10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Travelling For A Worry-Free Trip


Farah Fazanna •  Sep 23, 2022

It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time travelling or your hundredth trip. You always have to be prepared! You might be ready to immerse yourself in delicious local cuisine and cultural traditions, but do you have the correct visa? Have you sorted out what currency to bring? And have you bought travel insurance? Here are a few nuggets of wisdom for travelling, gained through hard-earned experience!

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1. Always buy travel insurance as soon as you book your trip

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Did you know that your flights and accommodation bookings are covered from the time you purchase your insurance? There may be unexpected things happening before your trip. You might get sick, volcanoes may erupt and many more. There’s nothing worse than having a trip cancelled and losing money that you’ve saved up for, especially if there are non-refundable bookings!

So, get protected with SOMPO TravelSafe, a comprehensive travel policy that provides coverage for an unforeseen event during the trip. Contrary to popular belief, travel insurance is not just for international travel, but it’s also helpful when you’re travelling within Malaysia! After all, accidents can happen anywhere!

The best part is, that SOMPO TravelSafe is extended to cover losses resulting from COVID-19 diagnosis! For instance, the Overseas Travel Plan Elite A covers up to RM500,000 in case you’re hospitalised overseas or RM25,000 if you’re hospitalised during your Domestic Travel*. If you were diagnosed with COVID-19 before your trip and have to cancel your bookings, you’re covered up to RM15,000 (for Overseas Travel Plan Elite A) and RM1,000 for Domestic Travel. If you have to cut your overseas trip short due to COVID-19, you’re also covered up to RM15,000. You know the saying: it’s better to be safe than sorry!

*The COVID-19 coverage for Domestic Travel is only applicable when the trip is undertaken by scheduled air carrier. Do note that the coverage only applies to fully vaccinated travellers. 

2. Check for your destination’s COVID-19 pre-travel requirements

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Most countries worldwide have opened their borders to international travellers but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need any pre-travel requirements! Some countries, like South Korea, still require to take a PCR test within 1 day (before 23:59 the next day) after arriving. If you’re going to Singapore, you must fill out the SG Arrival Card before your arrival. So, be sure to check the requirements before your trip!

3. Print your travel documents

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You might think this is a waste of paper, but it’ll save your life if you lose your original documents! Print a copy of your passport, flight bookings as well as accommodation bookings and put them in a folder where it’s easily accessible. This would also be helpful if the immigration officer wants to check your documents. Another reason why getting travel insurance with SOMPO TravelSafe is important as you’ll be covered up to RM5,000 in case of loss of personal money and belongings. While you may be careful, pickpocketing is prevalent in Europe, especially in Paris and London, so being insured will give you peace of mind!

4. Prepare a first aid kit

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Any experienced traveller would never travel without their own personalised first aid kit. You might need it for a cut or even a sprained ankle. Having your own first aid kit would also decrease the chance of buying potentially dangerous medicine abroad, especially if you don’t speak the language! 

The contents of any first aid kit should be tailored to your individual itinerary, taking into consideration the type of travel you are undertaking, your destination, the duration and any existing medical conditions you have. We highly recommend putting together a kit that includes: adhesive plasters in assorted sizes, cotton swabs, painkiller medicine, gauze and saline sachets. In case of an emergency, SOMPO TravelSafe offers 24 hours Overseas Emergency Assistance, so you know you’ll be taken care of!

5. Downloading city maps offline can save a lot of data

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Using data overseas can be expensive, and most of us have become reliant on the maps on our phones. Unfortunately, it’s a surefire way to chew up a tonne of data. Plan ahead and download city maps offline using the Google Maps app. Or kick it old school and pick up a paper map from the Tourist Information point at your destination!

6. Notify your bank of where you are travelling

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This step is very important! The reason is to make sure your bank doesn’t suspend your account when they notice ATM withdrawals when you’re abroad. Also check if you need to raise your limit, if you are going to be paying a large accommodation bill it could exceed your daily limit.

7. Pack essentials in your carry-on luggage

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There are rising cases of lost and delayed luggage especially in Europe as many are revenge travelling after the pandemic. To minimise the risk, we recommend you pack your essentials such as toiletries and one change of clothes in your carry-on luggage. This way, you can still survive even if the airline lost your luggage. You can travel worry-free with SOMPO TravelSafe, as there is up to RM5,000 per individual or up to RM15,000 per family coverage for loss of baggage and personal effects!

8. Check public holidays and festivals before you arrive

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You don’t want to arrive in an absolutely packed Munich without realising Oktoberfest is in full swing. Or turn up at the Vatican Museum on Easter Sunday, expecting them to be open for business. Google public holidays and major events in the country or city you plan to visit before you head off to avoid disappointment!

9. Always pay in local currency

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Paying with your bank card is incredibly convenient and many countries have adopted the cashless option. But there’s a catch. The card machine may give you the option of buying in your home currency, or the local currency. Always choose to pay in local currency as there are often hidden and high exchange rates involved in paying with anything else.

10. Carry small change for public toilets and the unexpected

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As Malaysians, we’re lucky most of our public toilets are free. In Europe, you will need to pay with coins to use most public toilets. And yes, even if you dine in at McDonald’s! You’ll never know when small change can come in handy, so always have extra.

A holiday is ever fun with worries on the back of your mind. SOMPO TravelSafe eases your mind as you travel by providing you with up to RM500,000 protection against COVID-19 related complications and more. Turn your long-awaited dream of a postcard-perfect holiday into a safer one. We hope this article helps you to be prepared for a stress-free holiday!

This article was brought to you by SOMPO TravelSafe.