“Traveling.. it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
Those three words.. I’m going travelling. Exciting, yet becomes a nerve racking process of planning, packing and getting all your ducks in a row. A good start with travelling and preparing for each trip is making it part of ones lifestyle, just like saving for retirement or going to the gym.
Saving up for a trip will give you plenty of time to plan out how much funds you’ll need and research different alternatives.
Whether you travel alone, with friends, or like us as a couple, having a daily budget will not only help you save money while travelling, but in turn focus more of your time enjoying and experiencing the adventure vs. stressing out about what’s left in your wallet!
Here are “10 pre-travel tips” we recommend using researching prior to take-off:
1. Summarized Itinerary. Initially, we start with a rough word doc full of information researched including flights, accommodations, transportation etc. This will look extremely rough at the start and slowly become more organized as you update/choose certain alternatives over others.
2. Got Visa? This is one of first things to look into. Visa approval (if required for your trip) can range a few weeks when done online to months if sent out for government approval. The last thing you want is to be denied access to a country you already booked a ticket to!
3. Book in advance! Whether it be flights, accommodations, transportation, events or activities, we end up paying a majority of our expenses before leaving home. For lengthy trips it can make travelling less stressful on your wallet knowing most things are already taken care of. You never know what deals you might get buying ahead of time.
4. Excel is your friend. Excel is a great platform to list out and estimate how much money will be spent on flights, accommodations, food, activities, transportation, etc. and compare different options (ex: hotels vs. hostels vs. Airbnb). Record prices and links, your future self will thank you for it!
5. Airbnb. Hotels have become too expensive these days, and hostels seemed overpriced when travelling as a couple. Airbnb gives you the best of both a hotel and hostel experience by providing a private room, a kitchen to cook meals, the opportunity to meet locals, and the ease to arrive and depart as you please. Communication with the host and pre-planning of how to get to the location is key!
6. Carry the right cash. A great way to avoid using plastic during your trip is pre-ordering foreign currency, which ties back to #3. Having the right cash can make purchases quicker, helps one stick to their budget, and a fun way to learn another currency. We make sure to avoid talking or dealing with our money in public areas, “Out of sight, out of mind!”.
7. Insure yourself! Never take a trip with the assumption everything will go as planned. For how little you spend each day (~$2-4 CAD), you’ll be saving yourself hundreds to thousands of dollars (maybe millions) if any medical emergency or life threatening event were to happen to you during your trip. Calling ahead, getting a price quota, and reading the fine print of what’s covered and what’s not (i.e. limitations and exclusions) are essential when choosing the right insurance based on the trip your after. Allianz, CAA, Blue Cross, GMS, World Escapade, World Nomads are a few of preference. In addition, make sure to let your resident government health care plan know when your going and for how long!
8. Packing list and practice pack. Similar to an itinerary, a packing list can help layout what’s essential to bring along and what should maybe be left behind. Less is more, and versatility in your clothing opens up options to pack other essentials or help avoid extra charges on flights. Especially if you’re planning to backpack.. a lighter pack is a happy back!
9. Save and carry hard-copies. Everything we put together before leaving is saved on Dropbox or Google Drive. In addition, we also printed out hard-copies to be carried along. It might be “Type A” and over the top, but its shown to be very useful while we travel and doesn’t hurt to have a quick reminder of everything we’ve planned months prior to (especially when Wifi isn’t as accessible). Carrying a map and a Lonely Planet travel guide is always an essential book to have along, and helps refresh places and sights of interest or recommendation without needing the use of a smart phone to hook things up. A good idea is to keep photocopies of your passport, visa, and health care card on you in case of theft or misplacement, as well as back-up copies at home that can be faxed.
10. Bring a notebook. Having a journal with you to record what you did everyday of your trip is a great reminder of the adventure, and can be of great value if you plan to come back to that same place in the future again. No matter then length of a trip you’ll never remember everything you did, where you went, saw or experienced.
It’s these little tricks when preparing for travelling that hold onto the most memorable parts of our trips most cherished and left us speechless. For all the time we spent planning prior to our trips our travels won’t be forgotten, but a story we can come back home and tell as a story to our family and friends 🙂
Posted by Marisa