Know Before You Go – Top 5 Travel Planning Essentials

Daydreaming about your holiday can be half the fun, but when planning your trip, make sure you take care of the boring bits as well. If you’re getting started planning a trip check out this handy holiday planner from Holiday Extras to begin with and read on for 5 essential tips to help you sort your visas, vaccinations, and insurance before you go.


photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc

photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc


1. Pack everything you think you need. Then cut it in half.

There’s value in being prepared for anything, but usually, you’ll find that you don’t use half of the things you bring. Leave a little room in your bags for souvenirs and shopping on the way home. The standard aversion to wearing the same outfits over and over is lost on the road, so lay out all the clothes you want to bring, then leave half of them. If you’re travelling for more than 7 days, prepare to do laundry, and bring clothes that you can layer and interchange.


2. Check your Docs. 

That’s both documents and doctor’s appointments – sort out your visa and vaccination needs at least one month in advance. Visa information is easily found online for most countries, but there can be a couple of caveats. Tourist visa length varies by home country and can also differ depending on mode of arrival, so know before you go to avoid mix-ups at customs. Be prepared to show proof that you are leaving the country within the allotted amount of time – otherwise you may be required to purchase a visa or departure flight upon arrival.

Double-check the required vaccines for entry into your desired country as well. You’ll want to leave enough time to make appointments if you do need to get some shots. If you’ll be gone long and are taking prescription medicines, make sure you have enough to last your entire trip.


3. Have a money strategy. 

Unlock your debit cards before you leave if you want to withdraw money abroad. In general, you’ll lose 1-3% of each transaction to banking fees, but many companies offer credit cards with no international charges, so these can be a money-saving goldmine. If you take out cash before your trip and convert it to local currency, remember that changing money is usually more expensive in airports than city centers.


4. Insure your travel. 

Holiday insurance is like an umbrella – when you remember to take it, you often won’t need it, but you don’t want to get stuck in the rain without one. The basic policies usually cover little more than flight cancellations and medical evacuations, but you’ll be covered if disaster strikes. If your travels are more extensive or you want to get into some adventure sports while you’re abroad, consider a comprehensive travel insurance policy.


5. Leave some time unplanned.

Planning is the thrilling first step of any adventure, but don’t forget to leave room for surprises. If your trip is packed to the brim with treks and exploration, it’s easy to forget the rejuvenating power of a late brunch and an easy afternoon. Alternately, if your entire holiday is booked in the same all-inclusive resort, you may rob yourself the chance of heading off for a few days to an unknown and exciting location. Leave some flexibility and let your holiday reveal itself organically. Often, the surprises are the most memorable part.



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