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Travel Like a Pro: What to Do Before You Leave

Don't suffer through a poorly planned trip: Use our tips to choose a destination and create a to-do list to begin your adventure.

What to Do Before You Leave | Tips for En Route | When You Get There | How to Stay Healthy | Etiquette On the Trail | For the Extreme Traveler


10 months out:
Buy plane tickets & book hotels for high-season trips

6 months out:
Start foreign language lessons
Apply for a new passport
Begin hepatitis A vaccinations (for travel to developing countries)

3 months out:
Apply for visas (check for visa requirements)
Renew passport (if it expires within the next six months)

6 weeks out:
Schedule all other vaccinations ( lists required and recommended shots)

Do I need travel insurance?
If you can’t afford to lose the investment you’ve made in the trip, then yes. Here’s how four popular adventure travel policies stack up, plus one option for backcountry rescue service. Compare details at or (Prices vary depending on your age and trip cost; estimates are for a 40-year-old traveler on a $5,000 trip.)

Travelex Travel Select + Adventure Pak $246 T, M, E, B Covers mountaineering and other adventure-sports injuries, plus gear rental if your bags are lost;
Travel Guard Adventure Travel Protection $212 T, M, E, B Includes hotline for travel or medical emergencies, gear shop/outfitter locations, directions to trailhead, and weather updates;
International Medical Group Patriot Extreme International $100 M, E, B Covers injuries from mountaineering/rock climbing (but only below 4,500 meters), kayaking, rafting, and mountain biking;
USI Travel Insurance Services Plus $250 T, M, E, B Doesn’t cover mountain-climbing injuries;
American Alpine Club
Global Rescue Service
Comes w/$75 membership N/A Covers the first $5,000 of any rescue bill (but not in countries on the State Department’s Travel Warning list);
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