If this is your first time traveling abroad, or maybe you just need a refresher here’s a list of tips you should do or bring before your trip. Airfare, hotel accommodations and rental cars may be the holy trinity of travel preparation, but nailing down these aspects of your vacation is only the beginning of the trip planning process. If you want to achieve a smooth, headache-free trip (and who doesn’t), taking care of essential tasks like researching activities at your destination, managing your finances and getting your home in order is key.
Typical vacation planning involves selecting the right hotel, making flight arrangements and purchasing tickets for events and attractions. While the dizzying array of vacation options can keep you focused on your trip, it’s also important to prepare your home for your time away. Before heading off to your destination, you want to make sure everything will run smoothly in your absence so you can really leave home behind while you’re relaxing and rejuvenating. Keep your family, friends and coworkers at bay during your trip by including advance planning on your to-do list, before your vacation has begun.
- Make arrangements for pets, plants and mail. If you are leaving pets at your house to be tended to, have your pet sitter water the plants and pick up the mail. You can also use Aqua Globes or other types of devices that will water your plants in your absence. If you won’t have anyone tending to the house, contact the U.S. Postal service to arrange to have your mail held until you return.
- Take advance care of family members you are leaving behind. If you are leaving children or a spouse at home, make sure they have everything they might need while you’re gone. Freeze a few favorite casseroles to give them a taste of your cooking even while you’re away. Leave a photo of yourself with small children, who will be reassured by seeing your face each day. Leave detailed instructions with your caregiver for everything from snack preferences to bedtime routines to minimize disruptions.
- Tie up loose ends at work. Set up an away message for your e-mail and voice mail, giving your return date and the names and numbers of coworkers who can be contacted in your absence. Give a copy of important files to a contact in your department who can act on your behalf while you’re away. Place other information that coworkers might need in brightly colored, clearly labeled files on top of your desk so they don’t need to rummage through your drawers. A short list of the contents of each folder will encourage coworkers to replace anything they remove or copy, and also ensure you can tell if anything’s missing when you return.
- Contact the Kennel and/or House Sitter.Once you have a travel date, your first move should be to contact your pet kennel or house sitter (or any other trustworthy service) to guarantee availability. You may even want to take care of this before booking; as reader E.B. Hughes writes, “I have had to pay change fees twice since we got our dog just because the local kennel was full for one night of my trip.”
- Take Care of “Stop” Orders and Advance Payments. Once your travel is booked, you should look into placing “stop” orders on any regularly occurring deliveries or services. These may include postal mail, newspapers, housecleaners and the like. If you want particular services to continue (such as landscaping), consider paying in advance if this is not your usual arrangement.Many service providers allow you to place stop orders online; this is particularly the case for mail delivery and most newspapers. As many stop orders require one or two business days’ advance notice, make sure you take care of this at least three days before you travel.
- Check the travel packing list. There are many stuffs need to be carry on travel, start by collecting all of your important documents in a travel document organizer (this travel organizerholds a passport, ID, seven credit cards, coins, documents, a boarding pass, and a pen!). This will help ensure everything you need to get from one place to the next is all in one place. Think about including the following documents:
- Personal ID, including a student ID card if you have one
- Frequent flyer card(s) and other loyalty program cards such as a hotel or hostel
- Cash and credit card(s)
- Health insurance cards/document(s)
- Travel insurance info
The next thing you’ll want to do is prepare your personal item carry-on bag with anything you’ll want with you on the flight. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have an outfit (or two) and a few essential toiletries in your personal item just in case your luggage is lost.
- Mobile device and charger
- iPad or e-reader and charger
- Hand sanitizer or wet wipes
- Prescriptions in original packaging (you’ll want to make sure you have these in your carry-on bag just in case something were to happen to your checked luggage)
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