With any trip, there comes a number of things that need to be sorted and organized before you go away.
But if you’re travelling abroad for an extended period of time, there are some really important things that you must not forget to sort before jetting off on your travels – and yet it’s these obvious little details we so often forget to do!
Here, to help any of you venturing off to new and exotic locations, is a checklist of things not to forget when you’re preparing to leave.
Confirm your passport expiry – I actually made this mistake myself when I was 15 and was going to travel abroad without my parents for the first time. Two days before the bus left to Bosnia I realized my passport had expired – not a fun situation to be in!
There are last-minute solutions like an Expedited Passport but they are expensive and are only valid for a short period of time.
Make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your planned return date. Some airlines and immigration controls require this and it will also give you room to extend your stay should you wish.
Get your visas sorted well in advance - forgetting to sort out a visa is another can’t-do mistake that many of us make. Visa application processes can take up to several months to be approved and granted so make sure you research well in advance whether you need a visa and if so, which visa you should apply for.
Then apply accordingly as soon as possible. For more information on visa requirements, check with the country’s embassy or have a look on visa application service websites link this one here.
Refill your prescriptions – This is yet another mistake I’ve made, realizing that a prescription I had was running out in the middle of my trip. Many prescriptions can be found world-wide but it’s such a hassle and time-consuming to find the right place to go and book an appointment when you should be out enjoying yourself.
Clean the fridge and empty the garbage – the last thing you want is to return to a stinky home with angry neighbors. It’s always best to turn the fridge off completely when you’re away, so clean it out!
Get yourself insurance - taking a big trip abroad without getting travel insurance really isn’t worth the risk.
You never know what’s going to happen when you’re away in an unfamiliar country and you certainly don’t want to find yourself paying for medical bills abroad should you fall ill, replacing valuables if they are lost or stolen, or paying for legal fees incurred by someone suing your for injuring them or damaging their property.
Taking out insurance will save from having to pay such unanticipated and excessive expenses. Check here for more information on travel insurance cover.
Budget carefully and realistically - if you’re planning a big trip is important that you budget properly. Make sure you do your research checking how much you’ll need to spend before you go on flights, visa applications, travel insurance, luggage, clothing, etc.
Then look into how much money you’ll need for when you’re on the road, making sure you’re realistic with how much you will actually spend (a rule of thumb is that you will likely spend more than you think so make sure to have a buffer in your budget, including a certain amount set aside for emergencies.
Let your bank know you’re traveling - this is important for a couple of reasons. First, they might find it suspicious that your cards are being used in random places abroad and will block it, leaving you stranded.
Secondly, they might have some great offers for clients who are traveling, such as a special card that has zero transaction fees from ATM’s abroad (which in my opinion is a MUST – and yes I’ve made this mistake myself too, wasting a ton of cash on expensive transaction fees).
Get immunized for vaccine preventable diseases – when going on a big trip, the last thing you want is to come down with disease, only to find out it could’ve been prevented. Depending on your destination, you may need to get immunized to protect you from contracting certain illnesses.
Check well in advance which (if any) vaccines you need and contact your doctor. Your doctor should be able to help you here should you have any questions. Often treatments need to be made several weeks, even months, in advance to be completely effective so make sure you check and sort this well in advance.
What are some easy but important travel preparations that you have forgotten before?