Let’s face it—we’ve all been counting down the days to be free of homework and school projects! You are ready to start your summer adventures. I’ll admit that since the beginning of the semester I’ve been planning (and daydreaming) about my upcoming summer trips. Here’s some tips to make your vacation the best ever!
1. Research your destination. Whether it is a planned trip or even a last-minute trip, make sure you do some research about where you are going. It helps with packing and can save you extra money. Also if you are going on for a specific reason—food, the scenery, festivals—it will help you make the most of your time. For instance, I am a HUGE foodie. Whenever I travel I look for Yelp reviews and articles on the areas close to where I am staying. A lot of the time they will have specials that can only be unlocked on Yelp such as 10% off your meal or happy hour specials after 6:00 PM. Some extra things to research:
ü What are the specific laws in the area? If road tripping, the driving laws may be different in some states and internationally (like in Mexico). Laws for drugs and alcohol are also different around the world.
ü What is the weather like? Check out www.weather.com
ü Where is the closest hospital, law enforcement agency, and embassy (if traveling internationally)? What is their contact information?
ü Is it dangerous? If you are travelling internationally, check out the U.S. State Department travel webpage for more information.
ü Do you need any vaccines before you go? Check out the Centers for Disease Control website (www.cdc.gov) for travel information in advance of your trip.
ü What is the culture like? Culture and customs vary between regions, states, and countries. If you are aware of the customs you can prevent embarrassing or dangerous situations.
ü What about my phone? If you are travelling in certain areas, you might not easily get reception. Travelling internationally? There are temporary international phone plans that you can purchase through your wireless carrier, which will save you a lot of money. Also be careful with your data charges when you travel. Call your carrier to find out more.
2. Make a packing list before you travel. In order to minimize forgotten things or being unprepared, make sure you make a list ahead of time. If you know the region or location you can Google: “Your Destination Packing List.” Cross it off the list as you throw those items in your bag.
Some other things to remember for you packing list:
- Photo identification, Passports and Health Insurance Cards. Always keep these on you! Don’t put these in your purse or a hip belt, if travelling internationally. These should be stored in a under-the-clothes type belt. Pick pockets are rampant in some tourist destinations like Rome, London, Paris, etc.
- Chargers and cables. If road tripping don’t forget your auxiliary cable and car charging adapter. If travelling internationally, you will need special plug adapters! Their electricity currents are not the same as the U.S.
- Prescription medications. When travelling with your prescriptions keep it in the original container with your name to avoid any issues. Some countries have actually made Adderall illegal (like in the U.K.!), so do some research if you are on medications like that. Bring enough to last for the whole trip. Sometimes extra medications should be brought just in case you extend your trip or something happens.
- Snacks. Always bring snacks in your luggage and carry-on bags. Nuts, dried fruit, energy bars, or trail mix are great snack items to have just in case of emergency.
3. Plan a budget and stick to it! Your budget should account for any expenses that pertain to your trip (for example: hotels, food, souvenirs). If you plan on traveling outside of the state or country, notify your credit card company so they do not flag your card for fraud and freeze your account. Also, keep some emergency money that you only use for emergency situations!
4. Be flexible. When planning your trip always prepare for delays and changes. Try not to schedule events back-to-back. Things will inevitably change, like transportation times, restaurants or museums being closed, or even cancelled hotel rooms. Take it in stride and go with the flow.
5. Safety. Always let someone at home know your whereabouts and update them throughout your trip. Make this person your emergency contact; this means the person who would take responsibility if you were injured, jailed, etc. (like a parent or guardian). They should have copies of your passport, visa, credit card numbers, and itinerary.
I hope that these travel tips help with all the important aspects of your trip. Have fun and enjoy your adventure!
By Marissa Mayeda