Practical reminders, common sense approaches and clever solutions to avoid everyday challenges and live your best life.
Big trips take big preparations. There's nothing more annoying than getting to your destination only to discover you forgot something, either to bring or to do, before you left home. Let us help you with your prep list so you can spend less time trying to remember everything and more time researching the fun things you're going to do on your trip.
Anticipate At-Home Needs
While you're away, things are still happening at home. Rather than taking time out of your trip to, for example, pay a bill online, anticipate what's coming up and take care of it in advance.
- Pets: If you have pets, start making plans for their care early, especially during holiday seasons when pet sitters get booked up and kennels get full quickly.
- Bills: Check due dates on bills, and pay early if you don't want to, or can't, pay them while you're away.
- Services: Decide which on-going services you want to stop, such as mail delivery, and those you want to continue, such as yard services, and then make the appropriate arrangements.
- Home security: Decide whether you need a friend, a service or even a home security system to monitor your place while you're gone.
- Contact list: Notify everyone who needs to know where you're going, when you're leaving and when you'll be back. But don't broadcast your absence all over social media; criminals may be checking. Be sure a friend or family member has a copy of your itinerary and your contact info.
- Just before you leave: Clean out the fridge, adjust thermostat and water heater settings and unplug electrical devices.
Anticipate Problems on Your Trip
Many common issues experienced by travelers can also be anticipated and planned for in advance. Knowing what you might need, and ensuring you have it before you need it, is the ticket to less stressful travel. Spend time before you leave on these tasks to save time and trouble on your trip.
- Research your destination. Other travelers are happy to discuss their trips and offer tips. Use these resources to help you decide what to pack, find out about transportation options, identify areas to seek out and areas to avoid, and so on.
- Have travel and arrival information and phone numbers in your phone as well as in print. Be sure to confirm all your reservations a couple of days before departure.
- Find out the best way to get cash in the local currency, and be sure you have enough on arrival to carry you until you can get more.
- Notify your credit card company and bank of your trip plans. Otherwise, your spending might look suspiciously like fraud, and your provider might lock your account.
- Make a copy of your passport, travel documents, ID, and credit and debit cards, and store them separately from the originals. Some people take photos with their phones; or store physical photos in the lining of my suitcase.
- If you're traveling outside of the United States, be sure you have any immunizations you need for your destination. Carry contact info for the U.S. Embassy in case of a medical emergency, and consider purchasing travel insurance that includes emergency coverage.
While it seems like a lot of work, if you take care of these things before you leave, you'll breeze through your trip knowing you've done everything you can to make it great.