So you’ve plucked up the courage to book a trip-of-a-lifetime and you’re armed with guidebooks and probably spending every spare minute researching your destination of choice! But don’t forget the boring preparation stuff and please make sure you allow enough time for organising your trip! It would be terrible if you booked the whole thing only to realise you were too late to get your visa! Here I have prepared a comprehensive list of things to think about for your trip preparation. And if you want a quick go-to guide or something you can pin to your fridge, please download my FREE Travel to-do list here!
- Passport – make sure yours is in date for atleast 6 months longer than you intend to travel!
If you want to put your passport in a pretty travel cover, be careful to always check it’s still inside! I once forgot my passport on my way to Australia after handing it over for a job interview then accidentally picking up JUST my passport cover! I had to buy my Dad a ridiculously expensive christmas pressie that year to make up for his 5 hour round trip to save my bacon! I won’t be doing that again in a hurry! I still feel guilty to this day!
- Apply for visas early. Unless you do it in person it can take a long time! With any luck you wont need a visa or if you do you’ll be able to get them at the airport BUT you don’t want to find out this isn’t possible the hard way! I’ve been told India in particular can take a long time to process!
- Equally make sure that your debit and credit cards are not due to expire whilst you are away and save yourself a LOT of hassle!
- Research your trip as much as possible! I use Pinterest and other travel blogs for inspiration and ideas. Where you can, ask advice from people who’ve been before or even better, locals! You may want to take a look at my ‘Interview with a Local’ section where you will find plenty of city guides written by those who know best!
- Book your flights early to try and get good deals. You may get good last minute deals but its taking a massive risk – I usually do mine about 4 months in advance for big trips. Apps like hopper can help you predict if prices are going to go up or down! But for the best prices, I usually use skyscanner
- Don’t forget to get travel insurance and make sure it covers you for any activities you are going to be doing! Also don’t presume your annual travel insurance that you have with your bank will cover you if its a prolonged trip – always best to check. They may give you the offer to extend your insurance to cover your trip but shop about – it’s rarely the cheapest option. Nomads provide great travel insurance so check them out!
- Look into the best money option for you. Travellers cheques are a tad out of fashion these days. Look into credit cards which low conversion rates for travelling or look into a prepaid travel money card where you can store currency on your card and if your card goes missing you can easily cancel it! I usually get enough currency for a meal and a few drinks in each country I’m going to visit just in case it takes a while to find an ATM. I’ll then take a bit more cash in the currency of my 1st location.
- Look into travel vaccines early as some courses take several weeks to complete e.g Rabies! Sometimes you can get these at your own GP clinic but if not, visit a travel clinic eg Nomads.
- Try to learn a little of the local lingo! I use Duolingo as its super easy and split into bite size chunks. Good when you have just 5 minutes to kill and it’s impressive how quickly those minutes add up over time!
- I would recommend booking accomodation for atleast your first few nights. My main go-to’s when it comes to accomodation are : Airbnb, Booking.com and Agoda. Get a free Airbnb coupon here to save $35.
- Consider keeping a blog, journal or starting an email list to keep friends and family in the loop. You can set up a free blog on wordpress.com if it’s just for personal use. If however you want to start blogging properly, best to do it right from the start. In which case I recommend using the host provider SiteGround (get your discount here) and then using wordpress.org
Keep an eye out for my packing guide coming soon!