Part 3: Planning a holiday
Here's to part 3 of planning a holiday guide!
Now we're counting down the days till take-off! This is when I cannot wait to start packing my bags, all I can think about is my travel destination and the food I'll be non-stop eating when I'm there (I'm definitely coming back as a dumpling from China). It's hard to not revolve all your thoughts around this country of choice, and the good thing is, you can use this brain power to get researching.
This is a long one, and delves into some of the really important stuff! Happy planning!
Three Months Before
VISA's – It's a good idea looking into whether you need a VISA and if so, what you need to obtain it. Some countries need you to book your entire trip before you apply for your VISA, China for instance. So, make sure you've researching what you need in order to be accepted into the country, and how long it can take to be approved.
What do you need to purchase – I have a huge fear of forgetting things and missing flights/trains to places. This fear is so apparent, I will always have a sleep-waking nightmare before I go on a trip somewhere. So you can't blame me for writing down what I need three months in advance. I find this allows me to purchase what I don't already have, before it begins to get stressful. Especially if this is your first time away in a while.
Research, research, research – seeing as all you can think about is your travel destination, use this mind power to research! I find if you arrive at a destination knowing exactly what you want to see, eat and do, then you'll be super productive whilst there! No 'damn I should have done that' guilt once you're home.
One Month Before
Play around with your packing list – This is when I start to write my packing list. Again, I have nightmares of forgetting things, so starting my packing list early allows me to ease my fears.
I don't think anyone is a perfect packer, but I do have a few tips up my sleeve. I'll be sharing my winter packing checklist and tips before I leave for China, so make sure you sign up to the newsletter!
One Week Before
Double check you've got everything you need. Often if you don't, you can purchase it in the country you're travelling to, so don't stress too much.
Time to get clean – Wash everything you'll be taking, and don't wear it! You can start packing away the clothes that are clean, to ensure you don't wear them, but I recommend taking it all out of your bag on the day you're packing to ensure you don't miss anything or double pack anything.
Get app-y with it – my most used app within and outside of Australia would likely be Google Maps. I know what you're thinking, well that's useless unless you have wifi. Well, you can actually use it offline! All you have to do is login to your Google account, and save maps (see a step-by-step guide here). I also like to use TripAdvisor for food, accommodation and things to do recommendations. Skyscanner is another good one to find flights in one place. I also like to write down my travel information in my iCalendar. And, that's about it. I don't really go overboard with apps because I don't usually end up using them.
Travel docs – Get your travel documents together! If you're traveling alone and spontaneously, it's always safe to email someone where you are going, just in case something goes wrong. If you need to have everything planned for VISA purposes, or that's just the kind of traveller you are, you'll have more documents than the spontaneous traveller.
Ensure you have two copies of everything listed, one copy is for a loved one (make sure you either know this persons number off the top of your head, or written down as many places as possible, just in case you lose everything – you never know!), the other is for you. I've heard of people taking pictures of travel documents instead of printing them out, this is a great space and paper saver! Just remember to always have a charged phone.
You will need: flight itinerary; travel itinerary – including internal flights/trains/bus numbers and times; accommodation info – including name, address, check-in date and contact details; photocopies of passport and VISA (if applicable); travel insurance; and travel cards.
Confirm accommodation – send a confirmation email to your first nights stay (best to be safe than sorry). I also recommend emailing a confirmation and approximate check-in time to all your booked accommodation when you're travelling. I've turned up to hotels before without confirming, and they've 'lost' my booking.
One Day Before
Start packing! You'll have put a few items into your bag already, take them out, print out your packing checklist and tick everything off as it goes into your bag. This will ensure you don't forget anything!
Most importantly, enjoy yourself!