Check list for “I Travel”

19 January 2016
​If News 1/2016 Personnel. Before my trip I copy contacts to Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar embassies that I got in a message from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. And please note; print them. A clever colleague said not to print as “you’ve got everything in your mobile!” Yes, exactly. But what if my phone doesn’t work? Or if it is stolen? Or if there is no reception? Most likely something WILL happen and I’ll want to call the embassy, or my mother or… ​

​Frequent travellers develop routines that ease the challenges of travelling. Time zones, schedules, addresses, names and contact numbers to people you will meet etc. If you follow the concept “I Travel” you will avoid numerous moments of rush and anxiety.

People should know where you are

At times of serious catastrophes – like the terrorist attacks in Paris and Istanbul – it is crucial that your whereabouts are known. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs offers you an easy way to register your movements. Just send an e-mail or SMS or log in to their web page and you’re good to go.

Even if your loved ones are happy with your departure and arrival times and maybe the names of your hotels, your colleagues might need more information: who you meet and how to contact them.

You should know where you are

Having champagne and other alcoholic beverages during flight can feel like a reward for all the work you have done, however, you might want to be sharp when you exit the passenger area at the airport. There are literally hundreds of people with signs or no signs looking at you and shouting. Not easy to find the sign with your hotel and your name spelled in the local pinyin.

Make sure it’s the right hotel and that the driver is up to his task. You can also ask him to call the hotel to inform that the pick-up has been accomplished. If you haven’t ordered a car don’t be shy to ask the taxi driver to dig up a dirty seat belt from somewhere under the seats.

After sitting in a taxi in a city with 20 billion people with no mobile phone contact I started to carry an excel with all the necessary information in it: hotel names and contact information, all company and personnel names I shall meet, their exact addresses (like “behind the yellow Buddhist Temple – street addresses in South East Asia are often vague even for local taxis) and direct (not switch board!) telephone numbers.

If you are lucky you will have a few hours to get a tan (remember sun lotion) at the pool or stroll around the city. Do not save the world by engaging with the cute and dirty 2 year old child beggars. I guarantee you; their parents are close by even if you can’t see them. And giving one of them money will soon surround you with a dozen more.

Do not engage yourself in shopping exercises in dark and narrow allies, especially if you are a woman. And keep a bit of distance. Sometimes Nordic coolness and taciturnity might keep you safe from trouble.

Finally: a smart phone tip

One of the unlikely if not uncommon problems has to do with email synchronization on smartphones. Had you been as unlucky as I have, you fast realize that your IT department requires a change of password. And yes, it can’t be changed from your mobile. So much for work, just tick “Leisure” instead of “Business” on the Immigration card.

The short check list for “I Travel”

  • Change your computer password, just in case.
  • Make your “I Excel” (hotels, companies, persons, embassies and addresses, telephone numbers and e-mails, meeting venues and times). Also good to write down gifts to your hosts, as you might not remember them the next time.
  • Bring a wall charger for your mobile and a flashlight.
  • Make sure the cars you enter are legitimate.
  • Be careful with donations in the street.
  • Remember to carry your Travel Card with you.

Heini Heideman