So I currently have about four weeks before I leave the country and head to South-East Asia and I must admit, the panic is starting to set in now.
There’s just so much to think about, buy, organise…
However, maybe writing this out will help me to prioritise and possibly give anyone else who may be off adventuring a kick-start to their own planning preparations.
8 weeks +:
- Confirm your travel itinerary (duh!)
- Travel insurance. Do your research – the prices vary a lot based on what you are doing, where you’re going and how long you’re going for. Don’t be afraid to get quotes! I’m going away for the best part of a year so I looked at insurance provided by companies such as The Post Office, STA Travel, World Nomads and Columbus. I also liked this article for giving me a head ups about what to look for in the very long and boring policies.
- Research the countries you are going to – hit up your local library to save precious pennies!
- Make sure you’ve got your visa(s) wrapped up
- Start looking at travel credit cards and cash cards. I still haven’t decided which one to get and the clock is ticking! Here are a few articles to get you thinking: moneysavingexpert.com, money.co.uk, Lonely Planet advice and Which?
8 weeks to go:
- Book travel vaccinations. Budget for this – I was horrified at how expensive ones like rabies are. It may be possible to receive some via the NHS. Ask your GP and check out the NHS website. Also, Fit for Travel and Travel Health Pro are great for weighing up the options of which ones you need to get as they give you a country by country analysis).
- Buy a backpack. I think I’m going for the Osprey Farpoint 55 because I want the ease of packing and unpacking and it’s well recommended by lots of websites. I do plan to go and try one on though to see whether I feel comfortable wearing it. I’ll keep you updated.
- Start creating a travel folder (with photocopies of everything). I’m making two of these – one to take and one to leave with my parents.
Travel folder contents: itinerary, visa(s), photocopies of my passport, insurance documents, 2 sets of passport photos, photocopies of my driving license, copies of bank statements, list of emergency telephone numbers (this isn’t exhaustive, I’m adding as I go along).
- If you’ve been to university like myself, you may have to think about informing The Student Loans Company that you’re heading off. I’m hoping to work in Australia and so I’ll have to send them proof of how much I earn and they’ll calculate if I need to be paying anything whilst I’m away. Painful, I know, but necessary. Check out their website for more details.
4 weeks to go:
- Try on all of your holiday clothes. Get an idea of what you already have and what you might still need to buy. Currently on my to-buy list are light, long-sleeved pants and tops to try to avoid mosquito bites.
- Start buying sun cream, insect repellent and other toiletries which all add up. I’m stocking up on these when I see good offers (plus it’s less painful to look at your bank balance if you buy them in chunks). As tempting as it is to walk into Boots and walk out with everything you need but having spent £100 in one go, try stores like Bodycare (possibly a Northern thing, I’m not sure) and shop around online for discounts.
1 week to go:
- Pack yo’ bags. Make lists, it’s worth it. Check the weight. You know the drill.
- Get used to wearing your back pack, money belt, looking like a bit of a twat…
- Check in to flights. Look at the airline’s website to do this. You’ll need your name and booking reference. The earliest time you can do this varies, for example, Emirates will let you check in 48 hours before you leave whilst others only let you check in 24 hours before.
- Throw yourself a going-away party (okay, this is optional)
So there you have it. My check-list at the moment. If I think of anything else, I will continue to update it. Have I missed anything vital? Are you off somewhere nice? Feel free to let me know in the comments.