Traveling can be so exciting that it's easy to forget to bring along everything you need. A classic TV commercial used to advise people to always carry travelers’ checks: "Don't leave home without them." Nowadays, even though millions of people still use paper checks, the most common way to spend during a holiday trip is with plastic. Besides credit cards and a small amount of cash, there are a few other things you should bring on every big trip. Here's a look at what professional travel agents say about vacation travel:
Bring Cash, Credit Cards and Travelers Checks
For international travel, plan ahead and know which credit cards are accepted. If you're headed to Myanmar, for example, it's smart to bring most of the cash you'll need in the form of traveler’s checks. Many other remote areas can be problematic for travelers who only have plastic or cash. Even though you can always find a local bank to exchange cash while traveling, you can easily get stung by inflated exchange rates and fees.
Don't Forget Prescriptions
Medicines can be tricky items for international travelers. Always check with consulate officials of the nations you intend to visit to make sure that you can bring in labeled, necessary pharmaceutical drugs. This is especially important for older people who take several medications daily. Several Asian countries have very strict requirements about the amount of medicine you can bring and the paperwork you need to have.
Pack Copies of Your Insurance Documents
If you plan something other than a day trip, remember to bring a small envelope to hold copies of all your major insurance policy cards. This includes documents that show policy numbers and expiration dates for things like homeowners’ coverage, MEC insurance, health insurance cards, life insurance policies, auto insurance documents, business insurance data sheets and proof of any other active policies in your name.
Get Travel Insurance
You can get travel insurance for very low rates. There's nothing worse than suffering an injury on your big trip and discovering that the local clinic only accepts cash or proof of travel insurance. Even some of the largest medical insurance carriers are virtually unknown in many nations. Research the required payment methods for each nation you plan to visit, and get enough travel insurance to cover your potential medical bills.
Ask a Trusted Person to Watch Your House and Car
Too many people depart for several weeks and have no contingency plan for protecting their home or car. Avoid simply asking a neighbor to keep an eye on the house. Assign someone you know well and trust completely to water plants, turn lights on and off, inspect for signs of a break-in and generally watch over your home and car. Lock the car in the garage. Put all bicycles and anything of value inside. Store or cover backyard furniture.
Cover pools and hot tubs. Lock every window and all doors. Double-check that all appliances are unplugged. Arrange to contact the person who will watch your home and check in with them at least once during your trip. Give them a phone number where you can be reached in the event of an emergency.