Various checklists that will make sure you have everything taken care of before you take off!

Preparing for Travel

Preparing for Travel

Before You Go...

Friends and family are always asking me When should I book? What should I prepare to go? While there is no straight forward response to these questions as it really depends on where you are going, there are some basic things you can do to prepare.

When to book. 
As soon as you know your dates. The further out you book, the better the deals. Most airlines and hotels will only release a rate a year out so you will have to wait for the 1 year point to pass. (ex. you are travelling May 2018, you can only book in June 2017). With hotels, grab the flexible rate so you can cancel it if a special price/promotion comes up. This is harder to do with airlines seats.
- Typically with Asia & Europe you want to book 9-11 months out especially if you are going during high season or festival season
- .With Latin America & Africa 3-5 months unless, again, it is high season or festival season.

Travel warnings. 
Before booking that dream vacation, look at your government's website for safety warnings. This is very important as it can void your insurance and you might get stuck if something happens. It can also prepare you for the worst case scenario. High risk of theft? Pack a dummy wallet. Rape prevalent? Don't go out alone or into isolated areas and watch your drinks. If you are Canadian, check

A lot of people don't full research their destination. Check out posts online and even guidebooks from your local library (or buy them). Chat with friends & family they usually know someone that has been or is from there. Research is the most important thing you can do as it can help you skip monsoon season (unless you want to get wet), allows you to know when the festivals are (it will be busy and lots of closed businesses), lets you know the customs (lots of Catholic countries close their businesses on Sundays), and more.

Preparing for Travel

Check the entry requirements. 
Do you need a passport? (more than likely), Do you need a visa? Can you apply for a visa upon entry? What do you need to apply for a visa? How long does your passport need to be valid for? Is your passport expired? Do you need to be vaccinated? Canadian? You can find info about passports here and entry requirements into Canada if you are returning can be found at

 Get your International Driving Permit and bring your actual drivers license. While the IDP really feels like an expensive souvenir showing that you rented a car, some countries do ask for it so make sure you spend the $35 and get it. Better to be prepared. If you are Canadian, more information can be found at

Visit a Travel Clinic. 
Contact your local travel clinic to see if there are any vaccinations that you might need and arrange for a time to get them. This can be very important as some countries will not allow you to enter without proof of a vaccine. It is better to check with the travel clinic than your doctor as the travel clinic will be more up to date if there have been changes. Canadian? You can find travel clinics at

Ask your Doctor.
 If you are taking medications, pack enough for the entire trip and make sure they are in their original packages. Also carry a letter from your doctor about the medications in case you are questioned about them. If you can get the doctor to write down the Latin name as well as the generic equivalent that would be extremely helpful as you can hand this to a pharmacist/chemist/doctor in the foreign country and they can track it down for you.

Preparing for Travel

Report your travel.
Give your itinerary and contact information to a friend and/or family member so they can get a hold of you. Same goes with the government. If you are travelling abroad, let the government know so if there are any emergencies/disasters/evacuations they know to look for you as well as how to contact you. The Canadian Government has an easy site to use,
If you do run into trouble, a list of overseas Embassies can be found at

Make copies. 
Always make copies of your passports, visas, insurance cards, and any other important items you are bringing with you. Normally I will give a copy of everything to a family member so if I have to evacuate quickly or get robed of everything, someone has a back up copy that I can get a hold of.

Travelling with a child? 
The Canadian government likes minors to travel with a consent letter if they are under 18/19 and sometimes it does need to be notarized. For more information on Canadian law requiring it, look on the Canadian Government's website
Consent letters issued from the government can be found here:

On the following pages are various basic checklists that you can use for your vacation. Remember, they are generic so you may see things that you would not normally pack, don't need, or something may be missing. Feel free to adjust and change as you need. There is a lot of very helpful planning and travel information on so make sure to visit pages such as:

Preparing for Travel

Pre-Booking Checklist

Do Research
Before you book check to see:
- do you need any visa's?
- do you need any inoculations? 
- are there any other requirements for entry? (ex. length of passport validity, amount of money in the bank, travel insurance, return ticket, etc)
- what safety issues may there be? (check government websites of the countries you are visiting & travelling from, the WHO as well as the Centre for Communicable Diseases)
- what other health risks may there be? (ex. Montezuma's revenge in Mexico). Any other health advisories? 
- how long are you allowed to stay in the country?
- do you have to have a return flight booked?

After you book continue to check on these items as countries can change their mind randomly and without warning. 

Also check seasonal risks - are you travelling during hurricane / rainy season?
Check Passport
What is the expiry date on your passport? Will you have time to renew it? Do you have enough pages for visas's?
Healthy Enough
Medically are you able to travel or are you limited on where you can go and for how long?
Risk Level
- If you are a single female, is it safe?
- Are you part of the Alphabet Mafia, is it safe?
- Where are the unsafe areas in the cities you are going that you should stay away from?
- Is it an extremely religious country, what cultural & religious rules must you follow?
Cell Phone
If you are going to buy a SIM card on location, can you unlock your phone? If so, go and unlock your phone.
Credit Card
Do you qualify for any credit cards that have low or no foreign transaction fees? If so, apply.
Social Media
Do not post about your trip until you are back from it

Preparing for Travel

Did You Book / Do You Need to Book?





Preparing for Travel

Basic Pre-Travel Checklist

Travel Clinic
If you require inoculations make sure to book an appointment to a local Travel Clinic. These clinics are more up to date on the requirements then regular doctors or walk in clinics.
A list of Canadian travel clinics can be found here:
Print Copies
Print copies of:
- all  travel documents (ex. passport, visa's, travel insurance, credit cards, driver's license, etc)
- all travel confirmations
- any emails that confirm items or state relevant information
- any medical approvals you may need for medications (as well as their Latin names in case you run out)
- any child travel approval letters
*if you feel comfortable, also scan these to a cloud program (ex. Google Drive) so you can access them where / whenever you might need to
Buy Insurance
Travel Insurance is usually cheaper if you buy it as a package (medical and cancellation) but if you do not need medical then make sure to at least get cancellation. Some plans only cover items booked within 24 hours of purchasing insurance so check before finalizing
Government Register
Before leaving make sure to register your travel with your government so you can receive help if there are any terrorist activities or natural disasters while you are in location. 
Doctor's Visit
If you are on any medications that a doctor prescribes visit to get extra, a note that okays you to travel with it, and the Latin name in case you run out. 
App It Up
Download and trial any app's you plan on using
Download any movies, videos, or music you may want
Purchase any items you may need or be missing.

Preparing for Travel

Generic Packing Checklist

Must Pack

Health / Medical

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Generic Situations


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Summer Vacation

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Winter Vacation

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7-12 months before departure

3-6 months prior to departure

2-3 months prior to departure

30 days prior to departure

1-2 weeks before departure

Preparing for Travel

Week of departure

1-2 days prior to departure

Day of

Enjoy your trip but keep us in mind!

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Safe Travels!

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