As your travel adventure approaches there is a checklist you must complete to ensure you are organised and ready to go! Whether you are heading on a short overseas trip or for an extended adventure there is some pre planning in the weeks leading up to the departure you need to do.
Is your passport valid?
Many countries require you to have a minimum of six months validity on your passport to enter the country. You need to ensure that your passport has not expired and has at least 6 months validity. If you need to arrange a new passport, 4 weeks will give you plenty of time to arrange a rushed passport. That is if you hadn’t previously checked your passport.
Any visas required and obtained?
You MUST check if any of the countries you are planning on visiting require you to have a visa or if they have any particular conditions of entry. Not all Visa’s can be as easy as the US where you can get one 48 hours beforehand, or some Indonesian countries where you pay on arrival. There are restrictions on the efficiency of these visas, but generally speaking they are quick and easy to obtain. Some countries such as Argentina may require a reciprocal fee prior to arrival or like Brazil may require a Visa only acquired through a Brazilian Embassy.
Make sure you always look into visas for any countries you are planning to go to so that you can avoid being turned away by immigration at the gates or on arrival. For a more extensive read on visa’s you can read further here.
Have you got your finances in order?
Have you saved and budgeted enough for what you have planned? Make sure your holiday doesn’t cripple you with debt! It is easy to get carried away with flashy hotels, every souvenir you see or even ten too many cocktails each day. Make sure you have planned and budgeted how much you anticipate to spend. Don’t rely on credit cards or loans for the trip of a lifetime. Although they are great in case of emergencies, just make sure you don’t go over board. If you still have some saving to do a couple of great ways to save in the last few weeks can be..
- Swap or skip your morning coffee, instead wait to have a free coffee at work, or make a coffee at home before you head off
- Nights in on the couch with a bottle of wine is cheaper than a big night out. You can have just as much fun on the couch but you hardly spent a dime! More money for beers and cocktails when you are exploring a new city
- Do you need that item your about to purchase? Would you prefer to spend that money on something at your next holiday destination? It may be the difference between eating on the last day of the holiday and errrmmmm not eating on your last day!
For further saving tips you can see my post regarding some of my top savings tips here.
When to start packing
Now there is no need to get too eager and pack 4 weeks in advance, however leaving it until 30min before you leave for the airport isn’t ideal either. Start packing 4-7 days prior to leaving. This gives you enough time to think about what your packing. And whilst most of the items you could certainly purchase from where you are going, there are some essentials which are frustrating to forget!
Don’t forget your:
- Phone charger
- The charger for any other electrical device you have, because that could be a lot of dead battery you end up carrying around creating excess baggage
- Travel adaptor. Whilst you can find one at the airport, you already spent a fortune on one and then you forgot it!
- Medication or prescriptions
- Prescription glasses
- Plane tickets
- Comfortable shoes
Exchanging cash and arranging a travel card and/or credit card
Ensure that you split your cash between a travel card, physical cash and a credit card, if you are taking one. You want to avoid having all of your funds tied up in only one of these. As ATM fees can be expensive for withdrawals, you also do not want to have all of your money on you incase you get mugged, hopefully not, or your luggage becomes MIA. Many countries when paying for items, or even ordering food prefer cash for tipping or they may not have an eftpos machine. Before exchanging your cash to another currency, if possible, monitor the market to ensure you are getting the best exchange rate for your money. a small difference when exchanging a large amount of money can make a difference. This difference could mean you can afford to see one last Broadway show, or that you have enough money to go hot air ballooning in Cappadocia in Turkey.
Ensure that when you arrange your travel card you know your exchange rate and ATM fees. Some ATMs and countries charge different amounts which can be up to $20 per transaction. So watch out for this sting and if it happens to you, I would suggest not to return to that banks ATM again.
As you prepare for your next adventure I hope this helped you get ready. Whether you are have bought only a one way ticket or you have a strategically aligned travel itinerary each of these tips will ensure your adventure gets off to the best start possible!
Happy Travels Wanderers