When this global pandemic has passed, you may have - like many - been driven absolutely stir-crazy and feel the urge to travel again. And we may all finally once again have the opportunity to do so. You may even have the urge to travel outside of your state or country for the first time after this extreme period of necessary isolation. If so, take the chance to appreciate going on an adventure and cherish it. I know many of us aren’t likely to take such freedoms for granted again.
And thus, the following information has been gathered here to provide assistance in your preparations to travel.
Government Travel Restrictions and Recommendations
- Always check your government’s and your destination country’s government websites for any relevant travel restrictions and recommendations. Example: travel.state.gov
- You will need to bring several forms of identification for each member of your traveling party, so locate those and pack them to take with you. And you may also be required to take further documentation with you depending on the purpose and length of your trip. Remember when gathering the required identification and/or visas to fill out and submit any necessary applications in plenty of time in order to receive your important documents and ID safely before the time of your trip.
You’ll find it useful to check what the weather will be like at your destination during the time of your trip - especially if you have any outdoor activities planned. It will also help you determine which types of clothes to pack and take with you. Here are a couple of weather websites we like to check:
- World Temperatures - Weather Around The World (https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/) offers 2 week forecasts as well as timezone information.
- Weather Forecast (https://www.weather-forecast.com/) gives you access to interactive weather maps.
- And for U.S.-specific active weather alerts, you can check the National Weather Service (https://www.weather.gov/) and their Storm Prediction Center (https://www.spc.noaa.gov/).
- AccuWeather (https://www.accuweather.com/) also offers an app for your phone.
Transportation costs (flights, trains, etc.)
Compare and contrast different prices for different modes of transportation or between competing companies to find the ones you prefer to use during your travels. These are just a handful of the websites out there you can try:
- Kayak (https://www.kayak.com/) has an app if you prefer.
- Expedia (https://www.expedia.com/) also has a downloadable app available.
- And the Hopper (https://www.hopper.com/) app predicts pricing, so you can get the optimal booking.
- We also recommend checking various airline, passenger train company, and rideshare websites.
All of the expenses of travel can really add up, so it’s especially good to take advantage of budgeting worksheets to keep track of your costs. This way you don’t go over budget and you can adjust your plans as necessary. You can also note which expenses must be paid in advance so you are prepared and less likely to be caught unaware with unexpected costs. Here are several online resources for you to use:
- Budget Your Trip (https://www.budgetyourtrip.com/) offers you typical and average costs of travel to various destinations.
- How To Create A Travel Budget (https://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Travel-Budget) guides you through the steps of planning a travel budget.
- 14+ Travel Budget Worksheet Templates (https://www.wordtemplatesonline.net/travel-budget-worksheet-templates/) has downloadable worksheets for thorough expense checklists in a different variety of templates.
- Trabee Pocket (https://trabeepocket.com/) has an app that helps you track spending and receipts. And it has an exchange rate calculator built in.
Find out which versions of certain essentials you will need to have on your trip. Ask yourself: What currency will you need for your destination country or countries? Which conversion adapters will you need to be able to plug in your electric devices to charge? And make sure you find out the answers in plenty of time to collect what you need. Check out websites like:
- XE (https://www.xe.com/) offers live exchange rates, a currency converter, and has an app for your phone.
- World Standards (https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plug-voltage-by-country/) has a list of the plug types you would need for each country.
- Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country) also has a list of the different plug types for each country.
- And once you know which plug you have vs which one(s) you need, simply search for “country adapters” or “plug adapters by country” to find the adapters for you.
If you are traveling to a country with a language you don’t speak or at least aren’t confidently fluent in, bring a language translation dictionary and some pocket phrase books in that language to help you navigate the area and better interact with the people there. A few we recommend are:
- For language learning apps, some of the best are Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, Babbel, and Drops.
- For translator apps with offline translation, there’s Voice Translator App and Speak & Translate, but the Google Translator app is cheaper and offers instant camera translation.
- And avoid paying an app subscription to Lonely Planet by purchasing the language guide eBooks you want (https://shop.lonelyplanet.com/pages/language-guides) and putting them on the devices you’re taking with you.
Maps and geography resources
Definitely collect maps of the cities you will be visiting so you are able to plan out routes and find your way around much more easily. Here are some great online sources for regional and city maps:
- The Google Maps app is packed with features that can really help with trip planning and itineraries.
- Discover a diverse collection of maps from around the world at Mappery (http://www.mappery.com/).
- AAA (aaa.com) is a great source for classic foldable maps if you are based in the U.S.
- And whether you want digital maps for your devices and/or physical maps to use, consider purchasing some detailed and current maps of the cities you will be visiting from online retailers.
With some travel guides specific to the region you intend to travel to, you can research the area and develop your plans on what to do when you’re there. Here are a few websites with some great travel guides for many countries:
- Fodors (https://www.fodors.com/), Rough Guides (https://www.roughguides.com/), Travel + Leisure (https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide), and AAA Travel Guides (https://www.aaa.com/travelguides/).
- You can check out the Rome2rio app for good travel tips. And if your trip will include lots of air travel, you may want to check out the App In The Air for helpful airport assistance.
- Lonely Planet has eBooks of great travel guides (https://shop.lonelyplanet.com/pages/guide-books).
- And be sure to check your favorite online retailer of digital books for eBook travel guides to your travel destinations.
We hope you found this list helpful towards planning any of your future trips. If you have any travel resource suggestions that weren’t listed, please let us know about them with a suggestion or two in the comment section below.