If you are a seasoned overseas traveller you may well want to stop reading now. However if you are new to foreign travel, haven't taken an overseas trip in some time or simply sometimes forget things, then this "how to prepare for an overseas trip" guide may well be for you. In this guide I will simply present the steps I go through as I prepare to go overseas. There are of course many other things I could do. My intention here is to list the bare minimum that will allow you to enjoy stress free overseas travel.
Things You Will NeedTaking a trip away from home to a foreign country requires you to arrange a few things prior to departure. What you do once you reach your destination is up to you. My intention here is to list the essential tasks prior to leaving your home country.
1. Is you passport up to date and do you know where it is?
2. Are you sure that your flight leaves at the time stated on your (e) ticket?
3. Is there enough money in your bank account to cover automatic expenses while you are away?
4. Have you arranged how you will travel to the airport to catch your flight on time?
5. Do you require a visa for the country you intend to visit and have you secured one?
6. Do you have the appropriate insurance for your journey?
There are plenty of things that you could add to this list to make it more comprehensive. These however are the steps I go through each time I travel overseas. As far as packing in concerned, I avoid as much as possible taking heavy luggage. Having a change of clothing is essential. That said, travelling light is one of my priorities so I tend to avoid taking my whole wardrobe with me.
Firstly, travelling internationally requires a passport. Pretty obvious really. I learned the importance of not only having a passport, but actually having it with me when I wanted to travel with a friend to watch the Italian Grand Prix. I was living in London at the time and it wasn't until the day before we were due to travel that I realised my passport was at my parent's house in Scotland. While theoretically travel in Europe without a passport is possible, boarding a plane from the U.K. to mainland Europe is not. Fortunately I was able to change my flight time and pick up a temporary passport from the passport agency office in London. This all could have been avoided if I had gone through my check list above in a timely fashion.
Another time when a friend and I were going to Australia I got to the airport far too early, according to the tickets we had. But as it turned out, the departure time printed on the tickets was incorrect. The flight actually left almost three hours earlier than we thought. Unfortunately my friend didn't get to the airport as early as me and rather than board the flight alone I elected to wait for my travelling partner and we missed our flight.
On that same holiday, when we were checking into a flight we managed to get on later in the day, we were asked for our visas for Australia. We didn't realise that as U.K. citizens we required a visa to visit Australia on a holiday. Luckily we were able to purchase visas from the check in counter. Had that not been possible we may well have missed out on our friend's wedding!