As the weather warms up, you’re looking forward to weekend getaways and long vacations. Excited for your well-deserved break, you can’t wait for a relaxing time. Unfortunately, traveling can easily become a stressful, dangerous experience. Enjoy some peace of mind with these tips.
- Share your itinerary with family or friends – So… you need a ride to the airport, and one person immediately comes to mind. Don’t forget to give this trust-worthy loved one a copy of your itinerary, including all transportation details, duration of stay in each city or country, and contact info for accommodations.
- Only carry the necessities – Packing light is the first step for a safe and enjoyable trip. Carefully plan your outfits and accessories head-to-toe, keeping in mind the season and your personal needs (prescription medication etc.). You can always pick up small items like toiletries, at your destination – you may even save some money!
- Separate money & stash cash – Carry more than one form of currency (cash, credit card, local currency) and store your money in multiple places. Keep a good portion of your cash and one credit card in a secure place, such as the safe in your hotel. Keep the rest in your wallet and on your person. Use a money belt or Anti-Theft bag to deter thieves and scammers.
- Share your travel plans with your bank and credit card company – Contact your bank to inquire about international credit card fees, and inform them where and when you are traveling to avoid a blocked card. If travelling abroad, make the most of your money by using ATMS or credit cards; double check the exchange rates as things may change on a daily basis.
- Ask prices before accepting services – Avoid common scams, and be especially careful when taking a taxi or public transportation abroad. Ask the hotel staff to give you an estimate of what transportation should cost you. Whether you decide to take a taxi, train, or a ride sharing service, make it a priority to be alert and take safety precautions.
- Spend wisely – While it’s ok to splurge on vacation, for the most part you want to create a budget and stick to it. Accommodations can quickly eat up your budget. Consider a charming B&B, or the modern-day equivalent, Airbnb. Remember to stay safe with these tips.
- Contact your wireless service provider – Stay smart with your smart phone, and contact your service provider to ask about international calling and data plans. Weigh your options and decide if you want to turn your phone off while traveling abroad, and possibly purchase a prepaid phone locally.
- Keep photocopies of documents – Make two sets of copies of all travel documents; one to keep in a safe place with you while you travel, and the other to store with a trusted family member or friend at home. Keep a list of contact details for the local U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Confirm insurance coverage – If you have health insurance, call up the company and ask the scope of coverage, and what documents you will need to file a claim while abroad. Make sure to keep a copy of your insurance card with you at all times. You may want to purchase additional policies such as travel medical insurance to cover unexpected costs.
Remember, for both international and domestic travel, spend smart and stay safe!