If you’ve ever lived or travelled with me you will have discovered a few things about me. I was called a “faffer” on my last trip because packing was always an ordeal. On top of this I’m indecisive. This stems from a need to achieve perfection and make the best, most efficient or cost effective choice. These wouldn’t be such problems if they weren’t coupled with my prowess as a procrastinator. Sure, I can make a to-do list and identify all necessary steps I should take to prepare for an adventure to a foreign land. But this doesn’t stop me leaving everything til the very last minute.
My flight to buenos aires was booked 6 months ago. The route and rough itinerary was planned months in advance. Most hostels and interior travel were organised before prices could rise too high. So far so good, right? I even finished work a week early to allow time for planning and packing…so what could go wrong? Ask my poor mum as she had to live through the frenzy that were my last few days of preparing!
Here’s a list of what not to do when getting ready for a big trip:
- Don’t go to your GP only 2 weeks before: they won’t necessarily have the vaccinations you need in stock.
- Don’t leave a doctor’s appointment for the morning of your flight, especially if you need them to prescribe you medication for potentially fatal diseases.
- Don’t request currency the day before you fly: less common currencies like Argentinian pesos aren’t always stocked.
- Don’t research bank cards that charge the least overseas transaction fees the night before you leave: you won’t be able to open a bank account on the morning of your departure.
- Don’t purchase travel insurance the day before: you won’t have to time to sit on hold to make a specific enquiry.
- Don’t organise leaving drinks on each of your last 5 nights: hangover preparation days are not productive!
- Don’t forget that football shirt printing is not available everywhere and can take 24 hours: so best not leave it to the last few days.
- Don’t leave errands and purchases for the morning you fly: you should be packing and doing your final checks.
- Don’t try to update your music and podcasts when you have already missed your intended train.
- Don’t forget to allow time for final farewells: get the emotions out of the way before you get on the train or you’ll be a public teary mess!
Alas, I fell into all these pitfalls and many more, making my last week a mess of stress. I spent my last few days worrying about things when I should have been giddy with excitement. I hated myself for not saying my final goodbyes properly.
But as I pulled into Heathrow station, I disembarked with a smile on my face because I had reached the point of no return. The weight on my shoulders was now from my backpack and not from stress. I knew that there is no point regretting things in life and that is the best advice I can give.