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5 Must-Dos When Preparing to Travel

1. Read everything the travel company/tour operator sends you.
In most cases, the documentation provided will answer any questions you may have, and likely contains critical information about items you should take care of ahead of time to prepare.

Pre-departure documents will provide information on visa requirements, inoculations you may need before traveling, airline information, and recommended clothing or equipment you should pack.

Guest information forms should be returned as soon as possible, especially if you have any special needs or requests for you or traveling companions.

2. Look into travel insurance.
There are many companies that offer a wide variety of travel insurance products to protect you, your belongings, and your overall travel investment against any number of unforeseen events.

Insurance package costs generally run about 5-10% of the total cost of the trip, depending on age, coverage desired, tour length, and state of residence.

Newer product offerings can even include coverage for pre-existing conditions and cancel-for-any reason coverage, but strict time limits on purchase must be followed.

3. Plan ahead for the logistics of the trip.
Where will your dog/cat stay? Who will pick up the mail? How will you get to/from the airport? Do you want to arrive early or extend your stay in first/last city of the program?

Planning the small details ahead of time will help reduce the potential for pre-departure stress.

4. Get in better shape.
It can be as simple as a daily walking program, or more involved like weight-training, to help boost your health prior to leaving for your trip.

Don’t let physical limitations from a lack of exercise restrict your activities while traveling. As long as your doctor agrees, get ready for the walking, hiking, stair-climbing or other activities that are sure to be part of the itinerary by following a healthful fitness plan to increase your endurance.

5. Get to know your camera.
Regardless of whether you have a fully-loaded DSLR camera with multiple lenses or a simple smartphone camera, learn about the capabilities and options that come with your choice.

Wildlife photos may benefit from fast shutter speeds or zoom lenses, while landscape shots, either far away or very up-close, will be best when lighting and/or focus is optimal.

Online tutorials are usually free and local classes at camera stores (or the Apple Store for the iPhone) are a great way to learn the basic capabilities of your equipment and how to use them.

Even simple equipment in the hands of someone who knows it can produce beautiful results and will help you come home with some beautiful photographs to go with your memories.