Your dream holiday is all set, you have planned a visit to one of the most famous cities in the world, and all your bags are packed. But what if I told you that a lack of planning could ruin your vacation and leave you with a poor experience?
Planning is a fundamental step in order to have a great vacation. Make sure that you avoid the same mistake so that your vacation could have whatever it might lack otherwise.
Make a list and check it twice, so you don't forget anything.
Before you head onto your vacation, remember every vacation needs a pre-vacation checklist—and you need to check it twice. Be sure to include everything you need for your trip, even if it seems obvious. For example, don't forget the toothpaste or sunscreen. You may need to take care of important tasks before you leave—such as getting new tires on your car or paying your bills ahead of time. Make sure those things are done too!
Don't forget to make copies of documents like passports and contact numbers in case something happens to them while traveling abroad (or even just at home).
It's also helpful if someone else can check over this list with you before you leave so they can ask questions about anything that might be missing from it.
Stop your mail service and newspaper deliveries.
You don't want to advertise that you're not home, so stop your mail service and newspaper deliveries. It may seem counterintuitive, but the key is to do this well in advance of leaving town. If you wait until the last minute and then cancel your subscriptions or request a hold-for-pickup status on any packages that arrive after your departure date, it will be obvious to strangers that someone was expecting those things—and no one wants them knocking on their door asking for their package!
Make sure all of this gets done at least two weeks before you plan on leaving town. This way, there's time for any pending deliveries (such as magazines) to be shipped out before they go back into circulation; also, make sure to double-check that no late fees are incurred from stopping mail services early (it can happen!).
Double-check all medications.
Before you go on vacation, make sure to check all of your medications. If possible, try to get a prescription for any medication you will need while away from home. This way, if something comes up and there is an issue with obtaining the drug or getting it filled in another country (a common problem for travellers), then at least it won't be a complete disaster. If this isn't possible for whatever reason, then make sure to double-check all medications—especially those that are less common outside of America—to ensure that they aren't expired or past their expiration date.
Also, keep in mind that pharmacies abroad may not carry the same brands or types of medication that are available in America, even if they do sell them by name brand only instead!
Take photos of your luggage to help you find it in case it gets lost.
You can also use the photo to describe your bag. If you were to lose one of your bags, would airport security be able to match your description with the name on the tag? A photo will allow them to do this.
You should take a photo of your luggage before you leave for the airport and then again when it goes into checked baggage (or onto an airplane). This gives you multiple copies in case one gets lost or damaged. You should also make sure that you track down a copy of your receipt from when you purchased the tickets—in case it gets lost too!
Plan for pet care (if needed).
If you're going away on vacation and need to arrange for someone to care for your pet, make sure they know what's expected of them.
● Have a friend or neighbour check on the pet while you're gone.
● Have a friend or neighbour feed the pet while you're gone.
● Have a friend or neighbour take the dog for walks daily if possible. Otherwise, schedule visits with another walker in advance so they don't go too long between walks.
● Make sure everyone knows how to administer first aid if needed (especially if it's been a while since their last vet visit).
Secure your home and property.
Before you go, make sure your home is secure. This means making sure all doors and windows are locked, and any home security alarms are activated. If you have a garage, make sure it is locked as well. Make sure your neighbours know you will be away and give them your contact details in case there is an emergency at the property while you are away on vacation.
Get necessary documents sorted out.
● Passports and visas, if required
● Medical insurance
● Driver's license
● Credit and debit cards to access funds in case of emergency or loss of your wallet/purse
● Confirmations, itineraries, and tickets for all flights, hotels, tours, and transportation booked. This is essential for any trip that involves air travel. If you're driving instead of flying (say, from New York City to Boston), make sure you have a hard copy of all directions from point A to point B on hand in case you get lost or have car trouble along the way. You'll also want to print out directions from your hotel room before going out so that you don't have to use up precious data using Google Maps on your phone throughout the day if you're traveling somewhere with limited Wi-Fi access.
Is there anything else about which we should be cautious when planning our vacation?
Save emergency contact information in your phone or wallet.
It's important to have a contact number for your hotel, airline, and insurance company, as well as the local embassy. These are numbers you're likely to need in an emergency, so it makes sense to have them all on hand.
If you're traveling with friends or family, consider adding each other's numbers to your phone or wallet ahead of time—this way everyone can be easily reached in case of trouble and there won't be any panic about who has everyone else's phone number when the travel plans change unexpectedly due to weather or other factors beyond anyone's control.
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