'I travel for a living, these are 10 things you need to do to avoid drama on your holiday.'

I'm lucky enough to spend more time travelling overseas than I do at home, and over the years I've figured out how to plan my trips to maintain my more-fun less-stress mantra. 

I've made many mistakes over the years, but these stuff-ups have allowed me to create a pretty good checklist that helps me avoid annoying (and sometimes holiday-ruining) errors. 

Although some of these tips might seem a little basic to frequent flyers, you'd be surprised at how easy it is to forget them or not even know about them at all.

So here are all the things to keep in mind next time you book a holiday (you can thank me later). 

Video: Horoscopes At The Airport. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Check your passport.

It's not only important to know where your passport is before the Uber arrives to take you to the airport, there are a bunch of other lesser-known passport risks that could end your holiday before it starts.

Make sure you have at least two blank pages in your passport for stamps and visas. If you don't, your passport is invalid and you will need to renew it before you take off. Luckily, when this happened to me overseas a full-sized visa 'fell off' a page giving me the space I needed to keep travelling. Phew. Lucky me.


Your passport also needs to have at least six months validity from the day you depart your destination to fly home, and there's no flexibility. If it doesn't, you'll need a new one.

Make sure to check your passport for any damage as you can be denied entry to many countries if your passport is not in pristine condition. Indonesia is particularly strict and will send you back home for even the slightest mark. I had a dot of water damage on mine recently and paid for a replacement passport before we went to Bali — it just wasn't worth the risk of being put on a plane home without even leaving the airport. 

Image: Supplied.


Do you need a visa? (And I don't mean a credit card!)

Aussies are lucky to have visa-free or visa-on-arrival status at many countries, so sometimes we don't realise we need to get a visa for our destination before we leave Australia. If we're travelling to Vietnam we can't even board the plane without a visa. Many people just don't realise this until they're at the airport and unable to check in for their flight, and this level of stress is not how you want to start your trip. 

Every time I travel to Vietnam I see frantic people desperately trying to get their visa before their flight leaves — and either paying hundreds of dollars per visa to get it expressed, or missing their flight. You can check if you need a visa for your destination at the Australian Government site

Travel insurance (if you can't afford it, you can't afford to travel).

You would assume everyone gets travel insurance before they travel, because who wants to be stuck in a foreign country racking up a hospital bill or without luggage and money, right? 

But so many don't that it just boggles my mind, because travel insurance really isn’t that expensive and it’s worth it just for the peace of mind. 

So, unless you want to be the person on GoFundMe begging strangers for money to help you get back home, please buy the insurance. 

Let your bank know you're travelling.

Want to have all your bank and credit cards cancelled while you're away? Then don't tell your bank that you're travelling. I've been there, done that and it's not fun. 


Your bank needs to know you're the one buying handbags in Paris or carpets in Morocco, or they'll think you've been hacked or had your cards stolen and then they'll cancel them. All of them. 

It happened to me in Cambodia and I didn't have access to any of my money, all because I didn't make one little call to the bank. Don't be like me. 

Image: Supplied.


What's the weather like?

Don't assume that the white-sand blue-sky Thailand you see on social media is like that all year round, or that Positano is always picture perfect with colourful sun lounges and umbrellas on the beach. 

Unintentionally heading to the Whitsundays during deadly Irukandji season means snorkelling in a full body wetsuit rather than your favourite new bikini, and no one wants to be in a typhoon in the Philippines. A quick Google search of your destination and time of year will let you know if it's good to go.

Are there any big holidays while you're there?

I arrived at Bohol Island in the Philippines with my small daughter, thinking we'd easily grab accommodation. Surprise! There was nothing around because it was Chinese New Year and the island was heaving. 

We finally found a small room far from the beach, and it was the last time I made the mistake of not checking for big Chinese holidays and local holidays at my destination. 

Travelling during major local holidays mean the places you want to explore are likely to be over-crowded, more expensive and often less fun — or they could be shut, like Paris in August when restaurants close so Parisians can holiday at the beach.

What about elections, big political decisions or general unrest?

Smart Traveller is your friend here. Make sure to check it out because you just don't want to be arriving in a country that is going into a contentious election, or a significant anniversary or court ruling that could result in civil unrest. 

We narrowly missed being in riots all because I didn't know a huge court case would be decided and cause significant domestic conflict while we were travelling in Europe. Lesson learnt. 


Always take Aqua Ear, Travalan and 3B cream.

Someone always gets an ear infection after spending the first few days of the holiday in the pool, and no one needs their ear drums to explode — like my daughter Emmie's did in Japan. 

While we got to spend seven days in a gorgeous hotel in Tokyo until she recovered, we couldn't go anywhere (except me to the rooftop onsen that overlooked Mt Fuji), and she was in a lot of pain. 

Thank goodness for travel insurance (see above) that covered all hospital and medical, accommodation, meals and transport. 

My other two must-takes are Travelan to prevent upset tummies and the other kinds of explosions (the girls on my group trips have raved about this) and 3B Action Cream to stop the chub rub when I'm in a hot climate. 3B is my number one. No one wants chaffing rash. Anywhere. Ever. 

Image: Supplied.


Remember the 100ml limit for liquids when flying.

You'd be surprised how many of us forget that we can't take full sized liquids through security. Pack your expensive perfume and body lotion in your check in, and if you're travelling carry on only use little travel bottles for your lotions, or buy your products there. 

Keep copies of your passports, birth certificates and other documents on your phone or Google Docs.

When Emmie and I were robbed in Barcelona, we lost everything, including our passports. 

Luckily, I had copies of them on my phone and so the consulate kindly organised a letter for each of us that confirmed who we were and asked Australian Immigration to let us in. 

We were able to travel home with these sacred pieces of paper in a plastic bag with spare undies and a comb, but without the passport photos on my phone it would have been a long wait to get back. 

Safe travels! 

While writing this article Evie realised her daughter's passport had expired and is now desperately renewing it. Find her travel safety guide and more about her group trips here

Feature Image: Supplied.

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