As a world traveler, I always want to be ready to jump on a flight! My favorite kind of travel partner is someone down for a spontaneous trip. In my dream world, I can purchase a window seat for amazing views, fit all my necessities in carry-on luggage, and book the trip ASAP! With aspirations like that, I need to make sure that I always have things in order before I hop on the plane.
Here's a list of 5 things that could have prevented me from experiencing my most recent adventure, but thankfully didn't. Some of the things on the list might surprise you, and hopefully this list can help you plan for your next trip!
An (Almost) Expired Passport
So listen... you might be thinking. What are the chances that I'll have an expired (or almost expired) passport and be traveling out the country? It probably seems slim because you'd think your passport will come quickly or within a few weeks if you need to renew. U.S. passport wait times are usually between 6-8 weeks, according to The U.S. Department of State. But because of COVID-19 and staff shortages, wait times have been extended additional weeks and even months. And you can't forget the fact that most countries will not let you enter if your passport expires within 6 months of your return flight out of their country.
Forgetting to Fill Out a Form Before The Flight
There's nothing worse than arriving to your destination and realizing you have immigration papers to fill out that can take up to 20 minutes to complete! It's not a great way to start a stress-free trip. Or when you arrive at the airport and realize you didn't fill out important documents the airline needs from you before you board. Don't wait last minute to do these things. Make sure you read all emails and notifications from your airline or hotel as your departure day approaches, they will make sure you know about all the forms required to enter the country you're visiting.
No Covid-19 Vaccination Proof
Although the world is starting to open back up, many countries still require you to show digital or physical proof of your Covid-19 vaccination and at least 1 booster. Take a picture of your vaccination card (front and back) and send it to your email address so you always have access to it. If you're not vaccinated, make sure you're traveling to countries that allow non-vaccinated tourists to enter. You can find this information out by visiting the countries tourist website.
Airlines have luggage weight limits for both carry-on and checked baggage. I highly doubt you'll reach the limit, but it's always good to be aware of it. I've seen many people at the airport trying to rearrange luggage or put on extra layers of clothes because their bags were simply too heavy! Plus, most airlines have a heavy luggage fee that can cost you around $100 each way. I don't know about you, but I am not trying to pay those type of fees last-minute at the airport.
Other People's Opinions
Take them with a grain of salt! The people who have discouraging things to say about you following your travel dreams have no place in your travel world. We all need people to be realistic with us, but that doesn't mean they should talk you out of taking a trip of a lifetime. Other people's opinions on your life are just that - opinions. It's not the end-all be-all, so don't their opinions be the only influence on choices you make before/while/after traveling.
I hope part of this blog can help you take the next steps to securing your future adventures. Continue to explore the world and don't let small, impermanent roadblocks ruin your travel dreams. Talk soon!