Five tips when getting ready for your next trip

It’s that time of year again — the sun is shining, adventure is calling, flights are on sale and suddenly you’ve booked a trip to Western Europe, Iceland, or South East Asia.

Regardless of the destination on your ticket, every trip begins with getting ready for it, so here’s a few friendly tips for when you start your travel preparations.

1. Make sure your passport is valid for your entire trip — and longer.

While you may have kept your passport safe by tuckingit away in your drawer all year, it also means you may have neglected the expiry date. Every country has different entry/exit documentation requirements — European countries won’t let non-EU residents enter unless the traveler’s passport is valid for at least 3 months after the day they intend on leaving the country.

Keep in mind that applying or renewing your passport — regardless of where you’re from — takes time, so this should be one of the first things you check on your list. The last thing you want is to be refused entry once you’re already there because of a slight oversight.

For Canadians travelling abroad, see here for entry/exit requirements for your destination. 

2. Pack as light as possible.

Consider your trip carefully before you begin packing — how long are you going? What is the weather like? If you’re backpacking, remember that you’ll be consistently travelling with your luggage. If you’re only going for a week, do you really need that eighth pair of jeans? Pick clothing items that can be mixed and matched and can last multiple wears.

Keep in mind that your luggage is all you’ll have — so keep valuables on your carry on, make sure that you can actually carry it, and always, always pack extra underwear. Don’t forget that different airlines also have different baggage restrictions, so make sure to check with the airline to see what they allow.

3. Take photocopies of all your travel documents and keep them in several places.

While we tend to believe the best in people, most places that are high in tourists are also high in pickpockets, scammers, and thieves. Take copies of all of your ID and travel documents and keep them in different discreet places, so that even if you lose your purse, or get get pick-pocketed, you’ll have an easier time regaining your documents.

4. Expect the weather to be awful — and then plan accordingly.

When planning a trip, it’s easy to expect that the weather will be perfect — because after all, it is your little getaway — but instead, plan your itinerary and trip around the idea that the weather may not cooperate. This way, it ensures that you’re not left without anything to do — and if the weather happens to be great, then, well, the odds have been ever in your favour.

5. …But also plan for your plans to fall apart.

One of the greatest caveats of travelling is that as much as you may plan, things can always — and probably will, change. When preparing for your trip, keep flexibility in mind — this includes booking exchangeable tickets in case you miss the 6 a.m. train, booking return tickets for at least 12 hours before you have to be back to leave room for delays, and most importantly remembering that when things start to digress from your plan, it’s all a part of the adventure.

While everyone gets ready for their trip in their own way, keep these five tips in mind, and happy adventuring!

Jenny Jay