Are you the type to get completely stressed before you go on holiday? Worried you’ll forget your power adapter or come down with a migraine when you’re three hours’ drive from the nearest pharmacy? The key to a successful holiday tends to be preparation, but it can be hard to know quite where to start.
If you’re anything like me, the pre-trip bit almost ruins the whole idea of going away. It can be overwhelming having so many things to think about and do. To quieten the overwhelm, I created this pre-travel check list, which I‘ve refined over the years.
1. Create a packing list
Make a list for each member of the family, and that includes carry–on luggage. Remember, it gets cold on board a plane, so don’t forget the layers and some socks!
- Keep in mind the temperature at your destination and any layovers you have along the way.
- Decide if you want to take enough basics for the entire trip, whether you’ll do some washing along the way, and if you want to leave room in your luggage for those travel purchases.
- Read up on your baggage allowance and check the fine print that covers number of bags and weight. If you’re on an international flight but have a connecting domestic flight, ensure your bags meet the requirements for both legs of the journey. Often, the domestic flight will have tougher luggage rules. If you “shop till you drop” while away, don’t get slugged with excess baggage fees at the airport.
2. Prepare before you go
- Where are you headed? Do you need visas, vaccinations, doctors’ certificates and/or spare medications? Do your research. Add reminders in your calendar for anything time-sensitive you need to take care of before you depart. Remember that government agencies don’t always work to your timeline, so book in any appointments you might need as soon as possible.
- If you are flying internationally, checkout Smarttraveller, it’s got a lot of great travel information to help your get organised.
- Check the expiry date on your passport and ensure it complies with the regulations of the country you’re visiting. Make sure that if your visa for country X expires, you won’t get detained in neighbouring country Y.
- How long are you going for? Do you need to see the doctor or the dentist before you go?
3. Who are you leaving at home?
- Make an action plan for kids, pets, plants or anyone else who depends on you who’s not lucky enough to be travelling with you.
- Then there are those pesky bills; argh! Automate any scheduled payments that need to be made during your absence.
4. Organise the details
- Now for the trip itself. It’s worth organising as much as you can before you travel. Pre-book things like airport transfers, hire cars, hotels, transport passes and sightseeing trips. And start putting together that all–important destination “to do” list.
- Find out about the currency used at your destination and grab some money so you arrive prepared.
- Will your phone work where you’re headed or do you need a “local” phone plan? With the latter, it’s best to research the option that will get you the most bang for your buck. Often, buying a sim card as soon as you get off the plane in your destination country is the cheapest and most efficient choice.
- If you’re planning on a trip that’s all about relaxing, then why not pack some reading, writing or art materials. Make sure you download a selection of movies, TV shows and apps as well. Data is expensive when you travel.
5. Work … (make sure you leave it behind)
No one wants to think about work on a holiday, so whether you work for yourself or someone else, put that “OOO” (Out of Office) on your email, hand over anything urgent, and then forget about everything. Admit it: unless there’s a work emergency that only you can handle, it will still all be there when you get back.
And the final part of the plan…
Plan to have a bloody good time!