Hey, congrats, welcome on board! You are now part of the most wonderful project in the world and, soon enough, with the happiest smile on your face, you'll be on your way to Latin America. But first, take a look at these must-do's before your trip and make sure you're fully prepared for the experience of a lifetime:
- Pay your fines and debts.
- Protect your card from getting blocked by informing your bank you are travelling.
- Prepare some cash to use wherever cards are not accepted.
- Ensure you always have an ID on you by taking copies of your documents and keeping them separately. It always makes sense to save a copy to the cloud.
- Make sure your luggage complies with the baggage policy of your airline company.
- Ensure you have a ride to the airport; don’t forget about the timing.
- Ask your family or friends to look after your apartment/house/car/pet. Provide your neighbors with your contact information and any other emergency contacts they might need when you are gone.
- Prepare yourself for Internet shortage by having offline access to key information, e.g. tickets, passport, visas, insurance information. It makes sense to have emergency contacts, e.g. your country’s Embassy, Health&Help, bank and insurance company, in your head or on paper.
- Be ready for flight delays by packing some snacks.
- Make sure your kindle, phone, and/or tablet is fully charged to keep you entertained during your trip.
Ensure you have a simpler backup phone in case your smartphone dies.
- Prevent your baggage from being damaged by making certain your bag is easy to carry. It also makes sense to put a tag with your name and contact information on it. It also helps to take a photo of it in case it is lost.
- To avoid your baggage being misplaced, make sure it doesn’t have old tags from previous trips.
- Check to see if you have all the essentials you need in the hand luggage.
- Prepare yourself for the trip by downloading maps and Google.Translate (Spanish-English-Spanish) to be used use offline; messengers, such as WhatsApp and Skype; TripAdvisor, Booking and Couchsurfing, Uber, and your bank’s mobile apps.
- Take all the necessary Hepatitis A, B and rabies vaccination shots in advance. A simple check up and follow up with your doctor won’t do you any harm (and might save your life).
- Work hard to ensure you have a functional Spanish fluency level by the time you leave for your trip to Guatemala. It will pay off as you feel more in control in a country that speaks little English and can be difficult to navigate.