Various checklists that will make sure you have everything taken care of before you take off!
Friends and family are always asking me When should I book? What should I prepare to go? While there is no straight forward response to these questions as it really depends on where you are going, there are some basic things you can do to prepare.
When to book.
As soon as you know your dates. The further out you book, the better the deals. Most airlines and hotels will only release a rate a year out so you will have to wait for the 1 year point to pass. (ex. you are travelling May 2018, you can only book in June 2017). With hotels, grab the flexible rate so you can cancel it if a special price/promotion comes up. This is harder to do with airlines seats.
- Typically with Asia & Europe you want to book 9-11 months out especially if you are going during high season or festival season
- .With Latin America & Africa 3-5 months unless, again, it is high season or festival season.
Before booking that dream vacation, look at your government's website for safety warnings. This is very important as it can void your insurance and you might get stuck if something happens. It can also prepare you for the worst case scenario. High risk of theft? Pack a dummy wallet. Rape prevalent? Don't go out alone or into isolated areas and watch your drinks. If you are Canadian, check travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories
A lot of people don't full research their destination. Check out posts online and even guidebooks from your local library (or buy them). Chat with friends & family they usually know someone that has been or is from there. Research is the most important thing you can do as it can help you skip monsoon season (unless you want to get wet), allows you to know when the festivals are (it will be busy and lots of closed businesses), lets you know the customs (lots of Catholic countries close their businesses on Sundays), and more.
Check the entry requirements.
Do you need a passport? (more than likely), Do you need a visa? Can you apply for a visa upon entry? What do you need to apply for a visa? How long does your passport need to be valid for? Is your passport expired? Do you need to be vaccinated? Canadian? You can find info about passports here and entry requirements into Canada if you are returning can be found at travel.gc.ca/returning?_ga=1.82919446.1065781262.1487186246
Get your International Driving Permit and bring your actual drivers license. While the IDP really feels like an expensive souvenir showing that you rented a car, some countries do ask for it so make sure you spend the $35 and get it. Better to be prepared. If you are Canadian, more information can be found at www.bcaa.com/trip-planning/international-driving-permit
Visit a Travel Clinic.
Contact your local travel clinic to see if there are any vaccinations that you might need and arrange for a time to get them. This can be very important as some countries will not allow you to enter without proof of a vaccine. It is better to check with the travel clinic than your doctor as the travel clinic will be more up to date if there have been changes. Canadian? You can find travel clinics at travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/clinic
Ask your Doctor.
If you are taking medications, pack enough for the entire trip and make sure they are in their original packages. Also carry a letter from your doctor about the medications in case you are questioned about them. If you can get the doctor to write down the Latin name as well as the generic equivalent that would be extremely helpful as you can hand this to a pharmacist/chemist/doctor in the foreign country and they can track it down for you.
Report your travel.
Give your itinerary and contact information to a friend and/or family member so they can get a hold of you. Same goes with the government. If you are travelling abroad, let the government know so if there are any emergencies/disasters/evacuations they know to look for you as well as how to contact you. The Canadian Government has an easy site to use, travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration
If you do run into trouble, a list of overseas Embassies can be found at travel.gc.ca/assistance
Always make copies of your passports, visas, insurance cards, and any other important items you are bringing with you. Normally I will give a copy of everything to a family member so if I have to evacuate quickly or get robed of everything, someone has a back up copy that I can get a hold of.
Travelling with a child?
The Canadian government likes minors to travel with a consent letter if they are under 18/19 and sometimes it does need to be notarized. For more information on Canadian law requiring it, look on the Canadian Government's website https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/children/consent-letter
Consent letters issued from the government can be found here:
On the following pages are various basic checklists that you can use for your vacation. Remember, they are generic so you may see things that you would not normally pack, don't need, or something may be missing. Feel free to adjust and change
as you need. There is a lot of very helpful planning and travel information on www.femaleabroad.com so make sure to visit
pages such as:
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