As someone currently planning on a long trip travelling I understand how many things need to be pre-arranged before your travels and in all honesty my motto is the more organised you are, the less stressful your trip will be.
As a fairly organised person myself I thought I would put a checklist together of things you need to consider before going on your trip of a lifetime.
–Passport -> This may seem pretty obvious but it’s amazing how many people only realise there passport is due to be renewed right before their trip. You also need to consider how long you’re going to be away for as your passport could run out during your trip so make sure you have this sorted before you go. It’s also handy to take a few photocopies of your passport for your trip just in case of the unfortunate circumstance that it gets stolen or lost.
–Visas -> Although many countries you can get visa’s on arrival this is only for a certain time-scale, if you wish to stay longer then you will need to apply before you enter the country. Other countries such as Australia you have to apply beforehand regardless. Make sure you take a look at the options available for you and select the best one to suit your needs.
–Travel medication and injections -> It’s good to check with your local doctors what injections or medication you may need while you’re away. Some countries you may not need any, but others may have high risk of certain diseases and infections so it’s better to be safe than sorry! Also ladies, think about contraception- if you’re on the pill you’ll need to ensure you have enough to last your trip or look at alternative forms of contraception.
–Money -> If you’re travelling through lots of different countries you’re probably best investing in a travel cash card. I got mine through STA for £22 and with this you can withdraw cash for no extra cost in pretty much any place. You also get a number of other benefits which you can read about here.
–Flights -> Probably the most important thing to get booked as without these you can’t really go anywhere! I have used STA for my flights as they are very reasonably priced. However, what really sealed the deal for me was that for an extra £99 I could have flexi-flights which means I can change the date of any of my flights if I want – perfect for a traveller who isn’t sure how long they will spend in each place. However, if this isn’t a high priority for you then definitely have a shop around for the cheapest flights one of my favourite sites is http://www.flightcentre.co.uk.
–Accommodation -> It’s always good to have at least your first night accommodation pre-booked before you fly. After a long flight the last thing you want to be doing is traipsing around hot and tired trying to find somewhere to stay for the night. As a traveller I will be staying in hostels throughout my trip and have been advised that Hostel World is probably one of the best sites so will be using that to book accommodation throughout my trip.
–Luggage -> You may like me need to buy a new backpack before you go on your adventure. If you’re going to be travelling to a lot of different places you are not going to want to wheel a heavy suitcase around. Again, this is completely dependent on what your plans are and how many places you are going to. For me, without a doubt a backpack is my best option. I quite like this 60+20l one from Gap Year Travel store as it has a smaller day rucksack attached which is super convenient.
–Phone -> We all want to keep in touch with our loved ones while we are away so it’s good to think about how you’re going to do this. With apps such as Whatsapp and Skype now where you can just use Wifi travelling has become much easier. However, if you do plan on taking your phone it’s a good idea to let your phone company know. In addition, it’s usually super cheap to buy a sim card in different countries so you can make phone calls if necessary but to do this you must make sure your phone in unlocked before you go so just keep this in mind.
–Plan -> I don’t mean plan your travelling journey step by step as the whole point of travelling is just winging it a bit and seeing where it takes you. However, I do think it’s wise to have a rough idea in your head the places you want to go and see. This is especially important if you are on a time restriction as you’ll want to make sure you see and do everything before you leave.
–Research -> I absolutely love researching the places I’ll be going – best hostels, the things you must see and the things to avoid. Listen to the people that have been there and go on what reviews say it’ll definitely make you feel more prepared once you enter that country.
I hope this blog post has been useful for your own pre-travel planning. Do you have any other tips for pre-travelling? Please feel free to share!