Pre-Departure

 

 

Once you’ve booked your round the world flights, there are a few more things you need to sort out before you get on that first plane. And here’s a handy guide to the main ones. 

 

 

Straight after booking

 

1. Check the documents

Once you have your e-tickets, check to see that everything’s as you expect it to be. If not, now is a better time to fix a problem than two hours before your flight. It’s also worth adding any relevant frequent flyer number you may have to the booking. If you don’t have one, it’s worth signing up for the schemes of airlines you’ll be flying on and adding the numbers later.

 

2. Additional Paperwork

For many countries, visas can be obtained upon entry. Others require you to get them in advance. Those for Australia and the US can be done quickly online, but others – such as India, China and Vietnam – require you to send your passport off. You really don’t want to be turned away at the airport, so get it sorted in good time. Roundtheworldflights.com has drawn up a handy visa chart…

Your passport also needs to be machine-readable and in date – if yours has less than six months validity at the END of your trip, you need to send off for a new one.

 

3. Safety and security

Look into what jabs, inoculations and medical certificates (such as Yellow Fever) you may need, and get on to your GP about having your arm turned into a pincushion if need be. It’s also worth researching whether you need to take malaria tablets – you generally have to start taking them before you go.

Insurance is a must (unless you’re a complete idiot), whilst applying for a second Visa or Mastercard (the most widely accepted credit cards) could save a whole lot of pain if your usual one goes missing. More safety and security advice can be found here.

 

4. Start filling the gaps

Get some guide books, read some inspirational material online and start learning about the history and culture of the places you’ll be visiting. It’ll enrich the experience immensely. It’s also good for getting ideas of what to do while you’re out there. If you fancy doing any tours, then now’s the time to look into them as well.

 

Two months before

 

5. Domestic duties

If you’re renting, hand in your notice. If you own your house or flat, you should decide whether you want to let it out for the duration of your trip and sort out tenants sharpish. You’ll also need to contact the Post Office to have your post stopped or redirected, arrange for gym memberships and utility accounts to be put on hold, and cancel subscriptions.

 

6. Dealing with work

Work wise, if you need to arrange for a long period of leave, you probably should have had a word before booking. If you need to quit, check your notice period and get a second, personal e-mail account through the likes of Yahoo or Gmail that you can use while you’re away. Oh, and tell everyone that’s the way to contact you, rather than let your work inbox pile up.

 

7. Start getting suspiciously sociable

Got family, Facebook acquaintances or distant friends of friends in the places you’re visiting? Why not drop them a line and let them know you’re coming. You might get an expert tour guide and free accommodation out of it…

 

8. Start shopping

If you want to take any specialist gear – clothing, footwear, electronics – start the shopping spree. And make sure it works/ is worn in before you go.

 

One month out

 

9. Get booking

You’ll need to work out how you’re getting to the airport. If by train, tickets booked in advance are far cheaper. Make sure you leave time for any delays, and aim to be at the airport three hours before departure. It’s also worth sorting out accommodation for the first night or two in your first destination.

 

10. Do the admin

Write out a RTW packing list, replace anything that’s broken or missing and write down important numbers – such as those of your banks, credit card providers, family and roundtheworldflights.com (for any flight changes). If you’re planning to get foreign currency in advance (and having a couple of hundred US dollars is always handy if nothing else), get it sorted now. Many currencies need to be ordered in.

 

One week out to day of departure

 

11. Tackle the tech and pack

Back up your laptop, charge all relevant batteries and make sure all chargers and adaptors are ready to pack. You may want to stock your MP3 Player up with a few failsafe playlists, too. And then, of course, you need to pack. There’s something of an art to getting the packing right…

 

12. Get flight-ready

Phone the airline to reconfirm your flight time hasn’t changed (rarely the case, but it’s good practice to check), take another look at your itinerary with roundtheworldflights.com’s View Trip system and check in online with the airlines own web systems if you can – it saves time at the airport and helps you snaffle the best seats.

 

For an even more comprehensive check-list, see this guide here