Whether you’re going for a weekend getaway or planning to migrate to a new country for several months, preparing for a trip can be a stressful experience if you aren’t prepared well enough. The best way to avoid making mistakes that could ruin your plans is to go through the following checklist as soon as you’ve booked your flights.
1. Check the Date of Expiry on Your Passport
Nothing is more frustrating than planning a trip and realizing only a couple of weeks (or days if you’re unlucky) before the flight that your passport is expired! While the obvious solution is to check this as early as you can, there are still ways you can overcome this problem once it pops up.
Express passports are available for most nationalities and US citizens can get one immediately if it’s an emergency. This is of course an expensive option that may be your only one if you plan on migrating for a long time. If your trip is less permanent, you can try to get a temporary passport or travel document. These usually cost less and can be acquired on the same day.
The toughest part of getting a quick travel document is to get an appointment at your embassy, so make sure you call as soon as you realize you need it, stay calm, and get the documents you need in order before you go there.
2. Decide on Venues to Visit in Advance
Especially if you’re planning on having a weekend trip or are jumping from city to city, you need to have at least a vague idea of the sights you want to see and where you want to eat.
Waiting to decide on various activities before you set off is an easy way to avoid falling into tourist traps from shoddy restaurants to overcrowded hotspots. If you plan on visiting a casino for example, then check out CasinoSmash for guides to both online and land-based venues. If you want to explore local tastes, then have a look at TripAdvisor’s top lists and visitor pictures of the dishes they serve to get an idea of the quality and price of what they offer.
3. Research the Address of Your Accommodation
While Google Maps may show you a pleasant street view, looks can be deceiving. Often a great deal on either a hostel or more permanent living space may have to do with the fact that you’re in a dodgy neighborhood.
This happens to even the most experienced of travelers, and the best way to avoid this is to try and find people who already live in the city you’re headed to. This can be done on various community platforms such as ExpatForum but it is often easier just to post a shout-out on Facebook. You may be surprised by just how powerful and knowledgeable your network of friends can be!
4. Check What Need Vaccines You DO NOT Need
If you’re going on a more adventurous voyage be sure to double check what vaccines you need. This is not a suggestion in most cases, as vaccines for certain countries are mandatory prerequisites for entering. What you should keep an eye out for are the shots that you don’t need to take.
Travel is a profitable industry not only for hotels and airlines, but for medical industries as well. Vaccines for some diseases will save your life, while others are totally unnecessary. It is in the interest of medical centers to sell you as many as possible, so do some reading before you go or you may end up being scare mongered into paying for a Salmonella shot on a trip to Rome
5. Weigh Your Bag Before You Get to the Airport
I you are a frequent traveler it may come as a surprise to you that most people don’t bother checking the weight of their luggage before stepping into the airport. Whether you’re going backpacking for six months or going to an all-inclusive beach resort, throwing useful supplies away or paying sky high luggage fees because you didn’t plan ahead is totally avoidable.
An easy way to do this is to stand on a standard weight scale at home on your own, check your weight, then stand on it again while holding your bag. Depending on the size of your bag it may be difficult to stand still, but this is a great way to get an estimate of how heavy the bag is and whether it exceeds the limit of what you can carry.