Passport… check. Sunglasses… check. Condoms… check. Good to go, right? Wait. Stop. Have you remembered to do everything else on our travel checklist?
What you need to do before you go abroad:
Passport, passport, passport – Sorry for stating the bleeding obvious, but if you don’t have a passport have you given yourself enough time to apply for one? It usually takes three weeks to order online, however for an extra fee you can get one in a day using the fast track service. If you already have a passport check the expiry date. Valid? Great, now pack it.
Travel insurance – Choosing what type is complicated, so we decided to dedicate a whole article to explaining it properly [LINK].
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – A EHIC gets you money off (or sometimes free) healthcare in European countries. It doesn’t cost anything and takes around seven days to apply online, so make sure you give yourself enough time. But remember this is as well as travel insurance – not instead of it.
Visas -If you’re a British or EU Citizen you won’t need a visa for most of Europe. If you’re going further afield you can find other countries’ entry requirements on the gov.uk website.
Vaccinations – Need jabs? This great website, Masta, is a good place to start. It tells you what you need and when to get them. Ideally you should get these sorted AT LEAST 8 weeks before you leave, as you may need boosters to build your immunity. However, don’t panic if you’ve left it too late – get it done as soon as you remember, as some protection is better than nothing.
Medication – Ask your GP for enough medication to last you through your trip as well as a note proving it’s legit.
Label all of your stuff – Write your name, address and phone number on everything: small bags, big bags, camera bags and suitcases. If they go missing or end up on another flight it will make getting them back a whole lot easier.
Check-in online – Sometimes airlines demand that you do this, other times it just means getting through to duty free faster. Check what’s required when you buy your flight.
Onward travel – make sure you know how you’re travelling to and from the airport, train station or coach stop. And have the address and directions to where you’re staying to hand.
What you need to pack before you go on holiday:
Your vaccination certificate – This is very useful to have with you, especially your yellow fever certificate that you might need to get into some South American and African countries.
Malaria medication – The Masta website also tells you if you need this. But take plenty of insect repellent anyway to avoid being bitten by mosquitos, plus a net if you’re not sure your accommodation will have one.
Water purification tablets – Essential if you’re going somewhere where you can’t drink the water without losing all control of your bowels.
Condoms – Because you’ll need some protection if you plan on keeping everyone in your hostel up with raucous bunk sex.
First aid kit – The NHS website has a long list of what should be in here, or you can buy a fully-stocked kit from a travel health clinic or pharmacy.
Sun lotion – Because, as you know, burning is bad. (LINK)
A guidebook – Preferably one that has some basic phrases in the native language and maps too.
Toiletries – Creams, toothpaste, toothbrushes, tampons, pads, hand-sanitizer and (if you’re not going to a posh hotel) shampoo. Remember liquids bigger than 100ml can’t go in your hand luggage if you’re flying.
Plastic sealable bags – for your liquids that can go in your hand luggage – although you can get these at the airport.
Clothing essentials – Flip flops/sunglasses/swimming gear/sun hat for warmer climes; thermals, base layers, woolly hat and extra socks for colder climes.
A camera – Check, check, then check again, as you’ll be kicking yourself if you forget it (or accidentally leave it behind in your hotel room).
YOUR FLIGHT TICKET – If this needs to be printed, now’s not the time to find out your printer’s run out of ink.
Picture of girl sitting on suitcase by Shutterstock
Updated on 29-Sep-2015
Safety when travelling
Travelling abroad is exciting but it can also be dangerous.
I studied abroad for a year
What's it like spending a year of your degree abroad? ...
Practical driving test
You've had the lessons, passed the theory test and now ...
Cheap UK travel
If you're planning on a staycation this year here's how ...
Sun safety and skin cancer
Worrying about a weird mole?