Are you ready to book your next flight, my travel lover friend? Before booking anything, wait a bit and read my post about the things to do before every trip. This post will walk you through the most important steps of getting ready for your next trips. Save time and money by following this easy step-by-step guide before travelling abroad.
Download the free travel checklist, which will simplify the travel planning process and make your life easier.
Most important things to do before travelling abroad
Research your dream destination
Ready to check the next point on your bucket list? Do your research first!
What’s the best time to travel there? When are the high season and low season?
In high season the prices are higher, the accommodations can be occupied and everything is busier, however, the weather is better and the opening times are longer. In low season the weather might not be “ideal” and fewer things are open, but you can enjoy your stay without a crowd and you have more chance to meet locals.
Interested in special events & festivals?
Carnival in Brazil, cherry tree blossoms in Japan, St Patrick’s day in Ireland, Sziget festival in Budapest… I’m sure you want to experience these moments (me too)! Just be aware, the prices are higher during these special events and you won’t be alone 😉
Do you care about the weather?
If you’re interested in the weather, Climates To Travel will be a huge help for you, there you can find everything about the climate around the world like average temperature, weather conditions, the best time to go and even what to pack.
Discover airfare price trends
If a cheap flight ticket is more important to you than the date, Faredetective is your friend, it will tell you which were the cheapest months to travel. Just enter your departure and arrival cities and dive into the historical price trends. It might not have every information about each destination, but it’s still a big help.
How many days to spend there?
Just visiting a city or getting ready to discover a country or one part of a country? Research your main stops and top attractions to guess how many days would be needed. And count how many holidays you have…
Search for cheap (cheaper) flights
First of all, open an incognito window and browse travel search sites like Skyscanner, momondo, Kayak, Expedia and/or Google Flights. If you create an account, you can get price alerts if the price goes higher or lower.
- If you want to spend less money on your flight ticket, just check Kayak, select a month (and the duration) and the map will show you the prices and the dates to every airport.
- You can double-check the dates and prices on Google Flights, where you can also choose your destination and date. By setting (or modifying) the duration Google shows you which days would be the cheapest combinations. Choose the Date grid or the Price graph and find out your best options.
- Add the suggested date to Skyscanner and Momondo (test the prices on more platforms) and find the best deals.
Better to be flexible with the dates and destinations. I’ve read that the best time to book is on Tuesday and/or Wednesday because the airlines change the prices on Midweek. It might be cheaper to start your trip Midweek as well.
You can also save money by having a travel credit cards and earning points. I’m no expert on this, but Matt Kepnes, the founder of Nomadic Matt travel blog is, so read his guide to picking the best travel credit card or buy his book, The ultimate guide to travel hacking.
Book your flight
Before booking, you have to decide how many luggage you’ll need and book them as well. So it’s worth to examine the prices of carry-on and check-in luggage because that will also affect the final price.
Low-fair airlines have affordable tickets, but their extra prices for luggage and priority boarding can be even more than your cheap flight ticket.
When you’ve found the cheapest option (compared to the previous ones), don’t hesitate to book your flight. Save it to your calendar, be happy (I usually clap and jump…) and get ready for planning!
Check luggage sizes
Depending on the duration of your stay, weather conditions and your activity, you’ll know how big and how many luggage you’ll need. If you only travel with hand luggage, you’ll save some money on the check-in baggage.
Make sure to double-check the allowed maximum size and weight of the luggage because some companies have a different carry-on and check-in luggage limitations, so always double-check your luggage’s size.
Check the expiry date of passport / ID
Wherever you’re heading to, you’ll need a valid passport or identification card. Check the expiry date of your documents! Some countries won’t allow you to travel there if your passport’s expiry date is in the next 6 months.
If it’s valid, make a good quality copy of it (your photo should be clean and recognizable) and save it to your Cloud, Dropbox or Google Drive. Always keep the photocopy and the original document on different places.
If you’re travelling for a longer period, make sure your family or emergency contact has your itinerary.
Do you need a visa?
Some countries don’t require a visa, some of them can be visited only up to 90 days without a visa and some countries won’t allow you to cross their border without a visa. You’ll need to check whether or not your destination requires a visa. On Passport Index you’ll find the most important information about travel visa.
If your destination requires a visa, visit the website of the embassy or consulate for more instruction about the application and costs. A few countries need a longer process to provide a visa. I’m talking about months… so don’t leave it for the last minute!
My favourite sites to book accommodation are
I prefer to set the price limit and search on the map to see how far is the accommodation from the city centre and the airport. Usually, rooms are more pricy in the centre, however, if the accommodation is close to a public transport station and it’s easy to reach the centre from there, no problem.
