Your bags are packed and you buzzing around your room counting down the days till you jet off! But then it dawns on you, Have I forgotten anything? The answer is probably yes if this is your first time travelling but never fear! Here is a list of things you need to do before you go travelling!
Whenever any of my viewers/readers ask me about travel vaccinations I tense up! I am not a registered nurse, nor a doctor so I refuse to give anyone advice regarding what travel vaccinations to have. Instead, you should book an appointment with your local nurse or a travel clinic WAY BEFORE YOU LEAVE! Some vaccines need to administered on more than one occasion and some vaccines have to be ordered in! So please, what ever you do, do not leave this to the last minute!
Before you go to your appointment to discuss your options, always do some of your own research. Especially if you will be paying up front for these jabs, make sure you only get what you really need as some nurses are known to give you a jab for every disease known to man when most of the time, it’s just not necessary!
2. Taking medication abroad
If you take medication regularly then there is a chance you are stressing over how you will ever get to travel when you have an arsenal of drugs and potions you need to have! The best thing to do would be to book an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options. It will depend on the type of medication you are taking and also the laws within the country you are visiting if your doctor gives you a bulk prescription.
If you can’t be supplied with a bulk supply of your meds then you shall have to research how you can legally purchase it abroad!
Also note, if you are carrying sharps (for example, for diabetes) or drugs which may be subject to different regulations in different countries, then have a doctors note to hand in case you get questioned at the border!
3. Look at you current contraception
Over three years ago before I jetted off to Australia I was on the contraceptive pill which I knew all too well would become a pain in the backside when I was out on the road. The possibility of me forgetting it, losing them or forking over a lot of money for a new prescription completely put me off! My idea was to switch to the coil. Discreet as they come and minimal maintenance. However, I decided to leave it to the last minute and decided to just come off the pill and abandon the coil.
If I had a bad reaction to the coil, I could land myself in hospital with some major problems, it wasn’t worth the risk. So again, see how your current contraception works for you and if you do decide to change it, do it in advance to make sure your body adjusts!
I am now happy on no hormonal pills or coils and just use my Lily cup, if you want to watch more on periods and travelling and why my menstrual cup changed my life on the road, you can here. Also, you can get free delivery on your very own Lily Cup by clicking here and using the code: LCPSYCHO
4. Travel insurance
Travel insurance can be a drain on the bank account and a mental drain as you browse through hundreds of companies trying to decide which one to pick! But it’s an important step which shouldn’t be overlooked.
I have done a dedicated video on picking the best travel insurance but in short, make sure you don’t just pick the cheapest policy. See what they actually offer. Will they cover your electronics or will you have to purchase an add on? Going for longer than a year? Will they allow you extend your cover whilst you are abroad? How much excess will you have to pay before receiving a pay out? All super boring but super important!
5. Being insured to work abroad
Some insurance companies back home may cover you when you work abroad in a labouring job. However, read the fine print! Working on a building site, they may only cover you to work on the ground floor. This isn’t normally a problem if you are being hired by a company who will cover your insurance on their end. But if you are planning on picking up some cash-in-hand work, you won’t be covered!
6. Tie up any loose ends!
The last thing you want to happen when you are lazing on a beach in Thailand is to worry about any debt or payments which need to be sorted back home. Whether it be a credit card, car payments or insurance, try to tie up these loose ends back at home and either pay off your debts before you leave or organise a payment plan that works for you!
7. Tell your bank!!!
The most common task that’s forgotten is telling your bank that you’re going out of the country! Banks love to block your card the moment you stick it into a foreign ATM so make sure you give them a ring and tell them the dates and destinations (as many as you know at the time) so they can put a note on the system. In reality, sometimes, they still block it, but it reduces the headache of having to contact them when you’re away.
8. Have two accounts
If it’s possible, try to get a double account with the same bank which means you can have two seperate debit cards. This way if you lose one, you have a back up and internet banking to transfer your funds over!
9. Overdrafts and credit cards
Not for everyone but if you are sensible with your money it’s a great idea to organise an overdraft or credit card to keep on hand in case of an emergency! No one wants to think about something happening back home but if you are desperate for a flight back or need to pay an unexpected medical bill, it might be a life saver!
10. Check your bank card!
The last thing you need to happen is for your bank card to expire when you’re half way through your adventure. If you see the date clashing with your travels, call the bank and get a new one before you go!
11. International drivers license
If there is even a small chance of you driving abroad, first check the expiry date on your driving license and secondly, get your hands on an international driving license. Not always necessary but can be in certain countries where you need both!
12. Get those discounts!
Even if you have already graduated, pack your student ID, especially if you have an international ID card (I used to add the international status to my NUS card for an extra couple of quid so I could use it around the world). I used mine for two years after it expired and no one noticed! Shhhh!
13. Skype Premium
A serious life saver and so much cheaper than you may think! Whether you have to call your bank up from India because they blocked your card or you want to call home, I only pay around $5 a month for 300 international minutes for mobiles, landlines and even those expensive bank numbers!
14. OPEN UP YOUR PHONE!!!
Another huge one most people forget! Make sure you open up your phone so it can accept any sim card. You obviously won’t be using your sim card in new countries so you’ll want to pop a local one in to get some data… Not going to work if your phone is locked to a network! To unlock your phone, simply call your network or go to a local phone store who will be able to do it for a small fee!
15. Copy your passport
This one is a must as it could get you out of some sticky situations. It’s also simple; scan your passport (photo page), print and laminate a copy to keep on you and email a copy to yourself so if you lose the original and printed copy, you can still access it. There are many situations where a copy of your passport is required and the most important of them all, if you lose it, your embassy will be able to provide a replacement quicker if you have a copy!
16. Working visa & stuff
If you are going away on a working holiday visa (which I have a lot of resources on this blog and my YouTube channel under Australia and New Zealand) it’s a good idea to have a printed copy of your visa confirmation they email to you, as well as a CV and scanned copies of your qualifications.
17. Write it down!
Even though you may have a spare copy of all the numbers you need in your bag, I always jot down my passport number, bank account number and important phone numbers in a small notepad which I keep in my hand luggage. It has come in handy so many times!
18. Packing up
Half it and half it again. Trust me, you don’t need over half of what you have packed!
19. It’s about what you pack
Something you may not consider but if you are a larger person, you may not be able to buy what you need on the road. If you wear a size 13 shoe and need new socks and walking shoes in South East Asia, good luck!! If this sounds too familiar, make sure your essentials cover you for this so you won’t need to hunt for socks and flip flops, because chances are, you won’t find any!
20. Say goodbye
That’s it. It’s time to say goodbye to everything you know and everyone you love because you’re about to set off hungry, excited and extremely prepared for a trip of a lifetime!
What would you add to the list? Have you ever forgotten to do any of these and realised too late? Let me know!
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