The travel bug hit when I moved to Vancouver. Through various positions I held, personal time and hanging out with girl friends I was able to see some of the world. Like the time Air Canada came out with a seat sale from Vancouver to San Fransisco for $99 return! You bet we jumped on that, jetting off to San Fran for the weekend and staying with friends. Bloody amazing.
Once I started it was hard to stop the desire to travel and I became hungry for culture, food and everything the world would offer. When I met my husband we had a few adventures before getting married and during, however traveling slowed down for a couple of years due to kids and busy lives.
With a strange twist of fate thrown our way earlier this year we are back in travel mode again and planning a new adventure to Indonesia Fall 2018. This will be the farthest any of us have been and as such we have our work cut out for us in preparing for the trip. We do not always take big trips out of Canada, but we are always prepared even for camping and road trip adventures.
For this trip we are pulling in resources, lists and planning ideas from previous trips plus adding new ones to share here. Since we host International students annually, we have also learned travel trips from them in preparation for their stay in Canada.
Here are our top 7 tips to prepare for travel.
Make sure they have not expired, give yourself enough time to renew and be prepared in case you lose your passport while abroad. Take pictures on your phone, have a few photo copies with you and leave photo copies with close friends or relatives.
Knock on wood I have never lost my passport or had it stolen. Always be prepared as your passport is your ticket home. Without it you don’t come home.
Individual Country Visas. Occasionally you will discover the country you are visiting requires an entry fee or visa (depending on how long you are going). Be prepared and have this ready in advance – do the research before you go. We had originally thought a stop in Cambodia would be cool and mark my word it will be, but when we can go for longer than a stop. They require an entry fee.
Have a print out of emergency contacts and keep them in a safe place. If you are wondering why, here’s your answer. What happens if you lose your phone, the place we all store our contacts these days, or worse it gets stolen? Emergency contacts be gone.
This really is a no brainer. Don’t leave home without it. That is all.
OK not really. Do make sure you have the right amount for booking your trip (cancellation insurance, flight delays insurance, all incidentals, etc.) and for each person traveling. With different options available there is something to fit every budget. Remember to bring all your insurance numbers with you.
Most cities have Travel Clinics who will do the research for you and through a consultation offer up their recommendations on vaccinations you need based on all the locations you are going to visit. Or check with your local health unit or pharmacy. You can talk to your Doctor first, and we did that, and all she did was advise us to contact a Travel Clinic. Yours might say the same thing. It’s good to have a list of prior vaccinations and dates if you can find them.
Get them several months in advance if you can. Some require certain time spans between them well in advance of your trip. Read more about our experience with immunizations in our travel vaccinations post.
Your gonna need it. Make sure your credit cards work where you are going and there are banks to change your money. Carry with you some of the currency required in the country you will be in. Then try to change the rest of your money there for a better rate. Find out the best, honest places for money changing to avoid skimming.
Also important and we do this every time, let your bank and credit card company know where you will be and the dates. They will flag your account to ensure it doesn’t get suspended due to suspicious activity in another country. Bring bank phone numbers with you.
I love them and that just might make me a guidebook junkie. Favourites include Lonely Planet, Frommers, Fodors. They will include tried and true accommodations, restaurants, local gems and finds. I enjoy pouring through these books which researching a trip, making notes and then googling to ensure the location (say a little cafe) still exists. We bring them with us as back up.
Researching this area is a must if you plan on using your phone while traveling which I think we all do these days. Consider adapters for charging your phone. Different countries have different voltage requirements and plug sizes. Be on your game and ensure your adapter meets the voltage requirements of the country you are traveling to.
Look into sim cards, phone plans, roaming charges, the whole nine yards. Last year we road tripped to Montana and South Dakota. Before we left we ensured we had a plan on our phone that allowed tons of roaming for a low price. The minute we crossed the border we received a text from our carrier saying “Roaming Plan Activated” or something like that. It was the cheap way for us to go.
This will be the first in a series of travel posts about our trip to Indonesia this Fall. It pays to be ready and have a plan.
What tip would you offer someone going on a trip?!