'Tis the season for travelling! Whether with family or with friends, here are 5 items you shouldn't leave home without when you are heading overseas.
A lot of Singaporean travelers think that it's not important to take their NRIC with them when they travel overseas as it is not recognised in a foreign country, and that only their passports will serve as identification overseas. This guy had that notion too – until he lost his passport in Germany and his NRIC helped him to gain an emergency passport at the Singapore consulate in Germany.
When travelling overseas, it helps to bring along an extra set of identification documents other than your passport (your NRIC, student card, whatever says that you are you). If you are wary of bringing along the actual document, a photocopy works fine as well.
This is an absolute must if you are on prescription medication from your doctor. Before travelling, get a letter from your doctor stating what medication you are taking and for what condition. In the event your luggage gets lost or your carry-on bag gets stolen, you are able to obtain your medication over-the-counter at certain countries.
Even if you are not on prescription medication, packing along some non-prescription medication will also serve as a mini first-aid kit. Some suggestions: Tiger balm (for those bumpy nauseating rides), Panadols (for headaches and fever), and Po Chai pills (for food poisoning and diarrhoea)
3. Currency of some kind
Even if your parents may pass you a credit card to be used in event of emergencies, nothing beats the good ol' dollar bill. It's always a good ideas to get some foreign currency before you leave home so that you have some cash on hand.
Here's a quick tip: Foreign exchanges are often better at the destination itself, so change some currency in Singapore, but leave the larger exchanging for at the airport of the country you're travelling to.
4. Information on paper
Nowadays, everything is stored on our mobile phones. You can easily Google "where's the best pizza place to eat?" and then pull up GoogleMaps to GPS your way to your destination. But in the event of no internet connection or your phone battery running out, having information on a printed page can be so valuable.
Some information that you should have prepared on paper include info on tourist attractions (opening hours, how to get there, admission fees, etc), maps and phone numbers of the hotel you are staying in, as well as the nearest police station or hospital.
5. A form of communication with "back home"
Our mobile phones go everywhere with us these days, so it's always helpful to be connected with the people back home, especially in case of emergencies, but also just to keep in touch. Overseas, it can get expensive to get international roaming.
A cheaper alternative is Changi Airport's overseas wifi router rental. It can connect to up to 8 devices simultaneously, so the whole family or group can share. And often with promo codes available on their Facebook page, rental of a router to Hong Kong can go for as low as $5 a day.