Although we’ve only just returned to the UK for a break after one of our biggest ever adventures, hiking to Everest Base Camp, we’re already beginning to plan the next leg of our journey through Eastern Europe this autumn. Our epic Nepal trek reminded us just how much easier a little bit of careful travel planning can make things, so if you too are in the process of planning your next adventure, here’s a look at some of the ways we prepare for our travels.
Look for flights well in advance and shop around on comparison sites to find the cheapest deals. Connecting flights are usually the cheapest option although they’re longer and tend to be scheduled at odd hours. This week we flew back to the UK from Sri Lanka at 3.30am with a three-hour stop over in Doha, and although it took twice as long, it also cost half the price of a direct flight. It’s also wise to check your destination’s local airlines as they may be cheaper and you can find great deals for flying domestically.
Next, arrange getting to and from the airport. We normally use local transport, taxis or an Uber, but we’ve also driven ourselves before. Getting your car parked at the airport can turn out to be more expensive than anticipated, so use a site such as Looking4Parking to find the best deal and book your space, saving some money for your all-important adventure.
Have your documents in order
Simple and obvious, but don’t forget your passport! You’re not going on any adventures without it so make sure it’s packed and has an expiry date of at least six months after you return home. It’s also important to check whether you need a visa to get into the country of your adventure. You can find out if you need one and what the application process is on the relevant government website. We usually print hard copies of our flight details, insurance policy and photo page of our passport and keep electronic copies on each of our laptops.
Take your insurance documents with you and remember that policies vary, so depending on how adventurous your holiday is going to be, you might require an add-on to your existing policy. For trekking to Everest Base Camp, for example, we had to purchase extra insurance to cover us for hiking up to 6,000 metres. You should also take a health card with a list of immunisations you’ve had (if you are unsure of what vaccinations you might need before setting off, check out our travel vaccinations guide). Lastly, it can help if you create an itinerary and take that along with you so you know where your headed next at any given time.
Check the weather
Check the weather conditions for your destination. Even hot and humid regions like Southeast Asia have rainy seasons and while it can be cheaper to travel then, it pays to be prepared so that you can pack accordingly. This was essential on our Everest Base Camp trek because of the alpine climate which meant the weather fluctuated from sunshine to snow, rain and high winds.
Packing the essentials
We are proud minimalists, but we still work hard to keep our backpacks down to a decent weight of around eight to ten kilograms each. It pays to spend some time and money finding the right backpack, we both have Osprey packs that have lasted five years and are still going strong. To organise our stuff we use compression sacks and packing cubes, we also have a day pack which we use all the time, as well as a dry bag for occasions when we’re on a boat or near the sea with our camera and other electronics. Take a look at our full packing list in this post.
Make sure you have enough insurance to cover all of your travel gadgets and electronics. In addition to our regular insurance we have a policy with Photoguard to protect all of our items. We recently purchased a power bar, which came in really handy in Nepal while trekking in remote places where we didn’t have unlimited access to charging sockets. At some point, we’ll probably add a solar charger to our packing list too.
Don’t forget additional memory cards for your camera and adapters for the countries you’re visiting. One of the most useful gadgets we have is the SKross travel adapter that works in most countries around the world. Depending on your destination and type of adventure you may want to take a waterproof camera or you might regret not having more photos (trust me, I wish I had more photos of snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef!). If you’re going to spend time on planes, trains and buses, take a travel pillow and sarong to stay warm and comfortable on air-conditioned transport.
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So, what are you waiting for? It’s never too soon to start planning your next adventure, we’re certainly planning ours.