Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, there are many things you can do to make your travel experience more enjoyable. Preparation is the key to enjoying your time away from home, no matter what the circumstances may be.
Before you leave, ask a neighbor or friend to collect your mail and newspapers. Also, if possible, ask him/her to keep an eye on your house while you are away, and be sure to leave a copy of your itinerary with him/her.
Take all of your travel confirmations with you in a folder, including important information for your hotels, car rental agencies, etc. You do not want to show up to rent a car and the company has no record of your reservation and no cars to rent; not a good start. Also, keep a list of your credit card numbers with you separately from your wallet. This way, if something happens, you are prepared with back-up information.
If you are flying, confirm all departures as well as any type of traffic delay, estimated parking changes or estimated security gate wait times prior to arriving at the airport. If possible, you should check-in for your flight online. Not only will this keep you from being bumped from a flight, but you will pay less in baggage fees (if applicable).
Additionally, when flying, you should always keep an extra set of clothing and other necessary personal items in your carry-on bag in case your luggage is lost or stolen. Of course, you will need to make sure any toiletries follow the guidelines outlined by the Department of Transportation so you will not have to give them up at the security gate. And, make sure you arrive at the airport as early as possible to avoid any type of rush.
If you want to enjoy electronics on your trip, be sure to fully charge them prior to leaving home and wear comfortable clothing on your trip (unless you are flying on business and required to dress up). If you are driving to your destination, leave enough time for bathroom and eating breaks.
Do not pack valuables unless you find they are absolutely necessary to bring. For example, leave your Rolex watch at home because not only can it get stolen or lost, but you may then become a target for thieves looking for “rich” travelers.
If you are going to a foreign country, be sure to take these additional precautions before leaving on your trip:
- Contact your financial institution where you have the debit and credit cards you plan to use on your trip to let them know that you will be going out of the country.
- Use an ATM in the country you visit to obtain cash; it will usually have the best exchange rate. However, you should obtain some cash or traveler’s checks prior to leaving on your trip as a back-up until you can find an ATM.
- Visit www.xe.com, www.x-rates.com, or www.oanda.com to view some of the exchange rates all over the world.
- Review the language you will be using prior to your trip abroad. Become familiar with key phrases that will help you get from Destination A to Destination B.
- Learn as much as you can about the local customs of the country you are planning to visit. Talk to friends and family who have visited the same country to gather as much information as possible.
- Make sure you do not overlook getting the appropriate vaccinations to protect yourself from any infectious disease you may encounter.
- Have a valid passport and all visas required for your trip. Make two copies of your passport; keep one in a separate part of your travel luggage and leave the other copy with someone at home.
- Be sure to bring a voltage converter for any electrical gadgets you may need. Some countries have different voltage requirements for their electrical gadgets.