Now that you have your budget and destination sorted out, you can begin to pre-book your travel essentials. Read my top 8 travel essentials that should be pre-booked to ensure that you have a stress-free time upon arrival.
The first thing to do is to book your flights. Be sure to check comparison sites like Google Flights and my favourite Skyscanner to see which airline has the best deal.
Skyscanner also has a handy feature that allows you to enter a month and it will suggest the cheapest days to fly on within that month. You can also select the ‘cheapest month’ option and it will suggest which month you should consider travelling in.
Don’t forget to check the airline site in case they are running any promotional offer, or offering an incentive if you book directly through them. Some airlines will give you extra points if you book directly through them.
Whichever method you choose, make sure you book your flight! Also ensure your luggage is covered, as some airlines may ask you to buy your luggage quantity separately.
2. Pre-Book Accommodation
Whether you want to book your accommodation for your entire trip or plan it as you go along, you should always ensure that you have a hotel pre-booked for your arrival.
Not only does this make it stress-free, but immigration will ask you to declare your residency address upon arrival. They may even ask to see proof of booking in the form of an itinerary.
When it comes to accommodation, Skyscanner, Expedia, Hotels.com, and Booking.com are a few of the many sites available to book your hotel. They also work well for hostels.
If you would rather go for a bed and breakfast, then consider Airbnb. On many occasions, Airbnb has been my go-to option and I have only had wonderful experiences so far. But be always sure to check the reviews from past guests.
3. Visa & Supporting Travel Documents
If you haven’t already, be sure to know what the entry requirements are for the country that you plan on travelling to. You can obtain these details from the government websites or you can contact the embassy directly.
Things to consider are:
- That your passport will be valid for up to 6 months after your return date at the very minimum. Immigration can be very strict about this. If it is close to expiry I would highly suggest you get it renewed.
- That you apply for the relevant visa if it’s required pre-arrival as not all visas may available upon arrival. They may also be cheaper if you pre-book them.
- That you have all supporting documentation, as some countries may require a character reference or an invitation letter.
4. Travel Insurance
As I mentioned in my previous posts, if you have enough money to travel then you have enough money to purchase insurance. This is non-negotiable.
My advice is to purchase annual insurance, which could cost just a little more than single trip insurance and you won’t have to worry about it for another year. Comparethemarket.com is one of the many sites that you can use to compare the various insurances out there.
Make sure it covers the destinations you plan on travelling to, as well as any activities you plan to undertake. If you are travelling to a country that’s prone to mother nature’s wrath, be sure you will be covered for the worst-case scenario. Likewise, if you have any medical conditions.
5. Travel Vaccines
Always speak to your doctor practice before any travels to ensure that you have all the required vaccines. If proof of vaccination is required to get past immigration, be sure to get a copy of this from your Doctor.
Be sure to have these done at least four weeks before your travel, as some people may develop a fever or other symptoms as an immune response.
6. Pre-Book SIM Card
Regardless of if you’re trying to get away from everything, always ensure that you have a SIM card in your phone for emergency situations and to check in with your loved ones.
I like to pre-book my SIM card on Klook and pick it up at the airport as soon as I arrive. They always give you written and visual directions, so it will only add a few minutes to your travel plans.
7. Pre-Book Activities
Now I know this is controversial, as some people prefer to pre-book online, whilst others prefer to book once they arrive at their destination so that they are able to bargain.
I hate bargaining and I like to know I’m booking with a reputable company with raving reviews, so I prefer to pre-book online. I’ve also noticed that their health and safety is on par with the West, whereas it was ignored on the occasions I booked locally.
As a starter, I always like to contact the hotel and ask them for their prices, as they usually partner with a tour agency that offers a full menu of activities.
I then compare this with some of the most popular recommendations online that offer the sights and activities that I want to see and do. Always be sure to verify the seller before booking, TripAdvisor is a good way of doing this.
8. Pre-Book Airport Transfers
In some destinations, Uber and Grab are readily available so you will be able to book your taxi as soon as you arrive. However, in other destinations, you will have to opt for a taxi, bus, or train and most of these are generally cheaper if you pre-book them.
It’s also reassuring to know there is a trusted vehicle waiting for you after a long flight. The last thing you want to worry about is being in a dodgy taxi or trying to find a ride home as soon as you land in a country.