10 Important Things to Do Before a Trip

Travel should be relaxing, but there are so many important things to do before a trip. Whether your trip is for a few days or a few weeks, there is a lot to think about before you go on vacation. But I want you to take that trip and enjoy yourself. So you don’t feel overwhelmed, here is my list of 10 important things to do before a trip.

Visa

If you’re an American, you’re luckier than most. You can travel to a large amount of locations without a visa. But not every location is so accepting. And depending on the destination, the visa process can take a month or two.

Yes, it’s an obvious first step. But every year people forget to get a visa. As a result, they get turned away at the airport. Don’t be one of those people. Doublecheck your location’s visa requirements.

Travel Insurance

Travel is essential before you go anywhere on a trip.

If you are traveling to a foreign destination, travel insurance is necessary to protect yourself and your things. You can find a variety of plans to receive a variety of coverage. But most travel insurance plans cover lost luggage, travel cancellation, and emergency medical coverage.

Personally World Nomads is my go-to for travel insurance. Feel free to shop around, but the people at World Nomads give you everything you might need. It’s simple and affordable. No fuss.

Book Accommodation

I’m pretty obsessed with finishing all my chores before a trip. I book accommodation as soon as I book my flights. That way I don’t need to worry about anything before I go.

But not everyone is like me. Some people are spontaneous. They want to explore the area and find the place that is right for them. If you’re one of these travelers, book at least one night in advance. Stay there one night, and then go look for the place that’s right for you.

Still, I highly recommend booking everything before you go. You’ll have a hard time finding cheap accommodation at the last minute.

Make Copies of Your Documents

Passports, plane tickets, travel insurance, and itineraries. Make sure you have copies of each of them. Take photos or print out a physical copy. Nothing can replace the real thing. But what happens if you lose your documents or they get stolen? I don’t even want to think about it.

Most accommodations require a copy of your passport when you travel abroad. So if you lose your passport, it’s important that you have something to give them. Better safe than sorry, right? Just do it.

Research Your Location

The most iconic shot of Santorini is in Oia, where white buildings shine in the sun.

By now, you know I like to think ahead. I usually create a detailed itinerary for myself. A lot of travelers are more laidback. They prefer to wander, explore, and discover new things along the way. But I think you should at least have a list of things to do at your travel destination.

Personally, I create two lists: a must see list and a must eat list. The world is a beautiful and delicious place. I don’t want to miss out on anything. That’s why I research all the historic attractions and local dishes to make the most of my trip.

I also recommend you familiarize yourself with the transportation system. Not only should you know where to go but also how to get there. Some places are great to walk around. Some places are accessible by metro or bus. But other places require a car to get around. Don’t wait to figure it out once you’re there.

Study Photography

Research photography so you know exactly how to use your camera on trips.

The best way to capture an experience and solidify a memory is to take a photo. You can look back at the photo later and remember all the wonderful experiences you had. That’s why you want to take photos that actually look good. A dark, blurry, slanted photo doesn’t make for a great memory.

If you’re an experienced photographer, then you already know what you’re doing. All you need to figure out is where to take the best photos. But others could benefit from a few tips and tricks. You should also research when sunrise and sunset are if you want to capture a photo with the perfect lighting.

Prep Your Luggage

Make sure you prep your bags before a trip so you don't need to worry.

First off, figure out what you need. Where are you going? What will the weather be like there? How long are you staying? Do you want to eat somewhere fancy? Are you going to the beach? These are all essential questions to ask.

But an even more important question to ask is what are your airline’s baggage restrictions. Make sure your bags are under the weight limit. Another good thing to do before your trip is to check that you don’t have any liquids over 3 oz in your carry-on. When my father went to Italy, he bought a delicious bottle of limoncello. But he packed it in his carry-on. The airport told him he could throw it out or drink it all right then and there. Don’t be like my father (sorry dad. Love you!).

Join the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

American travelers should enroll in STEP on the US Department of State Website. Don’t worry. It’s simple and free.

So what does the program do for you? If your passport is lost or stolen, they will help you so you don’t get stranded in a foreign country. They will also send you alerts and updates on relevant information in your travel destination. That way you can stay informed. This was very helpful for me while I was living in Russia.

Notify Your Bank of Your Location

Some countries in Europe are considered safe by your bank. So you can freely use your credit card and ATM card there. But in “high-risk” countries, the bank will shut down your card if you don’t notify them earlier. Just in case, give your bank a call. It’ll take 5 minutes. Some banks let you record your travel itinerary online. Anyway, it’s a quick and easy thing to do before your trip.

Doublecheck Your Electronics

Doublecheck your electronics before a trip. Make sure your phone is charged and you have an adapter.

These days phones are practically part of our bodies. We can’t live without them. So make sure your phone is charged before you leave, and bring all your chargers with you. Don’t forget to change your SIM card if you want to use data while abroad.

Another great electronic to think about is a universal adapter. I never travel without one. Most countries in the world use different types of plugs. With a universal adapter, you can safely connect all your electronics. For hot tools like hairdryers, use a converter. Converters transform the voltage so your hairdryer doesn’t explode or catch fire.

More Resources

If you’ve reached this far, then you’re ready for your next trip. Congratulations! But if you need anymore travel tips or resources, take a trip over to my most helpful travel resources page. Need cheap flights or cheap accommodations? I got you covered.

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