We’ve talked before about the essentials you need to pack when you’re heading off on your travels. With a suitcase bulging with everything you could possibly need, there’s just a few more things you need to get in line before you jet off for the holiday of a lifetime.
The best way of ensuring you have fully prepared for any trip is to ask yourself the questions below. These will help to reveal exactly what you need to do to ensure you are able to sit back and enjoy your vacation without a care in the world.
“Do I need any vaccines for this holiday?”
This is an important question to ask yourself; travel vaccinations can be the difference between an enjoyable holiday and one that becomes a nightmare. Numerous countries throughout the world require some form of vaccinations; if you’re not sure if your destination is included in the list, then check.
It’s important to remember that vaccinations need to be performed well in advance of your departure date– six weeks is ideal. This is the kind of question you need to ask yourself when booking your holiday; if you forgot, then contact a medical professional who will be able to advise you further on the best course of action.
“Do I have cash?”
Relying on credit or changing money at the airport is a very bad idea. Credit cards can (and will!) charge extra fees when they’re used abroad, so if you’re going to use your card, you’ll need to dig into the terms and conditions to see if you’re going to be affected.
AS for changing currency at the airport, don’t do it. You will get the worst possible deal if you wait to change money at the airport; do your research beforehand so that your spending money can go as far as possible.
“Have I considered my medical needs?”
There are a variety of small questions that have to be answered to effectively deal with this question.
- Do I have all the medications I usually take, in a large enough supply? If you are travelling for more than a week, you may need to notify your doctor so that a prescription can be issued before you depart, so you can be sure you have all you will need while you’re away.
- Do I know what I would do if I suffered a medical emergency while abroad? It is always wise to get an idea of how you will meet emergency medical needs in the country you are visiting, and how payment can be arranged. You may need to check the documents for your travel insurance to answer this question.
- Do I have any over-the-counter medications I want to take? Colds, the flu, and stomach upsets can strike wherever you are in the world. If you don’t want to take the risk with buying medications over-the-counter when you’re away, you’re going to want to have a small stock of your own in your luggage.
- Am I allowed to take these over-the-counter medications into my destination country? Some countries have very strong laws about the medications they will allow; some OTC medicines that would be considered standard here are forbidden elsewhere in the world; Japan, for example, is particularly restrictive. If you’re not sure what you can and can’t take, then it’s best to contact your airline.
“Have I given someone emergency contact details?”
It’s easy to think that thanks to smartphones, you don’t need to take this step in the modern age, but it’s still a necessity if you want to cover all of your bases. Give your friends and family the name and phone number of your hotel, so they can contact you even if you experience issues with your smartphone, such as loss of coverage or breakage.
“Do I know where my nearest embassy will be?”
With any luck, you won’t have need to find an embassy while you are abroad– but if you do, you’ll be glad you’ve already pre-planned the route. Find the location of your nearest embassy and note down the address somewhere safe; this is definitely one of the steps it’s better to take and hope never to need, rather than avoid and then find yourself stuck.
“Have I secured the house?”
When your home is going to be left empty for a long period of time, you’re going to need to take extra steps to ensure security. You may want to consider lightbulbs that can be controlled by a timer or app, which help to give the impression someone is home, as well as standard home security measures such as securing your garden.
If possible, arrange for a friend or family member to visit your home a few times during your trip. They will be able to notice any problems — such as a burst pipe — before the situation becomes critical, so it’s always worth at least asking. If you’re particularly concerned, then opting for a housesitter might be the best option, though make sure you vet the sitter and trust them implicitly. There are plenty of sites that can help you with finding qualified, reliable candidates, but always consider each person carefully and check who has liability if something goes wrong.
“Have I got my travel insurance?”
We mentioned travel insurance earlier, but it’s such a valuable part of travel planning that it bears mentioning again. Remember: you can buy travel insurance right up to the date of departure, so even if you’ve forgotten until now, you can still ensure you have coverage while abroad.
Considering all of the above, it may sound like preparing for a holiday is a lot of work. In truth, that’s because… it is. However, remember: the work you do in terms of preparation helps to ensure that you are able to have the best possible time while away, guaranteeing you are able to enjoy every valuable second of your vacation. Have a great time!