Now that there is some real hope that travel will resume, it’s time to dust off your bucket list and start planning that next trip to check off the list.
If you are like me, you haven’t pulled a suitcase out of the closet or basement in more than a year! Better pull it out and give it a test run to ensure the zippers still work and the wheels still turn.
Do you still remember what it’s like to travel? What about all the new rules? What do you need to travel? After 2 years of going pretty much nowhere, I think it’s important to offer you some tips to get you ready for the time when travel opens up again.
Let’s check off our pre-travel to-do list:
- Check your passports and Nexus cards to make sure they have not expired. Many destinations require a passport to be valid at least 6 months after your intended return date.
- Check with your doctor to make sure there are no medical reasons not to travel. Try not to have any changes in medications at least 6 months before you travel, as this can affect medical insurance coverage. Discuss with your doctor if you have a pacemaker and metal detectors are involved in airport screening for your trip.
- Check that any medications or over-the-counter medications you are taking are not considered illegal to bring into the country you are visiting.
- Be sure to have any and all vaccinations required for your destination.
- Be sure you have the proper insurance needed for your trip.
- Visit your local travel agency and work with them to have a stress-free trip that is suited to you and what you want.
How about that packing list:
I am not going to tell you how many clothes to pack or what to wear on a trip as that is specific to the destination and means of travel; instead, I will highlight the things people tend to forget.
In your Carry-On:
- Extra pair(s) of glasses. Either reading, prescription, or sunglasses. Most lost and founds are full of these because people leave them behind in hotel rooms, on buses, or in restaurants.
- Take a full supply of your medications plus an extra week’s worth in case of delays or other events that could prevent you from getting home as scheduled. Along with that, ask your pharmacist for a list of these medications (not brand names but medication names) as well as the dosage so that if you lose your prescriptions or leave them behind somewhere, getting a refill should not be too difficult.
- Photocopies of your passport and a copy of your Travel Insurance policy information.
- If you must take jewellery, be sure to keep it in your carry-on.
- Snacks for the plane and an empty water bottle to fill once you have gone through security for extra hydration on the plane, and you can fill it from your room before you venture out for the day in destination.
- Electronics. Never put these in a checked bag. The chances are slim they will arrive alive.
- One change of clothes appropriate for your destination in case your luggage is delayed. Or maybe you are a packer extraordinaire, and you can pack your whole trip’s clothing in your carry-on and your personal bag and not need any checked bags.
- Pack light. Even though your checked luggage allowance is 50 lbs, you are hauling that suitcase in and out of rooms, whether it’s a hotel or ship, and in and out of your car at airports. You know that you will not wear everything you pack. Laundry is available in many hotels or on the ship.
Mix and match is the name of the game to make many outfits from a few pieces.
You might even use packing light as an excuse to buy a few new pieces of clothing on your trip. Remember, pack half the clothing and twice the cash! But seriously, most retailers accept credit cards, so you only need minimal cash for coffees and snacks here and there.
- Over-the-counter remedies for colds and stomach ailments are good to take, just in case. Just be sure the country you are going to allows this type of medication to be brought in.
- Batteries for hearing aids and electronics.
- Small knapsack or crossbody purse with a notebook and pen.
Take a cell phone along, if for no other reason, in case there is an emergency. Turn your data off and use WIFI which is free in many places. Make sure important phone numbers are in your phone before you leave, including your credit card provider phone number in case you lose your credit card while on the trip.
If travelling independently, make sure someone at home knows your itinerary and check in with them daily.
Keep valuables you need in your room safe and other valuables you don’t need at home.
If you are carrying around a small bag and you sit down somewhere, keep the bag between your legs and put a strap around a chair leg to prevent anyone from slipping it away from you while you are not looking.
Put your hotel address and phone number in your cell phone or use your notebook to jot down your tour guide’s name and phone number, room number, bus or train number or your stop number. Take the hotel/ship card in case you need to call them for assistance to get back.
Beware of pickpockets. Carry all money and ID underneath clothing or in a crossbody bag keeping it close to yourself. You can even use a safety pin to keep a zipper from being opened by these sneaky individuals. Carry a dummy wallet with a couple of dollars in it if you are in a situation of no choice. Give the dummy wallet away and have the relief of not losing everything.
Avoid wearing a lot of jewellery. It makes you a target.
Do not put the “Clean My Room” sign out. This alerts potential hotel thieves that you are away. Instead, let the front desk know that you are away and you’d like your room cleaned.
Ask for a room near the elevator. More foot traffic keeps the thieves away because these are high traffic areas.
Don’t go out alone at night.
While this may seem like a lot to remember, making your list and checking things off as you go will ease the stress, as does working with a travel agent.
Enjoy your trip and experience what the world has to offer, and make lots of memories to last a lifetime!
This article was written by: Grace Dieleman Vellinga’s Travel & Cruise Experts 170 McNaughton Ave .W. Chatham, ON 519-352-5150 | 1-877-352-5150