When we travel, there’s always an endless list of things to do before the departure date, some of which are of the utmost importance, and some of which are just things that we’d like to do but won’t actually hinder the travel experience if they don’t get done. Here’s my list of absolute MUSTS while planning your next adventure:
– Enjoy it. Plan and research to your heart’s content…you’re spending your hard earned cash on this trip, so make it a good’un.
– Get a great backpack. Wear it around the house, test it out…this bag will be your best friend for quite some time so take care of it, love it, and treat it well. There is no ‘perfect’ bag…just a bag that is perfect for you; everyone is different. I have a Gregory Alpaca Duffle (with shoulder straps and a homemade waist strap) as I loathe top-loading bags and love this brightly coloured and extremely durable pack – it’s been everywhere with me, and while some would say it’s not a ‘proper’ backpacker’s bag, it’s the right one for me…it’s worked so far and I’m sticking with it.
– Get your Visas in order. Make sure you know which countries you need a visa prior to your arrival and which ones will give you one when you get there. www.worldtravelguide.net is a fantastic website that will provide you with a lot of visa information (amongst other things).
– Also related to visas; make sure you get a stack of passport photos to take with you if you’re going to be crossing any country borders, especially in places like SE Asia…you never know when they’re going to come in handy.
– Go to your GP/local travel clinic and get all your immunisations in time before your leave…yes they can be expensive, but who wants Hepatitis or Malaria ruining their travel? Not me, that’s for sure! Check on Fit For Travel to see which ones you’re going to need.
– Try to leave your gadgets as home. They’ll only drag you down (and hike up your insurance prices). And yes, I know what you’re thinking…absolute hypocrite, right here. But I’m trying…I’m leaving my beloved MacBook Pro at home for this upcoming trip (and replacing her with an iPad 2…hey, I’ve got to have some way of keeping the blog up to date!).
– Get your mobile phone unlocked and get a good International SIM card. The best ones usually come with credit and give you two numbers, one for the US & Canada and one for everywhere else (thus giving you the cheapest calling/texting plans in those countries). I recommend ekit SIMs as they’ve always worked great for me, but there are hundreds of other options out there.
– Practice packing…make sure you can fit everything you want in your bag, with a bit of room to spare for all those items you’ll collect on your travels. There’s nothing worse than trying to pack a few hours before you’re due to leave for the airport and finding that it just. doesn’t. fit.