The tour is picked, the deposit has been paid and the countdown has started before departure. But what steps do you need to take before you pass through the boarding gates and take off? Read on for a list of preparation tips to get you organised and not feeling sheer panic every day the departure date draws closer.
1. Spending Money
You have been saving your hard earned dollars for months for this trip and it is time to start organising the money. While at home convert your money into at least $100 into the desired currency depending on the countries your tour is located in and if your trip passes through Switzerland convert €30 into Swiss Francs. This allows you to have money on you before you are able to go to an ATM and withdraw more cash. There is several great websites that allow you to see the currency of each country, the best is Fxtop which allows you to hover over the selected country and it displays the currency.
2. Passports and Visas
To have booked your trip you need to have a current passport so that is sorted, but make sure it is valid for six months after the end date of your trip. Some countries can refuse entry if there is not six months validity on your passport after your departure date from their country. Your nationality and the countries you are visiting will determine if you need a visa to enter. To see if you will need a visa before you depart consult a travel agent or your national government website. A tip is to get on top of organising your visa if you need one ahead of time to allow it to arrive before your departure date. Some visas can take up to six weeks to arrive and often the validity of the visa runs from the date issued not the date of entry into the country.
3. Credit Cards/Debit Cards and Cash Passports
If you have a debit card from your country of residence you have the ability to go to an ATM and withdraw cash. It is a safe guard to bring a credit card, just in case you run out of money or you want to buy something you haven’t budgeted for.
What is a Cash Passport?
A Cash Passport is a travel money card which allows you to load ten currencies onto one card and is widely accepted in-stores and at ATMs. You have the ability to top up funds, transfer currencies and manage your account through their website. This method is what I used during my time in Europe, it was easy to have the ability to go to an ATM and withdraw money very much like a debit card. However, the process of uploading money onto the card was extremely difficult unless they have changed this.
I took a suitcase inside another suitcase due to the fact I know what I am like when it comes to shopping. American Traveller was the brand I went with due to how light, durable and the ease of the four wheels making it easy to manoeuvre through streets and the airport. However, saying this with the streets the way they are throughout Europe (London and Prague I am looking at you!) I was found wrestling my suitcase from time to time. There was some people on the tour that opted for a backpack, very backpacker of them but my sheer lack of size had me scared that I would fall over from the weight and height of them. I often had to lug my suitcase up several flights of stairs due to the elevator not working, a backpack would have come in handy then but I will forever be a suitcase girl. Opt for whatever you believe suits you and you find easy to handle and pack in.
The joys of the selected weight restrictions placed on your luggage with the certain airline you choose puts the stress on you in regards to how little to pack and what to pack. One doesn’t want to leave the airport not having even gone on holidays yet and already be sitting extremely close to the baggage limit weight. Not only do you have to pack a suitcase but carry on luggage is just as important.
If you have a stop over for numerous hours or an overnight stay in a location before arriving to the city where your tour starts make sure to pack the essentials on your carry on baggage. Such as a small toothpaste, toothbrush, a hair brush, sanitary liners, undies and even a fresh set of clothes. This will result in you actually feeling human after a long flight. Be sure to keep your liquids under 100ml and place in a zip lock bag.
The stress of packing your suitcase for a trip is something no one enjoys. I find myself procrastinating until the night before I depart on packing and when I eventually do, I stress as I don’t know what to pack and how to pack it. The best way to pack I have found is to roll your clothing. Roll your items and start placing at the bottom of your suitcase, this saves space and results in your clothes not being as crinkled.
P.S a guide to carry on and suitcase packing is coming soon!
A recommendation is to scan your documents that you are taking with you and make numerous copies that you can leave in your suitcase, carry on and at home with family. Such things as your passport and visas if required for entry. It may seem tedious but it is wise because you can never know if it may go walk about and it is better to have a physical copy on you than nothing at all.
Stay tuned for more posts and the Topdeck Travel Tips on what to expect while on tour!