Travel Guides

7 things to do before you travel

As a frequent traveller, there is a small ritual of seven things I remember to do before I travel. They don’t take very long, but will save you a lot of hassle along the journey.

1) Make a rough guide and itinerary

I like to make an outline on Google Docs with my flights, where I’m staying, break down the days, and a rough itinerary of things to do (restaurants, attractions, neighbourhoods). Then, if I’m travelling with others, I’m able to easily share and update the doc in realtime.

2) Organize my maps

Google Maps is great for this. I take the same points of interest off by Google Docs, add them into a starred list for easy reference and navigation while on my trip, and can group items by neighbourhood and proximity when organizing what to do each day. Best part, you can download and save the maps offline, so you can save on data usage!

3) Look up how I’m going to get around

While I’m planning my trip on Google Maps, I also take a look at transit options for the destination. Can I take the subway to get around? Should I anticipate ride-share services like Uber? What are the options to and from the airport? Google is great for reviewing your choices and plan your days accordingly.

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Related: How to get around Seoul on a budget

4) Smartphones and roaming

How do you plan to stay in touch with loved ones and navigate your way around? My day-to-day device is my iPhone XS Max—it has a 6.5″ screen large enough to be my entertainment while backpacking, has plenty of battery to last all day, and speedy A12 Bionic chip to run all of my apps.

Coupled with Roam Like Home from Rogers, I’m able to stay connected in over 125 countries for $12/day, or $7/day in the U.S. Plus, you’ll only be charged for maximum of 15 days per monthly bill.

5) Documentation

Make it part of your ritual to ensure you have all of your travel documents in place. Passports, NEXUS card (see why it’s a must-have for me), applicable visas, tickets, passes, and any other certification you may need, like PADI if you are a scuba diver.

Related: Scuba diving in Iceland

6) Save documents

As part of my travel document check, I also take pictures and scans of them should I lose anything while on my trip. Upload them onto a secure cloud service like Google Drive or Evernote (alternatively, you could print copies if you don’t want them on the web), and you can reference them if needed abroad.

7) Money

Lastly, figure out currency. I like to have enough cash to help tip and pay for small items, and I use my Rogers World Elite Mastercard for all other transactions. This credit card is one of the few in Canada that offer a foreign exchange rebate at four per cent, essentially returning your fees with a bonus.

Then, you can redeem those points as cash back using a mobile app. Now, you won’t be penalized for using your credit card abroad and can ditch the cash—most of it, anyways.

What are some of your must-dos? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Winston is currently a freelance technology and travel broadcast journalist, consultant, and is the creator and founder of Master Travellr—Canada’s destination for travel news, guides, and budget recommendations.

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