So, you’ve decided you want to travel. You’re almost certain nothing will go wrong – after all, you’ve never had a problem travelling before. You get to the check-in gate at the airport, and you can’t find your passport, or you get to your holiday resort only to find that it definitely isn’t that 5-star luxury and comfort you saw in the photos.
Avoid the stress, uncertainty, and possible disappointments by having a to-do list. Don’t know what to put on that list? In this episode, you’ll learn the 15 things that you should be doing before you even leave your house to go on that vacation.
Here are the things that should be on everyone’s list:
[02:43] Get a folder for all your travel documents
This is the first thing you should do once you’ve made your first bookings. Even if you’ve booked your trip a year in advance, you will want to keep all the necessary paperwork, confirmation numbers, transportation instructions, contact information, and whatever else you get right up until the day you leave.
[04:10] Clip your passport to your carry-on bag
You can forget toiletries, and you can forget your clothes, but you can’t forget your passport. Everything else, you can buy at your destination. Without your passport the destination is back home.
[05:16] Contact your bank and credit card company
You never know if you’re going to need to swipe your card. Let your card companies know your travel dates, and get travel authorization so that you don’t get the dreaded “CARD DENIED”.
[07:28] Do NOT leave without purchasing travel insurance
It’s more than just “in case you might need it to cancel your vacation.” Travel insurance is there to cover delays, cancellations, lost baggage, and even medical needs. The one time you think you don’t need it, you might actually need it, so don’t take that risk.
[08:39] Decide if you need to convert money before you leave
Some destinations might accept your local currency; others might not. It’s always a good idea to make sure you know what you need cash-wise.
Rule of thumb: Try not to convert your money at the airport – the fee might be a bit higher than at a bank.
[09:46] Find out if you need vaccinations or not
You need to know this far enough in advance because some vaccines have to be done on a schedule. “Know before you go.”
[10:37] Make sure your medication is in your carry-on (and in original
You need to know certain countries’ laws regarding certain medications, and whether or not you need a doctor’s note. Having it in your carry-on or your purse makes for easy access if you need to provide some form of identification (in case you lose your wallet with your ID).
[12:44] Contact your mobile carrier
You should check your carrier’s international calling plan – unless you’re okay with racking up an insane bill while you’re away. Make sure your device has international calling. If you need to make an emergency call, you need a device that has that capability.
[14:10] Leave a copy of your passport and itinerary with someone you trust
If there’s an emergency, or your parents start wondering where you are, or you need a copy of your passport in case you lose it, leave a copy of all your important information with someone you trust. Having this backup means that you can spend less time worrying about “what ifs”, and more time on soaking up the sun.
[15:52] Secure your home
Even if you don’t have pets that need someone to look after them while you’re away, it’s a good idea to have someone watching over your home. They don’t have to be there 24/7 – even just to empty out the mailbox (if it’s full, that’s usually a sign that no one’s home). Set your light timers. Make it less obvious that your house is standing empty for a prolonged period.
[16:45] Don’t do a social media countdown
Doing a countdown tells people when your home will be empty in advance. If you want to keep your house more secure, you don’t want to be announcing your plans to leave it alone. It’s not smart. Don’t do it.
[17:35] Confirm all reservations and activities
Make sure you booked that seaside resort that you thought you booked. Don’t assume that the computer didn’t make a mistake. Check, and double-check your bookings. You wouldn’t need to do this if you worked with a good travel agent.
[18:31] Clean your house before you leave
You don’t want to get home after a great vacation and find your house in a mess. Complement your good vacation experience with a good experience arriving back home.
[19:32] Look up the resort/hotel where you’ll be staying
Find out what the hotel or resort does and doesn’t offer. You don’t want to be uncomfortable, so make sure whether or not you need to take anything extra to make your stay better.
[20:35] Gather embassy information
Be prepared if something goes down in the country you’re visiting. You will want to register with the embassy in your destination country – if you need help, they will contact you and make sure you’re taken care of.
You can never be too prepared. Problems need solutions, and having a good checklist can help you solve those problems before they even happen.
That’s the goal of this podcast – to be a prepared traveller; an organized traveller; a better traveller.
“Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.”
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Check out the links to some of the things mentioned in this episode:
- The Erica James Travel Show Podcast Community
- Erica James on Instagram
- EJtheTravelDiva YouTube Channel