11 Things you should do before travelling overseas

You’ve booked your flight and hotel. So, now what should you do until it’s time to go?

You need to prepare.

This guide talks about health, practical tips, and more to ensure you have the best trip possible—no nasty surprises.

Perhaps you are the type of carefree traveller who throws their clothes into a suitcase an hour before heading to the airport. I envy you.

I definitely cannot do that.

After years of travelling, I have come to understand how to make my travel experience better. But, more so, as I get older, enduring long-haul flights is not as easy as in my 20’s.

The following points are what works for me. I do suffer from anxiety, and fear can take hold. Over time, I developed ways to alleviate/overcome stress and worry. 

I do the following eleven before every overseas trip to keep healthy and ensure I remain stress-free during my trip.

11 Ways to Prepare for Overseas Travel

1. Build My Immune System

A month before a trip, I take Olive Leaf Extract daily to boost my immune system. 

I have been doing this for several years now and, fingers crossed, I have not had any illness while travelling. 

I also take it at home if I feel that niggle of a sore throat or the onset of a cold. 

There are other supplements on the market that people swear by. Find what works for you and build a healthy immune system. If you don’t already, I highly recommend you start taking it before our next overseas trip.

2. Eat Clean

While I am talking about health, let’s talk about diet. First, I try and eat clean for at least a week before I depart. This is because I suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and have a sensitive digestive system.

Flying makes my stomach blow up like a balloon, and even more so if I have over-indulged in things sensitive to my stomach. Whatever gas is already in your system will expand. Yep, it’s a thing people don’t want to talk about. But most of us are more “gassy” when flying. It’s a proven, scientific fact!

I do indulge with a glass or two of wine. I know it’s not recommended due to its dehydrating effect, but a girl’s got to have one nice way to kick off a holiday, don’t you think? 

Previously, I ordered gluten-free meals. But I find them bland and full of processed foods anyway, which affect my digestive system too, more so than gluten. I do my best to eat what I can, and if I have been eating clean before my trip, my system seems to cope with a small indulgence here and there.

While travelling, I don’t eat every meal out. Even if I stay in a hotel and don’t have an apartment with a kitchen, I find fresh food from a supermarket or food market to eat for breakfast or lunch, even for dinner on those nights I am too exhausted to go out.

Picnics in my room are a favourite.

3. Plan and PrePack

I like to preplan my travel wardrobe and do a pre-pack. 

Planning my travel wardrobe ensures I don’t overpack. For example, I pack carry-on luggage only, and every item in my luggage must be useful. 

Pre-planning identifies gaps in my wardrobe which I can purchase ahead of time, allowing me to wear new things before leaving. 

There is nothing worse than taking a cute new top on holiday, only to find it uncomfortable, itchy or anything other than perfect.

As tempting as it is to take a suitcase full of gorgeous new clothes, you should only take clothes you know to be comfortable and travel-friendly.

I then like to do a pre-pack to make sure it all fits.

My pre-packing was supervised!

4. Get Fit

Hit the gym, go running, lift weights. 

Ok, I’m joking. I am.

But if that’s your thing, then go for it.

For me, it means going on regular walks to build my fitness. 

When I travel, I walk a lot! And my poor legs and feet usually suffer shock. So rather than deal with those consequences, I prepare. Travel is so much better when I am not constantly exhausted.

Having some easy yoga stretches to do in your hotel room is good too. Stretch before going out for the day, and elevating your feet at night will help immensely.

I follow Yoga with Adriene, and this legs up the wall exercise is brilliant for aching legs and feet after a long walk.

5. Check Travel Details

I stuffed up planning my last trip to Italy. 

I booked a hotel on the wrong date. But, unfortunately, I had become lazy, and instead of double-checking the details before booking, I went ahead anyway. Lesson learnt.

For the current trip I am planning – my Camino walk, I have triple checked everything. Not the actual walk itself that will play out as we go, but getting to the tiny town of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France.

It is not a straightforward journey from Australia, so I have found myself continually checking dates and times for flights, stopovers and numerous train journeys.

When planning your trip, ask yourself –

  • Does everything flow smoothly from one place to the next?
  • Do your dates line up?
  • Have you checked your dates for arrival and departure are correct?
  • Is there enough time between transfers in airports and train stations?

I have my Daily Schedule handy at all times to review each step of my journey as I go. It is convenient to have everything in one document.

6. Organise a Travel Sim Card

A lot of travellers suggest you buy a sim card at the airport upon arrival.

Not me. I don’t know about you, but when I arrive at my destination after two long haul flights and travelling for over 30 hours, I can’t make sense out of anything! Let alone trying to find a sim card for my phone.

And the last time I tried to use the free wifi at an airport, it was hit and miss. 

I bought myself and my daughter a travel sim card and data pack for our upcoming Camino trek. The sim card can be used anywhere in Europe. It was easy – purchase the sim card and choose the data pack you want. Typically, I use the free wifi available at my accommodation, but I want to be able to use my phone at all times while we are walking the Camino.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 10 Ways to Stay Safe Travelling

7. Exchange Money Before You Go

Following the same principle as above, many travellers wait until they land at their destination and withdraw local currency from the ATM in the airport. 

I prefer to be prepared. I don’t want to find an ATM when I land. I want to get out and on my way.

A travel community member stated that the ATM at the airport wasn’t working on one of her trips, and it was hard to get the cash they needed straight away.

I order currency before leaving home and disperse it throughout my luggage. Make sure you order smaller denominations, useful for taxi rides, train fares or a much-needed cup of coffee.

8. Know how you will get to your Accommodation

Waiting until you arrive to work out how you get to your hotel may cause a certain amount of anxiety. 

At least know your options – airport shuttle, taxi, uber, private pickup or train. Know how much money you will need. If you are taking the train, know which terminal the train station is located. Find out how you will purchase your tickets and which train line to take. Possibly pre-purchase your ticket if that is going to help.

If Uber is your preferred method, check if available at your destination or if they can pick you up from the airport (a lot of cities only allow taxis to pick you up).

Know where you are going and go with confidence.

9. Store Passwords for Apps and Websites

I save bank account, booking sites, social media accounts and other relevant passwords in one secure location.

I use LastPass.

Then all I have to do is remember one password for LastPass and access everything I need. 

10. Copy all Documents

Copy your passport and travel documents. Keep copies throughout your luggage to have on hand in case you lose anything.

I also scan, photograph and copy documents to save in Dropbox. Then, I share that folder with my partner. That way, we both have access to my travel documents at any time.

You can use any other cloud file hosting service, or you could email everything to yourself and trusted family and friends.

11. Do Your Research

Know something about your location. Perhaps a bit more than the main sights and attractions.

By researching, you learn about your destination, building anticipation and making exploring your new location more meaningful.

I like to read blog posts. Even though many bloggers share the main attractions, some will include personal experiences, a great way to gain a different perspective on what you will find on a tourism website.

I make notes on places to eat and shop and relevant information I think will make my trip more interesting.

What do you do to prepare for travel?

Cindy x

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Cindy Reid

Cindy is the founder of Travel Charm and her exclusive Travel Club. She is passionate about travel and planning and loves nothing more than helping travellers plan their best trips and fulfil their travel dreams.

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