So last week we started planning for a trip by sketching out an itinerary. Here are some additional planning steps to consider for your trip and suggested timeline. Let’s start by setting a countdown clock and get excited about your trip!
Two months before the trip:
- Check your passport expiration date as most countries require it is valid 6 months from your arrival date. In addition confirm that you have at least 2-3 blank pages for immigration stamps which is required in most countries. Don’t be that guy who gets put on the first flight home because you don’t have a valid passport; this is sadly a true story.
- Check state.gov for any travel visa requirements or entry/exit taxes.
- Review the CDC website for any potential vaccinations or immunization requirements. If you are uncertain of anything call your local travel clinic.
- Review the exchange rate trends for the last 3 months for any foreign currency needs. I utilize xe.com website or download their app. Unless the exchange rate is drastically changing daily or weekly I generally never pre-order foreign currency before my trip. The best exchange rate you will get is to utilize your credit card but first confirm the credit card has no foreign transaction fees. The second best rate is withdrawing cash from a local ATM once you arrive. Unless you are desperate never purchase currency at the airport because they give you a crappy rate and usually charge an additional fee. Don’t even ask me about traveller’s check; we have moved on from the 1970’s folks.
One month before the trip:
- Review the logistics of your daily sketched out itinerary. Look at a map. Are all of these places you want to visit nearby? Remember to check out the app Tripso.
- Is there anything you can book in advance? For example: Pearl Harbor tickets are free to all visitors but there is a limited quantity and generally should be booked 30+ days in advance. I waited too late so I ended up on a tour in order to get transport and admission ticket.
- Review your wardrobe for key essentials travel items: walking shoes, swim suit, etc. Go shopping to update essential items if necessary or perhaps treat yourself to something new.
Two weeks before the trip:
- Review your selected assigned seat
- Review hotel reservations and search to see if prices dropped if necessary make a new reservation/cancel previous. For example just before my trip last November my hotel and car rental combination package dropped over $200; that is a lot of pina coladas!
- Do you know how you are getting from the airport to the hotel?
- Check the weather forecast before you start pulling out the items pack your suitcase
- Identify travel reading material, download movies, etc
- Notify your bank and credit card companies that you are traveling especially international travel
- Confirm exchange rates on xe.com
Two days before:
- Confirm your summary itinerary in the Worldmate app has all your details and print a hard copy of your itinerary with all of your confirmation numbers.
- Confirm your seat assignments. I know I am obsessed by this but those without seat assignments on an oversold flight are the first to get bumped off. Besides who wants to sit in the middle seat?
- Start trimming down your packing items based on weather forecast. Will you actually wear that dress?
- Ensure you have your passport in your carryon bag! Don’t be that guy who puts the passport in checked luggage.
One day before:
- Check in online when the 24 hour advance window opens
- Put all your items into packing cubes and load the suitcase
- Try to get some sleep
- For international travel – no caffeine or junk food. This is step 1 in my jet lag remedy we will cover in another post!
Just remember regardless of how much planning you do that we have no control over the weather.
Seek your adventure!