I’ve been on a hand-full of trips in my life, and I’d say I’ve got the preparation phase down-pat by now!
From quick weekend visits, to long-term stays, going somewhere completely new is always exciting. Maybe I’m just a boy-scout deep down, but being prepared for a trip is freakishly important to me. The more that I have sorted out beforehand, the more I can relax on the day(s) of travel and enjoy the journey.
With that, let’s dive on in!
This isn’t the most exciting phase of planning a vacation, but it’s the most important.
Ask yourself questions that you probably wouldn’t even think of in the first place like,
Will you need to apply for a visitor visa? Do you need any vaccinations? Have you contacted your bank to let them know you’ll be out of the country?
Or, if you’re heading off long-term, some questions to ask are:
Do you need to open a bank account over there and have your money transferred over? Do you have an unlocked phone you can use with a SIM card? Do you plan on shipping your belongings, or is it too costly?
Some of these questions feel like mountains at first, but they’re the sort of thing you want figured out sooner than later so you can enjoy the fun part of planning and packing without the headache caused by your procrastination.
Before I make official reservations or bookings, I do some serious digging.
For me, that means having Google Maps, TripAdvisor, and even Pinterest tabs open on my browser as I search for hotels/Airbnb’s.
Pinterest is a great way to find blogs (much like this one!) that will suggest great cafes, tourist spots, and honest opinions. I tend to start here, make a list of my “must-sees” then go from there to find accommodation that allow me easy access to the city’s hot-spots.
I tend to look up the addresses of hotels on Google Maps, see how far the walking distance to key locations are. Street View is also handy if you want to see if the pictures on the adverts are lying or not, and to make sure everything seems safe and secure.
There’s nothing worse than arriving to your Airbnb advertised as, “10 Minute Walk to the Beach” just to discover that the walk is through a sketch alleyway. Better to be neurotically safe than sorry.
TripAdvisor is also a good way to make sure you’re not getting duped by false advertising, hearing others honest reviews is a huge asset.
Kill the Trees
Now that everything is booked, hotels, flights, rental cars, etc. it’s time to make sure you’re fully prepared for your day of travelling and arriving to your location.
I like to have a hard copy of everything (sorry, trees) just for my peace of mind in case my phone dies and I can’t access my booking confirmations if there’s any issues.
That looks like me having a bundle of paper clipped documents in my backpack including my E-ticket, hotel booking confirmation, travel insurance information, car rental reservation, visa approval, you name it, it’s on me.
Many people find this unnecessary, but if you’re unlucky like me, having these on you in person will most likely save your butt at one time or another.
These are all just a few of my tried and true tips I’ve cultivated over the years. Do you have any other preparation tips to offer fellow travellers? Let’s get talking in the comments below!