Whether it’s for leisure or business, traveling should be a pleasant experience. That being said, there are instances when going on a trip can be nerve-wracking. Dilemmas like incorrect visas, inclement weather, or missing travel documents can happen. These setbacks are not only a pain to deal with, but can also sour a trip.
A lot of the stress that’s associated with traveling usually stems from a lack of thorough planning. Understandably, there’s a lot to remember when preparing for a trip, which can be quite overwhelming for both seasoned and novice travelers. Thankfully, making the right preparations doesn’t have to be a challenging process. Making a list of pre-departure tasks and setting a day or two to complete them will ensure that you cover all your bases before leaving for your travels. This will effectively reduce the stress that you might feel before and during a trip.
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. To help you get started, below are six things you should do before you travel:
Create a Packing Checklist
Create a packing checklist to ensure that you don’t overpack or leave important belongings behind. Your checklist should encourage you to pack smart by maximizing your luggage space without sacrificing practicality. Below are some necessities to include in your checklist, as well as the best ways to pack them:
You probably don’t need to bring your whole wardrobe or shoe collection with you on your travels. While it’s important to look stylish on your trip, do avoid packing too many clothes. This is especially true if you have access to a washer and a dryer in your accommodations, as you can simply launder the same set of garments as needed. Generally, six pairs of underwear, two bras, four tops, three bottoms, and two pairs of multifunctional shoes should suffice. You can also pack five pairs of socks for some extra warmth and foot protection.
Try to select lightweight closet pieces that can easily be paired and layered with one another. This way, you can create multiple outfit combinations with as little as ten to twelve clothing pieces. For example, garments like leggings are great for travel, as they’re light, stretchable, and comfy. Instead of packing heavy denim jeans, you can try buying denim leggings online, which look exactly like jeans without the extra weight.
Most importantly, pack clothes with the weather and climate of your destination in mind. If it’s cold, be sure to bring a jacket or coat, as well as accessories like hats, scarves, and gloves. If you’re heading to a place with warm weather, be sure to bring garments made with light and breathable fabrics.
It’s good to pack a few medical supplies in case of emergencies. This includes items like ibuprofen, antihistamine, and any prescription medications you might have. You don’t need to pack too much for your trip. It’s best to prepare enough to get you through the journey to your destination. For example, rather than packing a box of bandaids, simply pack a few strips. Unless you’re going to a remote and isolated area, most tourist destinations have pharmacies where you can purchase more of these items. This way, you can stay prepared while still packing light. However, it wouldn’t hurt to pack one or two pairs sterilized nitrile gloves in your medicine kit. They can be handy since you never know what to expect on a trip.
Be sure to bring only essential toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and certain cosmetic products. Do store or purchase these toiletries in smaller containers to save up on space. Similar to your medical supplies, you don’t have to pack a lot of toiletries for your trip. Many destinations are likely to have places that sell these basic items—like convenience stores or supermarkets—so you can always purchase more of them when you arrive.
Do Some Research on Your Destination
For easier itinerary planning, be sure to do some background research on your destination. It’s always good to look for information on things like a place’s cultural landmarks and cuisine. Do familiarize yourself with any events that may take place during your visit. You may want to partake in them or avoid them, depending on the goals of your trip. Checking online reviews can be especially helpful while you’re researching, as it gives you an idea of what places to avoid or visit on your trip.
Make sure to keep yourself updated on your destination’s weather conditions and climate as well. The last thing you want is to book a trip on a week filled with thunderstorms or intense heat waves. Knowing the weather forecast will also give you a better idea of what to pack for the trip. For example, if you’re going to a place where it frequently rains, you may need to bring a raincoat or umbrella.
Purchase Travel Insurance
You never know when you’ll have to cancel or interrupt a trip due to sudden emergencies so it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance as a guarantee. With travel insurance, you can receive financial coverage for things like trip cancellations, travel delays, travel accidents, emergency medical transportation, and lost baggage. This way, you can feel more secure during your trip, especially when you’re traveling outside of your country.
Acquire the Correct Visas
Do be sure to acquire the correct visas if you’re taking a trip abroad. This seems like an obvious prerequisite for international travel, but it’s often one that’s overlooked. Remember that getting the wrong visas could cost you thousands of dollars. After all, you won’t be able to leave the airport of your destination country. A rejected visa means you’ll need to book the next available flight and cancel any prepaid bookings you might have made in the country.
Prepare Hard Copies of Important Travel Documents
Besides acquiring the right visas, you should also prepare hard copies of any important travel documents that you have. While technology has allowed the modern traveler to buy tickets and book accommodations digitally, it’s always good to have physical copies of your tickets and reservation receipts. After all, not all places will accept digital copies of these documents. Plus, if you don’t have any access to the internet, having these hard copies can be a lifesaver.
Additionally, be sure to make some physical copies of your passport. Certain accommodations may require you to provide a photocopy when you check in. Plus, if you happen to lose your passport, you’ll at least have a copy of it on hand.
Make Sure Your Money Is Accessible
Money is a big necessity during your travels, so you’ll want to make sure that you can easily access your funds throughout your trip. First, be sure to inform your bank about your travel plans. Banks tend to suspend credit cards with suspicious activity, especially if the transactions take place in countries that they deem “high risk.” Informing your bank about your trip will allow them to recognize your transactions wherever you go. It also helps to bring enough cash with you, in case your ATM card fails to work or you go to places that don’t accept credit cards.
Before hopping on a plane and going on your next adventure, take some time to carefully prepare for your travels. By packing the right items, preparing for the unexpected, and securing the proper resources, you can make every trip a convenient and enjoyable experience.