Summer is here and the kiddos have had their last day of school. That means that a lot of people will be hitting the roads and airports for vacations!
Planning a vacation takes a lot of work. Planning an international vacation takes even more work. Here are some of my travel tips that I have learned from experience.
Start with an Itinerary
Whether you are planning the trip yourself or have a travel agent, you’ll reduce your stress load with a good itinerary. You can make it as detailed or vague as you like to suit your travel style. I personally like to have where we are staying the night and a handful of local attractions/activities that sound interesting. This gives us some flexibility and we don’t feel so rushed to get to the next thing.
Print off a copy of the itinerary and give each member in your party a copy so they know what is going on.
Pack Your Bags Early
Don’t wait until the last moment to pack. Set out a piece of paper and pen a week beforehand and write down packing items as you think of them. Then two days before you leave, start gathering all of those items into a pile. Try to pack your bags two days before so you aren’t rushing at the last minute. Packing early will free up the night before to relax and take care of any other last minute details.
Organize Your Wallet
The last thing that any traveller wants is to lose their wallet or worse yet, have it stolen. Save yourself some headache and strip your wallet at home. Remove any cards that you won’t be using. Trust me, your local gym membership card won’t be needed when traveling abroad.
Download Relevant Travel Apps
Before leaving home, I like to download the apps for the companies that I have reservations with. I can login at home and not have to fumble around quite so much when time is more sensitive. Most websites are mobile friendly, so you may not have to download the specific app, but some sites are almost useless on your phone. I have found that to be the case with TripAdvisor, so I went ahead and downloaded the native app. Their competitor Yelp isn’t as useful outside of the USA.
Two other apps that I like for traveling abroad are Google Maps and (Google) Translate. Both have offline modes where they will continue to work even without an internet connection, but you have to set them up beforehand when you have internet.
Backup Your Phone and Clear Off Space
Just as it would be a major inconvenience to lose your wallet on a trip, it would also be a PITA to lose your phone. Take the time before you leave to backup your phone. While you are thinking about that, it is also a good idea to clear off some hard drive space on it so you can take more photos and videos during your trip!
Tell Your Bank About Your Travel Plans
Log into your bank account and usually under Self Service or Customer Service there will be an option to tell your bank about travel plans. Do this for any debit or credit card that you are going to bring with you, otherwise it might get shut down when you need it!
Stop Mail or Arrange For a Neighbor to Take it In
Nothing screams, “I’m not home” like an overflowing mailbox. Either go to USPS.com and place a hold on your mail delivery or arrange to have a neighbor take it in. In the same line of home security, be vague about your travel plans online (yes, I do see the hypocrisy of this blog post but then again I do arrange for our house to be watched before we go anywhere).
Try to Sleep
This one is the hardest of them all. The night before your trip, try to get a good night’s sleep. If you are anything like me, that’ll be next to impossible!
What are your tips for a great vacation?