Are you off travelling the world hoping to find yourself whilst backpacking over the hills of Machu Picchu? Taking a year abroad before signing away your soul to university? Going on one of those gap-years everyone keeps talking about?
Well, it’s not just as simple as throwing some clothes into your rucksack and aimlessly wandering the world.
As nice as that sounds, there’s a lot to organise before you head off. And even if you are the care-free and easy-going wanderer, you won’t make it past the airport check in if you don’t plan ahead.
So whether you’re travelling light and trying to save on space or bringing five suitcases and the kitchen sink, whether you’re going for a month or a year, whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a newbie, we’ve got the guide for you.
We’ve made you a lovely countdown checklist of all your to-do’s before you go travelling.
One Month Before Travel
With these things, the earlier you can do them, the better. So once you’ve decided on where you’re going, start working through these points.
Get your flights booked as early as possible to save on stress and costs. Oh, and book your accommodation, too.
You do not want to be the one that books your flight at the last minute and ends up spending an extra £100 for a rubbish middle seat.
You’ve now booked your flights and your accommodation. So how are you going to get there?
Book your transfers to and from the airport and, if you are planning to rent a car on the other side, book that too! If you know that you will be travelling by rail, for example, buy a railcard ahead of time.
You might also need or want travel insurance for part or all of your journey. There are plenty of comparison sites out there for this but you might also get some cover from your bank so look into that too.
Organise Your Important Documents
Goodluck getting past the gate at your home airport without these guys.
Find your passport and hold onto it for dear life! You do not want to deal with the stress of hunting through every drawer and potential safe place to find it the morning you leave.
You also need to make sure it hasn’t sneakily expired in the past couple of month. Also, remember that some countries won’t allow you in if your passport is going to expire within six months.
Just because your local bar takes your bus pass as proof of age definitely doesn’t mean that any other place will. Make sure you have valid and recognised IDs.
Your visa is one of the most important items you need. Well, that’s if you need one.
Check if your travels will have you entering a country that requires you to have a visa. And if it will, get on it as soon as possible incase it’s trickier to get that you expect.
Sort Out Your Medical
Sorting out your medical can be another one of the longer processes. Some countries will require that you get vaccines and that can take over a month to arrange so get planning as soon as possible.
It is always a good idea to get health insurance when travelling, just in case anything happens you want to be sure that you won’t be out a small fortune all over a sprained wrist.
If you want to travel internationally, check with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s for comprehensive travel vaccines, medicines, and travel advice information.
Make sure you let your doctor know that you’re going travelling. Not only can they inform you on what you need but they can also give you more of your prescriptions or give you information on how to get it whilst you are away.
Tie Up Loose Ends
These are the things that will are going to keep existing whether you’re in the country or not. So get them wrapped up before you leave so it doesn’t cost you.
Who’s going to look after Mittens on your travels? Figuring out what is going to happen with your pet’s while you are gone is better arranged earlier than later.
If you are wanting to book them in with kennels, it’s important you secure their place nice and early. Or start hinting at your parents that they will soon be the proud new owners of your cat while you are gone.
Cancel Your Contracts
Cancel any contracts and subscriptions that you might have running and re-direct your mail if you need to. There is no point in paying unnecessary bills if you aren’t going to be using it.
That said, all the people using your Netflix account probably won’t be happy about this one.
Pay Your Bills
If you have bills to pay off, final rent payments, overdrafts and so on, get them paid off before you leave. Interest is not your friend, and it can turn a small unpaid bill into a really chunky debt if you aren’t careful.
Phone Your Bank
Phone your bank to let them know you are leaving the country otherwise they might cancel your card and think it’s fraud. Not ideal if you need to be using a phone booth in some random street in Taiwan to ring your bank and tell them it’s you.
2 Weeks Before Travel
Your trip’s coming closer and things are starting to feel a bit more real. Thankfully, you still have plenty of time to get organised. Here are some things that are best to do around two weeks before you leave.
Organise Your Money
You need to get them sweet dolla bills or whatever currency you need. The earlier you do this the better off you might be as you can keep an eye on exchange rates and strike when the irons hot.
Look into international cash cards and which are the safest and most suitable for where you are going.
Call your bank to ask what charges you are likely to get if you use your own card and to see if they have any travel card options.
Copy, Print, Repeat
Make sure you have a number of copies of all your important documents. The easiest way to do this is keep a copy in your large suitcase, one in your travel bag, one at home with a trusted friend and one emailed to you.
These documents will include everything from your home contact details to flights, hotels, insurance, bank details, important phone numbers and addresses, required medical documents, everything. The simple rule is: if you need it, make copies.
Now’s the time to look over everything you have booked or that you still need to book to make sure you’ve covered it all. Reconfirm your flights, accommodation and travel details. If you have visas and insurance, check everything is correct and in date.
Make Some Lists
Now that you know where you’re going, when you’re going, how long you’re going for, where you’re staying and how you’re travelling, you can begin to make a list of things to pack.
Write down everything you need for your travels taking into consideration the size of bags you have and how you’re travelling. Highlight the items you don’t have and get shopping.
Do Your Research
Get involved with where you’re going. Buy a guide book and try and learn a bit about the culture, you don’t want to insult someone by trying to high five them. Actually,maybe you should just stop high fiving people everywhere.
Also check out for rules and regulations in the country. Some countries are dry countries, others have strict clothing laws. So be careful and be respectful of the countries you want to travel through.
If you are moving out of your current accommodation to go travelling or letting your room out to someone else, you are going to need a place to store all of your things.
Luckily at Storage Vault we have a lot of solutions to this problem and can help you find a unit that suits your requirements no problem.
Stay In Touch
Work out how you are planning to stay in touch with people. Will you need to buy an international phone? Can you still use your current number? Do your parents know how to work Skype? It’s a good idea to plan all of this ahead so you aren’t stranded someplace with no means of contact.
It’s about this time that check-in for your flight opens, so don’t be afraid to get your check-in done and ticket printed.
5 Days Before Travel
This is it. The final week before you leave to travel the world and find yourself. If you haven’t already, start checking these things off the list now!
Luckily you’ve had that list written since week 2 and everything you need has been bought. Now all you need to do is start packing.
Don’t forget to test the weight of your luggage and double check for any restrictions that you might come across.
Also pack your carry on well and make sure to charge up your electronics!
Before you leave don’t forget to give someone a spare set of keys, alarm codes to your flat, your itinerary and all your contact details for when you’re away. There should be someone back home that is able to help you out if things go awry.
Reconfirm everything that you might need to, most importantly your flights and your accommodation. Then do the classic check, second check and triple check of everything you’ve packed and all of your important documents.
A mistake you might make once but you will never again – do not leave any food behind in your home. Clear out your fridge and clean up all your rooms. Oh, and do your laundry. You do not want to return home from a year long trip to find your bowl of cereal from the morning you left.
Start Saying Your Goodbyes
Start doing your rounds now because the time is going to come in much quicker than you expect. Plus you might get some travel gifts that you will need to pack!
Day of Travel
The day has finally arrived and after all this planning and waiting, it is here. But before you set off for good, make sure you do these final checks.
Double check you have everything you need to get going and that your flight is not delayed.
Turn everything off and unplug. Don’t forget to lock all the doors and windows.
Give Yourself Time
Give yourself time to check everything and feel content. No one enjoys a mad rush to the airport.
Now everything is done and you’re on your way, it’s time to get excited!
We hope this article helped and don’t forget to bookmark it so you can come back to it during your own countdown. If you are looking for any more advice on storage for while you are away contact us here or call us on 0141 280 3341