Your destination is selected, your plans are made. . . so what else is needed before you travel? Based on decades of travel, my motto has become: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst and be ready for anything”. The following are some steps to take before you walk out the door.
- Have travel insurance coverage: there is a separate blog article on the importance of travel insurance. Suffice it to say, flight delays, lost luggage, missed connections, accidents or illness during travel. . . I refer to my motto above. There are multiple issues that can negatively affect a trip and insurance will assist financially and logistically.
2. Packing: don’t wait until the last minute but start about a week in advance so you have time to get items you need. Find a location to start gathering things to assure you have everything needed and avoid last minute shopping runs.
3. Credit card/bankBe sure they are used in the country(ies) you are visitingVerify exchange fees, if any, that will be charged for use in those country(ies)Notify them of your travel dates and destinations to avoid having your card frozen
4. Currency: Verify what currency you need in your destinationDetermine whether to get in advance from your bank, or you can obtain through currency exchange booths at the airport.
5. Cell phone international coverage: contact your carrier to verify the texting and data plan during your travel. Many carriers provide a temporary international plan addition. Don’t have the unpleasant souvenir of a large bill due to ignorance about charges.
6. Schedule a mail delivery hold; you can do this online at www.usps.com or in person at your post office. This will include a date for delivery of the held mail upon your return.
7. If you have any auto-orders from Amazon either suspend those or arrange for a trusted person to pick up your packages. I recommend having someone check your house periodically to assure everything is fine. This will protect against burglary and issues like leaks that occur during your absence.
8. Schedule bill payments in advance to avoid late fees
9. Clean out the refrigerator: you don’t want to return home to smelly, spoiled food.
10. Don’t start the dishwasher! My son and daughter-in-law made this mistake when departing on a trip. Thankfully, we were stopping in the house periodically and discovered the kitchen flooded due to a leak. Had we not been stopping by, they would have returned to a flooded, damaged house. As it was, the flood was limited to the kitchen and we repaired the damage before their return.
11. Schedule delivery of groceries for your first day home. There are several options, including Amazon Prime. I have used a grocery service Shipt; you can use our referral code: s2WM2 for 50% discount on their subscription service.
12. Arrange transportation to/from airport: How are you getting to the airport and back to your house? A service like Super Shuttle or Uber will deliver you to the terminal door; schedule in advance to avoid delays. If you are driving and parking at the airport, during peak travel times like spring break and holidays, make a reservation to avoid the unpleasant surprise of no availability.
13. Carry-on: Be sure you have all trip documents in your carry-on. That means your passport, flight itinerary, accommodation confirmations, etc. Do not pack your identification in your checked luggage or you won’t be going far.
14. Have your contact information on and in your bags; have a heavy-duty tag with your name and cell phone number on the luggage exterior and include the same information on the interior lid. If the tag is torn off during transit, you can still be located.
15. Have your contact information on and in your bags; have a heavy-duty tag with your name and cell phone number on the luggage exterior and include the same information on the interior lid. If the tag is torn off during transit, you can still be located.
16. Double-check carry-on bags, especially for any children traveling with you to assure that there are no items that will flag you during security check. Limit liquids to 3 oz. and put them all in a quart ziplock bag to ease the screening process.
17. Clothes for travel: wear slip-on shoes and foot covering to make it easier to walk through screening. Avoid heavy jewelry, large belt buckles and metal studs on clothing so you don’t set off the alarms. If you want to wear them for arrival at your destination, put in your carry-on bag and complete your outfit after clearing security. A wrap or sweater is also recommended as the airport/airplane temperatures vary.
18. Most importantly, have a relaxed attitude; things will go wrong. Flights get delayed, bags get misplaced, and spills happen. Remaining relaxed is key, as tension just magnifies the stress.