All you travel junkies out there know what a rush it is to finally book your next big adventure, especially when your hands have been tied for too long. That immediate burst of excitement that rises up can often leave you like a puppy, which gets a sudden and uncontrollable need to run around like a maniac. Hugging your travel buddy, squeezing a nearby sofa cushion or some sort of squeal are also acceptable reactions. While this excitement is a rapid burst, it can sometimes also be short lived after it dawns on you that you’re actually going away now. What comes next?…and where on earth do you even start?!
The good news is you can start right here! We have put together a fool-proof list of what to prepare for your next big trip. Hopefully you can find a few things here that you’d not even considered yet.
You’ve stayed on top of all the latest country updates for months, and you selected a country that allows you to actually enter… great start! Those checks don’t stop there, however, as things change from day to day. Keep on top of any new announcements that come up between booking and departing to make sure nothing changes in the meantime. It’s always a good idea to check with your flight provider, airlines like Qatar have a ‘Travel requirements’ page on their website that covers ‘everything you need to know’.
COVID Vaccines & Boosters
Get your jabs, and if you’re eligible then you may as well get your booster before jetting off too. There’s every chance that countries could start asking for this before long, so it’s best to be prepared. If you do catch covid while you’re away then it can also help you avoid more serious complications.
Other Routine Immunisations
The vaccinations don’t stop there, as next up you’ll need to have a look at what travel vaccines are required in the country you’re going to! Check everything is in date, and speak to a professional who knows what ailments there are in your desired location. You may feel like a pin cushion afterwards, but it’s worthwhile in the long run. We recommend booking in with your GP/Doctor, or visit the local pharmacy and ask for a ‘Travel Health Consultation’.
Unfortunately, we’re not in a place where there is a blanket list of things you need in order to enter countries, and it can get a little confusing. Not to worry! The best thing you can do is to visit official GOV websites, and stay on top of all the essentials mentioned. That way you’ll be able to enter your desired destination without a hitch. The last thing you want is to spend more time watching other people on Instagram living your dream just because you didn’t do the smart thing 😉
Quarantine / Test & Go
You could be spending anything from a short overnight stay, to a few weeks here depending on the destination. With that in mind, make sure you give some serious consideration into the type of place you are happy to stay. Some countries like Thailand have a ‘Test & Go’ system in place that requires you to complete a PCR test on arrival, and once the result comes back negative you’re clear to go. These packages usually come with airport pick-up, accommodation, testing and a meal or 2 per day.
Vaccine Passports / COVID Pass
If you’re from the UK, this is straightforward and won’t take up a great deal of time. Just download the NHS App, login and request your ‘covid travel pass’. Make sure to download and print it out, that way you can show it on request in the event you have no internet connection. Other countries may have a barcode or other form of vaccine passport, so check that you have yours in multiple formats where possible (digital & print).
Quality is key here! Spend a little more time and money searching for the best provider for you and your trip. In the rare event you may end up in hospital with covid, or another illness or injury, you want to make sure your insurance covers you completely. Pro tip: make sure you read the fineprint! Not all travel insurance covers covid and in some cases, won’t cover hospitalisation, so make sure you’re clear on what you’re signing up to! If you’re heading to a country where proof of insurance is required, then check it covers everything requested rather than going for a cheaper option. Ultimately our best advice is to shop around and always check reviews!
COVID Tracing Apps
A lot of countries have their own tracing apps, and you’ll likely need to download them in order to get where you’re going. Take the time to fill them out correctly so you can present them when asked to, this is often done in the form of a QR code.
International Drivers License
This is one my partner found out about before we recently embarked on our travels, and something that has already come in handy. For £5.50 you can head down to your local post office, fill out a form, hand in a passport photo and… Viola! You’re covered to drive abroad. Trying to get this pass abroad however is difficult, expensive and easily avoidable by just doing it before you go!
Print Everything Before You Go
You may find you have a small binder of documents, but it’s worth having physical copies of absolutely everything you need before you go. If you’re a little OCD then try and put them in the specific order they’re most likely to be asked for. We also throw in a few extras such as some extra passport photos as well, you never know when they might come in handy.
Cheap isn’t always cheerful, so bear in mind how long you will be sitting in that tin can in the sky for. Reputable airlines typically offer flexible tickets, which are invaluable with how fast things can change at the moment. By spending a little extra you could actually find you save yourself hundreds by not having to book a whole new flight. We always suggest booking direct with the airline even if it does cost a little more, amendments are far cheaper or even free when you book direct. There is no harm in using flight comparison websites like SkyScanner to find a good option.
Managing Your Money
There are a few banks that you can use, or cards that are incredibly useful when you’re in a foreign country. If you’re staying somewhere for a long time then maybe you will set up a bank account wherever you are (like Australia). If you’re planning on visiting multiple countries then you’ll need to look at what providers there are. Monzo is good for paying by card abroad, but charges you for withdrawing cash when you exceed a certain amount each month. Look at online banks like Starling or Revolut as a few options that let you withdraw cash without fees, as well as pay by card. Revolut is my go-to option!
This is where things get super exciting, because you’re finally about to embark on the trip you’ve been dreaming of! Before you fly you may need to get a covid test, and it’s crucial you time it well. Give yourself enough time to receive the results, but also check that it falls within the window of the test still being valid. If you need to get a test within 72 hours, don’t think about it as 3 days… think about it as 72 HOURS.
Grad That Drink… You Deserve it!
Sit back, relax and pour yourself a drink… after all of the above you have most definitely earned it. With the boring stuff all out of the way you can start planning all the exciting things you’ve been dreaming of for all this time.
It can be a daunting task trying to work out what you need, and hopefully this list helps as much as possible. The best thing you can do is make a physical list of everything above, and any extras you think are necessary too. If you’re anything like me then the act of ticking things off is incredibly satisfying in itself…and I assure you the more you tick off, the more your excitement will grow!