Everyday life is hectic and travel is meant to be an escape, so make sure your getaway goes smoothly with our essential pre-travel tips and guidance;
1. Paperwork; Update Your Passport, Apply for Visas, etc
If you are traveling internationally, it is of paramount importance to double-check your passport to ensure it is valid and up to date. If it is not, plan to take care of this renewal at least two months in advance of your travel date (typical turnaround time for renewing a passport is 4-6 weeks). If you find you do not have 4-6 weeks to wait to receive your passport, it is possible to expedite the renewal process for a fee.
If your travel requires a Visa of any kind you must take care of this well in advance of your travel as well. Research your destination and travel details to find out if a Visa is necessary, and if it is plan to visit or contact the nearest consulate in your country to start the process.
2. Book a Housesitter and Make Arrangements for Your Pets
A housesitter can come in many forms - you can arrange for someone to live in your home for the duration of your trip, or you can arrange for someone to simply stop by and "check things out" every day. A few tasks a housesitter would handle include: collecting the newspapers and mail, completing any plant or lawn maintenance (watering, mowing, pruning, weeding, etc.) required in your absence, or taking care of your pets. It is also beneficial to have a housesitter in case of emergency - a person to check the working order of the sump pump in your basement if there is a big storm, or to drive by in the evening to ensure your automatic-timed lights are working.
If you do not elect to utilize the services of a housesitter, but have pets, then make lodging/kennelling arrangements for your pets well in advance, especially during popular holiday periods, to ensure you get the reservation at your preferred location.
3. Stop Newspaper and Mail Delivery
If you’re not hiring a housesitter during your vacation; remember to cancel your daily newspaper delivery, as nothing gives away the fact that your property is unoccupied quite as much as an Everest0sized stack of mail and newspapers! You can also redirect your mail or arrange to have it stored at the post office until you return.
Immunizations are another aspect of international travel that must be heeded. Do research online to make sure you are up to date on any immunizations required or recommended to enter the country you are visiting. If your immunizations are up to date obtain any required documentation you may need to present as proof, if needed.
5. Travel Insurance
An often overlooked aspect of travel, it is wise to insure your trip with travel insurance. If you have used a travel agent to plan your trip, they can also help you insure the trip. If you planned and booked the travel yourself, many options exist to insure the trip, either through a third-party insurance company, or through your existing insurance provider. It can also often work out cheaper to buy an annual policy especially if you plan to travel at least twice in a year. And make sure you declare any illnesses or sports activities you plan to undertake to avoid a potential insurance payout refusal.
6. Take Care of Any Bills Due While You are Gone
Look at the due dates on any monthly bills you pay. If these due dates fall during your travel, set up an automatic payment, or send in a cheque to cover the expense prior to your departure.
7. Inform a Trusted Relative or Friend of Your Travel Details
Send at least one close relative or friend your complete travel itinerary, including flight numbers, dates and times of travel, car rental company and the address/contact details where you have made your lodging reservations. Also provide a photocopy of your passport or driver's license so you can be tracked down in case of emergency.
8. Organize Your Travel Finances
Have a plan in place for your travel funds and compare exchange rates on currency. Transfer money between electronic accounts as necessary, contact your credit card company and bank to inform them you will be traveling, appropriate funds into traveller's checks and have as much cash on hand as you think you will need to last until you are settled at your destination.
9. Plan Your Arrival
If you are planning to drive a rental car from your point of arrival to your lodging destination, print the directions in advance. Or take along a portable satellite navigation system to assist you.
10. Print All Confirmations
Print the reservation confirmations for all flights, transportation, entertainment and lodging prior to departing for your trip. And bear in mind that certain airlines will charge you handsomely for printing your boarding passes.