Planning Ahead for your Next Trip: A Comprehensive Guide

The prospect of travelling after the last couple of years is very exciting, but there’s a lot to do to get ready! If you’re like us, you’re out of the habit of travelling. Don’t stress, we’ve compiled our complete list of what to do before and after booking your trip –- right up to the day of departure.

Before booking your trip

Wait times are longer since the pandemic, so it is essential to plan ahead to avoid delays and cancellations. Before you book your trip:

  • Ensure your passport is valid: Your passport should not only be valid for the duration of your trip, but many countries require it to extend at least 6 months past that point. If you’re travelling internationally, confirm their regulations and make sure your passport doesn’t need to be renewed. If it is expired, start the process of renewing your passport ahead of booking your travel to avoid stress and allow extra time.
  • Check COVID19 + immunization regulations: Each country has unique regulations for immunizations. Before you travel, ensure you have an immunization plan for your trip. Vaccination for communicable diseases and viruses––such as malaria, hepatitis, and covid––is a key part of travelling responsibly and avoiding serious illness.

A month before your trip

You’re getting so close to your dream destination! Avoid cancellations by following these tried and true steps.

  • Purchase travel insurance: The cost of care if an emergency happens can be expensive while travelling. You can avoid unnecessary medical costs by purchasing travel insurance in less than 5 minutes! Find the right plan for your trip.
  • Order any essentials online: If you need a new bathing suit or want to upgrade your luggage, now is the time to add it to your cart. Online orders can take time to ship and process, so leave yourself enough time to purchase everything you need for your upcoming trip.
  • Apply for an International Driver’s Permit: If you are flying to Iceland to drive to do your dream road trip of the whole country, you need to prepare by applying for a driver’s permit. Check your destination for particular instructions for operating a vehicle.
  • Ensure you have enough medication for your trip: If you have regular prescriptions, give yourself ample time to get a double supply of medication. This allows you to be prepared for delays in returning and any flight cancellations and gives you a few days at home to tackle jet lag before heading to the pharmacy. You will also need to give yourself additional time if any of your prescriptions are on the Schedule 2 list.
  • Order foreign currency: If you plan to carry some cash on your travels, ensure you give your bank enough time to order the country’s currency for you. This is especially true if you are heading somewhere less common.

A week before travel

In the last few days before heading to the airport, completing this checklist can help make your packing easier and more efficient.

  • Wash the laundry: Get all your laundry together and have it prepared for packing. Nothing is more stressful than waiting for the dryer while your cab to the airport is en route! Eliminate unnecessary stress by having everything washed and dried ahead of time.
  • Make a packing list: Before you begin packing, make a list reflecting where you are travelling to and what you need. For example, if you’re travelling to Spain in the summer, you won’t want to bring boots. Writing lists can help keep us from overpacking by reminding us to only put the essentials in our suitcases. Note the length of your trip, the weather while you’ll be there, the activities you want to enjoy, and any entertainment you will need (i.e. books, tv shows for the kids, games, or toys).
  • Get your home organized for a house sitter: If you’re going for a trip, it’s important to find someone you trust to check in on your place and all those plant babies you collected over the pandemic. Organizing keys and instructions and making everything accessible for your house sitter is much easier to do in advance––and you’re far less likely to miss something.In addition to organizing a caretaker, cleaning and tidying your home, ensuring all perishable food is given to friends and family, checking your thermostat settings, and programming lights are all ways to make your home safe and snug for your return.

The day before travelling

The trip is so close! You’ve made your list, you’ve given your spare key to a friend, and your laundry is clean and ready for the suitcase. Now it’s time to get excited.

  • Check-in online: Checking in online is easy and convenient. You can download your tickets directly to your phone wallet and give yourself plenty of time to get through airport security –– which has been very busy for post-covid travel.
  • Check for flight delays or cancellations: Flying was already stressful, but now flight delays and cancellations are increasingly common. Double-check your flights ahead of time to ensure your travel will go as planned.
  • Pack your carry on: Double check all your devices are charged, grab your favourite book, pack a spare set of clothes and toiletries, grab your passport, and get yourself a healthy snack. You’re ready to go. Packing early avoids the stress of last-minute packing and decreases the chances of you forgetting something important––you don’t want to be in a cab back to your house because you forgot your passport.

Happy travels from Saskatchewan Blue Cross!