When I was planning to go travel for three months throughout Southeast Asia, I was super overwhelmed with everything I had to do to prepare. I didn’t want to forget to do something and regret it on my trip! Here’s a list of 10 things to do before your big trip, to prepare for your adventure!

1. Get a bank account with no ATM fees.

When traveling to much of the world, cash is king. A couple of dollars every time you withdraw is going to eat into your budget fast. I recommend Charles Schwab, they refund all ATM fees, local and abroad!

2. Get a travel credit card.

You won’t be able to use it at a lot of locations, but for flights and emergencies it’s good to have one. Plus you can collect miles for free flights! NerdWallet is my favorite site for finding good travel credit cards.

3. Get a health checkup.

This is super important to do every year, but especially if you’re going traveling longterm.

4. Go to the dentist.

Gah, I wish I had done this one! You really want to avoid having to go to the dentist on your trip.

5. Get vaccinated.

Check out the CDC recommendations here and try to get as many vaccines as are affordable. Tip: some vaccines are more affordable abroad, I got the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine in Thailand for $40, compared to the hundreds of dollars I would have spent in the US! If in the LA area, I highly recommend this travel clinic.

6. Get travel insurance.

I went on my trip as soon as I defended my PhD, so I don’t have a job or health insurance. Travel Insurance covers emergencies and gives me piece of mind, for pretty cheap! I have World Nomads.

7. Download travel apps on your phone.

Apps are incredibly useful tools for travel. Make sure to download the best travel apps before your trip! I talk about the best travel apps here.

8. Get an account at your local library.

This seems like a random one, but it’s absolutely crucial!! With Overdrive, you can remotely borrow kindle books and books on tape, which is a phenomenal resource for free entertainment on the road!

9. Cancel all of your subscriptions.

Netflix, hulu, whatever you have! They will eat into your travel budget!

10. Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

(STEP) if in the US (or a similar service in your country), and let them know where you will be traveling. You will get emails with up-to-date safety warnings about natural disasters or civil unrest so you can stay informed and can be proactive about your safety. In case of emergencies, your country’s embassy will know you are there and will evacuate you.


I hope you found these tips on things to do before your big trip useful! What are some things that you did that were awesome or some things that you wish you would have done? Or are you currently preparing for your big trip? If you’re going to Southeast Asia, check out my packing guide here! Please let me know in the comments I’d love to hear from you!



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