Before You Go

I’m a list maker. I keep a lot reference lists for both myself and my clients. One of my favorite is my break down of “Before You Go” items. There’s often so much to remember prior to a trip that a lot can get lost in the shuffle. There are tasks that, if not done on time (or worse, at all), can wreak major havoc on a trip. I break this list down into increments – 4 to 6 months before the trip, 1 to 3 months before, 1 to 3 weeks before, 1 to 2 days before, and the day of departure. These items are in the form of a physical check list, and I highly recommend them to anyone planning a trip. I’m sharing here, in sections, starting with the furthest time period and moving closer to your travel date. I can also provide this as a full check list in PDF format, if anyone would like one.

Part 1: 4 to 6 Months before your trip (note, these are in no particular order, except they all fall in this time period):

1. Contact your travel planner if you haven’t already. The more time we have to plan, the more options that are available to you for flights, hotels, activities and the like.

2. Check your passport. If you’re traveling out of the country, unless it’s to a U.S. territory, you’ll need your passport, period. Some countries require your passport to be good for 30 or 60 days after you leave the country. If you’re passport is close to expiring, best to renew now. Some travel arrangements will require your passport details in order to book, so renewing it sooner than later is ideal.

3. Do you need a visa? Many countries that require a visa will provide it on arrival. Others require you to get it in advance, sometimes in person. Visa rules need to be examined carefully – some are good for multiple entries within a certain time frame, whereas others are valid for one entry and can only be provided within x number of days prior to your trip. Discuss this with your planner and make sure you are comfortable with the visa process before booking anything. We can help you with most of the process, but if it requires you to obtain it in person, there’s only so much we can do.

4. Check on any vaccines, medications, and other health suggestions/requirements for your destination. You can find these details on the CDC website. Most of the time, your GP can provide you with these shots and medications, and there are doctors who specialize in travel medicine as well. Some countries may require proof of a vaccination in order to enter the country. This is often true of yellow fever. When you get the vaccine, a card is provided that shows the date of vaccination and is signed by your physician. If it’s a required vaccination, you will need to carry this card with you when you travel.

5. Double check all travel documents and confirmations as soon as you receive them. If you have any questions, let your travel planner know immediately.


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