A great vacation takes lots of planning. Even if you are working with a Travel Advisor, there are many critical details which only the traveler can manage. Here’s my checklist of important details and resources to help your next vacation go smoothly.
6 months before your travel date…
- Check all passports to ensure valid for at least 6 months beyond your return date. Renew if necessary.
- Determine the visa and passport requirements for your destination country and apply if necessary https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html
- Discuss the vaccination and health care recommendations for your destination country with your personal physician. https://www.cdc.gov/
- Apply for a Trusted Traveler number, KTN or GOES
As you begin booking your trip…
- Contact your Health Insurance provider to determine what coverage you have while traveling abroad and what the filing procedure is.
- Contact your Automobile Insurance provider to determine what coverage you have while renting a car in a foreign country.
- Consider purchasing Travel Insurance to provide additional protection in the event of unexpected issues – like weather delays, illness before or during travel, or lost baggage. Recommend purchasing the policy within 14 days of initial trip deposit.
Two weeks before departure…
- Notify your Bank and Credit Card company that you are traveling. Inquire about foreign ATM fees and foreign currency transaction fees. Obtaining currency from an ATM in your destination country may be more cost effective than exchanging cash.
- Inquire with your cell phone provider regarding their International Plans and costs for data, text and voice. Pre-purchasing additional data may be recommended.
- Purchase any plug adapters for your phone and computer.
One week before departure…
- Place your mail on hold usps.com
- When packing your luggage
- Keep all medication in the original packaging.
- In your carry on, pack a change of clothes, comfortable shoes and any essentials, such as chargers, medication and eyeglasses.
- Place a paper copy of your passport in a separate location from your actual passport.
- If you will be visiting religious sites, such as cathedrals or temples, modest dress is requested – women are requested to cover their arms, and shorts for men or women are not Please respect the local customs.
- Give a copy of your itinerary to a family member or friend “just in case”.
- Carry a paper copy of your itinerary as well as a digital copy.
- Download the Mobile Passport app and upload passport images. This will help make clearing passport control much easier upon return to the US.
One day before departure…
- Reconfirm flights on-line at the airline website. Check for seats and upload your passport number and contact phone number.
- Pack your carry-on for efficiency at security. Liquids and devices (computers, tablets, cameras) should be easy to access, as they must be placed in the bin directly. Belts and shoes will need to be removed at screening, as well as pockets emptied.
- Pack a reusable water bottle. Fill once you have cleared security.
- Drink plenty of water, as it is easy to become dehydrated on a long flight. Take several walks during the flight – the length of the aircraft if possible – to help keep you more comfortable.
- Once at your destination, drink plenty of water and get plenty of sunshine to help you adjust to the new time zone. Avoid taking naps – particularly in the afternoon, as you may have more difficulty falling asleep in the evening.
- 24 hours prior to departure, reconfirm your return flights on-line and add your return flight information to the Mobile Passport App.
Once you have returned home…
- Call your Mom. Let her know you had a great trip. She worries, you know.
Lisa Taub, Travel Adviser