There are many things to take care of before you leave for a trip, some are obvious and some maybe not so much.
Month(s) before you leave:
♥ Immunisations. If you are visiting a country in the developing world it is best to get your shots/pills well before you leave. Do NOT leave it to 3 days prior to leaving (my friend did this… not a great idea. She flew into Thailand sans immunisations). It’s wise to see the doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect and to start taking medicine to prevent malaria.
♥ Travel insurance. Buy this the second you book your travel. NOT just as you are about to leave. The same friend visited Thailand during the Bangkok riots and didn’t purchase travel insurance until right before she left. The insurance company would not cover costs related to changing plans to avoid the riots as it was HER choice to go to Thailand during this period of uncertainty.
♥ Visas. Countries like China and Russia require a visa to enter. Some countries need to issue the visa prior to you leaving home, others will issue upon arrival. Do your research! A travel agent can help you with finding out visa information and organising the visa.
♥ Passport. Many countries require travellers to have at least six months validity remaining on their passports. Immigration authorities may refuse entry if you arrive with less than this. Check your passport and get it renewed if necessary.
Weeks before you leave:
♥ Bills. Set up all your bills to be either direct debited from your account (so you don’t even have to think about it whilst your away) OR at least have online billing capabilities.
♥ Pets. Make sure your pets are booked into kennels or you have found someone to look after them.
♥ Banking. It’s often wise to advise your bank you are going overseas (Commonwealth Bank called my friend whilst we were shopping up a storm in Paris, assuming her card had been stolen!)
♥ Phone. Check you are set up for roaming with your mobile provider. Consider buying a local SIM card when you arrive at your destination, as roaming fees are killer!
Days before you leave:
♥ Travel documents. If you have booked anything through a travel agent make sure you call/email them to check everything is ready and arrange to pick them up. If you have booked everything yourself online, print out all accommodation/flight/rail/tour vouchers and file in a folder to take with you.
♥ Beauty treatments. Waxing, tinting, hair cuts – get all your primping done right before you leave
♥ Medications. Make sure you have enough of your medications (e.g. The Pill) to last you whilst you’re away, otherwise get to your doctor pronto.
♥ Itinerary. Type up your itinerary (where you will be staying and when, contact details of the hotel etc) and give to family members/close friends. Not only do they get a kick out of knowing where you are (I often receive texts from Mum whilst away saying things like “You are in Reykjavik today! How exciting! Must be chilly!) but IF something happens, they know exactly where you are or where you should be. Sorry to put a downer on that. If you are Australian I also recommend registering with The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (to help them find you in an emergency).
Do you have any more tips on preparation before you leave?