Travel Guide - Plan Ahead

Getting ready for a trip can be stressful, especially when going to a foreign country that may have special requirements for you to fulfill before the trip. You can't anticipate every bad situation but you can be prepared enough to avoid major problems.

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Here are our TOP TRAVEL PREPARATION TIPS, in this travel guide, to get you ready for your next GETAWAY!


Months before your trip be sure that you have the proper documents ready, especially when traveling abroad and to countries of a different government and culture. For foreign travel, with your passport in hand, make sure the dates are valid and that they don't expire while you are abroad. Some countries require visas. Be sure to check the requirements accordingly. Visit to check what requirements citizens of your country of origin needs before entering the country of where you are traveling too. You'll want this done in advance since some visas can take from days to weeks.

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Reservations and Booking.

With all proper the documentation ready, confirm your dates and book your trip. Make sure the name on your passport matches all your travel documents as to avoid any issues later on. Aiming for at least a month in advance is ideal to avoid the hassle and stress as you move closer to your target departure date. This is important to locations during holidays or high-peak seasons.

Research and Planning.

At least three weeks before your travel date, you should be looking up things about the country so you'll know what to expect. Check the weather, local food and delicacies, nature spots, restaurants in the area or festivals happening at the dates you'll be in that country. If you're traveling with a group, be sure to set a comfortable pace for the activities for everyone. Keep in mind of each individual's preferences and plan accordingly. Be sure to plan some private time as well—just because you are in a group doesn't mean you have to spend all activities or time together. Respect differences of your traveling companions and be willing to negotiate and adapt if necessary.

All About the Baggage.

Pack the things you know you'll need. Making a list of the items you need to pack helps to be sure you have what you need and not over pack. Be sure to proper label all baggage. When packing for clothes, don't pack the things that you might wear. Bring the sort of clothes that you wear now, but taking into account the weather and culture of the country. Otherwise, you'll be stuck with clothes that you won't be able to wear.

For carry-on packing, put items you often use for easy access. These include travel documents, passport, itinerary, travel insurance information (consider purchasing this to protect your vacation investment), a first aid kit, which includes headache, pain, allergy, cold/cough, and stomach medicines, Band-Aids and anti-bacterial cream. As needed include the phone numbers of your doctor and emergency contact. Any liquids should be packed in checked luggage to avoid delays, however if you must bring some be sure to place them in a clear quart sized zip lock bag and must not exceed 100ml.

Remember to bring extra batteries and all the equipment necessary to make them work throughout the trip. For plane rides, make sure that you don't put any sharp or dangerous items in your carry-on bag (i.e. scissors, swiss knife, toy gun, etc). It is also not advisable to use an expensive or unique-looking bag as they have a higher chance of getting stolen or opened.

Money matters.

Prepare a small amount of cash prior to your trip. Having some cash on hand is good for any small payments and going around. Getting money changed at the money exchange or the bank will get you better rates at times than getting it exchanged at booths in the airport. For larger amount of payments it's best to have a credit card as you can track down your any unknown charges and if you should lose your card, you can report it. Be sure to inform the bank of your credit card that you will be traveling so that they can expect charges from that destination and make sure to check the limits of your card as well.

Preparing your home.

If you know you'll be away from home for a long period of time, you'll need to prepare your home for the absence of people. Make arrangements with a neighbor, friends or relatives to check on your home from time to time. These usually entail collecting mail, lawn care, starting your car during very cold or hot weather, etc. Make sure to secure valuables in your home as well. For jewelry, hide them in a more secluded area or put them in a safety deposit box.

Departure Day.

Wear comfortable clothing and good walking shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Avoid anything that is too bulky or boots with too many laces, as these will delay you going through airport security. Give yourself enough travel time to the airport. You will need to check in at the airport at least 3 hours before departure for international flights and 2 hours for domestic flights.

Make sure to check the following before you leave your home:

  • Lock all doors and windows including the garage and basement.
  • Unplug electronic items like computers, TVs etc. in case of storms.
  • If you have a car, park it in your garage with the door closed.

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