Whether you’re heading off on a two week get-away or you’re spreading your wings, about to see the big-wide-world, there are number of formalities you need to carry out before you can be free as a bird, without a care in the world.
We’ve compiled a simple checklist to ensure you’ve got everything covered.
Sounds simple but you’d be surprised by the number of people who don’t check that 1) they know where their passport is and 2) that it’s in date and will still be in date by the time you travel. Make sure you check this a few months before, if you are required to send off for a new passport this can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months (dependant on how busy the passport office is.)
If you’re just going for a 1-2 week get-away I’d advise booking all your flights and accommodation in advance. Time is precious, you don’t want to spend your time at the airport waiting around for available flights or your first day searching for the perfect villa, plus if you book in advance you’re likely to receive a better deal for your money. If you are planning on travelling the world, then I’d book the first couple of stages of your trip; such as your first flight and accommodation for your first destination, just until you find your feet and get in to the swing of things. There’s nothing worse than being jet-lagged in a faraway land with nowhere to rest your head!
Depending on your destination you may need to have certain vaccinations before you travel. Around 6-8 weeks before, visit your doctor to seek advice on which vaccinations are required (if any.) The most common vaccinations are against cholera, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, malaria, meningitis, polio, tuberculosis, typhoid and yellow fever. You don’t want to be getting ill whilst abroad, so make sure you take all precautions necessary.
Don’t find out the hard way about the exchange rate by leaving it until the last minute, you will more than likely be short changed. Use a reliable foreign exchange service, such as Ice Bureau Du Change. Using a service such as this will provide you with a competitive exchange rate, an easy pick up point for you money and they charge 0% commission for online orders.
If you’re travelling local, maybe you’re visiting our neighbours in Europe; you don’t need to worry about any prior visa applications. However, if you’re travelling further afield then make sure you check online with their official government website as to their visa requirements. Most countries, you will receive a visa on arrival (for a specific amount of time) but others you are required to request in advance (especially if it’s a long stay.) Also, make sure you check if there are any fees involved, a lot of ‘guides’ will try and charge you for your visas when actually they should be free of charge.
Whether your travel is a short stay or for the long haul make sure you get the appropriate insurance cover. I’m no party pooper, but should you find yourself in a sticky situation the last thing you want is to be forking out thousands of pounds for hospital fees or lost property. Better safe than sorry! If your travels are going to involve any vigorous activities like snowboarding or surfing, ensure you read the small print on your insurance cover to check it allows for such activities.
You’ve sorted all the serious stuff, now all that’s left to do is pack… swimwear, check. Sun cream, check. Sunglasses, check. You’ve not finished just yet, there are a few other things you will need to remember, just in case:
- First aid kit
- Sewing kit
- Emergency phone numbers (for bank cards, insurance etc)
- Torch (trust me)
- Diarrhoea and rehydration sachets
And of course, passport, plane tickets and visas. That’s it! Now it’s time to kick back and count down the days.
Author Bio: Leah Jarratt is a guest writer for ICE-Ireland.ie, specialising in foreign exchange rates.