Are you planning on travelling overseas this summer? Maybe you’re just finishing the last of your preparations for your travels. It doesn’t matter how many journeys you take there are always lots of things to remember. Read on for our guide about preparing for travel abroad and a free handy checklist which you can print and keep :
Preparing for Travel Abroad: A Handy Checklist
It may seem obvious but always check that the passports of everyone in your party are valid and in date. Remember that some countries refuse entry to tourists whose passports are less than six months from expiry. If you need to apply for or renew a passport do so in plenty of time as it can take up to six weeks.
In addition to a passport, British Citizens travelling to the USA will also need to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) through the Visa Waiver Programme, which allows travel to the US for up to 90 days.
Before you travel take copies of your passports and make a note of your passport numbers. Pack one copy in your luggage and leave one at home with a trusted friend or family member in case of emergencies.
Most importantly remember to bring your passports on the day! If you use a passport cover take it off before check in as it will only slow down the process.
2. EHIC Card
When travelling in Europe remember to apply for your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). An EHIC lets you get state healthcare in other EEA countries and Switzerland at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It’s unclear how EHIC will be affected once Brexit goes through as this is still being negotiated (an EHIC is NOT a replacement for travel insurance).
3. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance gives you protection when you’re on holiday. It gives you peace of mind knowing that if something goes wrong you will be covered, this means that you can concentrate on enjoying your time away rather than worrying. Remember to declare any pre-existing medical condition to make sure it’s covered by your policy. If you’re planning to take part in any extreme sports inform your travel insurance providers. It’s important to fill in your insurance accurately and honestly to make sure it’s valid and appropriate for your needs. If your travel insurance has an excess put this money into a savings account in case you need to claim while away. For more information on travel insurance click here.
4. Driving License and International Driving Permit
If you have a driving license pack it and bring it on holiday in case it’s needed. Again take a copy before you travel in case of loss/theft. A Great Britain or Northern Ireland driving licence is valid to drive abroad in Europe. Outside of the EU you will need to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP). You can apply for an IDP at the Post Office. It will cost £5.50 and is valid for 12 months. Remember to check your driving insurance and also the local driving rules for your destination so you’re prepared before you travel.
5. Print or Back Up Travel Documents
Many travel companies are becoming digitised meaning there is less need for paper copies. When it comes to travelling overseas, personally I feel reassured having a paper copy of the essential paperwork such as boarding passes and insurance. Whatever you decide to do remember to print or backup:
- Boarding Pass
- All travel tickets
- A copy of passport
- Paper VISA (if needed)
6. Travel Vaccinations
As soon as you plan your overseas trip check if travel vaccinations are needed. Many jabs need to be given in advance so get medical advice at least 8 weeks before you travel. Check if you need a certificate of proof of your vaccinations before this appointment.
7. Pack and Weigh Luggage
Make a note of your airlines baggage requirements and ensure that your cabin bag and main hold luggage are the correct dimensions and weight. it’s always cheaper to increase your luggage allowance in advance rather than at the airport. Remember to pack your luggage scale so you can check the weight of your returning luggage and avoid excess baggage charges.
8. Medication and “Fit to Fly” Letter
If you have a medical condition and require a “fit to fly” letter get this in plenty of time from your GP or health professional (such as a Cardiac Liaison Nurse). If you or a fellow traveller may require oxygen on a flight book this in advance. When packing medication remember to keep it in your flight bag and include a letter from your GP if any of the medicines are classed as “controlled”.
9. Travel Money
It’s a lot easier (and often cheaper) to use cards abroad and to withdraw cash from machines overseas but it’s still important to order and pack local currency for your trip. Plan this in plenty of advance so you can shop around and get the best rates. You can often get a better rate for larger amounts of money so pool your money with friends and family and get it changed together. Remember to bring your passport when you collect your currency.
If you’re planning to use your card abroad notify your bank to prevent them suspecting suspicious behaviour and cancelling your card. Also check the charges that will be applied when you use your card abroad. If these are steep it may be worth applying for a new card for international travel.
10. Double Check Hotels, Flights and Parking
Check, check and check again. Before you go double check times and conditions of flights, transfers, hotel booking and parking. It’s easier to sort a problem in advance rather than when you’re on holiday.
Print your “Preparing for Travel Abroad Handy Checklist“
If you follow this handy checklist you can then start planning the fun parts of holiday, such as what clothes to pack and the itinerary for your trip (my favourite part). Being prepared and organised will mean you can relax and enjoy your holiday!
What tips do you have for preparing for travel abroad?