A Checklist Of Things To Do Before Embarking On Your First Trip

Get the basics covered.

One of my biggest deterrents to travelling, aside from the cost, has always been all the preparation that’s involved. There’s lots of preparation.

In organising my upcoming trip overseas, I had to start from square one — I didn’t even have a passport. Here is everything I’ve gone through in preparation, so you’ll know what to expect.

Get A New Birth Certificate

Trust me, your parents have lost your birth certificate. It always happens. Save yourself the hassle and order a new one.

You’ll also need proof of citizenship, even if you were born in Australia, to get one. If you don’t have citizenship papers you can prove it by descent, so you’ll need a parent’s passport or birth certificate handy too.

Get Your Passport

A Checklist Of Things To Do Before Embarking On Your First Trip

Now you need to get your passport. Lucky, it can mostly be done online. Here’s a quick list of the big things you’ll need prepared for your application:

  • Proof of citizenship: Here’s where you’ll need your birth certificate and whatever documentation you’re going to use for proof of citizenship.
  • Referee: Someone non-family who doesn’t live with you and can vouch for your identity.
  • Proof of identification: your licence, proof of age card, medicare card, credit card, utility bill, something with your current address on it.

Then you need to hand in your application with all the original documents at the post office.

You’ll also need passport photos, which is part of your post office appointment. Passport photo rules are crazy strict (they even have rules for babies), and your passport can even be rejected for having your photos cut wrong.

Post offices do passport photos all the time, so let them take care of everything and you’ll be fine.

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance sounds like an annoying expense, but if you think of how much can go wrong, it’s definitely worth it.

I’d suggest spending more on a good policy. It will cover more, pay out more if you have sudden expenses, and a good policy will give you proper medical care.

The minute you buy your policy you’re covered. So if something happens months out from your trip and you can’t go, you can claim against it.

Just make sure to read everything around how your policy works, you don’t want to get caught out by not following the steps to get cover.

Adaptors, Suitcases, Appropriate clothes

You need those big, solid, hard shell travel cases with wheels and the telescopic handles. That gym bag you use for sleepovers isn’t going to cut it.

It’s also a good idea to check what adaptors you need, especially if you’re going to multiple places and need a couple.

And remember, if you’re crossing hemispheres you’ll end up in the complete opposite season. There’s nothing worse than being dressed for winter on the plane and getting off in the heat of summer.

Figure Out Flights And Hotels

A Checklist Of Things To Do Before Embarking On Your First Trip

Flights and hotel rooms will be the most expensive part of your trip. Not only that, but their price fluctuates all the time.

There are other options to save, such as how far away from main attractions you stay or how many stopovers you’re willing to make. Sometimes a little inconvenience can make for big savings.

Research, Research, Research

The best way to get the best value for money is to research the shit out of where you’re going. You want to leave wherever you’re going feeling like there was still more to see.

Download apps, buy Lonely Planet guides – the lot! Also, check out the Smart Traveller website. Make sure there aren’t any nasty surprises waiting for you.