Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a month-long sojourn, getting ready for travel can be a lot. Sure, the prospect of meeting cool locals, picking up a new language and stepping outside your culinary norms is dreamy. But everything else? You have to put in work if you want the trip to go smoothly.
Here are my five tips for getting your life together before you step out of the country.
1. Confirm your transportation and lodgings.
Train, plane or bus: be sure you have your ticket printed. For those of you who are more tech-savvy, save your mobile boarding pass to the Wallet app for iPhone or keep your PDF handy via email.
As you get closer to your departure time, double-check for delays or cancellations. This is especially important if you have another train to catch or a connecting flight.
Choosing the right hotel (or these days, Airbnb) can easily be the most stressful part of travel, next to the process of traveling itself. The sooner you nail down where you’re staying, the more you’ll be able to let go of stress and truly enjoy the trip you have planned.
2. Secure your bag.
And I don’t mean your buckles or zippers! Make sure you have the proper currency of the country that you’ll be visiting.
You can do this either by ordering the currency through your bank or withdrawing money from a local ATM. Ordering ahead of time will mean one less task to worry about when you arrive at your destination.
Of course, too, try to come up with budget. Allot money for food, sight-seeing fees and the souvenirs you’ll want to bring home from your trip.
Lastly, send your bank a travel notice. This will eliminate confusion on the bank’s end as to who is racking up charges in another country on your card. Lucky for us in this day and age, some banks will let you put in a travel notice through their mobile banking apps.
3. Be in tip-top shape.
Now is the time to check those doctor’s and dentist’s appointments off your list. If you’re traveling abroad long-term, be sure to look into how health insurance works where you’re going.
Be in-tune with your mental health as well. Pack any medicine or self-care materials you’ll need (books, journals, essential oils, bath bombs) to ease any anxiety that may crop up from traveling.
And don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get to accomplish everything on your sight-seeing bucket list. Take a mental health day if you need it.
4. Come ready to slay.
Going back to mental health, do whatever you need to make you feel good. Groom your hair, skin and nails. Only pack outfits where you’ll be feeling yourself. And pajamas.
5. Inspect your tech.
As someone who battled a faulty phone, a shattered phone and a busted laptop this summer, I can’t stress this enough. Make a reservation with your Apple Genius bar. Go to RadioShack or Best Buy.
If you’ll be abroad for more than a month, you’ll probably want to look into a SIM card for your cellphone.
Last but not least, see what kind of adapters you’ll need. You’ll have little use for your phone, laptop, camera or other devices if you can’t use them consistently!