Check that your passport will be valid for at least six months when you return as you may be refused entry to some countries if it expires earlier than this. It is also a good idea to carry some additional passport photos in case you need a replacement passport or you decide to include some additional destinations on your trip and require additional Visas. If travelling with children, very handy to have a photo to identify them with to authorities if they are lost at a theme park, or something more serious occurs and you need to give an accurate description
Check if you require Visas for any of the destinations you are visiting – or through which you will transit. Make sure that you enquire at least six weeks in advance so that you allow enough time to obtain visas. If travelling to a number of countries start your enquiries well in advance as you will need to send your passport off to all the separate embassies and consulates for each destination with your visa application.
Vaccinations – allow at least eight weeks before departure as some vaccinations may require more than one shot over a period of weeks to be effective. Seek advice from your local GP and specialist travel doctor clinics as to each countries requirements.
Arrange any banking requirements: Currency, ATM/Credit/Debit Cards or a travel money card – ideally one that has minimal or no international currency conversion charges. Check all associated fees before deciding what methods to use – they can really add up!
If you have booked a great deal of your trip independently it is a good idea to create an itinerary for all your arrangements as a travel agent would do. This gives you a concise list of all the important bookings and contact details that is easily accessible.
Print copies of all your documentation (I know, so old fashioned but, what if your phone is out of charge or has been stolen – how will you access important travel details?): Passport Details, Flight Itinerary and Reservations. Keep one in your luggage and leave one at home with family, friends or neighbours in case they get lost, stolen or damaged while you are travelling.
Email yourself copies of all your travel documentation, in the event you lose your paperwork you will have access online to all details. Email all details to a family member or close friend so someone else has quick, easy access if required.
Cancel any standing orders: newspapers, magazine subscriptions, Pay T.V. monthly packages, milk, bread or fruit weekly deliveries.
Mail – arrange for someone to collect your mail or speak with your Post Office regarding holding your mail if away for long periods. Ensure any credit card bills will be paid whilst away so you do not incur interest charges.
Make a checklist of all household items you need to attend to before leaving home. This should include bills to be paid prior to leaving. Set up direct debits or automatic payments to cover bills that arrive while you are travelling.
Work out what to do with pets or plants. Perhaps arrange with family or neighbours to look after these, or specialist companies who provide these services.
Let a neighbour know you will be away so they can keep an eye on things for you and leave a contact number in case of an emergency.
Pack any ID cards that may provide discounts whilst travelling. Student IDs, seniors or any clubs and organisations that have affiliations overseas may all provide some large savings. Automobile Association membership cards, e.g. NRMA, may be handy for obtaining free maps in other countries from their associated automobile associations.
Set up all your communication devices. What email will you use? Can you access your current email globally or do you need to set up a Hotmail or Yahoo account? Remember to advise all your family and friends if you have a changed address.
If you are taking your mobile and intend switching it to roaming – check the rates carefully with your phone provider. You will be paying high rates for the convenience unless your provider offer good deals (Vodafone in Australia have a $5 per day Roaming charge you can activate). It would often be more economical to use local SIM cards in your phone if you really have to be in contact regularly.
Arrange your travel insurance; if you can’t afford travel insurance then you can’t afford to travel. Obtain quotes from existing insurance companies you already have policies with, such as: health, car, home and contents providers. Check with your Credit Card company if your card includes any Travel Insurance. If it does, check closely what the policy will cover and then ensure you understand what has to happen to activate that insurance policy.