More detail on the below advice can be found in our Travel Preparation article.
4+ Months Before Departure: Planning
Think about exactly where you want to go, and what you want to do. How long do you intend to go for? Are you travelling alone or with others? Bookmark and subscribe to travel blogs, twitter accounts and alike for ideas and advice.
If interested start looking into working or volunteering programs.
2-3 Months Before Departure: Arranging
Sort out your passport. You should ensure your passport has at least 6 months validity after your return date home. A damaged passport or outdated photos may cause problems. There should also be plenty of blank pages. It can take 3-6 weeks to receive a new or renewed passport.
Arrange any visas. Most countries require visas for entry, a lot you may receive on arrival, but equally a lot you have to arrange before arriving. It is a good idea to sort out your visa before booking your flight - you do not want to spend money on a flight and then get denied a visa.
Book your flight or other method of transport. The sooner you book your flight the cheaper.
Visit your doctor for a medical checkup and start vaccination courses.
1 Month Before Departure: Acquiring
Visit the dentist, and if necessary your optician.
Apply for a currency card.
Apply for discount cards and saving schemes.
If you going on a working holiday look into jobs, accommodation, etc.
2-3 Weeks Before Departure: Preparing
Sort out any loose ends you may have.
Start taking anti-malaria tablets if heading straight into a malaria zone (parts of South America, Asia and Africa). Always seek doctors advice on when to begin taking anti-malarials.
Book your first few nights accommodation.
Write your own personalised packing and check lists.
Arrange travel insurance and ensure it covers what you want to do and where you are going.
Photocopy your documents. Take copies with you and leave a copy with family or friends.
Buy/ download any music, books or films you want to take.
Make a note of important numbers and information, i.e. emergency numbers, stolen card number, embassy addresses.
Learn some key words in the language of your destination.
2-3 Days Before Departure: Finalising
Get some foreign currency. It is always a good idea to arrive in a country with some local currency - not all airports or even countries have ATMs.
Look at your transfer options, from the airport to your accommodation.
Print, pack and email to yourself all documentation (visa, passport, tickets, insurance, proof of funds, etc.)
Reconfirm flight and accommodation if necessary.
Adjust your sleep routine as part of the avoiding jet lag steps.
Run over your checklist.
Departure Day: Checking
Fully charge all your electronics (the night before if necessary).
Plan to get to the airport in ample time and check traffic reports.
Run over your checklist again.
Get excited for the time of your life.
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