Travel Preparation: Living The High Life
By Shmem Geddes
Travelling abroad is fun, however, the laws and rules of the places that you go to can change drastically from what you are used to in your home country or places you’ve been in the past. It’s always good to double check ahead of time what is allowed into the country you are going to, to avoid any embarrassing situations at the airport.
Things that may seem fairly banal to you could be a huge no-no, for instance, particular medication, vape mods, or even snacks. Most of this information can be found on government websites as well as travel forums, so there is no excuse for not being prepared. Furthermore, it’s good to know what is acceptable behaviour while you are staying there.
I doubt it really needs much saying that should you get caught breaking the law, your production company will probably not be able to help you and let’s be honest, no one wants to be that guy. I have seen it first hand and I don’t know anyone who really wants to spend even one night in a foreign jail cell. If you like your job, whatever it is you shouldn’t be doing, probably isn’t worth it.
Remember, if you are travelling with a company or a group you remain a representative of them and your show so respect the laws, respect the locals, and if you are going to do something silly, try not to do it in your corporate wear.
Communication is important, especially when you are somewhere new. Most airports or ferry terminals have kiosks or vending machines that sell sim cards so you can grab one before you even head out to the hotel or venue.
I always like to find one with a data package because I will undoubtedly be using google maps, google translate or some other social media app at some point.
Often times you’ll need your passport to register the sim card, but the people at the kiosk will usually help you set it up. Most places will have top up cards to add credit but I’ve had a few where you can download the app to top up with ease so that’s something to check for too. It’s worth noting that some countries do not allow certain apps, like FaceTime or WhatsApp video calls so always have options rather than relying on one specific application.
I always carry a world sim with me too, just in case, I can’t find a local sim right away. I’ve seen a few airlines that sell one of these sim cards in their duty-free magazine but you can order them directly online if you have time before you travel. They are pretty easy to set up and manage online most come with a data option nowadays too. Mine is set up for an auto top-up when it goes below a certain amount, so I don’t even have to worry about it. Oh but make sure your handset is unlocked, otherwise, none of this will be of any help to you!
Reap the benefits of all your travelling. If you find yourself flying with a particular airline or staying at a specific hotel chain get a frequent flyer/loyalty card.
They are usually free to join and it might help you out in the future. Even if these bookings are made by a production company or third party (travel agent), as long as your name is attached to the booking you should be able to collect the points. You may also find yourself upgraded purely for holding a loyalty card with a company.
I’ve had several room upgrades, car upgrades, and flight upgrades over the years.
If you are booking your own flights there are several companies that give you the option, closer to the flight date, to upgrade for a reduced rate. This is generally offered as long as you book a standard fare. Don’t book the cheapest fare but book the flex fare (usually one up from the bargain basement price). If you are unsure, look at what is included in each fare tier.
If you are going to be travelling with a lot of luggage, you may want to check how much it will be to pay for the excess before arriving at the airport. I’ve found it can sometimes be just as expensive to pay for an upgrade to business as it is to pay for excess luggage with some airlines. Many business class seats come with a higher luggage allowance and if you’re going to have to shell out, you might as well do it with a bit of luxury included, am I right?!