I can still clearly remember the night before my first overseas trip. I was rushing around but didn't seem to be making progress. I glanced at the clock and then I looked around my room. It was 11.30pm and there were things strewn everywhere. My backpack wasn't packed and I had mislaid some documentation I needed. It was a shambles and I had to continue well into the early hours of the morning to get myself ready.
If only I knew then what I know now...
What I've realised is that travel begins well before the departure date. After all your planning, this time leading up to the big day should be one of nervous excitement and pleasant anticipation. But just like many other travellers, I was finding it increasingly stressful to the point where some panic was starting to set in. Why? I was disorganised. Instead of calmly doing the final preparation, I was running around doing things that should have been done a week or two beforehand. The result was feeling jaded before I'd even started!
The answer to this problem is using checklists. Okay, it may seem rather tedious but let me assure you that they work. It is the ideal way for inexperienced travellers to ensure that they board the plane safe in the knowledge that everything has been done. Even now, after many trips abroad I still rely on at least a basic list because life is busy. There's always a chance something will be forgotten and that something could be vitally important!
I have devised several lists beginning from several months before departure and progressing through to four weeks, one week and finally the day before leaving. Many items are common sense but how many times has that escaped you when you have plenty on your mind? Some items you'll find on travel checklists are essential while others are more optional. Together, they all help you leave with no worries or lingering concerns on your journey.
Even if you feel confident with your travel preparation, I'd recommend using some kind of list for the final week or two. Unforeseen circumstances can easily distract and prevent you from remembering everything. Why give yourself the extra worry? Simply get a pen and tick things off. Even if you've missed doing things within the ideal timeframe, it's better to have them done later than not at all.
Pre-travel check lists go hand in hand with travel packing lists because there's a reasonable chance that you won't have every item you require for your trip. This is especially true if you require a visa or even new passport before you leave. These things invariably take time to process and receive in the post if need be. Also, allowing plenty of time for the purchase of major items such as a backpack, sleeping bag or clothing will enable you to get the most suitable product at the best price.
So there you go - a simple, yet very effective remedy for those pre-travel worries that many travellers put themselves through. With a little organisation you can save yourself the anguish of not being sure what needs to be done when. Of course travel will always its unique challenges and drama but at least you can ensure that they never begin before you actually get on the plane.