Forget Something? Your Ultimate Pre-Trip Travel Checklist

in

You've planned, you've saved, you've booked time off work, but in all the haste it's easy to forget the little essential items that can make a big difference. Board that plane with confidence by going through this last-minute holiday checklist.

Photo Credit: iStock.com

Check Your Passport

• Make sure it’s valid, of course. But remember, many countries also require a minimum six-month cushion period from the expiration date.
• When deciding on your destination, visit travel.gc.ca to check its entry requirements.

Travel Visas

• Luckily for us, many nations have waived the need for an entry-visa for Canadian travellers. But many other countries do still require them.
• Before you book, make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to acquire and complete the proper paperwork from foreign government offices in Canada

Vaccinations

• Certain countries need proof that you’ve received specific vaccines (e.g. yellow fever) with an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis before they’ll let you leave the airport. 
• Go to iamat.org to look up your destination’s health-care guidelines. 

Medications and Prescriptions

• Fill out regular prescriptions to last you the full length of your trip, plus a few extra days’ worth, in case the trip gets prolonged. And bring the prescription note with you!
• Get the address and contact information of the hospital or medical centre nearest to where you’ll be staying. Confirm that an employee speaks the same language as you or someone you’re travelling with.

Health Insurance

• Any time you leave Canada, it’s crucial to have extended health insurance. In fact, certain countries require proof of insurance upon entry.
• Most banks have reasonably priced travel-insurance policies with fees that are calculated by the number of days you’re out of the country.
• If you have a travel-rewards credit card, it’s likely to have built-in insurance. Call your provider to see what’s covered and what’s not — for instance, if you’re planning on parasailing, you may not be covered for any accidents that occur while strapped to a speeding motorboat.

Register with a Canadian Consulate

• By notifying the Canadian government of your travel plans, you’ll receive up-to-date info if there is an emergency in the region you’re visiting, or if something goes wrong back home while you’re abroad.
• Registering also provides quicker access to consular services, in the event you need to use them while on holiday.
• You can register online at travel.gc.ca, or in person at a Canadian consulate or embassy. 

Banks and Credit Cards

• Don’t forget to put a travel note on your credit card before you leave! It could save you a lot of hassle when trying to make purchases while out of the country.
• It’s also a good idea to let your bank know of your precise travel plans if you’re planning on using your debit card.

Cellphone and Internet Coverage

• Avoid the shock of a massive bill when you get back—check with your provider about their international roaming rates, and inquire about whether they have data packages for the area you’ll be visiting.
• Make sure you’ve got mapping services on your phone, in case your sense of direction decides to leave you mid-excursion.
• And don’t forget your charger (take a moment to research whether your destination has compatible plugs and voltage)

Local Currency

• Even if you’re planning on using a credit card, having an emergency cache of local currency (and U.S. dollars, if commonly used as a secondary currency) is a must.
• Stash away enough cash to get you out of jam (i.e. cab fare, a night at a hotel and a meal) and have a stack of small bills for tipping, if that’s the custom in the country you’re visiting.
• It’s usually cheaper to exchange currency at your local bank branch than at an airport or private kiosk. Try and get into one before your departure date.

Luggage Weight

• Many airlines have recently changed the maximum weight and dimensions allowed both for checked and carry-on luggage.
• Check your carrier’s website for their up-to-date luggage allowances, so that you don’t get stuck at the airport with extra stuff and nowhere to put it.

Host Country Gifts

• Not all countries have access to what we Canadians would consider “the basics” (i.e. kids’ toothbrushes, hair elastics, reading glasses). Before going, head to your local dollar store and stock up on giveaway items for newfound friends on your trip.
• It’s an even bigger gesture if you take a little time to research what products are most needed by the locals of your destination country.

Other Misc. Important Items

• Feminine hygiene products
• Eye drops and contact lens solution
• Children’s pain or fever medication
• Bug repellant and after-bite lotion

Are we missing anything? Have you ever travelled somewhere and discovered that you forgot something essential? Let us know in the comments below!

Emma Yardley is a freelance travel writer who splits her time between Toronto and Vancouver. Follow Emma Yardley at @emmajmyardley on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Also on CBC