I am flying out to the Philippines a week from tomorrow so I'm in the process of getting everything together for the trip and I was thinking about how unprepared I feel every time I go away. And it's not like I never travel. I travel many times a year, both within Australia and overseas, but I find myself in a panic each time. Usually it's the week before I'm due to fly out and I'm rushing round packing things left, right and centre. And it's not just the packing either, it's all the little things you have to organise and sort out before you even get yourself to the airport. You'd think as a travel agent and a travel blogger I would have my shiz together. Nope! So I've decided to put together a comprehensive checklist of allllllll the things you need to do to prepare for your next trip. Ok, so let's begin:
When You Book
- Check the name on your tickets matches the name on your passport (this is a big one people!).
- Check your passport is valid (some countries require a validity of more than 6 months from when you enter).
- Check if you require any visas or visa waivers for your destination.
- Check Smart Traveller or your country's travel advice bureau for any current warnings.
- Check if you require any vaccines or malaria medication for your trip.
- Prepare for your next trip by researching if there are any festivals or special days where everything is shut in the city you are visiting.
- Check the weather (duh!)
- Take out travel insurance because "if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel". I have heard of too many instances where clients, especially travelling to the US, have had to be hospitalized and they basically have to re-mortgage their house it is that expensive.
- Advise of any dietary requirements or mobility issues.
The Week Before
- Sort out pet sitting and/or house sitting.
- Exchange some currency.
- Load money onto your travel card.
- Register with your government travel advice bureau so they know how to contact you in case of emergency.
- Think about what cameras or devices you will be taking with you.
- Choose your seats for the flights. Sometimes, the airlines will block these off until 48 or 24 hours beforehand so just check.
- Think about how you are going to stay connected, whether this is turning on international data roaming or just using wifi wherever you can.
- Fill any prescriptions and get a letter from your doctor.
The Day Before
- Try to get some sleep (even if you're so excited you're jumping out of your skin).
- Label your luggage internally with labels and externally with tags.
- Stick a bright ribbon or tag on your luggage so it is easily recognisable.
- Give a family member or friend a copy of your itinerary so they know where you will be and have a point of contact.
- Complete online check in if the airline gives you this option.
- Learn a few words or phrases in the local language.
The Day Of
- Always allow for plenty of time to arrive at the airport. You never know what delays you might face and travel insurance will not cover you if you miss you flight.
- Fill in your departure card if you already have one. This saves time and frustration looking for a pen at the airport.
- Make sure your devices including laptops, iPads and phones are fully charged prior to boarding. Due to new regulations in most airport, your device must be able to be switched on, otherwise, you face confiscation.
- Remember to pack your chargers for all devices. This is the last thing you use so it's likely to be the thing you forget.
- Wear comfortable clothing. I know there is a slight (very slight) chance you'll get an upgrade to business class if you dress nicely, but to me it ain't worth it!
- Don't forget to pack some goodies for the flight including books, chewing gum, snacks, podcasts, music or movies to keep you going.
On Your Journey Home
- Reflect on the trip and what you saw, did and learnt.
- Reflect on how lucky you are to be able to travel the world freely.
- Start to save and prepare for your next trip!
Other Travel Tips
- Consider your destination when packing, the temperatures and the rainfall for that time of year. It is a good idea to pack layers that you can mix and match.
- Scan your travel documents and store them electronically so you can access them from any device if your luggage goes missing.
- Only store enough cash for your day's outings in your wallet and one credit or travel card. Leave the rest in your hotel safe.
- Drink lots of water before, during and after you flight to keep hydrated and ward off jetlag.
- Use a travel agent! Chance are they have been there done that and have insider knowledge on a particular destination, hotel or experience.
If you found The Ultimate Prep Checklist useful, why not download it and store it for your next trip. Click below to download now!
Are there any other to-dos you think I should add to the checklist? Comment your tips to prepare for your next trip below!
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