Whether you are traveling overseas or road tripping cross country, there is nothing more exciting than gearing up for a big trip! But before zipping up those suitcase there are some steps you need to take to ensure you will have the safest trip possible. We’ve assembled a quick checklist to go through before embarking on your next adventure and trust us, your wallet and your peace of mind will thank us!
Traveling soon? Airlines also offer coupon and vacation packages to help you save here and there on your next escape! Take a look at popular travel discounts for Virgin America, JetBlue and use travel sites like Priceline and CheapOAir to help secure better package deals for your next trip.
This is one you are going to want to triple check, because somehow they never seem to get the message the first time. Avoid having your card cut off during your trip and let your bank know exactly where you’re traveling to and how long you will be gone.
Sometimes you will find yourself without phone signal or Wi-Fi, which means you won’t always have access to hotel, car rental, flight confirmation, or your travel itinerary. It’s best to print out all of these documents in advance and have them in an organized binder. Also make a back-up binder to leave with a trusted friend or family member back home.
Exchanging your dollars for the national currency once you arrive at your destination can get expensive, and the exchange rate given at restaurants and by taxi drivers are often not in your favor. If you go early enough, your bank can order in the currency you need without any additional charges. You can easily order currency in advance online from your bank or via a currency exchange site like Travelex.com.
Nothing sucks quite as much as arriving at your destination and finding that your luggage hasn’t arrived with you. Prepare for the worst and pack your carry on with everything you need in case you have to wait for your luggage to show up. Include your toiletries, a few days’ worth of outfits, and medication you may need.
You may be thinking “what’s the worst that can happen?” the answer: a lot. Travelers insurance can help protect your credit card, any necessary refunds for cancelations, or travel medical insurance. You may not think you’ll need it, but you will be grateful when the “worst case scenario” actually happens.
Do your homework and find out any health risks that may come along with your location. You may need to get some extra vaccinations or booster shots before embarking. Talk to your doctor before traveling to know exactly what precautions to take. If you are traveling with medication be sure to ask your doctor for a letter in case you are questioned by customs, and know any alternate names of your medication in case you need to pick up more while on your trip.
You will want to make sure you have the numbers and address of your nearest Embassy in whatever country you’re in. Also make sure you have checked if there are any standing travel warnings for the country you wish to visit.
You may need specific types of travel documents depending on where you’re traveling to. US Passport cards are only valid in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda while US Passports books are valid for all international travel. Depending on how long you’re staying and the reason you’re traveling you may need a visa to enter the country. Be sure to always make two copies of your passport, one for yourself and one to leave with someone you trust at home, and look into getting an international driving permit (IDP) if you plan on driving while abroad.
The country that you’re traveling to may have different outlets than the ones back home. Be sure to pack converters and adapters so you can continue to use your electronics. Adapters will allow you to convert your plug in according to whatever country you’re in, and are perfect for when you will be traveling to multiple countries. Converters can increase and decrease the voltage of an appliance, so you aren’t at risk of blowing out a charger.
Make sure you look into more than where to eat and stay in the country you’re traveling too. Many cultures have customs and actions that can be considered either rude or polite, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with these in advance to avoid any issues.
You may have found someone to walk the dog and water your plants, but there are often little things at home that go unnoticed until you return from your trip. Visit USPS.com and make sure to have your mail held by the post office. Pay or schedule any bills that may be due while you’re gone, and be sure to clean out your fridge to avoid coming home to a smell house. While you’re at it, make sure the house is nice and clean when you leave, it just feels better to come home to a clean place!
This one may not be necessary but it’s such a relief when you arrive home! Chances are you will be tired and starving when you return home, so save yourself the hassle and arrange to have groceries delivered to your home on the day you arrive.
Adjust your sleep schedule by 15 to 30 minutes each night leading up to your trip home to avoid facing serious jet lag when returning.