You know the feeling you get when you are late for work, you go flying out the door, and get halfway to the office when you suddenly ask yourself, “Did I close the garage?” or “Did I turn off the stove?” A sense of dread washes over you, because now you have to turn around, just to check, making yourself even later.
Now, imagine that feeling when you are heading off to conquer Everest.
When you are about to go on an adventure trip, you need to be able to concentrate on the task at hand. Many adventure sports can be dangerous, and if you are not focused on what you are doing, it can become even more so. This is why it is important to make sure you have things taken care of on the home front before you leave the country.
1) Get Your Paperwork in Order
Leaving the country is not an easy task. From your passport to your boarding passes, there are a lot of documents you need to keep in order. As your start planning your trip, make sure your passport is up-to-date. It can take 4-6 weeks to process an application for a passport. Will you need a travel visa as well? While your passport is mandatory for visiting another country, not every country requires a visa for entry. Do your research and make sure you can have all of the necessary paperwork finished and in hand before your trip.
Depending on where your adventure takes you, you may be flying out of the country. There are applications for smart phones that allow you to download your boarding pass onto your phone for easy access. A few of our favorite apps, which work on both iPhones and Androids, are:
- TripIt - for itinerary tracking
- Trip Journal - for trip tracking, recording, documenting
- Sit Or Squat - for finding public toilets
- XE Currency App - for converting currencies
Keep in mind though, bad things can happen to phones pretty easily, whether they’re dropped, get wet, or simply stop working. Have a back-up hard copy of your boarding passes tucked safely away somewhere.
2) Leave a Note
The thing about life is that it does not stop while you are not at home. Anything could happen while you are abroad. There will certainly be times on your trip when you won’t be accessible (whether by choice or circumstance). The other people on your white-water rafting trip will not appreciate you fielding a personal call while navigating Class 5 rapids. So before you leave home, talk to your trusted friends and family. Give them the number of the hotel at which you are staying, or the number of an international cell phone, if you go that way. Print a copy of your itinerary, from your first flight to your last flight, so someone can try his or her best to get in touch with you if it becomes necessary.
3) Pack, Pack, Pack
Oh those unpredictable weather patterns. Sometimes knowing how to pack for a trip is easier than other times (hint: don’t take your swimsuit to Antarctica), but other times weather can make or break a trip. Pack for any kind of unpredictable weather, whether it is rain, snow, heat, or extreme cold. You should also pack for moderate temperatures, just in case the extremes settle down and you do not want to sweat to death in your thermals. Think about layering as you pack: a base layer to regulate your body temperature; an insulating layer to retain heat; and a shell layer to protect you from rain or snow.
If you are flying to your destination, depending on the length of your trip you may need to check some luggage. Be cautious though, as checked luggage can sometimes find itself lost, leaving you stranded without any change of clothes. In your carry-on, you should always pack a set of clothes in case of a lost suitcase. Also, take photos of your baggage before you check it. This can help when describing your lost baggage at the airline counter.
More than clothes, remember to pack anything else you will need on your trip. Toiletries (environmentally safe ones if you will be camping), a travel guide, a compass, a flashlight, and a first aid kit should all make their way into your luggage. Remember sunglasses as well. Keep in mind that even if you are going somewhere cold, the sun is still shining. It can also reflect off of snow and create a terrible glare.
4) Consider Travel Insurance
Not only can unpredictable things happen at home while you are on a trip, they can happen to you when you are on a trip. You never want to think about bad things happening, but some adventure sports can be dangerous. Find out if your insurance plan covers you if you are abroad. If not, consider purchasing a travel insurance plan. Specific travel insurance plans are available for short-term periods, and can cover things such as hospitalization, prescriptions, emergency evacuations, and many other things.
While doing all of this cannot guarantee you will not leave your kitchen light on before you leave your house, it should certainly give you a piece of mind and allow you to focus on your upcoming adventure. Your number one priority is to enjoy yourself on your trip. So go do it!
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