For the first time in my 21 years of living, I am headed overseas in the month of October. I’m only going for seven days, and it also happens to be a cruise so there won’t be any intense 24 hour flights or anything. You see, in October, my best friend turns 21 and instead of having a party, we decided to organise a cruise with P&O Cruises to the islands of Vanuata and New Caledonia.
Since this is my first overseas adventure and I’m doing everything (well, most things) for the first time, I’ve decided to turn it into a three part blogging venture that I can share with you guys, including the before you go checklist; one week before your trip: what to do; and of course; what to do upon arriving home.
I am an absolute newbie at this, at travelling great distances, at cruises and the entire process that goes into travelling overseas, but I think that makes it all the more exciting because I get to share it with you guys and learn from your stories (that I would love for you to share in the comments section below). Because I am a total newbie at overseas travel this series will be based purely on what I learn along the way!
So, it’s just over two months until we set off and although it is quite some time away, there are always things to be organising to ensure that you are secure, safe and ready for your adventure.
So, what should you have organised before the two and a half month period?
Bookings- This includes hotel accommodation, travel via buses, trains and the hiring of cars whilst in the new country you are exploring, the cruise if that’s your chosen travel and of course your flights to and from the destination!
Passport- I believe it can take up to two months from when you start filling out forms, through the interview, photograph, confirmation that you are a real person right up until you receive your passport. So be sure you get in early! Note: It’s also not a cheap process so you may want to give yourself a few months extra to save up some dollars.
Travel insurance- Okay so for most of you, it’s going to be quite simple to find a company who will insure you. However, I found that as someone with a chronic health condition, it was a load more difficult, especially considering the countries we are travelling to and the health threats associated with these places (Currently: Zika Virus). I did eventually find a rad little company called STA Travel, to insure me for an unlimited amount if anything were to occur whilst overseas (touchwood). Note: This also isn’t always necessarily cheap, so take this into account when saving up beforehand. But also don’t let the cost deter you from getting the insurance, it’s majorly important!
If you’ve already completed these three incredibly important aspects of your travel then well done, you’ve pretty much got all the difficult and timely stuff completed! Unfortunately though, you still have some things to organise beforehand.
Vaccinations- It’s recommended you get your necessary vaccinations at least six weeks before you begin your travel adventures! This is something I’m yet to ask my GP about, but will be doing so in the next week (I should probably be panicking). Also take note that, depending on where you are travelling, depends on what vaccinations you are going to need, so ask your GP at least a few months before you travel so as to not leave yourself fretting at the last minute.
Money-Another aspect of my travel I am yet to even consider, but alas, a massively important one. Considering I am going on a cruise, and only spending a few days actually on land, I’m not too worried about this aspect; I’ll definitely be converting a few of my Australian dollars to Vatu (Vanuatu Vatu) and Franc (CFP Franc), but won’t be needing loads of it. If you are travelling for longer than seven days and won’t be spending most of your time on a cruise, definitely make this a priority and be sure to do loads of research so you can convert your money when the Dollar is the most affordable for you! Note: Some cruises will require you to have another type of dollar whilst on board, so check that out before you decide you don’t need to be making any money conversions!
Travel sim- This is so self-explanatory, but basically if you want to be able to use your phone overseas, one of the cheapest ways it to purchase a travel sim either before your travel or while you’re overseas (I prefer beforehand though so you know you have it, rather than trying to find one over there!)
Doctor’s Letters- This one is a major one for me since I have medications that I need to be taking overseas. Not everyone has to take medications but it would be an idea to get your doctor to write up a letter for an asthma puffer if you need one and even smaller medications like painkillers-it’s way better to be safe than sorry!
The last few check points that I’ve come up with are definitely my favourite because they really solidify the fact that you are soon to be embarking on an overseas adventure!
Research- I definitely suggest researching months in advance a bunch of different places that you want to travel and then narrow it down from there because you’ll never know which places suit you the best in that particular stage of your life if you don’t research! However, once you’ve completed all the above check points, then start researching the country (or countries, if you are lucky enough to be headed to more than one!) that you are travelling to. It’s super cool and super respectful to have even the slightest understanding of the country and its people before you actually land. In this process you might want to check out if the country has any particular dress codes that you should be respecting, any cultural differences to keep note of and if they speak another language. If they do speak another language it will be really cool of you to learn a few phrases before you go: it’s a huge sign of respect toward the people whose land you’ll be exploring.
Organise your trip- For my best friend and I, this meant booking our Island tours just last week, as well as finding out what theme nights will be on the cruise and starting to find costumes for them. If you’re going on a cruise, your possible island tours won’t be out until around 2 months before the trip, as well as the actual schedule of what’s happening on the ship while you’re aboard-but when they come out, book your tours! I don’t know how fast tours book out, but it’s less stress to just get in early, check out the tours and if there’s any that take your fancy then just book them. Ensure variety though, you don’t want to be doing the same thing at each port! There’s also always going to be at least one theme night while you’re on board, so have a look at them and then start searching for your costumes! If you aren’t going on a cruise, check out if there are any tours where you are headed. You might be able to explore more of the country if you can take part in some guided tours. Either way, always check out all your options, you don’t want to be thinking I wish we had done that, six months after your holiday!
As I’ve mentioned, there are roughly two and a half months before I set off, with my best friend, to a brand new country on a brand new adventure. This checklist is just a bunch of things that I have had to organise before my trip, but since I’m a total overseas virgin, if I’ve missed anything essential, or you think I should be doing something else then let me know in the comments section, I’d love to hear it!
I am so thrilled that I have the opportunity to share this adventure and this three part blogging series with you guys, as well as the adventures I experience on the Islands that I’ll definitely be blogging about!
Where have you travelled to before? Do you have any upcoming adventures? Let me know in the comments section.