A tremendous amount of preparation goes into planning and preparing for the perfect getaway. It would be wonderful to do everything freestyle, without a care and just wing the whole thing, but when reality strikes, you will be glad you were prepared. Follow the checklist below for packing tips, house prep, pet prep and travel security.
- Make a list of all the clothes you will need and check the weather for no surprises. Remember to pack an umbrella and then freshly launder all your clothes that you are taking so everything is fresh when you get there.
- List all non-clothing items that are easy to forget like chargers for phone, camera, iPod and laptop or navigation system. Add in a travel guide -especially if you are visiting a foreign country. I can’t recommend enough the Rick Steve’s travel guides. Read them on the plane so when you land you know just what to do.
- Prepare a list to give to your neighbors and close family. The list should include emergency numbers, anyone who is responsible for a pet and their contact info, days and times you are leaving, flight numbers and times and hotel location.
- Do you have plants that need tending? Make sure someone is assigned to this task. Also don’t forget your mail. Make sure it is picked up every day. Cancel your newspaper. Nothing says empty house louder than old newspapers lying on the driveway.
- Make sure you either eat any perishable food prior to your leaving or handoff to someone else.
- Do you have international service on your phone? If you can get it, then it’s worth paying for one month of this. If you don’t and you turn your phone on in another country it will start roaming and you are responsible for those roaming charges. If you just want to use your phone for contact info or as an mp3 player then keep it in airplane mode that keeps it from roaming.
- Empty the kitchen compost.
- Make copies of your passport and credit cards and take these with you but keep them separate from the originals.
- Check with your health insurance company to see what their international policy is and what you should do in case you get sick or injured while away.
- Call your bank and let them know that there will be charges on your credit card coming from a certain region. You don’t want them to cancel the card because they may believe charges are fraudulent.
- Flush the toilets before you leave in case you are an “if it’s yellow let it mellow” household.
- Make sure you have printed out any passes or tickets you will need to get into events. You don’t want to show up at the Louvre without your tickets!
- For international travel, make sure you have enough cash for a few days. Call your American express office or you can also get cash at ATMs at the airport and major cities.
- Refill prescriptions
- Make sure your beauty items are travel size ready in case you are using carry-on. Three ounce limit. Bed, Bath and Beyond has perfectly sized sets you can use for liquids.
- Two weeks prior schedule a car service to take you to the airport.
- Put a timer on a few lights so it looks like someone is home.
- Pay your bills before you leave.
If you are well prepared, this will eliminate a lot of the stress that many travelers encounter. But expect the unexpected. Sometimes you miss trains or food costs more than you expected or your hotel is strange and no one speaks your language. Be open to these little changes and embrace the differences. The point of going on vacation is to experience something new.