Travel Planning: What To Do BEFORE You Leave

So you have chosen your destination, booked your trip and packed your bags. You are ready to travel, right? Not quite! There are quite a few things you need to do before you leave for your travels. Luckily, there is a comprehensive checklist right here, so you are fully prepared.

  • Check the latest travel, medical and safety warnings. Be aware of upcoming elections and potential political unrest. Go to the travel advice section of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the British Government and the US Department of State Government websites. You may also want to check with your own government’s advice and with the embassy of the country you are travelling to.
  • Check the latest weather warnings for where you are travelling. You might want to adjust your travels based on the upcoming weather, from checking as to whether your flights will still be taking off to packing an extra jumper.
  • Photocopy your passport, visa, insurance details, credit cards and other travel documents. Keep them in a separate place to where you will keep the originals (e.g. in your main luggage bag). If they get stolen it is way easier to get replacements and official business completed with these. Also, take photos and email copies of the documents to yourself and a close family member or friend. This is very useful for an emergency situation.


  • Check the validity of your passport, and whether it meets the requirements of entry for the country you are visiting. Most countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months from the time of entry and some require you to have a couple of blank pages. Fill in the emergency details section.
  • Find out the details of your embassy or high commission in the country you are visiting. You may want to inform them you will be in the country via their online system, which can keep you alert to any problems.
  • Find out how to contact the emergency services, local police station and reputable hospitals where you are travelling. This saves lots of time and worries when in a medical situation.


  • Take out insurance. Make sure that the insurance adequately covers you for replacing all of your luggage and valuables, for any activities you might partake in, especially extreme sports and for repatriation. Your embassy might not provide evacuation during crises, so do consider this as well.
  • Check your driving licence is current and whether you need an international licence to drive and hire vehicles abroad. Read up on the local driving laws, including any requirements such as safety equipment, special stickers, and other legal necessities.
  • Check for any visa requirements and apply well in advance. The country you are visiting will have details on their immigration website or you can contact their embassy in your country for more details. You may also need to apply for permits, for example, if you are working or filming, which you should also check and apply for in advance if possible.
  • You may also be required to pay exit fees. Make sure you have enough cash for this charge or research if you can pay these fees in advance.


  • Take multiple forms of money, e.g. cash in the currency of the country you are visiting or/plus US dollars, a credit card, and debit card. Split them up so you are not carrying them all in the same bag. Make sure you have some spare for any unforeseen costs, such as hospital visits. Notify your bank and credit card companies that you will be travelling.
  • Buy a money belt. It’s the best way to reduce the likelihood of your cash, credit cards and travel documents from being stolen.
  • Put a fake purse together, with old expired credit cards, a small amount of cash in low denomination notes. Add an old phone and you can quickly hand this over in a robbery.
  • Find out if your phone works abroad. Contact your provider and see if they have any good offers for when you are abroad. If not, you may want to get your phone unlocked and buy a pay-as-you-go SIM when you arrive, as this can be significantly cheaper. You may also want to find the phone’s IMEI number so if it is stolen you can report this. Set up the ‘find my phone’ function if your phone has this feature.


  • Visit your travel health professional at least six weeks prior to your trip for any vaccinations and medicines you may need. Courses of prophylaxis for malaria need to be started before you leave, so check the instructions.
  • Make sure you request extra supplies of your regular medications to last your trip. Take the details of your drugs with you, including any prescriptions. Do not take any medicine that is not prescribed for you and check the country you are visiting for any restrictions, what may be legal in your home country may be considered contraband in another, leading to arrest and detainment.



  • Do some research on where you are visiting, in particular laws concerning what you can bring into the country and what is against the law. You might be surprised.
  • Be aware of cultural norms, including drinking alcohol, dress codes and religious festivals. If you are from the LGBTQ community you may need to be mindful that homosexuality is against the law in many countries. You may want to choose not to visit a country that does not permit the kind of activities you enjoy.
  • Consider your personal safety. Take some self-defense lessons rather than taking a weapon or defense tools such as flick knives, pepper spray etc with you as these may land you in trouble with the law abroad. Find out about the safe methods of transport and neighbourhoods for accommodation in the country you are visiting and if you have any doubt consider taking an organised tour with a reputable company.
  • Buy these travel essentials. The Point-it-Book, travel towel, laundry soaps, and ear plugs need to be in every traveller’s bag.
  • Make sure there is someone to take care of your home. Sign up to mindmyhouse for a house sitter or ask a neighbour to pop in, water the plants and pick up the post.
  • Go on vacation and have a great time!


Want a personalised, in-depth consultation on your travel plans? Get a FREE coaching session with Annie by signing up here.

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