You’ve booked your tickets to travel abroad, so you are already on your way to traveling internationally. However, when it comes to ensuring a successful trip, planning is everything! One of the few major downsides of traveling, prior to experiencing a new destination, is the stressful experience of packing your suitcase before you take off. There is nothing more aggravating than obsessing over whether or not you’ve forgotten to pack something OR scrambling around to make sure you have packed everything. Packing anxiety is REAL guys! Packing is honestly sometimes my worst nightmare; I really, REALLY can’t stand the stress, and it leaves me restless and disordered. Thankfully I love traveling so much that it doesn’t stop me from packing. As much as I want to share my experience/tips for packing my suitcase before traveling, I’ll be saving that for a later blog.
Have you ever forgotten your charger? Or forgot to place something in your toiletry travel bag? Or something bad as, forgetting your passport? Luckily that hasn’t happened to me ever; however, one of my friends gave me near a heart attack once!
I expected that my friend would skip remembering many important things, therefore; I continuously reminded him not to forget…. many things: like our departure date, a checklist of things to pack, and documents (PASSPORT, flight itineraries, etc.).
Half way into our drive to the airport, after we had already spilled our travel spirits out of our chests, chanting basic French phrases: “Bonjour”, “Salud”, “Parieeesss, here we come”, and “Bonsoir”— “Welcome to Paris” (before we even got there). He said, “OMG I think I forgot my passport.”
I raised my voice “Really???!” Then I thought to myself, crap I didn’t think to ask him if he brought his passport.
He said “Yes, let me call my mom in case I left it at home!” with a nervous look on his face, he called his mom. However, she didn’t answer!
I said, “Maybe check your suitcase you may have packed it away in there.” At that moment, so many thoughts were rushing to my head as he scrambled through his suitcase. Ten to twenty minutes after tossing around his clothes, his passport finally appeared! What a magically moment it truly was.
I have three reasons to tell you guys this story.
-First, I want people to not make the same mistake.
-Second, I want to share ways to avoid unnecessary stress.
-Third, I want to embarrass him! The picture below is proof that both of us, did in fact, make it to Paris.
Follow my Instagram travel page for more pictures like the one above: jetsetpassport
I’ve never personally forgotten my passport because I write out a complete check list of all the things I will need for my trip (about two days in advance). I check my list the night before and half an hour before the voyage. Passport, driving license if necessary, a wallet complete with an applicable credit card and currency, travel documentation and laptop (plus all essential gear)—are at the top of my list and must be triple checked before I leave the house! Yeah, I know I’m super obsessive about planning.
For most well-seasoned travelers, this becomes somewhat of a routine over a period of time. However, even the most avid jet-set-passporters fall into the trap of travel mistakes.
Worry not, I’m here to help! Here is a checklist of the essential things to consider before heading to the airport.
Before traveling abroad. Check-in with your doctor and insurance carrier. Pack your passport, (Visa, driver’s license, and any other identification) – Bring copies of your passport with you and leave a copy of your passport at home. Register with your embassy. Print travel itinerary, airline tickets, and hotel/lodging/car/cruise/booking or any other pre-reservation confirmations. Carry vaccination certificates (some countries require a vaccination certificate for specific infectious diseases.
Part of the adventure is being adventurous, and part of that is also being SAFE! So, before setting off on your journey, it is important to notify and update any family, friends, and loved ones, on places you’ll be staying/traveling at. In the case of emergent scenarios, it’s good for them to have information about your whereabouts. Knowing what’s happening at your destination, such as illnesses, epidemics, health risks, and natural disasters are important, especially if you happen to be traveling alone.
I can’t emphasize how important it is to pack light, but, for your good, I’ll do my best! Trying to fit the bulk of your belongings into your suitcase is not a good idea, it’s just counter-productive. There are two types of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had. Which one are you? Those who fall into the category of packing heavy, please say this out loud with me: “PACK LIGHT, PACK LIGHT, and PACK LIGHT” before your next trip. You’ll walk with your luggage more than you think you will. So pack light and the bare essentials only!
Create a checklist, one which you can check off as you pack to confirm that you won’t forget anything before your trip.
Let’s face it, one of the biggest expense during traveling is food. It does add up quickly, which is why little snacks go a long way! Pack some small snacks (nuts/chips/protein bar) before jumping on to the plane. Having them available has many benefits. Most importantly, having snacks readily available gives you a chance to focus on your experience while traveling versus losing too much time dining, it’s easy on your wallet, and it helps keep your body nourished and energized while traveling.
Keep Yourself Occupied
Be efficient! In other words as my dad always says, “Time is money! Invest it wisely.” Therefore, always use your time to be productive. Every second counts, all trips and expeditions are not a time capsule, and it’s just not as simple as hopping on a train, plane, etc. and arriving at your destination in the blink of an eye. Part of traveling requires time to get there, so use the time to brush up on some skills, drawing, writing a book, or even reading a book! Use the time to recharge and rejuvenate, gain momentum in order to endeavor what you hope to accomplish during your travels.
Brush Up on Your Local Knowledge/News
Know what is going on in your surroundings, don’t go in blind! It’s important to brush up on knowledge and news so you can effectively communicate with local people. Pick up a few local phrases and how you can take advantage of communicating with the locals, even if it’s your native-speaking country. Read a little about the customs and traditions of the predominant culture in the area. Learn how you can encompass yourself within the culture to make the most of your experience. There’s nothing more important than knowing a little about the place you’re visiting.
Get your Shots/Banish those Germs
The fear of getting sick while traveling is something everyone dislikes. You may think it is simple as drinking bottled water. Unfortunately, planes and trains are breeding places for germs and bacteria. The following are some, but not limited to, ways to avoid getting sick: wash your hands routinely, it can never hurt to have a bottle of hand sanitizer on hand at all times, drink plenty water—preferably bottled water, and be careful of food contamination.
Traveling for Work?
If you’re privileged enough to have the time and opportunity to travel for work or any business-related trips, you’ll be able to receive and experience new cultures at your company’s expenses! Nothing is better than an all-paid-for therapeutic vacation right? However, it’s still important to avoid any unwanted expenses which you might have to end up paying for from your pocket because your work is not entitled to pay for your personal expenses. So make sure to read your company’s travel expense policies thoroughly. Find a good balance between your personal and professional life so you can relax and unwind while working as well.
Planning for a trip aboard can be stressful, but these are few things to help make things more manageable. Follow them, and before you know it you’ll be well off into your journey.
Before you head out on your journey aboard, I shared this story and preparation checklist to illustrate the truth of a statement I heard a long time ago in a documentary: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything” – written and stated by the World War II leader and 34th President of the United States – Mr. Dwight D. Eisenhower!
How do you plan before traveling aboard? Let me know in the comments!
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