Proper planning can not only help you get the most out of your trip, but can also help you avoid making costly mistakes, avoid health and safety problems and more easily cope with the unexpected.

Here is a simple, straight-forward checklist of the most important stuff. Before you race off, give this a once over just to make sure you haven’t forgotten something important:

  • Passport: You need this - check the expiry date as you need at least 6 months validity, also make sure you have blank pages for any visa stamps.
  • Visas: Check if the countries you are going to need visas and give yourself time as some countries are slow to issue Visas.
  • Tickets: Doing this several months in advance can save you money, don’t wait till the last minute to get your tickets.
  • Travel Insurance: Don’t leave for a trip without it. Accidents can and will happen sometimes.
  • Photocopies: Photocopy your passport, visa, credit cards, airplane ticket and any other important documents. Leave one copy at home (with someone you can trust), take one with you. For added safety - scan the documents and e-mail them to yourself so you have a backup online.
  • Health Checkup & Shots: Make sure your shots are up-to-date and check if you need to be worried about Malaria, Dengue or anything else.
  • Packing: Make sure you have everything you need - but pack light. Pack up everything you want to take. Now unpack it and throw away about half of it!
  • Close up the House: Make sure the bills are paid while you are gone. Fido: arrange for someone to take care of the dogs, cats, birds… What about mail - if you pile up in the mailbox it can be signal to thieves that you are gone.
  • Contacts: Let the important people know that you will be gone so they don’t worry. For safety, someone should always know where you are going. Also have some way for people to get in touch with you in an emergency - e-mail works great.
  • Have Fun! Don’t worry, Be Happy!