These days most of us are traveling more than our parents or grandparents did. We travel all over the world and only think of the jet lag, and not the vast distances we cover. Our world has become smaller and more reachable thanks to all the modern technology and advancements in travel. This is a good thing. Traveling helps us to understand different cultures, different people with different ways of living and different ways of work working. Most of all it allows us to connect and make lasting friendships all over the world. 

But there are a few essentials you should always check before setting off.

1. Take time to find out the obvious. It may seem silly, but many people don’t bother to find out the most basic things about their destination. You should do this to avoid surprise or disappointment.

2. Check on the weather. If you live in Arizona and travel to northern Greenland, you will be in for a shock unless you know that much colder weather is normal there. This will also help you with deciding on what to pack for  your trip. You don’t want to take 4 pairs of shorts when you really need jeans.

3. Medical insurance. Get it. You would be surprised to know how many people actually travel without medical traveler’s insurance. Being covered by a plan through your employer isn’t always enough. Many have a clause regarding treatment in other countries. Be sure that the medical and general insurance coverage you have is adequate for your destination.

4. All those documents. Do you have all the paperwork and documentation required for your trip? If not, get it! This includes things like passwords, access to wills and things of that nature. You never know what could happen. This also includes any documents required for traveling such as immunization records and birth certificates if that country requires it.

Don’t forget a list of personal information such as addresses, person to contact, and a list of phone numbers in case you lose your phone or something should happen to you.

5. Speaking of immunization – Are there any diseases you will need immunization against where you are going? Check and find out before getting exposed. There are some countries that won’t let you through the airport gates if you are not immunized.

6. Drivers license. If you plan on driving in the place you intend to travel to, check that you have an acceptable licence. While most countries allow for a U.S.A. license, some won’t.  You may be required to get a temporary international drivers licence. Are you familiar with the local driving laws where you are going? If not, become familiar, fast.

7. Finally, the most obvious one of all: is your passport up to date? And if not, do you have enough time to renew it before you set off?  If not, you may be forced to pay for rushed processing to get it updated and sent back in time. You’d be surprised, amazed even, at how many people get this one wrong.