It’s Christmas season again and as is our Nigerian custom, most of us will be travelling to various cities and towns within the country to spend the holidays in company of family and friends. Whether all roads lead to your village or it’s a flight to a foreign country, it’s helpful to keep these tips in mind.
- Write a List
I am a huge fan of using a To-do list to keep life organised and productive, and I recommend you use one here. Make a list of everything you need to be sure your trip is a success. From booking your hotel or flight to getting your Christmas trad from the tailor’s, write it all down. You don’t want to be on the bus and realise you left your laptop power cable behind.
- Make Your Bookings and Reservations early
Where it is possible, see that transportation arrangements are done a head of your departure date to save you time and money. If you will be driving, be sure to get your car thoroughly checked by a professional. This includes the engine fitness and your tyres. Also be sure your vehicle papers and licenses are in order because our brothers in the Force are waiting.
- Make Arrangements for Your Pets
If you have pets, make adequate arrangements for them to be fed and taken care of in your absence. On the of-chance that you intend to travel with them, be sure they have the right papers, shots and documentation, and clarify that your transporter allows pets on board.
- Get PHCN Meter Units
Despite the erratic power supply, PHCN is all most of us can rely on in our absence. If you have a prepaid meter, do yourself a favour and make sure you have enough units to keep the power on until you get back. There are few things worse than coming back from a holiday only to find that everyone else has light and you don’t, your freezer is a rotten mess, and it’s all your fault.
- Clean and Secure Your Home
Like I just said, there is nothing pleasant about coming home to the stench of rot and putrefaction. So please remember to take out the trash and do all the dishes the night before your trip. If you have cockroaches, mice or other pests sharing the rent, now may also be a good time to address the situation with Sniper, cockroach powder, rat poison or call a fumigator. Home burglary is common around this time and here in Nigeria, there’s little we can do to prevent them. Regardless, make an effort to lock individual rooms in your home separately. If they are going to steal your things, the least you can do is see that they have a hard time getting it. Finally, remember to disconnect the gas cylinder and close all water taps properly.
- Hydrate and Moisturize
It’s dry season but you don’t have to arrive at your destination looking like you have been suffering all year. Moisturise, particularly your lips, feet and butt crack. Stay hydrated with small sips of water during the trip.
- Don’t Eat So Much
Please don’t eat so much at the bus terminal, hell don’t eat at all if you can help it. The way some people eat at these bus terminals, I’ve had to wonder if they planned to jog to their destination. No one needs that many calories just to sit on a bus or flight. This Christmas, please don’t be the one stopping the driver, endangering and inconveniencing everyone else because you need to take a dump in the bush. Get a snack or something light. You will be fine really.
- Keep an Eye on Your Driver
Well, you can’t see the pilot on a flight so you are in God’s hands there. But if it is a road trip, keep an eye on the driver through the rear-view mirror. Road transport drivers are only human and it’s a busy time for them. If you notice the driver sleeping, notify other passengers and get him to stop the car and perhaps take a walk or a short 15 mins nap. It’s better to be late than to never get there.
- Carry Valuables in Your Hand Luggage
Flight or road trip, please carry your valuables and electronic devices in hand luggage for your own good. Laptops, camera’s, and anything of resale value must be in your constant direct care. Compensation for damages and theft by transporters in this country is non-existent. Any item stolen is often gone for good.
- Remember Your Power Bank
I don’t know about your hometown, but mine has power outage all the time. So charge and take your power bank with you. Even if you have light where you are going, you never know what might happen on the way, so still take your power bank! It is important for your mobile device to be accessible and power is number one.
- Have Fun
Trips during the Christmas period can be hectic and exhausting, so depending on your circumstance this may not always be possible. However, it’s holiday season. Smile, talk to the stranger sitting next to you on the bus or flight. Don’t wait till there’s turbulence and you feel like you might be about to die before you say hello. Take a few pictures at your stops. Make memories and live a little.
I hope these tips are helpful to you in one way or another. If you have any useful travel tip to share, please let me know in the comments below. I wish you and your loved ones a safe trip this season.