Visas, money, insurance… the list goes on!
Check out this handy travel prep checklist with a bonus What Not To Do and some money saving tips.
So, you’ve decided that you’re going to go on a new adventure and by this point you’ve probably booked your flights and started to think about the next steps. It can start to feel a little overwhelming with knowing exactly what you need, especially with all of the options that are available.
To help you get started I’ve made a checklist of things to remember and a few recommendations too.
Here’s my Travel Prep Checklist:
Sounds obvious, I know, but anything can happen! This one is definitely coming from the voice of experience…
WHAT NOT TO DO:
Three days before my boyfriend Alex and I were due to head off to Turkey for a week of summer sunning I decided to grab the passports out to just double check the tickets, numbers and bookings. This is when I came to discover that my passport had been booked in for a clean with some bright green shower gel and it loved it so much that it kept this permanent green colour.
We got in the car, drove straight to the airport, passports in hand and spoke to our airline. On this occasion we were REALLY lucky and the guys at the desk said that as you could still see all of the vital information they were happy to accept our passports for our upcoming flight. Thankful didn’t come close to the gratitude I had. I could go on my holiday and my passport smelt amazing!
I must admit even though the airline were happy to fly I got really worried that border control were not going to accept my stupid mistake. Luckily, as I handed my passport over the border guard just smiled and asked me what I had done to it. Everything was ok and we got to and from our holiday destination without worry.
So I guess I learnt a big lesson there – don’t randomly shove shower gel in the same drawer as your passport because it will not end well!
Even though this airline were pretty relaxed, I have now got a brand new passport ready and set to go on my next journey with me as I wasn’t sure every airline or border control would find it as amusing.
Many of you will not be as flippant as I was about how you store your passport but it’s important to check that it is in date and that you have the required amount of time on your passport needed for each country that you are visiting.
Depending on the duration of your trip and your reason for travel you may need a visa. You can usually get two types of visa: visitor or working. These will cover you to stay or work in a country for a certain period of time.
As many countries require visas on entry it is important to do a little bit of research to check what the requirements are for your destination. If you are travelling to lots of different places it can seem overwhelming to look into all of the Ts, Cs and regulations for each country but it is always a good idea to read up. Some countries require a passport photo at the border, others you can sort online and for some countries you may not need a visa for 15-30 days as long as you have proof of onward travel.
If you are a British Citizen I would recommend going to the government website for all of the latest information on each country’s requirements. Here, you can search through by country to work out what you need to do. Once you’ve found your destination go to “Entry Requirements” where you can find all the information you need on visas and passport requirements.
If you aren’t a British Citizen then head on over to your countries government site as requirements can vary depending on nationality.
Although getting a new tattoo might seem like an important travel prep step, that isn’t the type of needle I mean this time.
Book an appointment at your local travel clinic to get the low down on all of the jabs and vaccinations you will need to travel. My advice is to book the first appointment at your local doctors to check that you are up to date with all of the free jabs that you might need, then book another appointment at a private clinic to check if you need anything else.
It’s important to have your travel itinerary sorted as much as possible, or to have a rough idea of the countries and areas that you might be travelling to, to ensure that you receive all of the vaccinations that you need. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to organise this as often you will need a course of the vaccination that will need to be administered over a few months, so you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to fit them in!
There are always rapid courses that can be taken if you’re short on time or taking a last minute trip but again, make sure you get them booked in advance of your travels!
I know that these can seem SUPER costly, especially when you are trying to save your pennies for your upcoming trip, but I justified it to myself as a LIFETIME INVESTMENT as some of these jabs are for life once you’ve completed the course.
Whilst we are on the theme of health, make sure you check out if the countries that you are visiting are in the risk zones for Malaria. If so, book in an appointment or consultation to get your anti-malaria tablets for the recommended areas and time period.
Definitely shop around for these as their price can vary quite a lot depending on the brand and the pharmacy! You can normally check through the different options, prices and side effects on the pharmacy websites. I managed to find the cheapest Malarone at Asda pharmacy, so that is where I purchased mine. You can also buy “Generic Malarone” which has the same ingredients as Malarone but is usually cheaper.
If you aren’t sure about what you need this can usually be checked in the same appointment at the travel clinic. But, if you want to swat up before your appointment or want some more info then check out the Malaria Maps on the fit for travel website. Just click this link, find your country and click to either the Malaria or Malaria Map section.
^^ I am NO medical expert so to get the best and most up to date advice visit your doctors and check out the NHS travel vaccinations website for further information ^^
#4 Money, money, money!
Firstly, if you’re planning on using your debit/credit card abroad make sure you let your bank know. Banks are usually pretty good at blocking cards if they are used in unfamiliar places so tell them know where and when you’re going so that you don’t get caught out.
Cash: Take out some currency for the first place that you visit so that you are set when you get there. I tend to take a variety of cash, card and pre-paid travel cards just to cover all bases.
If you’re travelling on a budget and want to make your money go as far as possible check out different exchange rates, cards and companies so that you get the best deal to suit you. Here’s a little link to a page from the Money Saving Expert which helped me to figure out which cards to get and where to exchange my cash.
Sigh, more money. I know, but…. better to be safe than sorry as they say.
I know, insurance is boring but it is always a good idea to be covered and if you are going on a long trip you can get specialist backpackers insurance to make sure that you’re sorted if anything unexpected happens. I was amazed at how many activities are included in standard backpackers insurance but always just double check these too to make sure that it suits you and your trip!
Again, my advice would hands down be to shop around! I took the advice of the amazing Money Saving Expert in his Backpacker Insurance page and tried out a couple of price comparison sites before realising that nothing matched his top pick (at the time) Holidaysafe.
It was super quick and easy to fill in my details and get a quote for my trip. Make sure you take a look at all of their activity packs too so that you tailor your insurance quote to fit your trip. If you find out that this is the cheapest option for you too and want to be entered into a £150 prize draw with me then drop my name as the person who recommended you or navigate to their site here*– I’d be more than grateful!
That wasn’t too bad, right?
So, there you have it boys and girls, the important bits for travel prep.
Hope you found them helpful,
If you enjoyed this post or know someone who will please share! If you have any questions then feel free to comment below.
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