On a true adventure, there are going to be some things you just can’t plan for. There may be good surprises and not-so-good surprises along the way, which is why you’re going in the first place! Challenge yourself, see the world, get out of your routine, these are some of the most common reasons that people go on round-the-world adventures in the first place. So you can’t have everything in order.
An historical map of the world by Ortelius, 1570 from Wikipedia
Yesterday, I posted a quite similar topic about New Year’s Checklist for Frequent Travelers which serves as a reminder before you start your whole year of traveling. Now here are the top 10 things you can’t skip as you plan your big trip.
New Philippine e-passport
1. Have a valid Passport
Nothing will ruin your plans like a passport that’s going to expire during the trip. Get a passport if you don’t have one and check the expiration date if you do have one. Make sure it’ll be good for the length of the trip.
2. Check Visa Requirements of your Target Destinations
Even if it’s just a rough plan that includes a number of countries, make sure you’ve got the right visas relating to the specific laws between your country of citizenship, or where your passport is from, and the countries you’ll visit. You can do this online or walk into the local embassy for the countries you want to visit.
3. Photocopy your Travel Documents and ID
If your passport gets lost or you need proof of your travel plans, a copy of your reservations and your passport are going to be critical to getting yourself back on track. I make a paper copy that I carry, but I also have all my documents scanned and then email them to myself. All I need is wifi and I can have a color version of my ID for authorities to see. It’s not the same as a passport, but it’ll do if the original goes missing.
4. Bring Enough Medications and Get your Vaccinations
If you need medication, make sure you have enough for the length of the trip. Laws about what you can buy with and without a prescription will change from country to country. And many countries come with warnings about certain infectious diseases. From malaria to hepatitis, ask at an embassy or search online for warnings about certain diseases that you may be able to get a vaccination for, medications, or information and then be able to avoid.
5. Get Travel Insurance
Typically, travel insurance covers accidents, repatriation of remains, and travel back to your country should you have an accident. It will also cover the value of your luggage and belongings, so that you can replace things if they get stolen or lost. Read the policy carefully and be sure that all the countries you’ll visit are included in your policy.
Pay Bills via Mobile Banking
6. Get someone to take care of your bills
If you can set up automatic payments via online banking for bills while you’re gone, you’re in luck. Otherwise, you may need to ask a friend or family member to make the payments so you aren’t penalized.
7. Inform your bank and credit card company to avoid security blocks
If a transaction occurs in a country that you’ve never been to, your bank or credit card company may shut off your card as a precautionary measure. This can be really frustrating and it can ruin a good time if you can’t get access to your money again quickly.
8. Bring a Laptop
Take advantage of email and programs like Skype so you’re not spending tons of money making phone calls. In many places nowadays you’ll be able to access free wifi. Plus, it’ll give you a place to store all your photos and write down your memories and travel ideas in one place. In my case I always bring a pocket wifi device, then I just buy a local Data / internet simcard that will allow me to browse internet wherever i go.
9. Bring a Camera
Even if you are not a travel blogger like me, you will want to record your memories with a camera. Whether it’s just your iPhone, iPad, Gopro or other brand smartphone, bring something that can take photos.
10. Research Local Culture
Any country you visit is going to have some unique cultural aspects that you should know about. This can be fun things like local festivals, but it can also be important things like how you should act at a local festival or local community. You don’t want to miss something special and you don’t want to make a big cultural or legal mistake just because you didn’t read a guide book. It also helps to know the local culture so you would know how to react, what not to do and what to wear. In the end, its all about respect to the locals.