On Being Prepared

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When it comes to travelling, I am what some consider a “seasoned traveller”; hit with the travel bug, or the wind to others. However, the more I seem to go away, the less I seem to prepare in advance.

This may be because I know, for the most part: I can get toiletries, clothing, and a plethora of other things in a majority of countries. The material is expendable. If one of the above is missing, I also know I can survive for a designated amount of time without it.

Although I would rather not test out that theory, particularly in regards to toiletries. I like being clean.

I was surprised however, about how many shocked reactions I received the night before I left for Kuala Lumpur. The notion that my travel practices are uncommon made me wonder if this is just because I am incredibly lazy – which I wish I could deny but, nope – or because I do travel often. Therefore, I decided to throw together a list of commonly prepared tasks that I have never completed myself.

On: Booking Flights in Advance

In my brief time as an independent adult, I have booked a total of 8 flights. Before this period, trip planning was the the elusive role of my mother. One day, she would surprise us with “we are going on vacation”! A few months later we were gone.

I am incredibly thankful for everything she did, as I know how much planning went into every family adventure we shared.

The way I plan a trip however looks like this: use KAYAK and purchase tickets, usually within a few weeks of departure. I am a little bit more thoughtless I suppose.

On: Exchanging Currency

I actually have forgotten to do this ALL EIGHT TIMES. This recent trip I decided to use the Currency Exchange at Pearson, just so that I wouldn’t be constantly using my VISA.

The best way to save money while converting currency is by using your local bank! This needs to be done at least three days in advance, as bank branches generally must have the currency sent out to them.

On: Booking Hotels, Hostels, and Sending Couchsurfing Requests

Last year I made an effort to have everything booked, this year: mayhem! I do try and keep everything within a week of departure at least, although my upcoming Philippines trip is a little more delayed than I consider comfortable.

The first time I travelled like this was in Korea. My friend and I would book where we would be staying each night in a different part of Seoul. It was really convenient that way, to really immerse yourself in that community.

On: Packing

I am quite forgetful when I pack – this time I actually forgot to bring money with me – and therefore must learn to do this in advance.

My mother and sister are fabulous at putting everything together before they leave for anywhere. Since I can remember they had checklists and would pack and unpack their bags several times. Me? I am the travelling black sheep. My packing style is more of a: throw things in a bag an hour before check-in.

On: Activities

80% go with the flow. 20% planned. I generally have a small list of things I wish to experience however I am generally alright with whatever I do.

On: Insurance

As a famous song once echoed: “Always”! Health insurance, travel insurance: have it! It is always better to be safe than sorry.

I personally use Nomad for all my travel insurance needs but there are many companies available to you. Be safe!

Conclusion: I have a severe type B personality.

I enjoy travelling without this binds of a schedule. The idea that, aside from missing my flight, any possibility is available to me is refreshing.

However I need to pack a bit more in advance and travel insurance is still integral. I would not leave Canada without it.

What sort of traveller are you? Do you leave everything to the last moment or do you plan ahead? Let me know in the comment section below!

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