There are a lot of details to check off your list when planning for a trip. Here are our top 10 things to prepare/pack before you travel:
1. Visas: Very few countries require visas that need to be obtained prior to a trip’s departure. However, please check the initial booking confirmation information that is provided by the tour operator. Our tour operators provide the name and contact information for services they use if a visa is required prior to the trip departing. This should be done immediately.
2. Travel Insurance: Prepare for the unexpected and protect your travel investment by purchasing travel insurance. It is not required, but it is highly recommended. It can help with unforeseen medical expenses, emergency evacuation, trip delays, lost luggage, and more. Make sure you know the time restrictions from the company you purchase coverage. You often have 2-4 weeks from the deposit date to purchase these benefits. For additional information about our travel insurance partner, visit our website.
3. International Cell Coverage: While we hope your trip will go smoothly, there may be times when international phone service will come in handy — for example, if your flight is delayed or canceled. The tour operator cannot rebook your flight(s) if you miss a connection or your flight gets canceled. While the airline may have ample staff on the ground to assist you, having the ability to call the airline directly may be needed if staff are not readily available. Contact your carrier for international calling packages to make sure you’re prepared.
4. Currency: The preferred currency should be included in pre-trip information you received from the tour operator. The least expensive way to obtain local currency is in-country. ATMs are common around the globe and can often be found at the airport before you transfer to your hotel. Asking the hotel staff or tour director is another option. Most times, an ATM is only a few steps away from the hotel’s front door. Having about $200 in local currency is recommended. Credit cards are widely accepted, but local currency is needed for small shops and markets.
5. Clothing: Start by checking the extended weather forecast in the area you are visiting. Regardless of season, it is always best to pack in layers. Our tours often take place during shoulder seasons and can be both unseasonably warm or cool. Our tours are often casual and do not require evening attire or a jacket for men. Some must-have travel favorites include:
- Lightweight pants, shorts.
- Jacket — water-resistant or waterproof can help in times of rain. A jacket with a hood provides added protection.
- Short- and long-sleeve shirts.
- A lightweight vest.
- Half-zip top or sweatshirt.
- Hat, sunglasses, scarf, gloves.
6. Plug adaptors: A good adaptor is invaluable. Don’t leave home without one. Amazon is a good place to do research and purchase one that is best suited for your electronic needs.
7. Vaccines: Depending on where you are traveling, make sure to check the Center for Disease Control website for recommended vaccines. If there are some listed, be sure to check with your primary care physician to ensure you are healthy to obtain the necessary immunizations and for a recommended travel clinic that can provide care.
8. Inform your bank and credit card companies: It is always a good idea to contact your bank and your credit card companies that you will be traveling out of country — whether they require to know or not. Banks, in particular, will suspect fraudulent charges if purchases are incurred from far-away places. Trying to communicate with your bank while out of country can be difficult. It is better to be safe than sorry.
9. Bring a copy of your passport: If your passport gets lost or stolen, you want to be able to prove your citizenship and get back into the country. Having an electronic version stored in your email is another way to gain access, if needed.
10. Pack your wanderlust: While Michigan Alumni Travel trips are educational in nature and the experience is meant to be shared with a group, be sure to spend your free time exploring the area, taking in the culture, and meeting the local people. And you never know when fellow Wolverines will cross your path.
We hope with these tips you’ll be ready to embark on the trip of a lifetime.