Got everything you need for your holiday? Are you sure? Are you really really sure?

Even as a seasoned traveler it is easy to get swept away in the excitement of an upcoming trip and forget to do or bring important things that make your trip so much easier.

Some of my personal favorites (not at the time) were: leaving my camera battery charging on my desk at home, and showing up to the airport without all my flight information. The second incident lead to a frantic, running around the terminal, trying to plea with the internet to work so that I could find out why my flight to Ireland wasn’t showing up on the board. All while praying I was at the right airport and the right day, because I sure didn’t have a ride back into town and my flight, from where it is, was leaving in 30 minutes.

Below is a handy dandy check list to help out just to make sure you’re all set for your holiday and won’t be that frantic, lost, seemingly crazy person.

As many of the travelers we meet in Norway are doing their trip as part of a bigger adventure — even a round the world trip — the advice given here is more of a general check list before any trip.

Essential documents

  • Passport – that does not expire in the next 3-6 months
  • Extra passport photos- if you are traveling overland and or have to apply for any visas abroad
  • Copies of visas- just in case they fall out, or in some places (like Russia) you are required to carry them around at all times

    Travel Documents
    All set and ready to go. Photo: Media.digest, Flickr.com
  • Immunization records if required – this is sometimes the case when visiting countries in South America or Africa
  • Bank cards- much better than carrying around a lot of money
  • Take a photocopy of your passport (the ID part), and keep it separate from your actual passport. If you ever lose your passport, the copy will at least give the officials at the embassy some proof that you are who you are. Also, store a copy online on a cloud drive, or your email. I recommend Google Drive for this. It also comes with a text and spreadsheet processor, perfect for keeping track of your reservations; backup your photos or keep a travel journal.

Things to do before hand

  • Alert your credit card companies and banks about your upcoming travel-
    • Some companies will place a hold on your card transactions if they see activity in unfamiliar areas.
    • This makes getting cash out or paying for things into a very interesting game for the rest of the trip
  • Make sure none of your cards expire in the duration of your travel
  • Write down your card information in an email and have it saved somewhere- just in case they get lost or stolen and you need to report them
  • Also write down the corresponding contact information for the cards in case of emergency

Helpful information to have handy

Flight schedules
Hope it’s not delayed! Photo: Cristeen Quezon, Flickr.com
  • Hotel or lodging information – both to fill out on the immigration forms and for taxi or transport purposes when arriving to the destination. Try to get a small map of the area, and note down where in the city it is, not all drivers will have a GPS. Also, if you have a map, they probably won’t take you on long expensive detours.
  • Fight or transport information – Time. Number. Departure gate/station/terminal — and my personal favorite: terminal number!
  • Emergency contact numbers- because in an emergency, time is of the essence
  • Insurance policy information- in case you fall ill, there is travel delay, or need to report a theft

Look up ahead of time

  • Check the weather– it might change, but you will have an general idea what conditions you’ll be coming into and if there are any alerts you need to be aware of. Some places will change dramatically in the winter or during the rainy season. In Norway several of the mountain roads will be closed when the snow arrives, and some places will essentially be inaccessible.
  • What clothing items or travel specific items to bring for your trip- read how this can cut down cost here. Some items may be difficult or inconvenient to locate while abroad
  • Medication information- either bring enough for your whole trip or know what you need so a chemist can quickly prescribe your medication if needed while away. Also be aware that in some countries the drugs you can buy over the counter back home are prescription drugs, or even not available at all.
  • Check online at Foreign Travel Advise (UK) or Alerts and warnings (US) for the latest updates. Not only is it handy to know if the area you are visiting is a war zone,  it’s also important for insurance coverage! I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go if the countries you are visiting is on the list, just be aware of it. After all, Israel has been on that list for god knows how many years — and it’s still an amazing place to see.

Make sure your electronics are packed

  • Camera
  • Camera batteries
  • SD Card- extra ones if you want. I like to bring a few and rotate them, as I may not always have access to a computer to back them up. The only thing that’s worse than losing your camera, is to lose your camera with all the photos in it.
  • Phone
  • Computer/Notebook/Tablet
  • Ipod
  • Kindle
  • Chargers and batteries for all of these items
  • Adapters– A universal multiple adapter, is my favorite so I never have to worry if I took the right plug for the right country.
Camera bag
Ready. Set. Check. Photo: Markus Teuter, Flickr.com

Going the extra step

  • Travel snacks– because a hungry traveler is often not a happy traveler
  • Water or an empty water bottle- to fill up and bring along so you don’t have to purchase it on the plane/train/bus
Plane snacks
Travel snacks and a comfort item make any trip better. Photo: LexnGer, Flickr.com
  • Map of the area or transport system- if only I had a map of the Moscow metro system in English instead of Russian before I arrived, well, let’s say a few wasted hours and one desperate attempt at rationalizing hiring a black taxi would have be avoided.
  • General information about the area- how far the airport or bus is away from the city. How long it will take to get into town.
  • Eye mask and ear plugs– for backpackers these items are essential. Or others, they might be of comfort.
  • One comfort item- so on days where things go wrong, you have something to center yourself and regain your calm. My personal comfort item are a pair of very very cozy socks. Sometimes if everything goes sideways, one small familiar comfort makes all the difference.

Most importantly, pack your sense of adventure! Some people preplan a trip down to the last detail, some throw away the map and dive straight in. Whatever your style or preferred method of travel, enjoy it. Embrace the location, the journey, the person you are when faced with new things, people, places. Go out there and enjoy!
What other travel tips do you have? Share them with us!