Things to do Before You Go


No matter how long you are planning on being away there’s plenty to get organized before you leave. In this guide we have put together a checklist of sorts to ensure you get on the plane as stress-free as possible, knowing that everything has been taken care of.

While this guide is best suited to a longer trip, there are many tasks that should be completed, regardless of the trip duration.

1. Research the Destination

  • Learn some basic phrases in the local language
  • Look into any cultural and religious differences
  • Look into the best way to get around
  • Make a list of the things you want to do and see
  • Check power requirements for your destination (buy an adapter)
Trying to communicate

2. Health

  • Look into which vaccinations you might require
  • Stock up on any prescription medication you take
  • Get a note from your doctor for any medications you need to carry with you
  • Create a simple first aid kit
Getting a flu vaccination

3. Important Documents

  • Apply for/renew your passport (make sure there is at least 6 months of validity from the date you intend to return)
  • Research and apply for visas
  • Get passport photos
  • Make copies of all your important documents
  • Organize any job-specific documentation you might need (college transcripts, certificates, etc)
  • Check your driver's license validity/expiration (do you require an international license?)
  • Pack any specialized licenses (eg. PADI)

4. Bookings

  • Book your flights using a reputable comparison website
  • Compare places to stay and book the cheapest room
  • Sign up for frequent flyer programs if you aren’t already a member
  • Add any special seating and meal requests

5. Gear

  • Consider replacing any old gear (backpacks etc)
  • Create a list of what you are taking
  • Take photos of any expensive gear and receipts (for insurance claims)
  • Wash clothes
  • Get spare batteries
  • Pack your bag – check out our packing guide
Mens clothes

6. Communication

  • Unlock your phone from the network
  • Call your carrier and enable global roaming (only if it is provided for free)
  • Set up a free online calling service (eg. Skype, Google Hangouts, Viber, WhatsApp, etc.)
  • Install all important apps (Google translate, XE, Duolingo, etc)

7. Safety

  • Register where you are going with your government’s foreign affairs department
  • Give friends and family an itinerary and how to contact you
  • Take out travel insurance
  • Create a list of important contact numbers

8. Money

  • Make a trip budget using our trip calculator
  • Contact your bank to tell them that you are traveling
  • Get a credit card with no international fees
  • Exchange a small amount of cash ($100)
  • Find out what the exchange rate is for the countries you will be visiting so you have a better idea of what your money is worth
Money in wallet

9. Take Care of Business at Home

  • Pay any outstanding bills
  • Cancel or freeze subscriptions and memberships
  • Redirect your mail or arrange for someone to collect on your behalf
  • Store your belongings
  • Notify the tax office
  • Notify the electoral office if you are unable to vote
  • Arrange for someone to take care of any pets or plants
  • Take out the garbage
  • Dispose of any food that might go bad (especially fruit)
  • Close bank accounts (if you are not returning)

10. Last-minute Preparations

  • Confirm flights/check-in online
  • Charge all your devices
  • Ensure passport, tickets, wallet and other essential items are easily accessible
  • Confirm any special meals (Vegetarian, religious, etc.) and pack healthy snacks for the flight
  • Arrange transport to the airport and allow a buffer time for traffic delays
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