Travel Planning Travel Packing List Items

These are travel planning items that you would do in the days, weeks, or even months prior your trip.  Be sure to read our full description of the items at the bottom of this page.

These travel planning items are tasks that you normally do well prior to your trip because they either have lead times, e.g. obtaining a Visa to some countries, or you need to book something before it fills up, e.g. Hotel.  A number of these travel planning ideas apply if you are travelling to a foreign country.  The most important item when travelling to a foreign country is to have a valid passport.  Many countries require that you passport be valid for at least 6 months AFTER your return.  This time period may vary so be sure to check the requirements of the countries that you are travelling to.  So, the first thing to do would be to check the expiry date of your passport to ensure that it is valid for the countries you are travelling to.  If it isn't, then you will need to renew your passport before your trip.  The next most important item is to check the Visa requirements of the countries that you are travelling to.  It can take some time and effort to obtain a visa to another country.  The next most immportant item is to check the vaccination requirements of the countries that you are travelling to.  It is highly recommended that you determine the requirements and visit your doctor as soon as possible to get the vaccinations.  Some vaccinations must be given in multiple sessions and over a period of time.  So, we recommend that you deal with this as soon as possible.  Once you have decided where you are travelling to, it is a good idea to start looking to purchase airline tickets, book your accomodations, e.g. hotels, and book your transportation, e.g. car rentals, trains, buses.  Most of these can be done online.  It is important to do these early, especially if you will be travelling to your destination during peak tourist times, e.g. summertime, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter.  Obviously, you will need to research your destination.  It is a good idea to also research tours and activities at your destination prior to going.  This will save you time on your trip and you may get some discounts by purchasing these online prior to your trip.  Another important decision that you will need to make is whether you will be purchasing trip medical, interruption, and/or cancellation insurance.  The lead time to purchase insurance is small today, but you should decide early what, if any, insurance you will purchase.  Finally, we put in some financial related items.  The first is to establish a budget for your trip.  In the end, the trip will probably end up costing you more than you expected.  If you have a budget, it should help you to keep your expenses down.  You should start saving for your trip as soon as possible.  Also, many people don't realize that banks will charge additional fees, e.g. usage fees, foreign exchange fees, when using credit cards and debit cards in foreign countries.  Be sure to contact your bank or financial institution to see what these fees are.  This will help you decide if you will be using credit cards, debit cards, traveller's cheques, and/or cash.  We recommend that you get started on these travel planning items as soon as possible.

This page was last reviewed and updated on June 6, 2013

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