You’ve booked your flight and hotel. So, now what should you do until it’s time to go?
You need to prepare.
Perhaps you are the type of carefree traveller who throws their clothes into a suitcase an hour before heading to the airport. Maybe that works for you.
It definitely does not work for me.
After years of travelling, I have come to understand there are ways of making my travel experience better. More so as I get older and enduring long-haul flights is not as easy as it was 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 have developed ways to alleviate/overcome stress and worry.
Read on for 11 things I do before every overseas trip to keep healthy and ensure I remain stress-free during my trip.
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1. Building My Immune System
A month from my trip, I like to 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, and I don’t think it matters what you try. If it works for you to build a healthy immune system, then I would highly recommend taking it before travelling as prevention.
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2. Eat Clean
While I am talking health, I also like to try and eat clean for at least a week before I leave for my trip. 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 been over-indulging 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 am not saying I am perfect, far from it, but I do make sure to plan out my meals beforehand to prevent over-eating the foods I know trigger my IBS.
Once aboard the plane, I like to have a glass or two of wine. Not usually beforehand, but the onboard indulgence is an excellent way to start my trip.
Previously, I have ordered the gluten-free meals, but to be honest, I suffer just as much from overly processed gluten-free food than I do from gluten. So, I do my best to eat what I can, and because I have eaten well beforehand, my system seems to cope better if I indulge – a little.
While I am away, I try not to eat out every meal. Even if I am staying in a hotel, and don’t have an apartment with a kitchen, I find fresh food and fruit 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.
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. I pack carry-on luggage only, and every item in my luggage must be useful.
Planning identifies gaps in my wardrobe and allows me to purchase items ahead of time, giving me time to wear new things before heading off.
There is nothing worse than taking a cute new top on holiday, only to find that it is 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 what you know to be comfortable and travel-friendly.
I then like to do a pre-pack to make sure it all fits.
4. Get Fit
Hit the gym, go running, lift weights.
Ok, 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. Rather than deal with those consequences, I prepare. Travel is so much better when I am not constantly exhausted.
Having some fabulous yoga stretches up your sleeve to do in your hotel room is good too. Stretch before going out for the day and elevate your feet at the end will help immensely.
5. Check Travel Details
I stuffed up planning my last trip.
I booked a hotel on a wrong day. I had become lazy and instead of double, triple checking the details before booking, I went ahead anyway. Lesson learnt.
The current trip I am planning – my Camino walk with my daughter – 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 so I can review each step of my journey as I go. It is convenient to have everything in the one document.
6. Organise a Travel Sim Card
A lot of travellers will tell you to buy a sim card at the airport when you arrive. Easy.
But not for 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.
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7. Exchange Money Before You Go
Following the same principle as above, a lot of travellers wait until they have landed at their destination and withdraw local currency from the ATM in the airport.
I know that works for a lot of people, but I like to be prepared. I also don’t want to have to worry about finding an ATM when I land.
One of my travel community members stated on one of their trips the ATM at the airport wasn’t working, and it was hard getting the cash they needed straight away.
I want to get off the plane and get out of the airport.
I order currency before leaving 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. Plan How to Get to Your Accommodation
Waiting until you arrive to work out how you to get to your hotel may cause a certain amount of anxiety.
At least know if there are shuttle buses, and how much money you will need. Or if there is a train terminal, and how you will purchase your tickets and which train line to take.
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 up).
Have a game plan. Know when you land how you will get to your location. Walking around, looking lost at an airport makes you an easy target for scammers and pickpockets.
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 have access to 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. 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.
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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, which builds anticipation and makes it far more enjoyable once there.
I like to read blog posts. Even though most people share the main attractions, most bloggers will include their personal experiences, a great way to gain a different perspective on what you will find on a tourism website.
I make notes on where to eat or shop and other information that will make my visit more interesting.
What do you do to prepare for travel?