Consent Letter for Single Parent Travel
For those single parents travelling alone: get a consent letter from the other parent! The Canadian federal government has a sample letter you can use and simply get notarized when travelling. I've never actually needed to present the letter at a border... YET, but still want to be prepared. I did however need the letter over a decade ago when travelling with my son in Europe and was robbed. I had our passports stolen.. along with several other important documents and we needed to get emergency passports to get home. The embassy in Paris wanted proof that I wasn't kidnapping my child!
Make Photo Copies
Make photos copies of your ID/passports/travel insurance etc. I leave a copy with someone back home (my parents) and keep a copy in another compartment of my bag. This was also my saving grace when needing an emergency passport from the embassy.
Check the government (CDN) website for a recommendation of vaccinations for each country you visit. Also, visit a travel clinic for the most recent advice. Do this far enough in advance as some vaccinations need boosters a month or so after the first shot to be most effective. Also, it's worth taking Dukoral if travelling to any developing countries. This helps prevent travellers diarrhea. This has been such a benefit to us, especially in Indonesia!
International Drivers License
Some countries will not accept your drivers license from your home country, therefore you need to apply for an International Driver License. This can be done through your CAA or AAA. It is typically around $25CDN. It's handy to have if you're visiting multiple countries. You do not want to experience getting pulled over by often corrupt police officers in another country that will either fine you up the wazoo or put you in jail. For instance you need an International License in Indonesia. I got one, but once here, decided there's no way I'm driving! :)
Buy Travel Insurance
DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THIS. Things I look for in a policy are, a 24 hour emergency contact line, and a company that will pay for fees upfront. They can also suggest doctors and hospitals to visit in the area you might need medical attention. Make sure the policy also offers emergency flight home if necessary.
Shop Off Season Sales
When you've given yourself a lot of time to plan your trip, you might have the opportunity to shop for much needed travel clothes and items on sale! Knowing I would be travelling to warmer destinations when it's our winter, I shopped at the end of our summer for end of season clothes. I found some amazing Prana, IceBreaker and Columbia travel clothes at deep discounts with additional coupons and at-the-till discounts, it made them dirt cheap!