Your pre-departure checklist

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Don’t leave home without getting the essentials in check!

Your passport

OK, you’ve probably thought of this one already, but check the expiry date. Some countries require at least six months’ validity. And if you have to renew, make sure you leave plenty of time, especially during peak vacation periods. Visa requirements can also change over time so don’t assume it’s the same arrangement as before if returning somewhere familiar.

Pre-book and save

Book in advance before getting to the airport for parking and holiday money. Even if you do so on the morning of your trip you’ll save. If picking up pre-booked currency, take the card you booked with and take note if you have to go to a particular pickup point to get your cash.

Safety

Read up on your destination for up-to-the-minute issues that might affect your plans. Check the authorised government websites of the country which you are planning to visit.

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Get insured – and ’fess up

Travel insurance is mostly health insurance, which is why the cost increases hugely when you get to retirement age. For it to be effective, every pre-existing condition must be declared, otherwise your policy could be worthless and you could end up with a very large bill. Also check that any activity you’re planning on undertaking will be included in the price.

Medical matters

Start with a check-up at your doctor’s and dentist – it’s far easier to deal with any potential issues before you hit the road. Try to go as far in advance as you can in case you need to take full courses of immunisations before you travel. You can usually get any necessary vaccinations at your local health clinic, though specialist travel health clinics can also be found in major cities around the world.

Discount and membership cards

If you’re eligible, obtaining an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) or International Youth Travel Card (IYTC) before you go will save you money all over the place – see the website for details of both. Travellers of any age will benefit from Hostelling International membership. Senior travellers also qualify for travel discounts with some airlines and for ground transport in many countries. Sometimes flashing an ID is enough, sometimes you need to use a local scheme.

This excerpt has been taken from Lonely Planet’s Best Ever Travel Tips.