Before You Travel

Sometimes travel can take a lot of preparation.  There’s so many different things to think about; packing, flights, money exchange etc.  Maybe that’s why many people don’t bother traveling at all.  It’s simpler to play on Binguez.es than take care of that long list of pre-travel stuff.

Some of the important things you do need to remember before you travel are:

Find Your Passport
Locate your passport sooner than a few hours before your flight. The likelihood is, it will sprout legs and move from where you left it. You don’t want to waste time searching for it, only to find out that you need to renew it and now don’t have the time.  I tend to plan quite far ahead, so I usually find the passport when I am booking a flight to be sure it is up to date.  I also start packing my bags a few weeks before I go, and the passport is the first thing to go in the bag.  I also probably check to see if I have it with me at least 25 times on the way to the airport – you know, just to be safe.

Renew Your Passport
Now that you’ve found your passport, make sure it is valid, and do this months in advance.  As amusing as disaster stories are later in life, you won’t be happy if you can’t board that flight you already paid for.

Apply For Visas
As an American I have not had to deal with visas very much, and it is one thing I am certainly grateful for.  Some countries (like Turkey) allow visitors to purchase a “tourist visa” upon arrival at the airport.  However, there are a number of countries (that I have not yet been to) which would require a visa to be applied for prior to arrival.   If you are going somewhere that requires a visa, make sure to give yourself enough time to fill out all the forms, pay the fees, and schedule the interviews that may be required.  Depending on the country, this process can take weeks, months even – so better to get started early.

Travel Insurance
Depending on the type of trip you are taking, one might consider getting travel insurance in the case that anything should happen whilst abroad.  I would consider coverage quite necessary for anyone considering a RTW (round the world) or long term trip as the likelihood of becoming ill in another country becomes much higher.

Vaccines And Immunizations
Make sure all of your jabs are up to date.  Yes, we hate them, though they are preferable to sickness, especially extreme sicknesses that our bodies may not be used to fighting.  Many countries require you to get certain immunizations which you might not already of had prior to visiting.  Some of these vaccines might need to be done months before you go.  Look it up before booking your trip, as some of these required immunizations can be fairly pricey.  The information you need can be found on the CDC (Center For Disease Control and Prevention) website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/.

With these first steps under your belt you are ready for the exciting part – the actual trip planning and booking of flights!  So, get on it…life is waiting.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Waegook Tom July 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Great tips, Katrina! I’m EXACTLY the same as you when it comes to my passport. If I’m not checking it every 20 minutes well, that means I’m pretty relaxed. Yes to the visas, too. Had a friend book a trip to China BEFORE she checked the visa regulations – and she wasn’t eligible due to the amount of time left on her residency visa in Korea being too short, so she lost out on the flight money she’d shelled out for.

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Katrina July 31, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Funny, even the other day while talking about a September trip I suddenly freaked out because I needed to see if my passport was valid. It is valid until 2015, but every time I travel I freak for a minute.

Visas are VERY important to look into. I’m not sure how much your friend lost, but that’s sucks hardcore! I kind of feel as though you should be required to have a visa prior to booking trips which require one. I guess that doesn’t benefit the wallet of the airlines though.

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Ayngelina August 2, 2012 at 9:31 pm

One thing I do is scan all of my important documents and email them to myself. I was once robbed in Vietnam and because I had a copy of my passport I was able to get a new one in five days.

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Katrina August 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Wow…that’s pretty genius, I wouldn’t have thought to do that myself, but what a savior in an emergency! Thanks for that tip Ayngelina!

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