With pandemic restrictions beginning to ease and warmer weather approaching, 2022 is shaping up to be a big make-up year for all the travel that people have missed. Whether you’re planning on visiting family close by or traveling someplace faraway, nothing can ruin a vacation faster like an unexpected wrench in your plans. If you’re planning a getaway this year, consider taking these ten steps to make sure your dream vacation doesn’t turn into a nightmare!
1. Drink Plenty of (Bottled) Water
Although traveling is fun, it can also be hard on the body. In between time zone changes, long trips by plane or car, and participating in planned activities, it can be difficult to remember to drink enough water. Plus, if you’re traveling someplace hot or humid, or if you’re consuming alcohol, you can get dehydrated even more quickly. Bringing bottled water with you is a smart way to stay hydrated and keep your body in peak health for your vacation. Remember that bottled water is a safe bet for drinking, but depending on which country you’re visiting, you might want to avoid drinking tap water. Do your research beforehand and ask local guides to find out if tap water in the area is okay to drink.
2. Doublecheck your Paperwork
It never hurts to doublecheck your paperwork, especially if you’re planning on traveling. Make sure your passport isn’t expired, understand what visa requirements your destination has, and make sure any tickets or reservations you booked are for the correct times. Most places now have COVID-19 requirements, including proof of vaccination or COVID testing. Make sure you plan a covid test in the appropriate timeframe if necessary, and pay special attention to any stops in countries you might make before you reach your final destination (as these could have different requirements that still impact your travel).
3. Leave Early and Give Yourself Time
Transportation delays can be incredibly frustrating, especially if it’s cutting into scheduled activities or if it will cause you to miss a flight or another segment of your trip. Accounting for potential delays by leaving early, booking earlier modes of travel, and giving yourself plenty of time in between stops can be one way to avoid the stress of trying to get somewhere in a time crunch.
4. Bring Phone Backups
Having a working cellphone is especially important while traveling. Bring back up phone chargers and portable batteries to ensure you don’t get stuck with a dead cellphone, which can be annoying and potentially dangerous. Update your phone plane to have an international option if necessary, and make sure you know how to turn on battery saver mode. If you don’t have Wi-Fi or your phone stops working, make sure you have paper backups of important information, such as maps or addresses where you need to go. Bringing a physical translation dictionary can also be a good idea if you’re traveling to a foreign country and don’t speak the language.
5. Get Insurance
Travel insurance can provide peace of mind, especially if you’re worried about unexpected situations (such as if an emergency prevents you from going on your trip or something happens to you while you’re on your vacation). Remember that some credit cards offer automatic rental car insurance as a perk, so be sure to check if you have this benefit (and avoid paying for it yourself if you do!).
6. Watch the Weather Report
You may be familiar with the weather in your local area, but keep an eye on the potential for bad weather in your travel destination! While light showers may provide only a minor inconvenience, some more serious weather events include hurricanes or tropical storms. Try to avoid traveling during seasons when inclement weather is likely, in order to avoid both the danger posed by this type of weather as well as travel delays and other inconveniences. In the event that there will be problematic weather while you’re on vacation, bring the appropriate clothing and supplies to help you stay safe.
7. Be Wary of Tourist Scams and Theft
In many areas, tourists are viewed as easy targets for scams. In addition to being tired from traveling, tourists are often distracted by their surroundings or unfamiliar with local customs. Do your research on your destination before you travel, and be cautious when interacting with strangers. Remember to trust your gut, pay attention to your surroundings, and err on the side of caution. You can also take advantage of lockbox services or safes if they’re offered at your hotel.
8. Update your Payment Information
Few things are more worrying than being stranded in an unfamiliar location without any money. If you get to your destination and realize that your credit or debit cards aren’t working, this can be the case. Make sure to contact your bank so that they realize you will be traveling and don’t freeze your card. Double check that your cards work before traveling and don’t have any chip issues or card errors. Additionally, you can get a travel credit card to use while you’re away. It’s also a good idea to bring some cash for things that don’t take card.
9. Avoid Traveling Stress
Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, but this isn’t always the case. (And even when vacations are fun and exciting, isn’t some part of you always relieved when you get to go home and be in a normal routine again?) The fact is, any change, even good or temporary changes, can be stressful. Lots of people feel stressed out when traveling, and even more so if their vacation plans go wrong. You can’t prepare for or change every potential situation, so sometimes, you have to learn how to simply deal with the stress. Practice deep breaths or meditation techniques to calm down if you feel your stress levels rising. Bringing familiar items while traveling can also help you feel more relaxed, and maintaining certain routines (such as going to bed at your usual time or running in the morning like you normally would) can ease you into vacation mode, even when things are tense. Knowing how you handle stress at home can help make you better prepared for any stress you might experience while on vacation.
10. Have Fun!
It’s easy to get caught up in the hypotheticals of what could go wrong, and while it’s smart to be prepared, don’t forget to have fun! Enjoy your trip and make the most of your time away. You deserve it!