So now we’ve been talking about getting things prepared like backpacks and clothes, now I want to provide you with the ultimate preparation kit, all that other really important stuff. Now, when I started planning, I knew there was a lot to do but you really do, have to be seriously organised my loves, especially with getting that travel money all together (oh yes!).
Reaching the month mark before your trip, is when it really gets going. So here are the most important lessons I have learnt about planning a big, dreamy, world trip.
- Put a designated amount of money away each month into a seperate bank account, preferably on the day you get paid. As soon as you move it away from your regular account, you can forget about it – just think of it as a big bill you’re paying off. Then once you look at the total mounting up – you will feel so good about saving it and not splurging it (I promise!).
- Go to your travel agent, as many times as you like, to get ALL the facts and weigh out all your options. When you do go to book it – try and have an idea of dates and time-frames in mind. I was in the travel agents for over 2 hours booking this trip because I hadn’t pinpointed the finer details – do it in advance!
If you’re a little unsure about how helpful the agent is, who is booking your trip, don’t go ahead – ask to speak to someone else. I met a mixture of really helpful and kinda unhelpful people…hold out for the good ones and give them the booking (they should get the commission after all).
AT LEAST 3 months before your trip look into your vaccinations. It is a little bit of a nightmare so best to prepare in advance. I had a real game trying to sort out finding a doctor who could do the majority of them for me. One thing I learnt was that not all doctors have the vaccinations in stock, which means you have to go to a pharmacy, chill them in a fridge and then take them to the doctor’s yourself.
- Be prepared to move doctors. My doctor in my hometown didn’t have hardly any of the jabs in stock and was pretty unhelpful with organising my appointments, even though they knew I was travelling from London for them. So I decided to move my records to a local surgery near my flat. As a result of my bad experience at home, I started to ask questions when I called the local surgeries, to make sure they could do what I wanted. So I recommend asking:
- Will you do the injections 3 months in advance? (If a place says no – they will only do them 6 weeks in advance, then that is no good – you want it in advance to see if you have any bad reactions. Doing them in advance is very sensible & takes the stress out of sorting them).
- Can you do Hepatitus A&B as a combined injection? (Saves time and money – my surgery at home would only do Hep A & Typhoid and made out I was going to have to get Hep B done elsewhere. Let me assure you the combined injection can be done on the NHS and saves a lot of time – it can also be done on an accelerated course over 3 weeks so check about that if necessary).
- Can you write me a prescription for Malaria tablets? (Cheaper than getting them from a travel clinic as you can shop around for them).
- Can you write me a prescription for Japanese Encephalitis (enc) and Rabies jabs. These can be very expensive to get at travel clinics, so a prescription is MUCH cheaper way of getting these jabs. But unfortunately, it seems a fair few surgeries won’t write prescriptions for these, so be prepared to fork out at a travel clinic. If you can get a prescription for any travel medicine, do a bit of price-comparison work at a variety of pharmacies and see how much you can get them for.
- Girls, seriously look into a longer-lasting method of contraception (implant, coil, injection) and get it sorted now – see how you get on with it, then if there are any issues you can change it prior to your leaving date.
- Look into your visas now and check how far in advance you can apply for them. Read all the small print and be sure about everything that is required of you. (Seriously important to be on top of these – even if you can’t do them until nearer the time, get reading about them and you will have no nasty surprises then).
- Start buying your travel gear (you will be amazed how long it takes to find the right pair of walking shoes, the right backpack, the right sleeping bag – try the stuff on, examine it, scrutinise it all, shop around (online and in stores). I’ve been very impressed with Blacks, Outdoor Clearance & Mountain Warehouse.
- Read High Heels and a Head Torch by Chelsea Duke (I cannot emphasise how helpful this book is with all the lists, the pre-travel advice & her quirky jokes – it is BRILLIANT). As she advises; wear in your walking shoes in now, start thinking about your leaving do and write them lists!
But remember as much of a pain this organising may feel like, THIS is what you’re going to experience:
Be excited, be very excited!
Love and suncream Em xoxox