I know that I tend to talk a lot about travel on this blog, but that is for several reasons. The first is that travel is fantastic and I think that everyone deserves to experience it and enjoy it, the second is that I think that sometimes travel can seem like an excellent idea, but there are sometimes so many things that can seem off-putting (like long flights, all of the preparation or the issues about what to pack and not pack). There are many things that one needs to do pre-travel to have a successful trip, but I know that this can sometimes seem like quite a lot to get done and you might not know what order to get it done in. The list mustn’t discourage you. That’s why today I wanted to go through, at least what I’ve found to be, the ultimate pre-travel process and checklist to ensure that you not only get everything done before your trip but also that you can do it in a non-stressful and systematic way. If you happen to be thinking about going on a trip, then I’d highly recommend you check out this list so that you get everything done and don’t cause yourself unnecessary stress. I hope you enjoy this blog post.
Book your trip
I’m starting with the most obvious one just to get it out the way. The first thing you can do in your pre-travel process is to book your trip because you can’t do anything else before you’ve done this. You need flight details and hotel locations/confirmations for things like visa appointments, and you can’t start thinking about what you need to pack until you’ve decided where you’re going. So, the very first thing you need to do is book your trip. Once you’ve decided where exactly you want to go and what kind of things you want to do, you can then book things like flights and hotels accordingly. You can also book tickets for certain things in advance, which not only saves money but also makes your life easier in the long run because you are prepared. Therefore, the first thing on your to-do list before you travel is to book everything that you might need for your trip. Once that’s done, you can start thinking about and sorting everything else.
Passport and Visa Check
This is another obvious one, but perhaps slightly less so than the point I made above. Once you’ve got your trip booked, you now need to make sure that you’ll be allowed to go there. Wouldn’t it be just awful if you’ve booked yourself a lovely holiday only to realise too late that your passport doesn’t have enough pages, you don’t have the right visa or that either your passport or your visa has expired? Let me answer that question for you – it is soul-crushingly terrible. Therefore, the very next thing you need to do once you’ve booked logistics is to sort out your travel documents. Make sure well ahead of time that your passport is okay (meaning you have enough blank pages and it is not due to expire in a big rush) and you have all the valid visas you need for where you are going. Believe me when I say this – you won’t regret being organised and sorted for this particular point, so make sure you tick this off your checklist as early as you can.
Write your packing list
There are a lot of people who don’t like to make packing lists because they don’t need it, but I’d recommend making one anyway even if you are an expert packer. Now that you have the details of your trip worked out, you should know everything that you need to pack. Make a list of all the things that you need to pack, including toiletries, travel documents, hand luggage items and the random little bits and bobs. The real benefit to making this list is that you can happily get on your flight knowing that you aren’t missing anything because you either ticked it off your list or it wasn’t necessary enough to even make the list. If you are the type of person who likes to be organised and prepared or a person who tends to stress when it comes to travel, then making a packing list is your solution. Just make sure that you actually use it. Otherwise, you might as well not make one.
Make sure you have everything you need
Once you’re sorted in terms of travel arrangements and documents, the next step is to make sure you have everything you need for your trip. Before you start packing your suitcase, consult your packing list to double check if there is anything you need to buy. This usually includes things like toiletries or that extra pair of jeans (or a new swimming costume for the beach) or any medication you might need for the time you are away. It’s essential to get this done before you start packing and before the day you leave because leaving it too late is only going to cause you unnecessary stress. Give yourself a day to go to the shops and stock up on the things that you don’t have at home so that when you start packing, you don’t have to stop suddenly and rush out to the shop two hours before you leave for the airport because you are missing things.
Your packing list is written, and you’ve stocked up on all the things that don’t live in one of your cupboards. Now it is time to put everything into your bags. A great way to get your packing done effectively is to set everything out on your bed (or another space), make sure that you’ve got everything and then put it in your bag. That way, you can make sure that you fold and pack in a way that allows everything to fit. Another thing that I’d recommend when it comes to packing is to start the day before at least. The later you leave packing, the more stressful it becomes and the more chance you have of forgetting something, so to save yourself problems, try to start your packing sooner rather than later.
Double check the little things
Certain little things are essential to travel that we sometimes overlook or tend to forget. These things can make or break a trip because they are a relatively cheap investment, and yet they make all the difference. By little things, I mean stuff like adapters for plugs, or certain weather-related items (like a mini umbrella or a windbreaker). You won’t want to forget things like these because it is just annoying when you arrive and now have to struggle to charge your phone or survive the weather. So, as you finish packing your luggage, make sure that you haven’t forgotten any of those small yet surprisingly essential things.
Print and prepare documents
Sometimes when you travel, you may need other documents outside of just a passport with your relevant visas inside it. For example, you might need bank statements or letters from different people, depending on the nature of your trip. Before you leave for the airport, make sure that you’ve printed any documents that you might need and get all of it organised. For this, I’d suggest keeping everything in one of those plastic folders, including your passport. That way, once you’ve double checked that you’ve printed and got everything in that folder, you know that you have everything you need as long as you maintain the organisation of your folder.
Check in online
Here is a sneaky trick that my dad told me about. If you can, I’d highly recommend checking in for your flight online, which is something that you can do from your home computer. This allows you to skip the queue for checking in your bag when you get to the airport, and might also allow you to get a relatively lovely seat. Now this point isn’t essential, but it can make your life a little bit easier so if you do have half an hour on the day you leave, why not just sit down in front of your laptop and check yourself in? It can only take the stress off your plate, not put more on.
Get to the airport in time
Usually, there is a recommended time that you should get to the airport, for most international flights that is three hours before departure. Sometimes people don’t necessarily need or want to follow these guidelines, but I’d highly suggest you do for one simple reason: You never know what disasters could strike. You might get stuck in traffic on your way to the airport, you might encounter the worst queues in the world at the airport, or there might be a technical issue that causes problems for your timing. Making sure that you get to the airport with enough time to spare (or factoring in a potential delay in getting to the airport) means that these futuristic problems won’t necessarily affect you. Basically, don’t think that you can fly through everything at your own speed because Murphy’s law will ensure that you encounter a problem, so make sure you get to the airport on time.
Go with the flow until you get on the plane
Once you’ve done all of the above, the only thing you now need to do is just follow the system and protocols until you get onto the aeroplane. Everything is taken care of. You are all sorted, and so now all that is left is for you to head off on your trip. If you’ve done all of the above, then there shouldn’t be anything else you need to stress over besides what activity you are going to do first when you arrive at your destination. You are ready – now go forth and enjoy!
So, there you have it! If travelling is on your agenda, or you are thinking about going on a trip sometime in the future, then I hope you found this blog post both helpful and useful and can refer to it for all of your future trips. Travelling isn’t something that should seem scary – it just takes a practical and systematic approach, which I hope this post has proved to you. If you are looking for any other travel advice, please take a look under ‘Travel’, and you should see several different travel-related blog posts that might be helpful for you the next time you travel. Thank you all for reading my blog post today, and for reading and supporting the blog in general. You guys are all amazing. Please like this blog if you enjoyed it, and haven’t clicked that little star button already (I really appreciate it), and don’t forget to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on future blog posts. Happy travels, everyone!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx