Is this your first time traveling? Or has it been a while since you last went overseas? Either way you probably need a refresher on what to do when preparing for your travels. This checklist breaks down what to get done from 12 months out through to 24 hours prior to departure.
It is always fun to book a trip on a spur of the moment decision, sometimes even an on the day one way can be a great way to fulfill your need for uncertainty and adventure. We highly recommend trying it at least once in your life. However, there is a time and place for spur of the moment trips.
If you want to be doing all the bucket list items, getting the perfect sunrises and sunsets at your favourite locations or missing the tourism high seasons. You need to time your trip to perfection and allow yourself every opportunity to have your dream trip become a reality.
When figuring out the best time to book your trip you will need to time your journey with the following:
-When are you free?
-When is your potential Squad free?
-How long can you go?
-How much money will you have available?
-When are the tourist high seasons?
-Do prices differ in different seasons?
-What are the key activities you want to do?
-What season do you want to be going into? (if you hate the snow then booking a trip to Japan in January s probably not the best timing…)
-When is the weather most conducive to your perfect trip?
Spend the time getting your timing right and you won’t regret it.
2-Build your trip
Grab a pen, grab a notepad or if you hate writing, a laptop. List down everything you want to achieve in your dream trip; where you want to stay, adventures you want to do, experiences you want to have & cities you want to visit.
Get right down and dirty with the details; times in each spot, style of accomodation, average age of the travellers you will most likely be interacting with, the wines you want to be drinking with the local cuisines and even the feeling you want to get out of your adventures.
The more time you spend brainstorming your perfect trip the easier it will be to piece together or have an agent piece together for you.
3-Package or Personal
This all comes down to time and personal preference. If you really enjoy planning things you are probably the kind of person who will enjoy planning the finer details of your perfect trip.
Planning by yourself has its benefits; you are only restricted by your own decisions and plans, you have complete control of your travels & you don’t have to rely on potentially unreliable agents/companies.
If you do not have time to be spent chasing the perfect wine and cheese tour in the champagne region of France or $1 cheaper per day hostel prices in Guatemala then you may want to opt for a travel agent and lock in a package deal or two.
Packages are beneficial if; you don’t have spare time, you suck at planning, you are going to a country that has limited services in your language & it can save you money due to travel agencies having high buying power.
4-Book your flight
Commit! There is nothing more concrete in your travel planning than the moment you book the flight. Give yourself at least 6 months to get the rest of your travel plans sorted and to save you money. In general flights go up as the timelines drop.
5-Get your time off request approved
Ok ok ok. You are probably thinking, shouldn’t I get my leave approved first?
That friends, is completely up to you. Personally we would rather get our dates, trip and flights sorted first. That way we can give accurate leave dates to our employers.
If you are unsure if the request will be approved then it might be wise to get this step done before you book your flight/s.
“Ahhh nah it’s all good I’ll just find something when I get there…” Heard this before? Us to. When your young and backpacking with no set plans and the wind in your hair it is a simple choice to just ‘wing it’ when it comes to accomodation.
If you want your trip to resemble your dream trip plan, and you are pretty keen to remove the stress of finding out where to sleep each night. Then it’s best to book well in advance. There are so many options including; Air BnB, Hotels, Resorts, Hostels and Homestays. Pick the option that best suits your needs and trip goals. Do your research when it comes to Air BnB (or any accomodation for that matter). Check reviews and avoid locations that have had cancellations in the past or poor reviews.
7-Book your perfect trip/your must do’s
It is easy to say, ‘I will just book it when I get there.’ The reality is the tour/trip/hike/adventure that you most want to do is more than likely what every other tourist wants to do. Guess what happens when everyone wants to do a tour.. it books up.
Avoid disappointments and book your ‘must do’s’ in advance.
You can book with your travel agent or by yourself. Similar to your accomodation, be sure to research the provider and check for reviews.
8-Get any Visa applications complete
Here’s one that’s stumped many a tourist/traveler in the past. Visas are not always required, but if they are - and you don’t have one - it can be a very costly experience indeed.
You will either get rejected from the country and told to catch a flight elsewhere or you will have to open up your pockets and pay for an emergency visa.
Don’t trust your travel agent either, they DO NOT sort it for you and they very often won’t even bother to remind you.
9-Get your international licence sorted
Planning to have that dream road trip across the US? All your bookings and accom are sorted, you land in NYC, your stoked as f#£k! You walk on into the car rental and they drop the bomb on you, ‘Can I see your international licence please?’
If you plan to be buying, hiring or driving a car overseas then check the country/s requirements. While your at it, have a look at what insurance you may need.
10-Get in shape fatty
Alright so you may not be going to sunny, bikini weather Bali. The weather may be -12C where you are going but getting in shape is not purely for aesthetics.
Being in shape while you travel will benefit your energy levels, reduce the effects of jet lag and you won’t be limited to what you are able to experience.
11- Make sure your passport is valid
6. 6 is the magic number when it comes to passport validity. In order to travel your passport needs to be valid (that means it is not past its expiry date) for at least 6 months after your RETURN date.
That means the day you plan to arrive home your passport needs to have at least 6 months left in it’s life. For those who plan to backpack without an end date, don’t stress. It is very easy to get a new passport sent out to you anywhere in the world. Just plan ahead, they often take months to arrive.
12- Assemble the Squad or ride it solo
You may have already booked with a crew and if so then this step ain’t for you.
If you are like us and would rather get your trip booked and planned first to avoid flimsy mates who pull out last minute. Then now is the time to decide if you are riding solo or inviting some mates to joins you on your adventures.
13- House Sitters/ Rent management
Paying rent or home owner fees while your overseas sucks! So, why do it?
