1. Make sure your household bills are up to date
This may sound obvious or even pedantic but you really need to think about something like this. Last year I went on a tour that was 3 weeks. It covered the last 2 weeks of one month and the first week of the next month. Once of my household bills from the first month hadn’t arrived before I left and was delivered whilst I was away. This meant I had no way of paying it for that month. When I got back I was greeted by final demands as this particular authority was known to be ruthless with non-payers.
2. Check your travel and medical Insurance
It is important when going on a long trip you have the correct travel and medical insurance. The last thing you want is to be stuck in another country and something happens you need to produce a credit card to save your life. This also relates to Number 5, if you haven’t told your bank you are going away and you don’t have proper cover you could be in serious trouble. Always travel with adequate travel and medical insurance. A lot of credit companies now offer travel insurance as standard.
3. Share your itinerary with someone
This is important if you are traveling alone. Your loved ones and friends need to know where you are, maybe not all the time, but at least where they can reach you. If something happens back home, you may need to return for an emergency, or there may be some important news they need to tell you. At least if they know your travel plans rather than exact details you will be easier to track down in an emergency situation.
4. Check the Visa and Passport requirements for your destinations or possible destinations
Don’t get to the airport and find they won’t even let you on the plane! This is the reality of what could happen if you don’t have the correct documents. Visa requirements are especially important to avoid unnecessary complications and delays at your destination. Make sure your passport is valid for at least the next 6 months, otherwise a lot of airlines won’t let you travel.
5. Tell your bank where you are going
Even if you are taking travelers checks or cash you should have a back up. The bank needs to know where you may be using your ATM or credit card. Due to cyber fraud nowadays a lot of banks will not allow you to use your cards abroad unless you tell them beforehand. It’s very easily done for most banks through their website. If you don’t tell them, you may end up having your ATM card swallowed by an overseas machine!
6. Organise your ID
What IDs will you need when you travel? Obviously your passport but what about the credit card you booked your flight with? some airlines insist on seeing it before travel. Other IDs could include a driving license if you plan on renting a car or motorbike while traveling. Don’t forget to print all your ticket information and hotel booking vouchers if you have pre-booked them.
7. Set up your phone
If you are planning on taking your phone abroad, beware of costly roaming charges. The best thing is to organize with your phone company beforehand, or better still, get a throwaway SIM card whilst you are there. Most countries have a SIM plan you can get at the larger international airports.
8. Learn a few phrases
Especially important if you are planning to travel a little off the beaten track. Not everywhere is fluent in English, even some larger cities in Asia and Africa you will find little English spoken. Learn a few choice phrases that will come in handy whilst you are there, it will save you a lot of time, money and hassle.
9. Have a Plan B
Expect the unexpected on your trip. If you planned to travel to a beach then suddenly find it closed, make sure you don’t arrive at midnight and you have nowhere to stay for the night. Give yourself some room for maneuver. I once got delayed on a flight and found myself in the middle of nowhere at 2am in the morning, the car rental I’d pre-booked had closed so I had no alternative but to find a hotel which wasn’t easy!. If you plan and prepare, try to think of what might happen, just in case.
10. Secure your home
Of course you are going to lock your doors and take the necessary precautions but what about the little things that could cause problems when you get back. Turn off the water and electricity is a good step if you are going away for a long period. Coming back to burst water pipes is not fun at all. I usually disconnect my car battery if I go on a trip longer than a few weeks, the last thing I need is a flat battery when I return.
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