Travelling requires a lot of planning beforehand, and when you are going to a new place it’s important to know you are prepared and protected. There are a number of things you must think of ahead of time to avoid getting somewhere and realizing you forgot something important. Other countries will have different ways of doing things and may not have the ease of access you are used to. Be prepared before you leave and ensure you have the essentials; Here are 15 things that you need before you travel!
When traveling to another country it is very likely that the currency will be different. Visiting a bank to exchange your currency prior to leaving will save you stress finding a teller mid travel or in a new environment (possibly with different languages). Speak to your bank in advance of your visit to ensure they have the currency for you to pick up. Depending on the bank and the popularity of the currency it is possible they won’t have it on hand for a walk-in. Call ahead of time and pre-order the amount you need.
Before traveling you’ll want to look into travel insurance. While it is easy to think that nothing bad will happen on your trip, it is better to be prepared for the unexpected. If you have travel insurance as part of your group benefits make sure the coverage you have is right for your trip. Travel insurance has different coverage’s that are important to be aware of and may vary from company to company and person to person. Check out our travel insurance blog to ensure that you have the best travel insurance for your adventure.
The single most important thing you need before you travel is your passport, you wont get very far without it! This is something crucial that you will not be able to leave the country without (some exceptions apply), particularly if you are flying. Do you feel a reminder is silly? You won’t if you’re one of the thousands of individuals who forget their passport in the car, on the table, or simply didn’t check the expiry date. Be sure your passport is handy and up to date so that you can be on your way!
Did you know customs can turn you away if your passport is within 6 months of expiring and that you have to pay for your own flight back if customs is post-flight? Make sure to renew well in advance.
Drop-Off and Pick-Up
One thing that many people overlook is how they are getting to and from the airport. Speak to a friend or family member to save you the cab-money and drive you to the airport on the day of your trip. It is also smart to plan how you will get from the airport of your destination to your accommodations. Are there taxi’s available? Does the hotel have a shuttle? Are there any pick-up scams prevalent in the city you are visiting? Plan ahead so you aren’t suddenly stranded at the airport or without luggage.
While you are away for your trip your house will most likely be left empty. Empty houses that are not checked-up on are prime targets for breaking-and-entering. Have a friend, neighbor, or family member check on your house while you are away. Ask them to pick up the mail, shovel the driveway, and leave the lights on so the house appears to be lived in and so you don’t come home to a notice or fine from the city.
When you purchase your ticket you should be aware of how much weight you have for your luggage. Most airline tickets will limit you to a certain amount of weight and have a bag limit for the flight. If you need to bring extra, be sure to check out the options available so you can purchase extra weight/bags. This will help you decide what suitcase or backpack to bring along with you.
Did you know that it is often cheaper to pay for a second bag that a severely overweight bag? Save yourself a penny or two and bring a spare if you plan to do some shopping.
Different countries have unique viruses and medical requirements. Speak with your doctor to see if you need to take any medication with you or get any vaccinations before leaving. One example would be getting prescribed Malaria pills before you go to specific countries. Make sure you are protecting your body for your trip so travel insurance is only a backup plan.
Bank or Credit Cards
When in a foreign country or somewhere unfamiliar, ensure that your bank cards will work if an emergency should occur. Contact your bank and get a clear understanding of where your cards work in the location you are going. Debit cards, for example, work far and few between outside of your local country, but credit cards are far more versatile. Most banks will not need to be told you are leaving the country, but it is good to tell your credit card company where you will be so that you won’t be left unable to pay.
Being prepared is not limited to local preparation, it also includes collecting information about your destination. Research the current happenings in the location you are going to. How is the weather? Are there any dangers you should be aware of? How about any warnings you should take into consideration before you go? This can help you decide what to pack as well as if there are any places you should go to/avoid during the time you are visiting.
Most airlines will have a check in at the airport, but if you have purchased your tickets online and checked in early, be sure you have your luggage tags. These are crucial to getting your luggage on the right plane and having it come off at the right place as well. A trip wouldn’t be half as fun if you only had the clothes on your back once you arrived.
Did you know there are location-tracking luggage options? The price tag is high but for those traveling with valuables it may be worth the investment.
Electrical Socket Converter
An often overlooked item to pack is an electrical socket converter. Countries have different shaped sockets, number of prongs, and voltage when it comes to their electrical sockets. Be sure that you have the right converter so that you can charge your phones, laptops, cameras or any other electronic device.
Did you know that even with a converter some items may still not work because the voltage is too imbalanced? Hair dryers, straighteners, and curling irons are best purchased with smaller voltage to avoid frying your hair with Europes higher power.
When going through the final checklist, the most important things to check off are your travel documents. You won’t get very far if you don’t have these. Be sure to have your travel insurance card, your printed tickets (or a screenshot of the eticket in case of technical difficulty), and any booking information or physical copies you may need for your trip.
Be sure to stay healthy no matter where you go. If you are off to a place where it is freezing cold, pack enough clothing to layer up and stay warm. If you are going to a hot location, bring your sunblock, sunglasses, and hats to protect your skin. A burn (heat or frost) may appear to fit in on your trip but will stick out when you’re back, not to mention the long-term effects of skin damage.
Depending on where your trip is taking you, you may not have easy access to medical assistance in smaller, more remote locations. Bring along a small medical kit so that if you run into any trouble you have the basics with you. Make a mini first aid kit that you can carry with you at all times while exploring and won’t weigh you down. Click here for a good article on how to build your own travel medical kit.
Nothing is worse than arriving at your destination and realizing your camera is dead and you forget your charger. Pack along your charger, a backup battery, the camera lenses you need, as well as an extra storage card so that if you are unable to download your photos onto your computer, you will at least be able to keep snapping!