Good travel involves spontaneity and flexibility. Too much planning can sometimes be more stressful than fun BUT there are some things you need to prepare before you head out!
1) Call your bank and your credit card company.
I don’t travel with a credit card so I can’t speak too much on that front but I do know that it’s important to let the company and your bank know that you will be traveling. I had it a little easy for me since they called me when they saw that I was buying random bus tickets in Europe while I was still in the U.S. They asked me for a list of all the countries I was going to (which was a little annoying since I didn’t know 100% where I was going to) and helped me figure out what banks I can withdraw from without being charged extra fees (helpful)! Just let them know so that you don’t end up with a frozen account while abroad.
2) If you are traveling with a debit card, have more than one!
Since I am not traveling with a credit card, I am splitting my funds into two separate cards. If I end up misplacing one card, I won’t be stuck with no money at all. So if you can, make sure to open two separate checking accounts with two different cards. It will also help you budget!
3) Photocopy your documents!
This is the one thing I’ve heard the most from other travelers as well. Make sure to have all your documents on hand and in digital copies. Photocopy the documents and tuck them away safely. Have digital copies either on your phone or saved on your email ‘draft’ folder. This way if anything happens to your passport, you will at least have a photocopy, which will help make the process of getting a new one re-issued to you much easier. Also, leave a copy with your family/emergency contact back home.
4) Know a few emergency numbers
It’s important to know numbers for the police and any other emergency services. Not all countries use the dial 911. In fact, in Korea, it’s 119 for emergency and 112 for the police. Also, have in hand (not just digital) numbers to your local embassies in other countries, big organizations like Hostelling International’s numbers just in case an emergency does happen.
5) Leave a few important details/numbers with your family
If you are staying with friends, couchsurfers, at certain hostels, etc., make sure to let your family or emergency contact back home who you will be staying with and their phone numbers. Of course you don’t have to tell them EVERYTHING you will be doing but having one or two contact points might be helpful just in case there is an emergency and nobody can reach you.
6) Travel Insurance
There are a lot of great travel insurance options out there. Make sure you are insured especially if you are traveling long term and going to many different companies. If not, check with your current insurance provider and see what the options are. Travel insurance is great because it doesn’t only cover medical fees but also other travel insurance fees such as lost items and emergency evacuation.
7) Pack wisely!
If you are like me, you will leave your packing to last minute. Don’t. I always end up forgetting important things or bringing useless crap. I’m still learning!
What other tips do you have? What are some of the things you make sure to do before jetting off?