Preparing for a trip can be as much work as the traveling itself. I think that there are generally two types of people. First, there are the ones who seem to always have everything figured out without even trying, who finish packing in no time at all because they just know exactly what they need. Their bags contain only the essentials. These people don’t forget things and if they do, they don’t go back for it. They just shrug it off. I sincerely wish I was one of these people.
Then, there are people like me. I don’t mean to stress, I actually enjoy packing most of the time. But instead of a day or a few hours, I prepare for a week before. People like us, we pack and re-pack, go over every little thing that we just might need but probably won’t use at all. We make countless lists with very specific categories and then lose them. I leave my house for the day and almost every time I need to drive back because I’ve forgotten something. Our bags are filled with everything from old receipts to a spoon because, well, you never know when you’re going to need a spoon! My mind is an overwhelming jumble of a million things to do, all the time, and the more I think about them the longer it takes for me to get any of them done.
Please tell me that I am not alone in this.
There are usually two major things that I almost forget before leaving for a trip and they’re pretty important! It doesn’t matter how long you’re going for or whether you’re going to a five star resort for a week or backpacking around developing countries, there are two things that you should always do before you leave.
- MAKE COPIES OF YOUR DOCUMENTS. I make copies of everything. Double copies, triple copies sometimes. I may go a little overboard but you never know when your passport might get lost, your wallet stolen, with no identification on you whatsoever. So what exactly do I usually make copies of?
- Driver’s License or other photo ID
- Credit Card
- Debit Card
- Birth Certificate, sometimes
- Any kind of Working Visa, Tourist Visa, etc.
I keep my set of copies in a safe place in my backpack where I know they won’t fall out or get in the way. I give my parents a set of copies to keep with them at home in Canada. I also keep a file on my laptop at home that my parents can access/email to me if I lose the copies that I am carrying with me or if they get ruined. I also have a copy on the little netbook that I carry with me.
As some of you may remember, I had a little bit of a travel mishap when I was last in Thailand and now promote the idea of making copies of your documents more than ever before. If I hadn’t had a copy of my passport with me it would have been much more difficult than it was to get everything sorted.
2. GET YOUR MONEY SORTED OUT.
One of the worst things I think could happen is for your bank company to put a hold on your credit card or debit card. There is no worse feeling, for me anyways, than realizing you have no money in a foreign country.
Before you leave on your trip, make sure that you contact your bank to let them know that you will be using your debit and/or credit card abroad. If you know exactly which cities and countries you will be visiting, list them all. If you don’t have much of a plan but have a rough idea of what countries you will be visiting, or at least what continent, then let them know. By letting your bank know where you plan to be, they won’t think someone has stolen your card or information and is using them illegally.
By getting these two things sorted before you leave, you can save yourself a lot of hassle when you’re actually on your trip. Do you do these things? What do you think are the two most important things to do before you leave?