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Pre-Departure Checklist

· Tips and Tools

You've decided on a destination, you've purchased your backpack, and your flight is booked. Now what? Well the most difficult (and fun) part of planning is definitely over, but you've still got a few things to do before you get on that plane. I've put together a pre-departure checklist to help keep things running smoothly and worry free leading up to departure day!

  1. Pay a visit to your doctor or a travel doctor: Obtain any necessary medication or vaccinations.
  2. Obtain necessary visas: Every country has different visa requirements for different nationalities. This information can be found on your federal governments website. Usually under a "travelling abroad" or "travel documents" heading. For us Canadians, the information can be found here. Be sure to enter the country you wish to visit, as each country has different rules and procedures. For example, I did not need a visa for Indonesia, as my stay did not extend 30 days, however I did need a 60 day visa for Thailand. Most countries allow the purchase of a visa on arrival, but be sure to do your research!
  3. BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE: This is so important. And it's easy to get! Travel insurance protects you if your flights get changed, baggage gets lost, or heaven forbid something happens to you during your travels. I used World Nomads Travel Insurance for a relatively cheap price. I paid about $250 and that covered my 3 months of travel, as well as 3 weeks after I was home (in case something came up). The website is easy to use and will get you a quote right away. They even sent me emails while I was away reminding me of my benefits, and giving me the option to extend my insurance if I extended my trip!
  4. Photocopy your documents: Passport, another piece of ID, itinerary, insurance, visa. Photocopy and send in an email to yourself, and any friends and family you trust to get it to you, or the embassy, should you be stuck in a bind. It doesn't hurt to print off a couple of copies as well and stick them somewhere safe in your bag.
  5. Create a packing list: This will allow you to keep track of everything in your bag (or what's going to be in it), and help you determine if you need to get anything else (see The Process of Packing: Parts 1 & 2 to help you with this).

I'm definitely more of a "go with the flow" type or traveller, and really didn't plan much more than a couple of days ahead. You may want to add more to this list based on your travel style, such as booking activities or accommodation. I hope this list serves its purpose and keeps you stress and worry free leading up to your departure!

Happy travels!

Caylie Smith

Not Your Average

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