*This is a contributor post submitted by Trixia Ridge*
We get it – preparing for a vacation isn’t always easy. The stress of having to plan and sort countless things before your trip may keep your excitement on the backburner, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are six things you should prepare before flying out, in order to eliminate any potential stress that could hinder you.
Get your vaccinations
Many travelers fail to realize the very real risks to their health when visiting certain parts of the world. Cholera, hepatitis and even rabies can be caught when on vacation, and the most effective way to avoid falling ill is to be vaccinated before you even head out to your destination.
Although you will likely have to pay for your vaccinations, it’s worth it – healthcare in some countries abroad is extortionate, sometimes reaching the hundreds of thousands. Inquire at your local practice to see which vaccinations you will need for your planned destination. If you’re traveling with children, it’s worth seeing if they qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC), which allows them to receive certain treatment free of charge.
Check your passport
Don’t be that person who realizes their passport has expired too late. It could take up to eight weeks if you are renewing your passport via mail, so make sure you’re leaving yourself plenty of time to check it is still valid – otherwise you’ll be faced with the choice of paying much more than you had planned for a quicker process, or skipping your vacation altogether.
Thankfully, there are ways for you to process a new passport much quicker if you need to. Your best bet would be to visit a Passport Agency in person and see what they can do for you.
Plan an itinerary and budget
For peace of mind, it’s worth planning out a rough itinerary that details just what you’ll be doing whilst on vacation. Don’t make it too strict – after all, you’ll likely be inspired whilst you’re there – but if you have a loose outline of what you want to do, it will eliminate the stress of deciding immediately once you’ve arrived. If you need help planning an itinerary, remember that 9 to 5 Wanderlust offers itinerary planning and travel consultations!
And, if you have an itinerary, you’ll then be able to plan a daily budget. This way, you won’t be left out-of-pocket before the end of your trip – a problem many travelers unfortunately encounter. Goats on the Road have published a useful guide that details how they managed daily budgets in several different countries, to give you an insight as to how to do it yourself.
As your outgoing flight nears, you’re going to want to start packing. Consider your destination – how’s the weather looking out there? Don’t over pack, and instead strategically plan some outfits you can wear more than once. It’s helpful if your accommodation has facilities allowing you to wash your clothes, so inquire beforehand to find out.
And don’t forget the necessary toiletries as well as some health supplies and medication. Consider paracetamol, antiseptic wipes or cream and travel sickness tablets, as they’ll likely come in handy at one point during your trip. Don’t forget the sunscreen or the repellant, either – depending on where you’re headed, you may be dousing yourself in the stuff!
Sort your travel money
Think about how you’ll be spending your money while on vacation. There are plenty of options open, including converting some cash before you fly. Shop around for the best deals, as exchange rates fluctuate dramatically and often depending on the value of currencies.
One useful trick is the (very underrated) prepaid travel card. These cards act like a credit or debit card would, but they allow you to load money onto them and lock in the best rate you find. You’ll keep this rate regardless of whether it goes on to rise or fall, and you’ll have a strict amount that you’re able to spend – eliminating any overspending that could occur otherwise. Visa and MasterCard both offer these prepaid cards, so it’s worth looking into it.
Make sure your home is secure
Before you leave for your vacation, ensure your home is safe. Lock all of your doors and windows, turn off all of your electrical devices and their respective outlets, and set your alarm if you have one. It’s worth throwing out food that could spoil while you’re away, too – there’s nothing worse than dealing with it once you’re home. Perhaps hire a housesitter to watch over your home during your trip for added peace of mind.
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