I know what you are thinking right now, we are all grown up, and we should know what are those things that must be done before travelling. Yes, should, supposed to, ought to, use whatever word, but practice claims otherwise. If you don’t want to ruin your own vacation, you should read and adopt these rules. That is why I am writing a reminder for you, and even for myself.
1. Check your documents
This is not a joke, it happened before that people start travelling without passport, or with an ID that is past due. Before every trip you must check the due date on the documents, passports, driving licences, credit and debit cards, etc. Also, make sure that you do not need visa for the country that you are visiting, but if you do, get it in timely manner so you don’t waste you precious time travelling to the border and straight back home.
2. Confirm reservations.
Some accommodations or flights need confirmation of a reservation, others, on the other hand, do not require anything, but human or system errors, as well as misunderstandings, can happen. Don’t be lazy, recheck, get a double confirmation, send an email or call, make sure your bookings are in the system safe and sound. Also check if you cancelled other reservations, that is if you made several of them. If you are going to drive, then make sure you checked your vehicle. Not taking your car to auto mechanic can endanger yours and as well as the lives of others, so think about that before you say “I am not wasting money on that” – how much does a life worth to you?
3. Check your home pharmacy.
When it comes to health, you need to be extremely cautious, and check due dates of medicines and cremes that you already have in you home, instead of just blindly putting them into the suitcase. Also, it would be for the best if they are still in their original packaging along with the instructions for use, which needs to be read thoroughly, so that there are no side effects. I know that chances are slim, but why risk it? With that being said, you need to pay a visit to the pharmacy to buy the stuff that you do not have or were thrown away because shelf life expired. I need to emphasize that one thing is the most important if you decide to go to some exotic place, which is vaccination. Ask around what is characteristic for the area that you are travelling to, viruses, bacteria, as well as do you need to be vaccinated before the trip. Depends on the destination, but bare in mind headaches, stomach aches, tooth aches, sunburns, allergies, cuts, dehydration, sunstroke, fever, etc… Nobody wants to be negative about it, but isn’t it better to be conscious and prepared, rather than surprised by unexpected situation? You know the saying “Better safe than sorry”? Well this way you are making sure that you will be safe and not sorry.
4. Get insurance.
Surely you are thinking “So many times I have paid for the insurance, never had anything from it, it is only a waste of money”. Pay attention, the fact that you did not need the insurance is a good thing, no, that is the best thing that could happen, because guess what, you stayed healthy. And that is exactly the point. You must have it, because if you ask me, it is better to give a euro per day in front, than to sell a kidney because you do not have that kind of money to pay up a huge bill of the hospital that took care of you abroad. Be smart with this one.
5. Peek into the closet.
Take a peek into your closet and see do you have all the necessary clothes for the trip and is it in good shape? As for the clothes, same for the bags, check your suitcases and backpacks, and make sure they are in a good condition, and that all your stuff will not end up on the road or runway. If you tend to forget things, take a pen and a paper, or better yet open up Memo on your phone, make a list of things that need to be bought and go straight to the store.
6. Be informed.
To avoid paying some fines or even worse, you must learn rules and regulations which are important and can be found in the constitution of the country you wish to visit. Make sure you read a little about the history and culture too, because what is desirable for one nation, for the others may be a disgrace. Do not get yourself into uncomfortable situation just because you were too lazy to ask around or browse the internet. Except from the law, you need to know how to get from point A to point B, what parts of the town you should stay away from, etc. So learn everything there is to know about public transportation, because every country or city have their own system, and the more you are informed and prepared, the better you will spend your vacation. In order to get by even easier I advise you to even learn a few phrases from or bring a pocket dictionary to your trip.
7. Take care of your house and pets.
Make sure you have at least one reliable person who can get by your house to check it while you are away, open the windows a bit, water the plants, take the mail, especially if you are going to be absent for a longer period of time. What is even more important is that you have someone to take care of the animals while you’re gone. If your friends and family cannot help with this, ask around for pet daycare or individuals who take care of animals. If you decide to bring them with you, then you need to go back to the first point, and ask what papers, documents and necessities you need to bring for them as well.
8. Check the weather.
Maybe you think that this is not important, but you will understand that this is very important, when you get wet in the rain or even catch a cold just because you would not check the weather and you traveled unprepared because “they said it is always warm and there is rain once in a blue moon”. So forget about who said what, look at the prognosis. Since the weather forecast can also be wrong, it would be best that you pack smart so that the storm. or something else weather can bring, does not surprise you.
9. Make a plan.
It is very clear to me that there are two types of people in the world, ones who like to always make plans ahead, and the others who are easygoing, “no pressure, I am on vacation” kind of people. It doesn’t matter what of these are you, if you like to know all the options in advance or enjoy the moment, you need to make some plan and must to be prepared for the trip to the unknown. Where to go, what to eat, what to see and visit. You will easily decide what you would rather do at the moment, but it is easier to do that when you have all the information upfront. Either way, you will discover many thing as you go, but at least make a plan of the first and the last day.
10. Positive thoughts.
The purpose of travelling is to relax and enjoy, get away from everyday activities, responsibilities, stress and problems, so start your vacation with positive thoughts, and with a goal to recharge your batteries with even more positive energy, so focus on the beauty of it all. My motto has always been “Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst”. If you did everything, all necessary things and still something bad happens, that is just out of your reach and power, and it isn’t your fault, so try not to get angry or mad over it. I know it is hard, but it is, after all, a higher force. I understand how impossible it is to stay calm, but do not let anything ruin your long awaited vacation. Until then, do not thing about it, what happens, happens, just stay positive, and think pink!