Originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Virtuoso Life.
9-12 months to go
Your travel advisor can help with accommodation options and the best dates to travel. For involved trips such as Antarctic expeditions and African safaris, and anywhere in the Caribbean over the holidays, booking early – right around a year in advance – is essential. If you’re interested in expedited customs clearance via the Global Entry program, get the application process started about a year out as well.
5-8 months to go
BOOK THE BASICS
Secure flights, hotels, and required visas, and confirm that your passport is good to go: For many countries, it’s invalid if it expires within six months of your return.
2-4 months to go
NAIL DOWN DETAILS
Work with your advisor to map out an itinerary, make restaurant reservations, and book tours. Pay attention to logistics, like the fact that many museums in Europe are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays.
1 month to go
DON'T FORGET THE ANIMALS
Arrange for a sitter to look after your pets, or make a boarding reservation. (Or find a pet-friendly hotel.
1-2 weeks to go
Leave time to pick up last-minute items, such as adapters and travel-size products.
1-3 days to go
PREP FOR TRANSIT
Set travel alerts on your credit cards, sign up for airline notifications, and download movies, e-books, and apps for your flight. "Even though many airports have free WiFi, download speeds are usually pretty slow," says one Virtuoso travel adivsor, "so make sure you have what you want for the plane ride ahead of time."
2 hours to go
ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT
… with time to spare (and shop).
To work with an advisor on your next trip – and make the process above seamless – connect below.