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5 Essentials you Need to Prepare Before your Trip

Preparing for a trip can be both exciting and daunting all at the same time! However there are some essential things that need to prepare as well in advance of your trip as possible to give you peace of mind and prevent any unfortunate mishap like being refused entry to a country. Here I would give an overview of the 5 essential things and paperwork you should have before you get to the airport and/or check in for your flight. I would say to prepare these items as soon as your trip is booked. Failing to have these sorted could cost you money and worse not being able travel. Nobody wants that!

Valid Passport (or ID)

Check your that passport is up to date need six months validity in most places and less common but some may even require 12 months validity and this is from the date of your return not entry into the country.

You may be able to travel to some places without a passport. For example UK residents can travel to Ireland with a Drivers Licence or ID card. This is true for US citizens travelling to US Virgin Islands for example. Do check with the company or agent you booked your holiday with what you require. If you booked components online you may have to do the research yourself.

I would say don’t wait for a trip to have your passport ready. Renew as soon as you can so there is not a rush to get sorted and risk not being able to go on the trip and/or losing money. You can do a priority application but this often costs a lot more and you risk not getting it back in time. In the UK you can renew your passport 12 months before it expires.


Don’t assume you don’t need a visa always, always check for latest info as sometimes this could change. The British and US passports are some of the most versatile allowing entry to over 154 countries. Do check if you need a visa well in advance before travel. Some destinations have a visa waiver program where they allow entry for a set amount of time or you can purchase a visa at the airport.

Some countries however require you to apply online or in person. Both these could be lengthy processes and could require you to hand over your original passport. You could be required to attend an embassy or consultate for an interview in some cases. So plan well ahead to avoid any stressful situation or loss of your trip. Here is a great website that tells you where you need to apply for a Visa for your passport.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a must for any travel. To protect you for cancellations, delays, lost luggage even medical bills should the worse happen. This can also cover you for lost, stolen or damaged items such as jewelry, cash and gadgets like your phone or laptop. There is usually additional premiums for cruises or what is considered extreme sports like Skiing, so make sure you check what is covered depending on what you will do on your trip.

A little known tip travel insurance can cover you for staycations as well especially if you may need to cancel.

Mobile/Cell Phone Data and Call Roaming

Being able to communicate with people while away is essential part of your travel. Especially for safety reasons to let family know you are ok or change of plans. So making sure you have access to phone data and international minutes when away is important. The tariff you are on at home may not allow for international calls or data. Roaming charges can be astronomical so its best to prepare a plan with your provider. You can buy a specific bundle and set a limit on fees while away to suit your needs.

In some cases you should be able to buy a SIM card in the country you visit, but having to tell people your new number and could be a faff. In some countries like Dubai and Cuba I would recommend this however as alot of the applications are blocked there so essentially you have no choice.

My top tip is I always have a dual SIM phone for this reason so I can get a local SIM while keeping my home number while I am abroad. This has been a real benefit when travelling. Another tip is to have your key phone numbers noted down on paper with you and in your hotel room when you arrive, incase your phone gets lost, stolen or damaged. In this list include the accommodation details you are staying.

Vaccination and Medication

Vaccines or medication are required for some places. These could include vaccination records for Yellow fever, Hepatitis and some places advise you to take Malaria medication. Some countries won’t let you enter if you recently traveled from a high risk area so do check requirements well in advance.

If you need a prescription for a medication while away you will need a doctor’s note. Avoid taking any medication without a doctors signed letter as some things as simple as paracetamol are strictly prohibited in some countries. You could be arrested!

Other papers to consider

If travelling with kids without both parents and especially if they have a different last name you may need to take copies of your marriage certificate, divorce papers and/or a letter from the other parent confirming the consent to the child travelling with you. Its best to also take the child’s birth certificate to confirm you are a parent. Some countries have strict regulation about minors travelling so do make sure you plan ahead and have any information they may ask for.


These are the top 5 items to consider, make sure your passport is valid, check apply for visas if required, have adequate travel insurance, make sure you have a data or roaming plan for your cell/mobile to avoid extortionate costs and make sure you have up to date vaccines and medication with a doctors note if required.

These are all very standard but can be overwhelming for someone who doesn’t travel often. A good travel agent or advisor should be able to tell you exactly what you need and even do some of the organising for you like including insurance in your trip. So make use of that free service. If you bought items separately yourself check with the airline they may be able to advise you.

Do ensure to take copies of everything in paper form and email documents to yourself so you have access to it should you lose your bag or phone. If you have any other tips of essentials or would like to discuss a trip with me then do make contact would love to hear from you. Bon Voyage!