Being prepared for your big traveling adventure cannot be stressed enough. Here are eight things to think about before packing your bag.
Many countries will require you to have a visa before you can enter. There are some that you can receive when you arrive; perhaps even fill out details on the plane as you travel. Others, however, need to be arranged in advance, and they can take many weeks to come through. Make sure you know how long it will take to get your visa if you need to do this so that your travel plans aren’t suddenly needing to be rearranged at the last minute. It’s best to arrange your visa before booking your flights and accommodation, as if anything does go wrong, you won’t have to spend time and money canceling everything. There are different types of visas too, so if you’re planning on working when you arrive at your new destination, make sure you’ve got the right one. Problems in this regard can be extremely serious, or it could lead to no work for you. Either way, you don’t want this to happen to you.
If you’re going to be away for a considerable amount of time, you might consider renting out your apartment or house, or you might decide to move out entirely. If this is the case, look into hiring a self storage unit for your belongings. All of your furniture, your clothes, all of your possessions, in fact, can be kept in the unit until you return and either move back into your home or find a new one. This way, you don’t have to worry about what’s happening to all your belongings, and you don’t have to ask friends and family to check on your home to make sure everything is as it should be.
There is a high probability that the first leg of your journey at least will take place on a plane. Once your visa is organized, you should look into booking that first flight ticket. Once it’s booked, you can work the rest of your itinerary around it, but if you leave it until the last minute, you run the risk of not getting a seat (and therefore having to change all your plans) or having to pay more than you had intended. Look for a website that compares flight costs, and research for special deals for young travelers. You might be able to get discounted fares if you are a student, for example.
Places To Stay
For some people, the entire point of backpacking is to find places en route to stay in, and not book anything in advance. This can be fun but bear in mind that it’s important to have a backup plan if this is how you intend to travel. If you prefer to know where you’re going to be sleeping, then it’s essential you work out where you will be on your first night, and get a place booked there. After that, you can call ahead on the day, or perhaps the day before to book a hotel room or place in a hostel once you know where you are going to be. For that first night, though, you’re going to be tired and weary after traveling, and you’ll just want to find somewhere clean and comfortable to sleep. Real traveling can wait until the next day.
Check Your Passport
Just because you have a passport that doesn’t mean it’s valid for your trip. You need to ensure that your passport will have at least six months validity left on it after the date you return home. If you’re going to be away for a good few months, having a passport with a year or so left on it is only going to cause problems for you when you try to get back home. If you’re unsure, it’s best to renew your passport entirely so that you have many years left on it, and it will cover all eventualities. Apart from the date of expiry in your passport, you should also make sure that it is in good condition. A torn or defaced passport will also cause you problems, and you might be denied entry into the country you just arrived in.
Pack Your Pack
If you’re going to be a real backpacker, you need a backpack. Do some research into the best one for you; it needs to be comfortable and fit properly, but it also needs to fit everything you want to take with you inside it. Make a list of essential items and pack them all before you go. Anything that you really don’t need should stay behind. Traveling light is the ultimate aim.
Do you need vaccinations to travel to your intended destination? If so, book them in early. Some vaccinations need time to work, and you won’t be able to travel until a certain time after you have them. Speak to your doctor as soon as you can to find out what the timeframe is for you to get your vaccinations done, and then get them booked.
Insurance is something else that you should arrange before you leave. Yes, it might be pricey now, and you might not want to pay for it, but if something were to go badly wrong, then it is worth every penny. Make sure that your insurance covers everything you need it to; if you’re planning to do some winter sports or something that might be considered dangerous like bungee jumping, then you may need a specific type of insurance.