking out the bins, tidying up, unplugging electricals, sending any post, and getting a family member or friend to water your plants. This way you can relax knowing you have everything covered.

Next steps

The travel planning series is now complete. We hope that you enjoyed it and found some useful tips along the way. We hope that you have a wonderful and serendipitous trip. For more guides from us see our discover travel and for all our tools see travel planning.

For all our guides in the travel planning series see the summary.

Thank you for reading

We hope you found it valuable. Our site and its content are for you our readers, and as such your comments are welcomed and appreciated. If you have any suggestions for future topics and content, please do share them with us.

#Travel with Serendipity

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