Your travel is all booked and your bags are packed for that much-anticipated trip. You are ready to go…or are you? Here are some items to cross off your to-do list before you take off.
If you haven’t already organised travel insurance, it’s not too late! The Australian Government advises that travel insurance is as essential as your passport, regardless of your travel destination. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel, even if your trip is within Australia. Please contact me for a quote.
Familiarise yourself with your travel documentation and make sure everything is correct. The spelling of your name on your passport must exactly match those on your travel documents, particularly airline tickets. Pay special attention to any times shown, especially those listed in the 24 hour format. If you’re unsure of anything, double check with me.
Take photocopies or electronic copies of your passports, credit cards & driver’s licence. Keep a copy securely in your suitcase or stored on your phone, and leave a copy with a trusted friend or relative at home. Also share your itinerary with friends and/or family.
Advise your neighbours or the police that you will be away so someone can keep an eye on your home, and arrange for someone to collect your mail or request a hold/redirection from your post office.
There are many resources available to the traveller these days and it is best to access them before you depart. Download an offline version of Google Maps for the areas you are visiting. This means you still have access to the maps while away without relying on mobile data. Download travel apps for airlines, trains, city information, the list is endless!
Contact your private health insurance fund, gym and so on to see if policies or memberships can be suspended while you are away. Likewise for any newspaper subscriptions. Any savings here could mean more spending money while away!
Don’t want to get hit with late fees? Make sure all your regular household bills are up to date, scheduled for payment while you are away or even overpaid before you leave.
How are you planning to get to the airport? I can organise transfers both within Australia and internationally if you don’t want to get a taxi or UBER. If you are planning to leave your car at the airport, I can book carparking for you too.
You have checked in for your flight, gone through security and now just want to relax before your flight. An airport lounge is the perfect solution! Some are complimentary with your flight or credit card company, but lounge passes can also be purchased. Let me look after that for you.
Ensure all your luggage is labelled with your name and phone number. Ensure your suitcase stands out from the rest by using a luggage strap or coloured ribbon. Do NOT pack valuables or medication in your checked baggage. Carry them in your hand luggage.
Make sure your passport is valid for long enough. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months after you plan to leave. Some airlines also impose this rule on their own initiative. It can apply even if you’re just transiting or stopping over. Ensure that your passport has at least 6 months’ validity from your scheduled return date. Have a look at the IATA Travel Centre; you can enter your passport’s (non-identifying) details to see if it has adequate validity.
Ensure you have fulfilled all entry requirements for your destination(s), including those you are simply transiting through. This includes any visas, documentation and covid requirements. You may need to complete specific forms, apps or covid testing within set timeframes prior to travel, or even during your trip. Failure to do so can mean you are denied entry to that country, so make sure you are on top of this. Sherpa is a great resource to use.
It is important that you know the latest travel advice and information for the destination(s) you are travelling to/through. Smartraveller is the Australian Government’s travel advice and consular information service, and it provides a wealth of information. I recommend subscribing to Smartraveller for updates on your destination(s) direct to your email.
Please either consult your regular GP or contact the Travel Doctor for advice, including information about any required vaccinations and carrying prescription medications. Some countries have different restrictions from Australia which means accepted medications may even be illegal. Ask your doctor to provide a letter stating what the medication is, how much you will take and and that it is for personal use. Pack plenty of medication (in its original packaging) to last the duration of your trip. Ensure you also pack some basic first aid requirements: pain relievers, band aids, insect repellent, sunscreen and anything relevant to your specific destination.
Using your phone overseas can be expensive if you haven’t done your research. Have a chat to your carrier about the best options and costs. Set up international roaming, consider picking up a local SIM card at your destination or rely on local wifi availability. Make sure that your mobile phone is unlocked first!
Organise relevant currency for your destination. If you are going to a country where tipping is expected, make sure some of your cash is in small denominations.
Advise your bank that you will be travelling so that they don’t unexpectedly block your cards due to unusual transactions. Check what fees may be incurred for using your cards overseas and work out the most cost-effective option for your needs.
You may need an International Driving Permit if you are driving a car overseas. You can organise this through RACV (or the equivalent in your state).
Ensure carry-on luggage meets regulations. Please don’t try to use a suitcase that is too big! Familiarise yourself with airline carry-on allowances, including bag size and weight. Make sure any liquids or gels are 100ml in size or less, and they are in a resealable transparent plastic bag for airport screening. There are also restrictions on powders over 350ml and lithium-ion batteries.
There are several different types of power points around the world, which can make using your hairdryer challenging if you haven’t packed an adaptor. Actually, pack more than one, and choose the type that include USB sockets; it makes charging your devices much easier.
Remember to pack a positive attitude. Travel sometimes means expecting the unexpected: delays, detours, unfamiliar surroundings, strange languages and funny money. So, remember that a smile can go a long way, and that most mishaps will eventually become entertaining stories.