Traveling internationally can be both exhilarating and a very daunting task. The following checklist should provide you with the confidence that you are ready to travel abroad!
1. Go to the doctor
Weeks before your trip, make sure that you have received all of the immunizations or prophylactic medication necessary to protect yourself from any diseases that your destination offers. Yellow fever immunizations are quite common. It is very important to get prophylaxis if you are planning on going to an area with malaria prevalence. Also, consider requesting a sleeping tablet from your doctor for a flight that is longer than 9 hours. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, then perhaps get a prescription for a motion sickness tablet from your doctor too.
2. Official documents
Make sure your passport is up to date. Some countries have specific requirements and will not allow entry to anyone whose passport only less than 6 months left before it expires. Also, check if the country of your destination requires you to have a visa. It is very important to sort out all of this documentation long before your trip as it could potentially lead to you missing your trip entirely! Passport numbers are also required for you to be able to book your flight, so keep this in mind. It is also a great idea to have copies of your documents in a different location in case you lose it, or you are a victim of theft. Email a PDF copy of your passport to yourself so that you can access it whenever you need it.
It is ALWAYS better to under-pack than overpack. When you come back, you will most likely have made several purchases, therefore, your bag is much more likely to be too heavy when flying back. Re-use clothing – jeans especially can be worn at least twice or more before they need a wash so you can pack fewer pants. Underwear, on the other hand, I recommend never wearing more than once.
4. Airport etiquette
Do not ever make jokes about concealed weapons or bombs at the airport. This might sound like a funny idea in the moment, but it definitely will not be fun if you miss your flight because they see you as a potential danger to the safety of others.
5. On the airplane
Make sure to have earplugs and an eye mask with you. Some airplanes do supply this, but it is better to always be prepared. If your flight is going to be very long, make sure to have little bottles of hand sanitizer or even body wipes with you so that you can wipe yourself down a bit while flying or during stopovers. Just be cautious of the amount of lotions and fluids that you have in your hand luggage as most airports have guidelines regarding this. Always make sure to check the airport’s guidelines before packing.
6. At the destination
Make sure to read up about your location and research the local culture. The last thing that you want to do is to insult someone by accident. It is also a good idea to know a few phrases of the local language so that you can ask for assistance. Translation apps are a great help! Research the area to learn about activities to do. Most people have a limited amount of time when traveling abroad so it is good to prioritize activities. Never plan to tight of a schedule, though, as some spontaneity while traveling sometimes leads to the best memories. Remember to keep an open mind and get recommendations from the locals.