So, you’re only a few sleeps away from setting off on the adventure of a lifetime. Sleeps is probably an overstatement as if you’re anything like me, you’re so excited you wake up every hour in the night muttering about plane tickets. But anyway, there’s a few last minute things you need to check off your list before you take that leap and catch your flight.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s super important and I thought I’d go into it in a bit more detail. For every single part of my outward journey, I’ve got copies of the tickets I’ll need, plus details of- where to catch buses, meals included on flights, which terminal I need to be in etc. Then I have details of all my reservations with contact details for the owners, directions to getting there, check-in times, and dates. In each place I’m going to be staying I have a list of the activities that I’d been eyeing up there to help me keep focused and not end up just mooching around. Then I also have copies of my passport and driving licence- hostels will often ask you to leave a passport at reception, but a copy is fine and you get to keep the original. Finally I photocopy the entire thing, and leave a copy with a trusted person (mum) just in case something happens so she knows where I am.
2. Check your bags
If you’re like me, you’ve been living out of the suitcase for a week to make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything. However if not, don’t worry- there’s still time for you to become as organised as me (ha!). Run through your packing list against what you’ve packed, and pay attention to the stuff you have to leave out till last minute- straighteners, toothbrush, makeup. I can’t count how many times I’ve left stuff next to my bag to use that day, meaning to put it in later, only to get to my destination and realise I’d left my hairbrush on my bedroom floor… learn from my mistakes.
3. Double check visas and documentation
I only discovered I needed a visa for my 12 hour layover in Canada when I rang the airline to ask about baggage fees. Obviously this isn’t ideal. So double and triple check all visa and entry requirements for ALL countries you’re going to- even if you won’t be leaving the airport.
4. Buy last minute items
I definitely did a few last minute supermarket runs to grab things I suddenly realised I desperately needed- including but not limited to snacks for the trip, extra sun cream, and an adaptor. It’s always worth looking up prices of things in the country you’re going to- toiletries are super-expensive in Costa Rica (I’m talking $16 for a bottle of suncream) so I’m really glad I packed extra of lots of things and didn’t plan to buy them out here, as it would have worked out super expensive.
5. See all your friends and family (and get lots of photos!)
Make the absolute most of the time that you have left before you go! I booked a few days off work before I went, and I went out for brunch with my best friend, my mum and I went out for food and flew a barn owl, and had all the family over for a meal and a couple of drinks before I left. Of course I also spent lots of time with my fur babies as well- and took lots and lots of photos to look at whenever I get homesick.
I wish that I’d taken more time to appreciate things I was going to miss during the trip- I’m not talking about people, I’m talking about things like cheese. I didn’t realise it but Costa Rica has basically no native cheeses, and to get any kind of decent cheese is prohibitively expensive. For a block of feta it will set you back around $10. Even a bag of crappy pre-grated cheese is around $6. One of these days I will cave in and fork out and then spend an afternoon gorging myself on cheese. I’ve managed to hold out for 5 weeks but I can see it coming. So yeah, make sure you eat lots of yummy food that you won’t be able to get where you’re going.
Other than that- chill out, relax, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!