Monday, December 15, 2008

ProTravel Tip: Getting ready to go

Dear Travel Guru:

Before I go on a big trip, I always get really anxious and overwhelmed. I have even chosen not to go on trips, because of all of the preparation that has to happen. Do you have any advice to make trip preparation go smoothly?

Shaina G.

Dear Shaina,

Oh please don't pass up the opportunity to travel just because of the stuff you have to do before you go! Traveling is one of the great joys in life!

You can make getting ready to go more laid back, just by working through a check-list. By writing down everything you need to do, you won't get overwhelmed with the details.

For the travel plans themselves:
1) Book the flight
2) Book the hotel
3) Book transportation

That is the hardest and most expensive part usually. Do that and you are well on your way!

After that start your packing list. As the travel time gets closer, write things down as they occur to you, but wait until at most a week before to start packing, since weather or your needs may change.

If you are traveling internationally, you may have to call your credit card company to insure that they will work oversees. Check your balance, so you know what your spending limit will be and also take out cash for use as tips, emergencies, and places that won't take the card.

Arrange for your mail to be help or picked up by a friend, and pay any bills that will come due as you are away.

Write out any emergency numbers you will need:
1) The rental car company
2) Family members
3) Neighbor or pet-sitter
3) Doctors
4) Airline numbers
5) Any other contacts you may need while you are away


Write out a list of numbers your family/friends will need:
1) Your cell phone
2) The cell numbers of anyone you are traveling with
3) The hotel number or number for the place you are staying
3) Vet (if you have pets)

Include your flight information and travel itinerary on this list as well.

Set up pet or home care. Leaving emergency phone numbers, food, water, medication if necessary, and treats for your pets and instructions for the person taking care of your home or pet.

Pack maps, guide books, public transportation schedules and itineraries of any activities you plan. Put all of these into a folder. Plan any back-up activities in case of bad weather, like museum visits or shopping areas.

Check the weather a week to 10 days ahead so that you can plan activities and what to pack.

Make reservations for any activities you are planning, such as a tee-time, spa appointment, dinner, shows etc. Call the hotel before your trip and ask the hotel concierge for recommendations if you’re unsure where to book.

Before leaving the house, double check that you have all necessary essentials, such as your passport and/or driver’s license, medications, cash and credit cards. You can always buy another pair of socks as long as you remembered your wallet!

After you have put together your pack list, plan for the first couple days of your trip. It is generally unnecessary to plan to fill every day, but if you have activities, and dining plans at the beginning of the trip, it will give you something to do until you get your bearings. This is especially helpful if you’re traveling somewhere new or to an international city, and will help in case you need to pack the extra pair of dress shoes or athletic gear.

When you arrive, you will want to take a look at local guides and find out what shopping, attractions and restaurants are near where you are staying. Take a walk around your hotel and get familiar with amenities like the spa, fitness center, common areas, swimming pool, restaurants and bars.

Remember that traveling is meant to be fun, exciting, maybe even relaxing! If you methodically go thorough what you will need and what you want to do, then "getting ready to go" does not need to be a hassle, and the pay-off will be a great trip!

Have a great trip
THE Travel Guru

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