Visiting a different country can be one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. However, it can also be stressful to make sure you do everything you need to do in enough time. There’s not much worse than getting close to leaving and realizing you needed to do something already. Below is a timeline of the most important things you need to do if you’re planning to visit another country.
6-12 months before:
Book your airfare – Typically, most airlines will put up their flights around twelve months prior, meaning you can usually book your flight up to a year in advance. You may want to see how the prices fluctuate for a few months but you will likely find that the flights are cheapest when booked well in advance.
Book hotels – Similar to airfare, hotels are usually cheapest when booked in advance. To make sure you get the best deals and the most convenient hotels, start looking a year in advance and book no later than six months in advance.
3-4 months before:
Apply for your passport – Receiving your passport can take anywhere from three weeks to two and a half months, depending upon how many others are ordering theirs around the same time. Give yourself at least 3 months to receive your passport to ensure you have it by the time you leave.
2 months before:
Inquire about the necessary vaccinations – Depending upon the country you’re visiting, you may need to get vaccinations. While you could go to the Health Department, this usually takes a long time. Your best bet is to head to an Emergency Medical Clinic or Urgent Care Center. You’re likely to find an Emergency Medical Clinic near you, as there are 7,164 of them in the United States alone. In fact, so many people visit them that there are an estimated 160 million visits per year. One benefit of going to an Emergency Medical Clinic over the Health Department is the Urgent Care hours. Urgent Care Centers are actually required by the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine to be open for business 7 days per week. There are also many after hours Urgent Care Centers for those who can’t get off of work. You will probably not need your vaccinations quite yet, but it’s best to inquire early so you know when you should be receiving them.
1 month before:
Confirm all reservations – About one month in advance, you will want to ensure that all of your reservations are still set. Check with all of your hotels and confirm the type of room, dates, and check-in. Also check the status of your flights to ensure that times have not changed.
Check the airline procedures – You’ll want to check the luggage requirements for each flight to ensure that you aren’t stuck with oversized luggage. Also review the check-in process to ensure that you don’t miss anything. Some airlines require you to check in ahead of time or register your passport information days in advance.
Get the vaccinations you need – Depending upon the vaccination, you may need to get it a month or two in advance. For standard vaccinations, a week or two in advance will likely be sufficient.