If you own a home then get someone to house sit for you and charge them the fees only. It’s a win for you and a win for them. Air BnB is a great option if you have no mates. Get your house up there and start earning $$ while you travel.
For the renters out there you have two options:
If your trip is short then get someone to cover your rent while you are away. Be careful to check with your landlord first.
Cut your ties. If your trip is longer than a month I would suggest ending your lease and planning to find fresh digs when you get home. It may also pay to check if your landlord is happy to give you a break from your lease while you travel.
No matter how bulletproof you think you might be it is never, NEVER a good idea to skip out on travel insurance. Potential injury is just one reason to get insured. You also need to cover yourself for baggage loss, theft and family emergencies. Most travel insurance providers will offer different levels of cover so be sure to pick the option that best fits your needs.
You can get insurance from your travel agent, bank or a quick google search will give you some independant provider options. We normally use World Nomads, they are slightly more expensive but they can be purchased, extended or altered from anywhere in the world.
You are starting to close in on your departure date so it’s time to start connecting the dots. Have another look at what you have booked on your trip.
Where will you be needing transport?
How do you want to travel (Plane/Car/Train)?
How much do you want to spend?
Just remember that the cheapest option is often the cheapest for a reason. Research your options and check the reviews.
16-Sort your funds out
Time to do a quick check up on the old bank account and allocate a budget to the remaining expenses of your trip.
Google is a great tool for finding out what your daily spend might be. You can check the daily average tourist spend for almost any country in the world. Once you add up an average that is realistic for you add on an extra 20% just in case. It is always better to have too much than too little.
17-Get cashed up
Get yourself sorted with some local currency and get your hands on a travel card. If you want to learn more about travel cards and what local currency to carry in cash. Check out our blog on Carry On Essentials.
18-Get your purchases done
Traveling can be easy or it can be hard. One way to make your travels stress free so that you can focus on experiencing as much as possible is to have the right equipment. Get the right backpack/s, right adapters & the right accessories. We will be putting together An essentials for travel blog within the month so SUBSCRIBE to get notified.
Oh Yeah Baby!! You are almost off on your adventure of a lifetime! So let’s make sure you are completely sorted on the admin front.
Get your regular payments put on hold for the duration of your trip. That includes; gym memberships, subscriptions & rent/bills (if you have got your costs covered of course).
Once you have made the appropriate suspensions sit down with your bank and let them know your plans. They will be able to tell you what you can do with your accounts to avoid fees piling up while you are away.
20-Research local customs
Don’t be the ignorant tourist! You may think it’s cool to be a douchebag at home but don’t do a Logan Paul and release your inner douche to the rest of the world.
Research local customs and cultural norms and get familiar with what is acceptable and what is frowned upon.
Learn a few words. Locals admire travelers who put the effort in to speak the local language. You will get better treatment than those who don’t and you will probably be able to track down some locals only spots.
Find out if you need to tip! And know the percentages. Some countries rely heavily on a tipping culture to get by. Your 10% tip that should have been %20 might mean that poor Tabatha now can’t afford groceries this week.
21-Check conversion rates and entrance fees
Double check the conversion rates of your destination/s and check to see if there are any entrance and exit fees. A lot of countries have entrance and exit fees that are not included in your flight costs.
You may need to revisit Your budget and adjust the amount of money you have transferred onto your travel card.
22-Guide Books & Apps
Get your hands on the most relevant apps for your travels or if your Oldschool then grab yourself a Lonely Planet or local guide book.
Apps and guide books can help speed up the booking processes and give you more detailed knowledge about the spots you are staying. Details like; where to eat? Where to visit? Or, what to see?
1week- 24 hours
23- Make copies
This one is nice and simple to follow guys - Copy all of your important documents!
make copies of your itineraries
Make copies of your passport, keep one with you and leave one with someone you trust at home. The home copy is there in case you need to sort out affairs with the Embassy.
Make copies of your visa
Make copies of any bookings you might have.
Now in the old days pre the tech explosion most travelers would have suggested paper copies for all important documents. Personally we like trees so we suggest keeping electronic backups and saving important confirmations in specific email folders and on the cloud. That way you can access them from any device.
24- Double check everything
Go through this your checklist, or better yet make sure you have done every step in this blog. In our experience something is always forgotten or missed, take a second look and cover your bases.
25- Check In
Online check in is the way to go! Most airlines allow online check in up to 48 hours prior to departure leaving you feeling less stressed at the airport. Now all you need to worry about is getting your bags weighed and loaded.
26- Stay on the grid
Get yourself hooked up with a travel plan for your smart devices. I know most travelers try and go budget and use free wifi but it is not a great plan when traveling to third world countries.
In general try to avoid using your phone and instead opt for the authentic interactions with locals and other travelers. But, and it’s a big but. If you need to get in contact with someone for urgent or immediate reasons/just to stay in touch. You want to know you aren’t going to get charged through the roof for it in roaming fees..GET a travel plan!
27- Pack your life up
Time to get that kit squared away! You have two options when packing for travel; minimal or maxed out Gucci Gang. No judgment if you enjoy your luxuries but just be prepared for it.
Weigh all your luggage and count your bags, if you are over your flights limits and do not want to sacrifice the hairdryer, fancy dress shoes or the 6 Inch stilettos then now is the time to contact the airline/travel agent and pay for the extra baggage. Trust us! It is not worth risking it, they weigh all your bags now (including carry on). It’s going to cost you a s#£t load more at the airport to so pay up for the extras at least 48 hours prior to flying.
Travel can be the greatest adventure of your life or the worst disaster you have had to face. Either way you grow as a person so win win. I am certain you would rather grow through an amazing adventure as opposed to a disaster. Easiest way to ensure that happens.. follow these 27 guidelines before every trip.
J & P
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