The current situation in the world has definitely made planning for and thinking about travel less than exciting. Most people have either had to postpone or completely cancel a highly anticipated trip due to the coronavirus pandemic. While I feel for all of those people who have had to miss out on a special time they had planned (myself included), let’s keep the travel spirit and inspiration alive and use this time to make our future travels even better.
I firmly believe that you can never be too prepared for traveling. Organization and preparedness can transform a nice trip into the perfect, unforgettable time of your life.
Since we have so much more time on our hands right now than ever before, why not make good use of it and do something that your future self will thank you for? Take my advice and do these 13 things now to prepare for your next trip. You’ll be glad you did!
*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
1. Research your next destination
Use all of your free time to do some research and find out where you want to travel next. Once you have landed on the perfect place, you can begin looking for activities, lodging and restaurants to create the perfect, detailed itinerary. Some key factors could be the affordability of traveling there, the means by which you’d get there and their current coronavirus situation.
Experts say that people will be more likely to begin traveling again by car before they are comfortable with flying. This is completely understandable, and if you’re one of these people, you may want to look into road trip destinations. Especially if you live in the United States, there are so many options of new places to see. Check out my post about my favorite road trip spots in the northeast. You could even plan on taking a road trip to Canada or Mexico after the borders are opened.
2. Create a travel budget
This is one of the first things you need to do when you are planning to take a trip. Obviously in order to travel, you need a way to pay for it.
Maybe you already have a travel fund going or you’re just thinking of starting. Either way, I have a whole post about building up or creating your travel fund and one dedicated to the ways of traveling cheap. You can check them out for more detailed tips on this topic.
3. Check on your passport
If you haven’t traveled in a while or ever, take the time now to make sure your passport is up to date or apply for it. As you probably know, American passports are good for ten years. Sometimes those deadlines can sneak up on you and cause some issues with your travel plans. To make sure this doesn’t happen, use this time to check that everything is good to go. There are sometimes long waiting periods for these kinds of documents, meaning now is the perfect time to get everything taken care of.
4. Make copies of your identification and passport
Most are aware that your passport is extremely important while traveling. Without it, you will not be able to do anything and you’ll even have an incredibly difficult time just trying to get home. It’s a good idea to always carry photocopies of your passport and other IDs, just incase something gets lost or stolen.
This can be an easy thing to overlook when you’re planning and packing for a trip. To make things easier on you in the future, make a few copies or your passport and ID and stick them in your carry-on bag now. That way, you’ll always have them if you need them and you don’t even have to think about it.
5. Clean your luggage
If you’re like me, you probably can’t remember the last time you cleaned your luggage, if you can even remember a time. Think about all the things your suitcases touch throughout your whole trip. They’re handled by lots of different people, the luggage carousel at the airport, the floor or trunk of the taxi or Uber, the floor of the hotel. Not to mention, if you’ve ever been on a beach trip, there’s definitely some little bits of sand still inside your bag because it’s so easy for it to get in but just about impossible to get out.
Give all your luggage a good scrub so when you go to pack for your next trip, you can feel good about putting all your clean clothes into a fresh and clean suitcase.
6. Organize your travel products
Anyone who has flown anywhere in the past couple decades knows those pesky rules about which products you can and can’t bring on a plane and what size everything has to be. I’m sure we can all relate to the struggle of searching all though the house the night before your flight for a container small enough to fit your face moisturizer.
Chances are, even though you know all the rules and think you’re following them, you’ve probably still had some items confiscated while going through security at the airport. This can take valuable time when you’re trying to catch your flight and also put a damper on things when you have to go without the products you normally use on your trip.
Go out now and stock up on travel size items or buy a set of small containers to fit all of the products you need. I recommend this amazing set of *TSA approved travel containers. It comes with different size containers to fit all of your products and a handy case to keep everything together. That way, you never have to worry about those issues again.
7. Create a sanitization kit
I think we all realize that travel as we used to know it is a thing of the past. Moving forward, cleaning and sanitizing are going to be extremely important and at the front of everyone’s minds.
Make a pre-packed sanitization kit with everything you might need for traveling in the future. Here are some of the items I recommend including:
- Travel size hand sanitizer
- Lysol wipes
- Small container of hand soap
- Single use mask
- Vitamin C tablets
Pack these items into a small ziplock bag so you can carry it with you everywhere you go and feel confident that you’re covered!
8. Download useful travel apps
I’ve mentioned in other posts how much I love my travel apps. They can be extremely helpful in certain situations and I’m not so sure how people ever traveled without them. If you download them ahead of time, you can try them out and make sure you’re comfortable using them before you begin your travels.
One that I especially love for navigating through cities is called Moovit. As I usually get around by public transit while traveling, this app has been my most used by far. It has the maps and schedules of all the public transportation systems in every city I’ve ever been to. Another app I use often to book travel such as trains or busses is Omio. I like to have this app because I can have all of my boarding information and tickets right on my phone where it is organized and won’t get lost.
9. Learn a language
Traveling to a new country where you don’t speak the language can be quite overwhelming. Luckily, there are lots of easy ways you can learn languages online or via apps on your phone. This way, you can learn some key words and phrases and feel more confident ordering at restaurants or asking for directions.
My favorite app for language learning is *Babel. This app has many different languages and you can use it to learn as much or as little as you have the time for. It’s very convenient to use and since it’s right on your phone, you can use it any place at any time! If you use the code above to sign up, you can save up to 25% too!
10. Get a travel journal
Bringing a small journal with you while you travel is a great way to record what you do each day while it is fresh in your mind. You can include emotions and feelings to make sure you never forget a single detail and have all of your memories organized in one place.
Jacob does this on a daily basis and it’s wonderful to be able to look back to what we did three years ago and remember some things that we otherwise might have forgotten. It’s important to be sure you get a sturdy journal that is small, so you can take it on all your adventures with you. I recommend this journal by *Matt Notebook.
11. Experiment with your travel photos
It’s always tough trying to figure out what to do with all of your amazing photos after taking a trip. You probably have a bunch just sitting on your phone from trips you’ve taken in the past.
Use this time to create something with them. Maybe you can start a scrapbook that you’ll add to the more you travel. Another great use is to create a collage on a wall in your house using your favorite photos from your favorite places. Doing this will also keep you inspired to do more traveling!
12. Read relevant travel books
Reading about places you want to travel to is a great way to learn more about the culture, food and best things to do. Maybe you don’t always have the time to read, but right now you do!
Check out some *ebooks that you can instantly download to your phone or tablet and get reading! This can help you satisfy your travel itch until you’re on the go again.
13. Create a travel bucket list
It’s an uncertain time right now and travel will be on hold for at least a little while longer. However, it’s important to remain optimistic and know that things are going to get better and you will get to see more wonderful places in this world. For now, do a little research and if you haven’t already, create your own travel bucket list.
Dream big on this one and make sure you include every single place you’ve ever wanted to see. If you need some inspiration, you can check out some of my Pinterest boards for some amazing destinations. Have fun with this and make it your own perfect list.