If you’re about to head off on your own travel adventure, no matter how long or short, there are certain things you need to know, and certain things you need to do, to ensure a hassle-free and safe time whilst you’re away.
Of course, you’ll probably come up with a few of them off the top of your head, but consider this your tick-list of what you should be doing before departure day rolls around.
You should never travel without adequate travel insurance, no matter where you’re going or how long for. Head online and shop around for the best deal, and always declare any pre-existing medical conditions ahead of time. Make sure your policy covers you for the place(s) you’re going, and if you’re backpacking, make sure you get a specific policy to cover movement between countries, checking how long you’re allowed to stay in one place. Read the small print and ask questions before confirming your cover.
Passports & visas
Generally speaking, you will need to have six months left on your passport after the date you arrive back from your travels, and this goes for most countries, however do check online for slight differences. If you need to renew your passport early, do this with plenty of time to spare. As for visas, this is something which varies between countries and also depends on your particular country of origin too, so head to the embassy website of the place you’re visiting to get the most reliable information. If you need to apply in a formal matter, this can be a time-consuming business, so do it well ahead of time.
This is a good time to head to your doctor’s surgery for a check up on your general health, a review of any medications you’re on, obtain repeat prescriptions to last you for your travels, and ask about any immunisations you may need for the destination(s) you’re heading to. If you’re advised to have any immunisations or any anti-malaria medication, always listen to medical advice and do as you’re told! Store your regular medications in the labelled boxes in your hand luggage, and take any immunisation certificates with you when you go away.
Do your research
If you’re moving around between countries, you need to head online and find out the easiest and safest way to do this, as well as finding out important information on whether you are able to cross borders from certain points. Make sure you stay abreast of any political situations within countries you’re contemplating heading to, and always listen to official advice.
You can’t take all your worldly belongings!
It doesn’t matter where you’re going or how long for, you can’t take absolutely everything you own, so make peace with the fact you’re going to have to travel light, and be ruthless with what you take! Consider buying a lightweight suitcase, as this will save you precious kilos when you’re packing.
Being prepared isn’t a case of being unspontaneous, it’s about ensuring that your travel plans, no matter how complicated or simple, go smoothly, and are enjoyable as a result.