So many times I create this level of panic within myself for NO reason all because I can't remember if I did everything I was supposed to do before I leave for vacation. Is that you? Maybe not. But even so, check out my list of 10 things you should do before you leave so that coming home is that much easier (you will still cry when vacation is over...sorry). But anyway, here we go:
1. Hold your mail: This is such a simple thing that some don't even realize is a thing. It's one of those things you do that means you've made it to adulthood. So why not embrace it? Here's the quick link right here because I love easy: https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/
2. Take off work far in advance: There's nothing (and I mean nothing) worse than not taking off for work until the month (or week) of your vacation and then finding out your time off has been denied. In the USA, taking time off is looked down upon, which is especially sad and directly related to the stress & depression spikes we are seeing nowadays. Don't be a statistic, get a tan.
3. Get a passport: I always urge my clients to obtain a passport, even for domestic travel. The climate that we live in requires that we go above & beyond to have a good time so better check that passport twice to make sure its not expired. You can't book travel with a passport that is 6 months or less from expiring.
4. Make a simple packing list and pack at least 2 weeks before travel: This is something I started doing in the last couple years and it is a lifesaver (especially if you travel a lot and have multiple trips back to back). Make a short, shopping list so you don't miss anything crucial. Avoid the rush by packing earlier and come back at least 3 days before travel to re-evaluate. Try to take out at least 1/3 of what you packed. You may surprise yourself and swing yourself out of the checked bag life and into the sweet (and usually free) carry-on life.
5. Bring cash: If at all possible, get cash out and bring it with you when traveling. Then you don't have to find a currency exchange (which will probably be a crazy expensive rate) once vacation starts. If you need a different currency, head to your bank and ask for some (this usually requires at least 2 weeks' notice) but is very worth it as they will give you the best exchange rate as you bank with them already. Also, leave those extra credit cards at home. Instead, reach for 1 emergency credit card, passport, cash & emergency medical info (you can keep the passport, most of the cash & credit card in your room safe). Oh yes and please notify your credit card company that you will be traveling. No need to get embarrassed when you swipe your card.
6. Bring medication & get vaccinated (if needed): Don't try to leave your blood pressure medicine at home and go on vacation thinking it'll all be okay. Bring extra (but not all) of your supply in case your flights are delayed and your trip is extended. I usually throw a couple Motrin (pills for me & liquid for my kid) in my travel bag and it has saved the entire trip. Ibuprofen (generic Motrin).....(forgive my health rant, I'm also a nurse) is an anti-inflammatory that will treat pain & fever so if your doc thinks its safe for you to use, then please do. I prefer natural remedies like these milk thistle capsules (my friends still laugh when I bring these on vacay): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001EM7T34/?ref=idea_lv_dp_ov_d (they soak up all the alcohol you know you overindulged in and make you feel like a brand new person in less than an hour; trust me 2 drinks is too much for some people so this will work for almost anybody. Doesn't hurt to bring something for indigestion & constipation either. Everybody eats more & moves less on vacay. Check out my Amazon recommendation list for more must-haves on vacay here: http://a.co/3y1cYIy
7. Check for travel warnings & advisories: Yeah this is probably too far down the list but hey, here we are. This is something I always check before, during & after my clients' travel for safety. My husband will tell you that I'm an absolute wreck while my clients are away having the time of their lives. You just pray for their safety and their fun. After all, they paid me to make sure everything is perfect. Start here at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/ (they even have a spot to register your trip and let them know you are traveling in case you have trouble abroad...and its FREE....a rare thing these days).
8. Figure out whether you need WiFi: My hubby & I used to love how much of a disconnect you experience on a 7-day Caribbean cruise back in the....00's (yeah like '05-06...we old). I mean there was just this time that you had to do nothing or spend time get to knowing your 800 other cruise passengers. Everything was so simple. Now we have a kid and like to know she is okay while we are away (that's right! We don't bring her on every vacation with us....that'll be another blog). If you are ok with wifi whenever you can get it on vacay, I recommend keeping your phone in airplane mode with wifi turned on (it can save you tons). Otherwise, figure out that data & calling plan before you go. Emergencies don't wait for you to have your ducks in a row to happen. Some phone companies, like Verizon offer free talk, text & data in Canada & Mexico if you have a certain plan.
9. Buy travel insurance: I tell all my clients to do this, whether its their 1st time out of the country or their 85th. Life happens. Be ready. Nuff said.
10. Know your country: Not the one you live in...the one you're going to. Binge watch all the Youtube you can (search for example: Cancun vlogs) and make sure the videos are recent so that you're getting the best info for now. A lot can change in 5 years. Check out my Mexico videos for an example: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqOkLPPZDtDhZx_vNBaSQ0kSG8Ry1rVJ_
Welp! That's all I've got. Let me know what you think of my top 10 and see ya in the next blog. Peace, love & travel!