9 Things You Should Be Doing Before Leaving for Vacation
Apart from packing, finding a pet sitter and you know the usual, before I travel I always like to do the following things. In a time where COVID restrictions and guidelines are always changing there’s also a few additional things I do as well. Read on to find out more!
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1. Buy Travel Insurance!
By purchasing travel insurance I don’t mean the add ons you can buy with your airline ticket etc., I mean purchasing third party insurance. I usually shop around but tend to buy with World Nomads. they have great prices and also cover COVID-19 trip interruptions, medical expenses, etc. Be sure to read the fine print of the policy to understand what may or may not be covered when you purchase. Some countries now require this in order to travel with COVID too. Even if they don’t pre-pandemic this was always a must for me. Better to be safe than sorry!
2. Medications and travel vaccines.
Depending on where you’re going, you may need additional vaccines (such as yellow fever, polio, rabies etc.) before traveling to certain parts of the world. I always make an appointment with my travel clinic in my city to get up to date advice and vaccinations before traveling. You can also get prescribed travel medications as well to bring with you on certain trips at these clinics and they also now offer COVID-19 testing too. My go to clinic is Passport Health in the US, but there are many other options.
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3. Register my trip with the United States Embassy
If you’re a US citizen, did you know you can register your trip with the US Embassy online? it’s helpful in case of an emergency. When COVID shut down the world I had several trips booked and the embassy sent out emails regularly to update me on things such as civil unrest, COVID mandates in certain countries and more. It’s also helpful to save your country’s embassy info on your phone in case of an emergency such as losing your passport. Once again, this isn’t something you need to do but I like to do.
4. Read up on the city/country I’m going to.
This is something fun I do to prepare myself for my trip. Looking up customs, what I should be packing, the weather, what types of electrical converters I need and just general things to do and restaurants to try is something I always enjoy. I’ve found some really cool off the path places and things to do that aren’t your usual touristy things by doing a little researching!
5. Stock my fridge with non perishables, clean my house.
You’d think this would be a given but it’s always nice to come home from a trip to a clean house and food in the fridge. there’s nothing worse than coming home jet lagged and too tired to cook and have no food. I always like to freeze some food that I can easily make when I’m back from my trip. It’s also nice to come home to a clean house and no laundry waiting for me to do. (If you were wondering, I pack light and usually don’t return with a lot to clean or do it while I’m overseas!)
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6. Send my itinerary to at least one family member or close friend.
For safety reasons I always send my hotel address/phone number, airline/flight info and more to at least one close friend or family member in case anything happens. If I’m Couchsurfing or staying with a friend overseas that info would also be passed along as well.
7. Sort out any visas or paperwork needed to enter a country.
Most of the time I don’t need visas to where I’m going, but sometimes I do need to apply and pay a fee in advance. Be sure to check the country you’re going to ahead of time. Some places will let you get a visa on arrival and others you must have arranged in advance!
8. Let my bank know I’m traveling
Before going overseas I always let my bank know which cards I’ll be using in what countries so that they don’t flag transactions as fraud. There’s nothing worse than being overseas without a way to access your money and having to pay international phone fees to contact your bank.
9. Buy an international SIM card or add on extra international data/minutes with your cell carrier.
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Before leaving for vacation you should also get your digital devices in order. I prefer to not buy international coverage and opt to use Wifi and Whatsapp but if you need cell service, before going overseas you’ll need to sort that our with your phone carrier or buy an international SIM card upon arrival in your destination. Buying a SIM card is usually cheaper than dealing with your phone provider.
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