When you think of packing your brand new rucksack to go on the biggest adventure of your life, most likely you’re focusing on the pros and cons of different sleeping bags, how many pairs of shoes to take, whether or not to bring your iPad and if you really need an emergency supply of your favourite tea bags…
But for the most part, you can buy these things on the road (except maybe the tea bags). However, there are a few things you cannot do without and we’ve put together a quick guide. And don’t forget, you might need to apply for some of these several months in advance so plan ahead!
1. Passport & Visas
These are a given but did you know some countries require a minimum of 6 months on your passport from your expected
return date? Keep in mind that plans are always open to change and you might decide to stay on longer somewhere so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Imagine you’ve just been invited to join some friends on a mountain trek you’ve dreamt of doing but you have to say no because you can’t extend your stay. You’ll kick yourself…
Also, if you need to renew your passport, make sure you do it before you start the visa process. If not, it might mean having to carry two passports with you at all times. Or worse, if the visa is damaged when the expiring passport is invalidated, you may need to start the process again!
2. Travel Insurance Documents
There’s nothing interesting about travel insurance until it’s needed. And do make sure it is comprehensive – think ahead about some of the more adventurous activities you might want to do.
It’s amazing how expensive urgent medical care can be. Bills can quickly run into thousands of dollars, even for minor health issues.
3. Driving License
As well as a useful form of ID if you don’t want to carry your passport at all times, it will be essential if you want to hire a car. And it fits neatly in your wallet.
4. Student Card
Depending on whether or not you are currently a student, you may not have one of these but if you do, it’s definitely worth bringing. From youth hostels to museums, a student ID can get you money off in all sorts of places and who doesn’t love a discount?
5. Vaccination Certificates
Most likely, you’ll need to visit your doctor for some vaccinations. The inoculations you’ll need will depend on the country or countries you’re likely to visit but the most usual include hepatitis and typhoid. Whilst you may never be asked for the certificates, if you do need them, it’s worth having them close to hand.
And finally, make (secure) copies!
Keep paper copies in different bags (or one in a friend’s bag), leave a copy with family at home and store a digital copy via email that you can access anytime.
But always remember to store digital versions securely – make sure they are zipped and password protected. The last thing you’ll want is to have your ID hacked. The first you know could be having your cards stopped, which you could definitely do without!