The Ultimate Long-Haul Travel Checklist
Embarking on a long-haul adventure overseas is a dream come true. However, with all the details involved, from flights to accommodation and even packing your suitcase, organising your trip can seem overwhelming.
Here’s a handy checklist, so you can ensure smooth travels on your getaway of a lifetime.
Research an Itinerary
First thing’s first, where would you like to go? Even if you’re heading off on a spontaneous adventure, it pays to create a loose itinerary, so you don’t miss out on anything important. Plus, knowledge means everything when it comes to booking all the essentials. This way, you can also take advantage of good prices, easy travel times, festivals and events.
Check Passports and Visas
Once you’ve chosen your destinations, you’ll need to check if you need a visa. Many countries require a visa for entry and some must be applied for well in advance. In terms of passports, yours should be valid for at least six months from the date you return home.
Choose the Right Flights
Choosing the right flights for you comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for the cheapest flights, try booking as early as possible. Weekdays are generally less expensive than weekends and travelling off season means you’ll find bargain deals.
To get the most out of long-haul flights, consider stopping-over at one or two countries on the way to or from your destination. This way, you’ll see more of the world, at a fraction of the price. For ease of travel, especially for families with children, leave plenty of time in between connecting flights, to reduce the stress of arriving late.
If you’re planning to fly domestically within your destination, it’s often cheaper and easier to book flights once you’re there, or, alternatively, make use of bus and train services.
Make Sure Your Accommodation Meets Your Needs
Depending on where you’re visiting, hotels, hostels and apartments can differ widely when it comes to standards. Make a list of everything you think you may need on a daily basis, such as child-friendly facilities, en suites or self-catering options, rather than presuming your hotel will provide them.
When you’re researching accommodation, tick your needs off then compare all similar options, thoroughly checking websites as you go. Traveller review sites, like Trip Advisor, are often great sources for advice.
Organise Travel Insurance and Medical Needs
Travel insurance should be booked immediately after you’ve arranged flights and accommodation bookings, so you’re covered in case of cancellation. If you have any medications or other necessities, it’s best to take it with you. Make sure your doctor labels all prescription medication and you have ample supplies. In terms of travel vaccinations, seek medical advice as to the area you’ll be in and what’s required.
Separate Your Money
Before you leave on your trip, it’s a good idea to exchange currency, so you’ll have cash for taxis and incidentals. However, make sure you’ve got other options as well, including credit or debit cards. Don’t keep all forms of currency in the one place, in case you lose a bag or wallet. Make use of hotel safes or keep some spare change in your locked suitcase. It’s also a good idea to check with your bank about foreign transaction fees, so you don’t get hit with a nasty surprise bill on your return.
Make Copies of Your Documents
Though it’s likely most of your itineraries, flight details and bookings are online, make copies of each to leave at home and keep in your suitcase. This includes copies of passports, visas and credit cards. Chances are you won’t need them, but they’ll be very handy at immigration, in the case of lost or stolen items.
One of the best packing tips, is to lay everything out on the bed or the floor, before putting things in your suitcase. This way, you’ll easily identify the non-necessary items, before they’re lost in the dreaded abyss of your bag.
Chances are, you’ll only need half of what you think you do. Once you’ve considered the weather in your location, pack one of each staple, such as one jacket, one pair of jeans, one collared shirt and onward. There’s nothing worse than lugging an oversized suitcase through airports, on trains and up hotel stairs, except knowing you don’t need half of what’s in it!
Lastly, make sure you pack your sense of humour. Long-haul travel comes with excitement, inspiration and endless memorable moments, as long as you know to expect the unexpected.