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Seven Essential Travel Tips

Vacations are for reducing stress, not adding to it. Unfortunately, things can happen to make any vacation a stressful experience, no matter how beautiful the locale or destination.

Some things you are not able to control, such as the weather or flight delays. Other things, such as missing documents or stolen credit cards, have the potential to interrupt your fun but do not have to end your vacation if you are prepared.

Before you pack your bags and turn on your email out-of-office message, here are seven tips to make your vacation one for the books:

Make Copies of Your ID and Passport

Make two photocopies of your license or passport in case either is lost or stolen. Bring one copy and store it separately from your original, and leave another with a friend or relative. The U.S. Government also offers the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service for U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad. The program permits enrollment with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, which can assist during an emergency such as a lost or stolen passport.

Streamline Your Wallet

Lost wallets are the leading cause of identity theft. Only carry the card(s) you plan to use on your trip, and leave your checkbook and the rest of your cards at home. If you decide to bring more than one credit card, consider stashing the extra, along with account information and customer service numbers for the cards you have with you, in a hotel safe or other secure location.

Plan Before You Go

Before you book that zip-lining, parasailing or river rafting trip, check online for any customer reviews. Seeing what others have to say about the company and the excursion can help you choose a safe and well-run adventure.  Many people rely on Trip Advisor to find out what prior experiences have been.

If You are Flying

Be sure to download your airline’s mobile airline app before you leave.  If your flight gets delayed or cancelled, the app may notify you before the airline staff even knows of the change. You can also use the app to rebook your flight.  Mobile airline apps offer the ability to track your checked bags and watch movies in the air for free.    

Try not to check a bag if you can help it. Delays and cancellations can cause your luggage to end up in one place while you are in another.  One of our clients highly recommends this carry-on bag.

Schedule flights earlier than normal. With the recent delays and cancellations, you want to allow plenty of time to get to your destination. 

Travel like a Local

When visiting any location, especially overseas, know your surroundings and plan your route in advance. Be aware of how the locals talk and dress, and consider whether certain actions will make you stand out as a tourist.

Check the Weather

Into every life—and vacation—a little rain must fall, so take steps to protect yourself from lightning, hail, thunderstorms and severe weather by monitoring the local weather and packing the appropriate gear. Also, keep tabs on the weather at home to make sure your property is protected.

Avoid Oversharing Online

Posting photos or checking in on social media sites advertises your absence from home. Real-time updates can be tempting, but wait until you return safely home before sharing your adventures.

Take advantage of your time away to decompress and relax by taking these steps to help avoid potential problems before you travel.