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Preflight Checklist - Essentials for Travelling Abroad

1 - Check Your Passport & Visa 

Some countries require your passport to be at least 6 months outside its expiry date. Double check your passport is valid, as well as applying for any visas you may need. There's lots of information online, but if you're not unsure of a country's visa requirements, you can always call their embassy! It's always a good idea to keep a copy of your passport too, which leads to my next point...

2 - Store Everything Important Online

Although initially I didn't want to risk losing my phone abroad, your smartphone is a great tool to backup all your important documents, itineraries, insurance, and boarding passes. If you're planning to fly with a low-cost airline whilst on your travels, use the airline's app to check in to prevent carrying around lots of paper boarding passes that are easily lost or damaged, as well as preventing last minute stress because you can't find a printer in the middle of Thailand or Vietnam!
You can also save regions on Google Maps to access whilst offline, as well as enabling you to save important locations like as your hotel. This might end up proving useful whilst you're struggling with a language barrier between you and your taxi driver, just open the app and point to where you need to be!

3 - Vaccinations

Although maybe not relevant if you're staying within Europe, often vaccinations are required if you're travelling further afield. A nurse can often recommend what you need, or the NHS have a really useful website that breaks down the necessary and recommended vaccinations for destinations all over the World. The vaccinations I needed to travel to South East Asia had to be given 6 weeks in advance, so make sure you look into the time you have before booking a last minute trip away! 
Whilst getting your vaccinations the nurse can also give you some tips and tricks for your destination too, such as being careful eating fresh fruit and vegetables (they are often washed with the tap water that you avoid drinking), or not ordering a drink with ice for the same reason. 

4 - Banking

Always ensure you let your bank know that you're going abroad, otherwise you may end up in an awkward situation where your card is declined and you're stuck with no way to pay for a meal or a hotel room. Most banks enable you to do this online, which is so much easier than trying to contact customer service from the other side of the World! Some actual cash is also handy to have before leaving for your travels, but ensure you separate your money throughout your bag as you don't want to be carrying it all in one place. Normally exchanging money at home works out the cheapest, but some destinations have lower commission rates. Check websites like tripadvisor.com for other travellers' advice on your destination! 

5 - A Postive Attitude!

Chances are if you're planning a big trip, everything you've planned isn't going to go smoothly. Learn from the occasions where things don't work out, take it as part of the experience, and focus on the positives of the rest of your holiday!