No matter what, it always seems something gets forgotten when preparing for a big trip. It might be something minor or it might turn out to be something huge that causes your trip to go completely awry. So to help reduce the chances of forgetting something, here is a list of things you may want to check before you venture off into the great blue yonder.
One of the first things you’ll want to check is your passport,especially if you’re planning to go outside your home country or fly. Make sure your passport hasn’t expired, or will expire while you’re on your trip, because that could create some enormous problems. Even if your trip doesn’t have you going to another country, if your flight happens to go over international waters they may not let you on the plane without a passport. If you happen to be planning to take a cruise, make sure your passport is up-to-date, too. Be aware if you need to renew your passport that it could take 2 to 5 weeks for it to be processed; so you might want to adjust your travel plans to account for that.
As well, you may need to apply for a travel visa if the country that you’re travelling to requires one. There are several countries where a passport is not enough if you want to go there. Several countries participate in the NEXUS card program which can be very helpful when traveling to another nation; so that’s another thing you may want to look into before travelling.
Next, if you’re travelling outside of your country’s borders you’ll want to do some research on the country you’ll be visiting. In particular, you should check your own country’s foreign affairs website for tips on things to watch out for when visiting a particiular country and what to do to stay sage in that country. It may also be wise to check the list of inoculations you should get prior to your departure. The last thing you want is to return from your trip with something like Malaria when you could have prevented it by simply getting an inoculation shot before you left.
When booking your hotel or a cruise ship, pay particular attention to the small print that states what is included and the terms of your reservation and what is excluded from your package deal. All too often vacationers arrive at their hotel, or on their cruise ship, only to discover that the meals and drinks they thought were included in their package deal, are extra. Furthermore, it is very common for cruise ships to add extra charges to various activities, so the more research you do ahead of time, the better. Also, there are some hotels that have provisions which will allow them to give away your reservation and so you may end up arriving and find you have nowhere to sleep. The best way to combat this is to do some research online about the hotel, its reputation, its terms and policies, and any ratings or complaints that past customers have provided.
Airlines are notorious for disguising what the full cost of their flights are, so when booking your ticket, pay attention to the after tax total is and not just the airline’s advertised price. If you’re planning to bring a lot of luggage, review the airline’s policy on what they charge for each additional piece; you may find that you’re better off leaving some of it at home.
Depending on the country, province or city you’ll be visiting, once you arrive you may find that the cost of everything is astronomical. Again, the more research you do prior to leaving, the more prepared you’ll be to deal with this reality.
If you are single and planning to travel to Europe on a package deal, when you do some further investigation, you’ll find most companies and cruise lines will charge you an extra surcharge that will bring the price up to what it would have been if you were sharing the accommodations with a traveling companion. The various companies usually state that they charge this extra cost to make up for the money they lose by not renting it to a couple. If you find it’s too costly to travel alone, there are services that can be helpful in finding someone to share the costs and accommodations with.
Traveling at off-peak times during the year can bring further savings to your trip and with the cruise lines having recently suffered several breakdowns there are quite a few deals out there. However, be aware that if you go on a cruise you do run the risk of the cruise ship breaking down so don’t be afraid to ask a question like when was the last time the ship’s engine had maintenance and repair done on it.
Reading online the local newspapers of the place you’ll be traveling to can reveal hidden treasures and attractions to visit and also provide you with things to watch out for while you’re there. There are several countries where you’re considered guilty before proven innocent, so a brief cursory review of the laws of the country you’ll be visiting will give you greater knowledge of things you may want to be on guard for.
Lastly, surveying your friends and family to see if they’ve ever visited or lived in the place you’re going to visit can be very helpful, since they may be able to offer their insight into what it’s like. They may also can ideas, which when taken into consideration, can enhance your visit immeasurably, making it truly memorable!