Did you know that 100 million Americans and four in 10 families plan to take a family vacation this summer? If your family is looking forward to packing lots of suitcases, heading to the airport, boarding a plane, and flying to a foreign land, there are some essential things to keep in mind. Making a list and checking it twice isn’t just for you know who in the North Pole. You’ll want to ensure you don’t overlook anything, especially if traveling with children. Planning is about doing everything in your power to ensure you and yours enjoy a pleasant vacation.
So, without further adieu, what follows is a look at 10 things you need to do before a vacation.
Ensure Passports Are Up to Date
In the excitement of preparing for a fun family vacation, it’s easy to overlook something like the expiration date on a passport. If you’re traveling from the U.S., keep in mind that many nations mandate that your passport be valid for half a year after the date of your return.
If you have to apply for a new passport, you should apply for one up to three months before your trip. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay more to expedite the process and get your passport sooner.
Bring a List of Important Numbers
While you don’t want to think negative thoughts, you should hope for the best and prepare for the worst. That means, among other things, bringing a list of important phone numbers. You’ll want to bring the phone numbers of family, friends, doctors, and even lawyers. It’ll be great if your vacation goes off without a hitch. But being prepared will help if you have an emergency.
Do you or anyone else in your family take medications? If so, don’t forget to fill prescriptions and pack them in your hand luggage. If you’re going on an extended trip, let your doctor know so that you have enough medicine for the duration of your vacation. It might be a good idea to get more than you need just in case you face delays. Flights sometimes get delayed or canceled. You don’t want to run out of medicine if you get stuck in an airport halfway around the world.
Check Health and Travel Advisories
It’s always a good idea to check out any health or travel advisories. You can get any travel warnings by visiting the U.S. State Department site. It’ll contain information on whether or not there are any parts of the world that Americans should avoid at any point in time. Don’t forget to look on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site to see if there are any health warnings. COVID-19 isn’t over. You’ll want to know if there are any hot spots before traveling.
Carry Various Methods of Payment
It’s also vital that you take various payment methods with you. When taking a credit card, call the issuer ahead of traveling to let it know where you’ll be vacationing. Doing so will prevent a situation where your card is locked due to what the issuer might deem to be suspicious activity. Bring some cash. Some foreign retailers will accept payment in U.S. currency. It won’t hurt to exchange some of your home currency to get some of the currency of the nation you’re visiting. While using traveler’s checks is usually okay, keep in mind that this payment option is not accepted everywhere. So, do some research ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
Make Arrangements for Any Pets
Do you have cats, dogs, or any other pets? Assuming you’re not taking them with you, you’ll need to find suitable accommodations for them. If you have family or friends you can trust to take care of your pets, great. Otherwise, you’ll need to look into boarding options. Do some research to find the right service provider. If you’ll need to board your pet, you might have to show proof of vaccination. Ensure that you ask when looking for a place to board your pets.
Purchase Proper Insurance Coverage
When you buy travel insurance, you’ll hope you don’t have to use it. But you’ll get peace of mind having it. Chances are, your health insurance won’t cover you or your family when you vacation overseas. Consider medical, trip cancelation, and trip interruption coverage.
Have Someone Watch Your Home
If you’re going to be away for a while, it’s a good idea to have someone you trust to watch your home. That might mean having someone passing by occasionally to cut the lawn and retrieve mail. You don’t want your property to look like the occupants are away. But if it’s the only home on the street with overgrown grass or a pile of newspapers on the doorstep over an extended period, then any thieves canvassing the area will know that no one’s around.
Suspend Delivery of Newspapers and Mail
Even if you get someone to keep a watchful eye over your property, it still makes sense to suspend your newspaper and mail delivery. You’ll need to do it early enough so that your delivery suspension request takes effect exactly when you need it.
Research Your Destination
Before heading to another country, you should do some research so you know what to expect. Get a feel for the cultural and religious customs, read up on acceptable forms of attire, learn about the do’s and don’ts, and pick up some conversational language skills ahead of time. No, you don’t have to learn a whole new language. But it’ll help if you know some general greetings and other useful phrases that’ll help you communicate.
These are just some tips before you and your family go on vacation. It’s always exciting to pack up and head to another country. And if you plan ahead, you’ll be able to arrange an action-packed itinerary that interests everyone in your family–adults and kids alike.
But failing to plan is bound to cause problems that could have easily been avoided. So, plan to have a good time.