Before taking off on any trip, you need to make sure you are well prepared and confident. There are some things you need to take into consideration to to be a good traveler – take certain things with you to make your life easier, do research beforehand so you know what to expect, and have a plan. Below are some tips and suggestions that will help you avoid challenges on your journey as well as put your mind at ease.
- Do some research on your destination and figure out how much time you need to see/do everything you want to. Take the travel time that it will take to get there and back into consideration.
- Also check what season is the best time to travel to this location (i.e. Iceland is better in the dark winter months if you want to see the Aurora Borealis).
- Check if you need a visa for the specific country. If you do, you want to give yourself enough time to get this done before your departure date.
- Check if you need to renew your passport. For some countries, your passport expiration date needs to be at least 6 months from the departure date. Also, you might need to get some vaccinations in certain cases. If you’re in the United States, you can use the following web site to check the requirements for your destination: US Department of State
- After you’ve booked your flight and hotel, make a list of the things you want to do when you get to your destination. Do research on things to do, restaurants to eat at, nightlife, or anything else you’re interested in. Figure out if you need to book anything in advance – any tours, cruises, tickets for museums/attractions that need to be purchased months in advance, etc.
- Make a rough plan for each day of the activities you want to do and where you want to eat. This way you won’t have to waste time figuring out what to do each day while there. Check the weather and plan accordingly. Figure out how you will get from the airport to your hotel once you reach your destination.
- Consolidate all your tickets/bookings, print them, and keep them all in a folder. This helps to stay organized and avoid looking through every piece of luggage for different information. It is also a good idea to make copies of your passport and keep them in different pieces of luggage just in case you lose your passport. While you’re at it, take a picture of your passport on your phone as well.
- Create a copy of your itinerary and leave it with a loved one at home. This is helpful in case of emergencies.
- If you’re planning to use your credit card/debit card, make sure you inform your credit card company/bank of your trip – where you’re going and the dates. This way they won’t block your transactions. Also check if there are any transaction fees for using the card overseas. Plan to take some cash with you as well since some places might not take credit/debit cards.
- Things to consider taking with you – check out my post on some gift ideas for travelers: Gift Ideas for Travelers
- Check the predicted weather at your destination so you know how to pack. If rain is expected, plan on taking a raincoat, rain boots, umbrella. For snow, you might consider a heavy coat and snow boots. For summer, pack your swimsuit if you’re planning on going to the pool or the beach. Always pack your sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat. If you plan to work out, make sure you pack some work out clothes. It’s always a good idea to take a light jacket even in the summer – in some places it might be hot during the day but it gets a bit chilly at night. You will need it for the plane ride anyway.
- Make a list of things to pack and save it so you don’t have to create a new one for each trip. Remember to include any medications you take. A list is extremely helpful to ensure that you don’t forget anything.
- Pack light. This is very difficult for me as I’m extremely indecisive but believe me – you will be thankful when you have to lug around your suitcase. Use packing cubes, roll your clothes instead of folding, think about what you can wear twice or more times (i.e. jeans, pajamas).
- If you’re checking in a bag, try to pack most of your stuff in that bag. Only pack the things that you will need in the airport and plane in the carry on – passport, boarding passes, wallet, lotion, blanket, jacket, snacks, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc. Also pack one outfit in your carry on just in case you lose your checked bag (or you spill something on yourself). Always keep valuables like cash, credit/debit cards, jewelry, passport, etc. with you in your purse or carry on. Never pack anything important in a checked bag. I try to keep a lot of space in my carry on for souvenirs/gifts that I will be bringing back from my trip.
- Invest in a lock for your bags, especially the one you will be checking in. You can also bring one with you to lock your carry on for when you’re not at the hotel when leaving any valuables behind.
- Put a tag or a ribbon on your bags that will help you easily identify your bags from a distance. This is very helpful when there are other people with the exact same suitcase as you.
- Weigh your bags before you head to the airport. You don’t want to be going through your stuff in front of strangers at the airport trying to figure out which items to take out and move to another bag. You will also save time and avoid being late for your flight.
- Another way you can save time is by checking in online the day before or the day of your flight. All you’ll have to do is drop off your bag that you’re checking in and head straight for the security.
I know this is a long post but I wanted to make sure I included as much detail as possible. These tips have been very helpful for me and I hope they were for you too. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or any other suggestions you’d like to add. Happy travels! 🙂