You know that feeling of excitement and anticipation that comes with planning a new adventure? The thoughts of all the amazing experiences you will have and the people you will meet. That is the quintessence of the travel experience. But, that feeling is often derailed by the preparations for the trip. Everyone knows that getting ready for a trip, be it international or domestic, can be stressful at times. Maybe sometimes we get caught up in the daydream we don’t think about it much the logistics of embarking, and then feel overwhelmed by the time we get to our destination. In this blog post I wanted to give you some tips you can use to get ready for your big trip that go beyond the normal “make sure you pack a toothbrush and have an electronics charger.” I hope these tips are helpful in your next travel excursion.
Buy Travel Insurance
This is really only necessary if you are traveling outside of your country or engaging in an activity that carries some risk such as trekking or mountaineering. There is a host of different travel insurance companies that can help protect you from lost luggage, canceled flights, and emergency evacuation or medical care. We recommend two companies to our clients:
Make Sure PassPort Is Not Expired and Make Copies
This one sounds simple, but there is some nuance that you may not be aware of. Many countries require that your passport is valid for six months from the time you arrive. So this means if you are arriving to a place on November 1st your passport must be valid until May 1st. Make sure and check this before you book your trip to save you time in case you need to secure a new passport. We also recommend making copies of your passport in case it gets lost or stolen. This is also useful in instances where a hotel, guiding service, or other travel service requires a copy of your passport for their records. Instead of having to run around and find a way to make a copy, you will have one already. This insures you are covered and keeping your passport safe.
Get Your Shots
It is always good to get visit your doctor, before you go anywhere, especially overseas or to sensitive areas, and make sure you are up to date on any shots you might need or any medication you like to take with you. Depending on what country you visit, the shots or what you will need will vary. Not sure what shots you might need? Check the CDC for more information on what vaccines you might need and health advisories to pay attention to.
Check Over your Itinerary/Download Boarding Passes
Now is a good time to double check your itinerary. Make sure any reservations you have are still good to go, and give a copy of your itinerary to a friend or family member in case of an emergency. This also gives family and friends a better peace of mind knowing they have some knowledge of where you will be and what you will be doing. Another time saver is to download your boarding passes and check in to your flight ahead of time. This allows you to skip some of the lines and make the airport transition more smooth.
Notify Your Bank
This is always a good one to remember. If you think you might use credit or debit cards on your trip it is good practice to put a travel advisory on your accounts. This tells the bank that unfamiliar transactions are not fraud and can prevent your account from being frozen on suspicion of fraud. This allows you to be free in using your cards if need be without interruption.
This is probably one of the most important things you should do before leaving for a trip. All of our clients at TLA go through a comprehensive client program that includes pre-trip work to flesh out their “Why” for taking this trip. This allows you to get in touch with your purpose for travel, what you hope to get from the experience, and opens you up to connecting with places and people on a deeper level. What are you seeking? What are you hoping to learn and see? And how do you want this trip to affect you and influence your life going forward? This will help you have a more in-depth trip, and find purpose in it.
And last but not least, I always love to bring a journal with me, and the journaling process always starts before I leave. It is really nice to take some time at the beginning of my trip and write down my thoughts, expectations, and desires. This allows me to reference them throughout the trip and to take stock of my experience at the end. Not only is it relaxing, but also allows you to recall all the great memories you made and relive them later on.