Tuesday, 22 December 2015

My travel preparations

I thought I had preparing for a trip - whether big or small - down to a fine art, but on my recent month long visit to Canada in September, I forgot to pack a couple of things. This is so unlike me, I was pretty annoyed with myself. I know you can pick up most items in another Western country (and in most other countries too, although it might take you a little longer to find what you need), but I'm used to being super organised. I guess I just got complacent!

Here's an insight into my preparation checklist:

1) What does the Foreign Office Advice website say about my intended destination/s?

2) Is my passport in date?

3) Do I need visas?

4) Is my travel insurance in date? If I'm travelling to Europe, is my European Health Insurance Card in date?

5) Do I need any of my own medication? I have stand by pills for Vertigo for example.

6) Are my vaccinations up-to-date? Do I need any new jabs? Check Fit for travel website. Book in with the travel clinic if necessary. Do I need anti-malarial medication? Get private prescription for Malerone.

7) What flights are available? How will my ticket be issued? Can I check in online 24 hours before departure?

8) How am I getting to the airport? Can I book my RailAir ticket / taxi now?

9) Can I get the currency in the UK before travel? If yes, check Travelex, Post Office and Marks and Spencer to compare rates.

10) Do I need to pre book hotels?

11) Do I need to pre book any activities?

12) How should I divvy up my spending money - airport transfers, other transport, meals, excursions... Do I take a mixture of cash and cards? Are ATMs available? Do they charge a horrific percentage?

13) What apps do I need to download on my phone? Should I get a local sim card?

14) I get my luggage out at this point, lay it out in the spare bedroom and start dumping stuff in and around it as and when I think of something to pack... Does it fit the airline requirements?

15) Check on clothes / shoes / toiletries / camera gear / travel adapter / lock / money belt / any techy equipment / chargers / books / journal / credit and debit cards / travel money cards / first aid kit...

16) Take photocopies of your passport page, flight tickets, visas and travel insurance and leave with loved ones. Give them a rough idea of your itinerary too and where you'll be, when.

17) Am I making my own way to the hotel once I land at my destination? Explore transport options.

18) Start packing, going through every item - do I really need it? Have I missed anything? Am I carrying anything that could be banned?

19) Once packed, two final things I do - fill out luggage tags and attach them and lock my main suitcase