Travel Tips for your upcoming vacation.

Every wonder what to pack and not to pack? Do you tend to travel with too little; or wish you hadn’t brought those 7 pairs of shoes? This article might not be able to fix that scenario; but there are some tips that we feel are important enough to mention. What to bring on carry on versus checked luggage, and some things that you just shouldn’t go without. This blog not just about packing, but a few other safety and documentation tips we thought would help some of you prepare for any upcoming vacations.

1.     Is your passport up to date? When was the last time you checked it, and if you are traveling to a foreign country (other than North America) do you know what the expiry minimum is? Most countries are good if your passport is only valid for 3-6 months after you leave the country, but good to confirm.

2.     Are you traveling somewhere that requires you to have a visa? If you are on a Canadian Passport; many countries allow you access as is, but know that several do require visas, and those often need to be done ahead of time, with the possibility of mailing your physical passport to their embassy to get it.

3.     Are you traveling with children as a parent with joint custody? It is important that you have proper documentation (notarized letter signed by the other parent giving you permission to take the children), should you get asked when leaving. Please know that you CAN be refused to travel if you do not have this letter. And there is no insurance in the world that will refund you the vacation you just lost out on. Not to mention the unhappy children.

4.     Do you have/meet all the countries health requirements? Some countries want you to have certain vaccinations, and while may people thing this only applies to more distant lands like Asia or Africa, it is still wise to have standard vaccinations to even places like Mexico. Please talk to your family doctor, or even better a Travel Clinic as they specialize in that information. We work with Meridian Travel Clinic here in Stony Plain:

5.      “I’m going no matter what.” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that….. Cancellation insurance is there for those unforeseen, unexpected incidents. Imagine you have a family vacation booked to Mexico and one of the children get a ear infection, chances are you are all staying home. Non-refundable vacations are just that; so be sure you know you are covered, whether through purchasing insurance or confirming that your credit card covers you (often they have a limited amount). And as for medical; it costs a few dollars a day (if that) and is worth its weight in gold; no matter where you are going. Know you have coverage, don’t get caught with a non-refundable package or a hospital bill that takes you years to pay off (literally.)

6.     Do you have the proper wall plugs for your electronics? Most electronics now have their own ability to adjust voltage; but you still need the physical plug.

7.     Do you know what the local currency is? It’s always a good idea to have a few dollars of local, which can be obtained at Currency Exchanges or banks if you phone ahead. USD always works well also.

8.     So you’ve landed at the airport, now what? We strongly recommend having airport transfers arranged versus winging it. Strange country, strange language, jet lag, time changes all make for an uncomfortable event. Be prepared, and even if it costs a little bit more, the security and comfort of having someone pick you up is worth it.

9.     Don’t check valuables. I will say that again. Please don’t check your valuables. If you have anything of value with you please, bring it on carry on. We had a client recently that had jewellery stolen from her checked luggage, and while she has insurance, the sentimental value can never be replaced and airlines will feign indifference/lack of responsibility.

10. Medication. I always recommend bringing 2 extra days of medication just in case of delays. And have that in your carry on as well; if you are going for longer and are worried about carry on restrictions, then have half in your carry on, half in your checked.

11. Bring a change of clothes with you in your carry on, if only a fresh change of under clothing.

12. Traveling with a friend? Pack half of your stuff in their suitcase and vice versa. That way if the airlines ‘delay’ your luggage (not that that ever happens), then you both have clothes for the first few days.

13. Contact your bank and credit card companies ahead of time to let them know your travel dates and destination. That way you can avoid any freeze payments while overseas trying to phone them explaining you are actually you.

While there is so much more, I hope this gives you some good sound advice on traveling. We want your vacation to be hassle free, full of fun and adventure or relaxation and no stresses.

Be safe, have fun and happy vacation, wherever your travels take you this year.

Ned and Alison email us here

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