How to Plan the Perfect Trip: What to Do Before You Travel


Travelling is truly one of my biggest passions. Discovering and understanding new cultures expands our knowledge about who we are, and awakens the soul to a higher level of human awareness. These unique experiences often have a lasting impact, enabling us to become more cultured and globally inclined.

The down side is that travelling can also be quite worrisome. The fear of leaving your life behind, even for a matter of days can be quite daunting to some. Many people are deterred by the hassle of planning a trip, and others simply cannot leave their obligations behind.

In my advocacy for adventure, I would like to share my pre-flight checklist of all necessary requirements that every person should pursue before travel.

Six-Four Month Prior to Travel

1.      Decide on a tentative time frame for which you would like to travel. This should be in alignment with your vacation allowance for those who are employed, and with allotted school holidays for those travelling with children.

2.      Commence research on locations which you would like to visit. You should focus on understanding the weather patterns of your proposed destination during your tentative time of travel, especially for temperate climates.

3.      Begin your planning by consulting local travel agencies and online resources for the most cost effective way of traveling to your destination. A lot of local travel agencies offer tour packages for those who want more of a structured vacation, which will allow you to easily explore all major attractions at ease. You can also use travel sites like TripAdvisor (my personal favorite) to tailor your own trip. Sites like these allow you to book your flights, hotel accommodation and even restaurant reservations, along with detailed consumer reviews on all categories to ensure that you are well aware of the quality you will be experience.

Three to Two Months Prior to Travel

4.      Once your trip is planned, you should review international legal relationships between your country of origin and your vacation destination/s. This is necessary in order to obtain a visa if required within the allotted time frame. If you are unsure about the relevant visa requirements, it is highly recommended to consult with your national foreign ministry.

5.      Ensure that you possess all required travel documents, including a passport that is valid up to six (6) months of your date of return. This is not always required for all territories; however, when crossing international boarders I always recommend that you plan ahead for all unforeseen circumstances.

One Month Prior to Travel

6.      Once bookings are secured and travel documents are in check, it is time to finalize all lose ends at home, before your journey. You should notify all friends and family members of your departure and return dates. It is always polite to ensure that those you care about are aware of your schedule. In addition, you need to formally apply for vacation time at work and ensure that it is approved

7.      Clear your schedule and make an important reminder to leave your travel dates open. Ensure that you meet all deadlines at work, and that you hand over any important ongoing projects to a reliable and efficient co-worker. This will ensure continuity in your absence. Also, avoid making any personal plans on these dates!

8.      Notify your bank of your travels to ensure that any international purchases via debit/credit cards are no declined! If unaware, they may flag such transactions as suspicious and as such you may not acquire any trinkets from your journey. Also, I highly recommend acquiring some of the local currency of the countries you will be visiting.  

Two Weeks Prior to Travel

9.       Go through your personal belongings and ensure that you have all necessary items required for travel. For instance, if you are visiting a temperate climate during the winter season, a proper insulated coat is definitely needed! As such, use this time to purchase any items which you will need immediately after landing at your destination to ensure smooth transition.

One Week Prior to Travel

10.   Engage in some personal grooming. I always like to use the week before my trip to book appointments for a haircut, waxing, manicure/pedicure or a mini spa day to start off my vacation. This allows me to feel refreshed and to begin my vacation before it’s even started. It also avoids having to take care of such requirements once on vacation. More time to explore!

11.   Clean your home/apartment/room. It may seem tedious, however cleaning your space will ensure that you return home to a pleasant environment and prolong that fantastic mood of being on vacation. Coming home to such tasks is never appealing and can cause distress!

One Week to Three Days Prior to Travel

12.   Pack up your suitcases and hit the road jack!

I do hope that this was helpful in assisting you to plan your next adventure, and hopefully you can travel with more comfort and ease. Have more fun and less frantic, and always have the courage to live the life you deserve!


--Skini Trini