One does not realise how much work goes into organising a trip overseas once you have worked out the fun part of where you are going. Whether you organise the logistics of it all by yourself or through a travel agent there is a decent amount of work involved.
I have put together a checklist of things you need to consider when getting documentation together.
- ACCOMMODATION: I am not the one to just rock up and look for a hotel, hostel etc. and a lot of countries expect you to have a place to stay upon your arrival. Have this booked before you leave home.
- VISAS: Does the Country you are visiting require you to have a Visa to cover your length of stay? Are you there for holidays or for work? Most do not require you to have one when staying less than 90 days but you must have a return ticket home. The USA has a Visa Waiver you need to submit before your arrival.
- REGISTER TRIP WITH YOUR GOVERNMENT: In Australia our Government has the Smart Traveller website where we can register our trips. This site is great for information on warnings for different countries (terrorism, storm damage and environmental impacts etc). Also if there is a major disaster the Government has an idea of what area you are in to assist. You log all your details, emergency contact and accommodation. Check to see if this service is available in your respective Country.
- FLIGHTS: Flights can be booked 300 days before your departure. I like to book as soon as I can and pay a bit extra to pick my seat (aisle seat as I get claustrophobic). Airlines and travel agents have sales on all the time especially when trying to sell those last remaining seats. If seats are not sold they combine flights. That is why when you board a flight there may be 2-5 carriers running from same plane.
- TRAVEL INSURANCE: It amazes me how many people do not get basic coverage for their trips! I always purchase insurance with my flights. Airlines have their own insurance, and there are heaps of companies that supply it. If you have to cancel a trip due to an accident or you are injured whilst travelling, the insurance is a money saver. The excess is a lot cheaper than forking out thousands in hospital bills.
- TRANSPORT: How are you getting to and from airport? How are you travelling around the place you are visiting? Hire a car, tour buses, taxis, train or by foot. Have an idea before you get there to avoid unnecessary stress.
- MONEY: My favourite topic! I always take some cash but generally use my cards. Do not forget to notify your bank/s of the dates you will be overseas and countries you are visiting including any stopover countries. They will cancel your cards if not notified. You can also get ‘cash passports’ from your bank and travelex cards but double check for fees and conversion rates. Sometimes it is cheaper to use your own card. I got rid of my Multi Currency Cash card as I would have saved $5 out of $100 spent using my own card!
- MEDICATION: If you are on any medication whether it be prescribed or not, check with your destination embassy on their rules for medication. I am off to Japan in a week and discovered you can only take a month’s supply of prescription meds and 2 months of non prescription meds without a certificate. Anymore than that and I have to apply for a Yakkan Shoumei, which I do not need.
- ANNUAL LEAVE REQUEST: Did you let your Boss know you are going away? Did you get approval? Don’t be an idiot like someone I know and tells their Boss a week before they left that they are going away for 6 weeks only to find out they would have no job when they returned. In Australia you generally have to give 28 days notice when looking for approval.
- MOBILE PHONE: If you are taking your phone make sure international roaming is turned on. Contact your provider. Make sure data roaming is switched off and only use in Wi-Fi hotspots. Another option is to buy a SIM and use it for the trip and chuck before you leave, putting your normal one back in. A very cheap and effective way to call home and keep your Mum calm!
- LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE: Most flights allow you one piece of carry on and one piece of checked luggage. Are they included in ticket or do you have to pay separately? If you went nuts with shopping you can pay for additional luggage. I highly recommend you do this before check in as it is much cheaper. Also if bags are overweight, pay for additional weight beforehand.
I hope this little blog helps you when planning your next trip. Once all the above adulting is out of the way you can go off and have a safe, stress free adventure!
All photos taken by myself
Happy travels ~Lauren