I always start with Airbnb, because that way I can meet locals, ask for recommendations and know some insider secrets.
To have more price options, I also check Booking because I’m a “Genius” there, so I have discounts. If you book frequently through their site, you can also be part of the “Genius” loyalty programme and save money. It’s also possible to share your unique link with friends, so both of you will get back money after the trip.
We might think, nothing can happen to us… and then booooom. Sorry, I didn’t mean to be too dramatic. I’m a positive person, of course, everything will be all right… hopefully. But it’s better to be prepared.
That’s why travel insurance is super important, we have to get ready for the bad things like losing your luggage, flight cancellation or delay, robbery or accident. Before buying travel insurance, especially when doing extreme sports or other outdoor activities, make sure to read the company’s policy and coverage.
Check the site of CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) to find out what kind of vaccines are recommended for your destination. You’ll also find important information about how to stay healthy and safe on your trip, detailed information about diseases and what kind of medicines should you bring.
Visit your doctor at least a month before your departure to get the required vaccines and medicines. Save some extra money for that, these vaccines aren’t cheap.
Before I travelled to Brazil, I got 3 vaccines: Hepatitis A, Yellow fever and Typhoid. And I also bought mosquito repellent, what I used all day long.
Have your credit card and some cash
Tell your bank where and when you’re going to travel, otherwise they might freeze your card because of suspicious payments in another country.
My tip is to sign up for a Revolut card or other travel cards because they won’t charge you extra fees when spending money abroad. Download the app, create a standard account for free and wait for your physical card. Through the app, you’ll get notifications instantly after using your card. It offers even more, visit the website of Revolut for more information.
At most places paying by card won’t be a problem. But small shops might not accept cards, have some cash for these cases. Don’t stop at the 1st money exchange place at the airport, the rates can be higher.
Download travel apps
Google Maps (available on Google Play and App Store) is the best one for navigation. It’s also possible to download an area and to use it offline. Just search for a city, click on “Download” and select the area you want to download and it’s done!
Google Maps – My Maps
Google My Maps (available on Google Play) is my favourite travel planning tool. With this amazing site, you can add your places to a map in groups like places to see, eat, drink, party and whatever you want to do. You can also create routes and connect your pins. I prefer to use its desktop version because it has more features.
Find out its other useful features in my step-by-step video tutorial and blog post called How to plan your travel itinerary with Google My Maps?.
Better to learn a few phrases of the selected country’s language, like Hi, Thank you, Sorry, You’re welcome, Yes and No. It’ll be appreciated. When these few words and your “Activity” skills aren’t enough, just use Google Translate (available on Google Play and App Store).
Booking and/or Airbnb
Have your confirmation number, accommodation address, check-in and check-out hours, messages on your phone with Booking (available on Google Play and App Store) and Airbnb (available on Google Play and App Store). Hopefully, I don’t need to introduce these amazing apps to you 😉
Need a quick transport or not a fan of public transport? Uber (available on Google Play and App Store) might be more expensive than public transportation but much cheaper than a taxi. And you don’t have to worry about cash.
Polarsteps – Travel Tracker
Want to share your trip with friends and family easily? On Polarsteps they can follow your trip and experiences, the app tracks your journey (even offline) and you can add steps to your timeline with descriptions, photos and recommendations. If you’re a travel addict like me, you should have this app, available on Google Play and App Store.
+ Google Calendar
I guess everyone has some kind of Calendar on her / his phone, but I had to mention Google Calendar because somewhere you need to have your flight details and other tour details.
+ Local maps and public transportation apps
If you prefer to use public transportation, search for local transportation apps, which can plan your journey easily and show schedules.
Travel planning 🙂
The best part is coming: planning your trip! Ask your friends who have been there, read guide books, visit your favourite travel blogs and search on Pinterest for specific tips. This can take a few hours or even a few days, depending on the duration of your trip and your enthusiasm 😉
These questions are relevant to every kind of trip, of course, to a specialized destination and activity you’ll need more information.
- How to get from the airport (train/bus station) to your accommodation?
- How to get around? Car rental?
- Must-see places
- Your budget – free / paid attractions
- Buy tickets in advance
- Must-try food and drink
- Local restaurants, brunch places, cafés and bars
- Culture and etiquette
- Packing list – weather forecasts
Just don’t over plan, on a vacation you have to relax and enjoy your time.
Now, you know what to do before every trip and you should be ready to start planning your next dream journey!
Don’t forget to download the free travel checklist, which will simplify the travel planning process and make your life easier.
Sooooo, what’s your next destination? Leave a comment below.
Pin the photos for later to have it on Pinterest.