In 2012, there were over one billion tourists around the world, according to a report by the World Tourism Organization. Some US states and cities rely on tourism to generate a bulk of their economy – Orlando, Florida, for example, estimates ithosted over 57 million tourists last year.
Whether you’re going to Disney, or any other travel destination in the world, it’s important to be well prepared before you leave. If you’re able to check-off the following errands, you’ll be well on your way to having a safe and stress-free vacation.
Get your paperwork ready
If your vacation involves going abroad, it’s vital that you make sure your passports and visas are up to date. You can’t leave the country without these. Renewing a passport can take time, so even if you were just thinking about taking a trip out of the country, it would be wise to get a jump-start on that process.
Look into the entry requirements of whichever country you plan on traveling to, and make sure you have all the necessary paperwork – this may include a notarized birth certificate, or proof of vaccinations.
Handle the business
Make sure everything is squared away at work. Be sure that your employers/employees know how long you plan on being gone and howto reach you in case of emergency.
Set up auto-reply messages on your email, an away message on your voice mail and include the contact information of whoever will be working on your behalf in your absence. Leaving the right person in charge should minimize the need to worry about work during your relaxation time.
Gather important phone numbers
Have important phone numbers, such as that of your physician, dentist and health insurance, stored away in a safe place – either in your phone, or written down in your wallet. In the case of a medical or dental emergency, you don’t want to feel stuck. You can always call your physician or dentist. He may be able to recommend someone in that area for treatment. If not, your health insurance may be able to give you a list of practitioners nearby who are covered by your insurance plans, and who come with good reviews.
Accidents happen, and it’s good to be prepared.
Take care of your pets, plants and mail
Unless you plan on bringing your furry friends with you, they’re going to need a place to stay. Whether they’re staying in the house, staying with someone else or being boarded, you need to make arrangements ahead of time.
Your house also needs to be tended to, depending on how long you’ll be gone. Ask if a trusty neighbor is willing to water your plants, keep an eye on the house and pick up the mail. If not, don’t worry, you have other options. There are plenty of ways to make sure your plants stay hydrated, and you can easily ensure that your house will be safe by installing a proper home security system. Many modern home alarm systems include automation options that allow you to place your household lights on a timer as a deterrent to potential burglars. As for your mail, simply request that it be held by the postal service for the length of your vacation.
Trim the fat from your wallet
Go through your wallet and make sure that you leave unnecessary credit cards behind. While they might add a nice weighty feel to your wallet, they just open you up to needless risks and opportunities for identity theft. Try not to carry around too much cash, and look into getting traveler’s checks, depending on how long you’ll be gone and where you are going. Be sure to give your bank a heads-up regarding your intent to travel so that you don’t get a hold on your card in the middle of your vacation.
Make sure you pay, or set up auto-pay for, any bills that will be due while you’re away. Nobody wants to come back to a flurry of late-payments or shut-off services after having spent such a relaxing time away from the real world.
With proper preparation beforehand, you can minimize the stress on your vacation, and be free to create memories that will last for years to come.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Curtis & Renee