Before You Leave | Travel Checklist


The time leading up to a holiday or extended period of travel is a time for excitement, planning and tieing up any loose ends of your travel arrangements. These tips won’t necessarily be appropriate for a weekend city break, but if you’re heading away for a week or more then we suggest reading through and taking some notes! We’ve put this article together as it’s easy to forget to organise everything before you leave for travel and often the excitement can cause you to neglect some of the seemingly less important tasks. So with this article in hand, you can tick everything off of your to-do list and focus on looking forward to your travel without worry!

Travel Vaccinations & Medication

Before you jet off to far-flung and exotic destinations, please make sure that you have checked to see whether there are any requirements for you have any vaccinations before arriving in the country. Typically, most European countries won’t require any additional vaccinations, but if you’re not 100% sure, we’d recommend making an appointment with your GP.

If you are heading somewhere that requires vaccinations, such as one of our Ethiopia tours, we’d suggest getting these sorted a long time in advance of your departure date. If you need a series of treatments then sometimes you’ll need to leave a certain amount of time between each injection. Again, we would recommend checking with your GP so that you’re 100% clear on what’s required.

Similarly to this point, if you require medication for your time away, make sure you have enough to cover your time away. You’ll also likely require a note from your doctor if you’re carrying sharps onto the plane as they could be confiscated at security and you’ll be left to acquire replacements in your destination.

Travel Insurance

Getting a travel insurance policy in place is a vital step in the travel process, especially if you’re heading off on a extended period of travel. Do some shopping around and compare deals to make sure you’re getting both the best-priced policy and also the most relevant policy. If you’re heading on a one or two week holiday, you’ll normally be able to select travel insurance as an add-on at the checkout but the likelihood is, you’ll want to do a bit of extra research to find the best policies for you.

Letting Your Bank Know

This is a small but essential step in the process of heading off on holiday or travelling. Informing your bank that you’ll be venturing out of the country and will be likely using your credit or debit card in foreign lands will stop them putting a freeze on your card and limiting access on your account. This isn’t because they want you to stop having fun though, from the bank’s point of view it looks like fraudulent activity on the card as they are used to seeing transactions in the UK, letting them know will allow them to pre-empt the card being used outside your home country. If you’re interested in getting a separate card for your travelling adventures, we’d recommend checking out Revolut as mentioned in our Travel Apps article.

Unblock your Phone for Foreign SIM Cards

This is slightly less relevant if you’re only heading out for a couple of weeks as you’ll be able to get by with the use of your monthly allowance or top up credit, but if you’re staying away for a longer stretch, this is a MUST! Unblocking your phone will allow you to use SIM cards from other country’s phone carriers and take advantage of their plans. Granted, you’ll still want to contact friends and family at home, but you’ll also be making lots of internal phone calls, either to hotels, restaurants, banks or potential employers (if you’re working abroad).

Copy Your Passport Photo Page

Whether you’re going for two days, two weeks or longer, you’ll want to have copied your passport photo page so that you have a backup to cover any worst-case scenario type situations. If heaven forbid, your passport gets lost or stolen, you’ll find yourself pretty much stuck without any backup, however, if you have a copy, either electronically or a paper copy then you’ll be able to explain the situation at least and resolve any issues that little bit easier. We’d also suggest NOT keeping your paper copy folded up inside your passport as this will defeat the purpose, keep it completely separate and equally well hidden. We would also recommend emailing an electronic copy of the photo page to yourself and a reliable friend or family member, that way you can access it anywhere in the world!

Get Yourself Airport Ready

This is a general way of saying you should be checking these things before you leave: 

– Check you know where the airport is, how to get there and how long it takes. Take traffic or delays into account also.
– Check luggage weight and size allowances, you don’t want to be rummaging through your clean (or dirty) laundry in front of everyone at the check-in desk, trying to reduce the weight of your bags.
– Get your airport parking and transport sorted. Make sure you roughly know the process, don’t rock up to the airport doors if the car park is off-site somewhere.
– Check your passport is in date and make sure you have tickets either printed or available using the airline app on your phone, where necessary.
– Double check hand luggage and make sure you have no sharps or liquids that go against the airport protocol. We’d also suggest making sure your carry-on luggage is airport ready, such as having your laptop/tablet easily accessible for removal; this will make everyone’s life easier. If your carry-on luggage needs an upgrade, we’d suggest checking out our article on the best carry-on bags available!

Granted, this is not all the preparation you need to take before heading off on your travels, and it will be different for everyone, these are just the main areas that should be considered. If there is anything that you think we have missed, let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

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