Congratulations, you have booked your dream vacation! What’s next?
First make a list of your most important things you need to take, if you are leaving the country make sure your passport is good for at least six months past your travel dates, to learn more about passports and visas go to https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html
Beginning in 2018 Residents of Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington states will require either an enhanced drivers license or a passport even traveling within the United States. I recommend a passport, the last ten years (for adults) and you can use them for land and air travel.
Then there is the question, do I or don’t I need travel insurance? Let me ask you this- How much did you spend on your vacation? Isn’t that investment worth it to protect it with insurance? What happens if someone becomes ill, gets in an accident or something? If you have travel protection, then you can get your money back. It also usually covers lost luggage, missed connections, illness, accidents and even death while traveling. I don’t travel without it. This is a whole post on its own, stay tuned for the next blog.
Technology sure has come a long way! We can have our boarding passes and passports at our fingertips… Between mobile boarding pass, mobile passport and TSA Pre-check you can breeze right through the airport. That being said, do bring a printed copy of your boarding pass and have your passport handy because yes technology can fail. It is also a good idea to download the Embassy App and check to see if your hotel has an App some have great features for WiFi calling.
There are some great time-saving apps, from translating and currency conversion, music to cameras our phones can do it all. Just be sure to clear out space for your photos and apps. I like to use Amazon Prime photo and Google Photo. Before you travel just to be sure you have backed them up, so you don’t run out of room on your vacation. There are also great destination apps like Go Hawaii and other travel guides that you can use without using data or wifi. On that note remember to call your cell provider and check your plan for wherever you are going. After doing that it is a good idea to call your bank and make sure your credit cards don’t get frozen while you are gone.
Some of my favorite things to pack:
-more than one cell cord (a lot cheaper to bring two than to buy one on your trip)
-My power bank for smartphones (mine is a Fritesla 16000mah from Amazon)
-a reliable cell case that keeps out water, dirt and sand
-scanned copy of passport
-single packs of pain reliever, cold medicine, band-aids
-bags of almonds and granola bars for long travel day pick me up
-a good pair of water shoes to protect from spiny creatures
-Downy spray, tide stick and shout wipes
-baby wipes to freshen up after a long flight and also clean your tray and armrests
-good headphones and ear plugs
A few other things to remember, make sure you check in 24 hours before your flight, I set a reminder on my phone to do so almost exactly 24 hours early. I don’t worry so much about getting bumped on a full flight if I check in early and show up early. They do know when you check in and when you arrive. Be courteous to the airline employees; they pay attention to that as well. Put yourself in their shoes, and you think your job is grueling?
Read the TSA rules before packing your bags, familiarize yourself with what is allowed and what to expect at the airport. Search your airport on YouTube there are some useful videos to help ease the anxiety of traveling. Use luggage tags and other identifiers for your luggage; it makes it so much easier to spot your bag coming down the carousel. Don’t check valuables or medicine in your checked bags, things happen, and luggage gets lost, keep your money and medicine on you. If you are traveling alone have it in a bag you can carry with you while going to the bathroom. Speaking of restrooms, if you take your shoes off at your seat to get comfortable, please put them back on before heading to the toilet. Think turbulence and lousy aim and just not sanitary. It is a good idea to keep your passport on you during travel, a good cross body purse or inside pocket with a zipper is a great idea.
A few other space-saving tricks are the vacuum seal bags that you can just add your close and roll them up to get the air out. I travel for business a lot, so these come in handy and make room for things like snorkels, wet bags and of course an extra pair of shoes.
When it comes to sunblock don’t go cheap and did you know most dermatologists don’t recommend the spray on sunscreen? (Neither does my husband) it doesn’t offer a good enough barrier, and you can get severely burned, nothing ruins a great trip quite like a terrible sunburn.
So many people are trying to save money by not checking a bag, I’ve been one of them however now I just check it because it is so much easier to pack liquids and not lug around all my stuff for 7 -10 days in a carry-on.
Another serious concern is Safety I know I have written about it before, but with it being all over the media lets cover a few critical issues. There have been a lot of “reports” of alleged drugging incidents in Mexico n the media all week. I have seen the ones talking about tainted alcohol and other such things. My question is what about the other several hundred people drinking at the same place all week? Just like anywhere you have to drink responsibly, taking 6-7 shots in an hour isn’t good for anyone, keep your drink with you and keep hydrated with more than fruity beverages. Keep the buddy system and watch out for each other. I travel to Mexico at least two times a year, and I feel perfectly safe even when I go alone. Just remember bad things can happen anywhere, be aware of your surroundings and listen to your instincts.
Keep following for other time, space and money saving tips.