I have summarized my ‘To-Do List before departure’ based on my travel experience to 40 countries and over 100 cities. I hope you will find this helpful.

The following list could give you some ideas to draft your own checklist.

1. Book a flight

Pick your favorite Airiine

You could not imagine how low the ticket price of a budget airline is. Sometimes the ticket prices are within $50 and you almost just need to pay the taxes. In this competitive market, even traditional 5-star airlines are cutting the price to attract more customers. But don’t let the cost be your only consideration, the time of the flight is also important to maximize your vacation time.

2.Book accommodations


Choosing the right accommodations is the big deal. It depends on 4 factors.

1.Style: There are 3 categories (Airbnb, Hostels, Hotels). It depends on who you are travelling with and your personal preference. Here’s my picks.

– Airbnb: Backpackers/ Travelling in groups or with family/ Feel like a local
– Hostels: Backpackers/ Meet travellers around the world
– Hotels: Business Travellers

2. Price: Compare price by using platforms like Tripadvisor or Trivago.

3. Location: Pick the one that is easily accessible. It saves you time and transportation cost.

4. Reviews: Read them to get some ideas of the reality.


3. Buy travel insurance

Contact your agent

I’m sure you can buy travel insurance online. In most cases, it’s part of the booking process for flights and accommodations.

For me, I prefer contacting my own agent and buy the plans that I am familiar about. It takes some time to compare offers from different companies at first, but it worths it. Trust me!

4. Exchange Local Currency

& Activate Overseas ATM cash withdrawal service

Don’t heavily rely on ATMs. Bring enough cash, at least for the first 2 days. Exchange currency in advance if it’s available in your home country. Avoid doing this at airport as you will not get a good rate.

5. Check your Gears

bring only what's necessary

Don’t bring less or more than enough.

Check your gears (Cameras, batteries, SD Cards …)  and see if you have what you need for the upcoming trip.

If you are a photographer, you have lots of gears that will enable you to take the best shot (Cameras, Lenses, Tripod, Filters, Flash etc.) You probably want to have them around you all the time. But are they necessary? If not, they will only increase your burden. Try to use iPhone or GoPro to shoot, the results may surprise you.

6. Pack your suitcase

Pack like a Pro UNIQLO

Pick your shoes wisely/ Bring only one jacket/ Roll to save space… The list goes on.

There’s one thing to highlight – Emergency Cash. “Don’t put everything in one basket.” Put them in different locations instead.

This is a huge topic and I am going to write a separate article only for this. But there’s ONE thing to remember: Less is More.

Now, check out the following tricks and learn how to pack like a pro.

7. Draft a Shopping List

Buy what you need before you go

As you are completing the above items of the list, you will find out that there’re still something that you can’t find at home (e.g. Travel sockets, clothes for extreme weather…). Draft a shopping list and get ready for your trip.

8. Go Digital

Download Offline Maps, Guidebooks, Itinerary, Apps... to your iPad Offline MapsGoogle Drive

2016 is coming and you are still travelling with papers and guidebooks? Go digital & paperless will not only save you space, and shorten time for searching information but also environmental friendly.

I recommend using Google Drive and download an offline version of your docs such that you can read anywhere, anytime.

Wrap Up

Remember, don’t panic if you haven’t completed your To-Do List before departure. Everything is going to be fine and there are a million ways to solve a problem. Relax.

Let’s see what I did when I found out I didn’t bring my smartphone stand…

Airbnb is Trending

Wonder “Who uses Airbnb and Why“? This infographic will give you some ideas.

Disclaimer: While you will enjoy USD$20/HKD$155 discount on Airbnb by registering through the link below, I will also receive the same amount of Airbnb credits.

Thank you for supporting Gen Y Travel!


What do you think?

Comment below and let us know what's missing on the list