How to prepare for your first-ever trip overseas

Ever since your first family camping trip to the Lake District, you’ve been addicted to travel. Finally, after years of dreaming, scrolling through Instagram feeds and saving money, you’re ready to go.

However, there’s more to travel then packing your bags and jumping on the first plane out of Heathrow.  There are steps (some mandatory, others strongly recommended) you’ll need to follow before you can go.

In today’s blog, we’ll lay it all out for you, from start to finish.

Apply for a passport

Since the First World War, governments in Europe began to require passports from travellers. From 1941 onward, the Americans mandated their use for those entering or leaving the United States.

If you want to depart the shores of Britannia, you’ll need to apply for your first passport. Start by surfing over to https://www.passport.service.gov.uk. Get personal information and your payment card ready – both will be necessary to complete the application process.  

Are you having trouble with your application? Contact Passport Office customer services – they’ll be happy to assist you in any way they can. Once you have submitted your application, the Passport Office will contact you for an interview. This step is to verify your identity by asking questions to which an impersonator would not know the answer.

After completing this step, you should have your first passport in about six weeks. Do not book travel based on this timeline, as processing can take longer at certain times.

Make appointments for required vaccinations

In distant lands, diseases exist that could make you gravely ill, or worse. Visit the NHS travel vaccinations web page – they’ll tell you what jabs you’ll need. 

When you book an appointment with your general practitioner, inform them of the ones you’ll require. Do this at least eight weeks before travel, as your body needs time to build up the necessary antibodies.

Store/sell your stuff

Are you planning a long backpacking trip through Asia? If you’re going to be away for months, you’ll need to account for your belongings. If you can’t carry it on your back, you’ll need to store or sell it.

Make arrangements to stow personal effects with your parents/friends. Failing this, you can hire a storage locker, starting from around £50-£60/month. If you’re not attached to your things, sell them to strangers or give them away to friends.

Get travel insurance cover

The protective umbrella of the NHS will not shield you abroad. If you get sick or injured and require hospitalisation, you’ll be responsible for paying your way. In many countries, this bill can cost you thousands of quid – and in America? Let’s not even think about that.

With travel insurance, you can live your best life without worrying what a broken limb will do to your budget. Also, if a thief makes off with your electronics, a claim will cover that as well.

Book your ticket

Now, you’re ready to purchase your airfare! Before you get too excited, a few final tips. Know your destination’s visa rules – you may have to prearrange one before travel (e.g. USA, Australia, Vietnam, etc.). 

Secondly, give yourself enough layover time – we recommend at least 90 minutes to account for delays. 

Lastly, ensure your ticket has you arriving before dark. It’s safer and will make it easier to find your accommodation.

Victoria Brewood
victoria@pommietravels.com

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

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