Get Ready, Get Set, Travel
Getting ready for a trip is more than just packing your suitcase and checking in to the airline.
Here are some easy and timely tips to help minimize stress and maximize enjoyment on your upcoming adventure.
AS SOON AS YOU BOOK YOUR TRIP
1. If you are traveling internationally, check your passport. It should expire AT LEAST six months after you return, and show the same legal name as your airline tickets. Also, make sure you have enough pages for any country stamps or visas required.
2. Do you need a visa for any of the countries you will visit? If you are on an escorted tour (like Orbridge), the tour operator will most often recommend a company that specializes in visa applications. See the link below for specific country requirements.
3. Do you need any immunizations? See the first website link below as well.
4. Ensure your luggage in good condition and is the correct size and weight for your trip. Also, if you are using a luggage lock, make sure it is one that is TSA-compliant.
WHEN YOU RECEIVE YOUR FINAL DOCUMENTS FROM THE TOUR OPERATOR/CRUISE LINE OR HOTELS
1. Read everything. The documents you receive were written to provide necessary information and to answer commonly asked questions. Chances are, if you have a question, the answer is in the materials sent to you. If you have any additional questions not found in the documents, contact your tour operator or travel agent for answers—so if any action needs to be taken, there is time.
2. Ensure you have appropriate clothing for the areas you will visit and a very good pair of walking shoes. It might seem obvious, but clothing specifically made for very hot, bug-infested, rainy or very cold climates can really make a serious difference in your comfort level. And if visiting conservative countries or European churches, be aware of the dress codes for each. Your tour operator will let you know the level of clothing appropriate for the various activities on your program, and if dressy or formal clothing is needed.
1. Do a trial run of packing both your suitcase and your carry-on, to ensure your bags are manageable and not overweight. While porterage is included in most escorted tours, there may be places you will need to handle your own luggage, so make sure you can lift and carry them. Airlines charge high fees for overweight baggage, so also ensure you have room for both your clothes (and any souvenirs you may purchase while traveling).
2. Check the weather for the cities you will visit—if bad weather is expected, pack accordingly. Your pre-departure materials will show you the average and typical expected weather.
3. Put all valuables, medicines, change of clothes, and a toothbrush in your carry-on. On the off-chance your luggage is delayed for any reason, you will be prepared until it arrives. Also, prepare a small kit of commonly needed over-the-counter-medicine to pack in your carry on. Various cold and pain medicines found in the U.S. are not available overseas.
4. Pack any liquids or gels in waterproof baggies, in case of spillage due to a change in air pressure.
5. Consider using packing cubes, as they are great for staying organized and can help you find items easily in your luggage.
6. Ensure you have the correct converters/adapters/power cords for all your electronic devices. Pack them in your carry-on for easy access as soon as you arrive.
7. Be aware of current TSA regulations for carry-on items. They have rules for liquids and gels, but exceptions for some medicines and required medical needs. Visit www.tsa.gov/travel to review the most up-to-date regulations.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
1. If you plan to use your cell phone overseas, make sure you have apps like What's App (or similar), which allows you to text or call for free on a Wi-Fi connection. If you prefer to purchase an international phone plan, talk to your carrier to review options ahead of time to save money versus purchasing a plan while on your trip.
2. Take a photo of the ID page of your passport and keep it on your phone, in case of an emergency.
3. Keep a list of your medications/dosages, and your credit card company names and 800 numbers in your wallet.
4. Alert your bank/credit card companies that you will be traveling and where, so they do not decline charges from unusual locations.