This being my first big trip has meant that the planning stage has felt pretty manic and unorganized, and I'm still not entirely sure I'm thinking of everything I should be doing! Here's what I've come up with so far:
1) esta visa - even though I'm only going through the United States, I still need a transit visa. Despite some initial confusion about where to get it, the process of getting it was very simple. Sets you back $14.
2) the dreaded jabs- these are booked for this week, which I feel pretty despondent towards! Spending the best part of £200 on these but of course it's better to be safe than sorry. They last for between 10 and 30 years so I'll be set for any future travelling too.
3) get a rucksack - I've got one I used for Slovenia and Croatia last year that should serve the purpose. Nonetheless, I'm going to make sure that it fits all my stuff in and is comfortable enough to be wearing A LOT before I go.
4) double check flight times, departure terminals etc.
5) plan the route- obviously this depends upon how organised and structured you want your journey to be. I've read a lot that sometimes it is best to not plan the route as you might find somewhere that you love and want to stay longer in, and other places might not be as you have expected so you might want to hurry through. I think we are going to make a basic plan and book some places, because some of the regions that we are travelling to are not the safest in the world so we want to be well read up and.assured that in the less safe regions we have a secure hostel booked.
6) work out how you're going to access money- I'm still scratching my head a bit over this one. As we will be travelling through countries with different currencies, we will need to be getting money out of the ATM. Dollars are widely accepted in the region, but I am under the impression that you will end up getting charged more if paying with dollars. I think using my debit card will be ok, however, charges will undoubtably be incurred. Pre paid cash cards are always a good idea, but I can't seem to find any that cater for the rarer currencies! Any help on this one would be much appreciated!!
7) print off documents - at least for our first couple of destinations, I will be printing off maps, hostel reservations, bus timetables- the lot. Of course, once we find our feet it will be much easier to go with the flow. But as it is my first big trip, and is very far from home, the first few days will be all mapped out.
So apart from buying lots of suncream, a portable mosquito net and cheap clothes that will most probably be ruined, there you have it!
Next stop- Cancun!