We all know just how stressful getting ready for travel (or travel) can be. It should be your “fun” time…your downtime, a chance to leave behind the normal stresses of work and home (dogs, errands, family, neighbors…the other 9000 things you do daily).
Unfortunately, we sometimes find ourselves needing a vacation from the travel. I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve learned from our travel life.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to pack. I know it’s tempting….it couldn’t take thaaatttt long, right? You will either end up forgetting something or taking way too much. I am not the best at this but, am getting better (is there a support group for this????) The Good Doctor on the other hand is usually finished packing a couple of days before we leave! Annoying, right?
- Leave yourself plenty of time at the airport. This is especially true if you do not have TSA Pre. No, you don’t have to give yourself 2 – 3 hours but plan so you do not have to rush to the boarding gate. You can apply for TSA Pre here: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck
- Insure that all of your documents will be valid for the duration of the trip. Any necessary Visas need to be obtained at least 3-4 weeks prior to departure. Do not forget that many countries require that a passport be valid for 6 months after the intended departure from the country. Many countries will NOT honor a passport that expires within 6 months of your trip!
- If at all possible, have Lounge access. This can be a lifesaver when you experience mechanical and weather delays. Usually, international business class tickets will give you lounge access. You can also obtain lounge access with certain branded credit cards. Priority Pass has lounges worldwide – you can join here https://www.prioritypass.com/ . We are fortunate to be United Club lifetime members and have Star Alliance Gold status which gives us access to Star Alliance Lounges when we fly Internationally.
- Do not overpack. Can you see my nose growing over here??!! I almost ALWAYS do it and am sorry….. These bags get cumbersome after a while, particularly getting on and off trains. Trust me on this – you will not use / need all of the clothes you have crammed into that orca-sized suitcase.
- Do not overbook yourself. This is particularly true if this is your first International trip. You may not know how you will react to jet lag (and, yes….it’s a thing). Prioritize the sights you want to visit and factor travel time from your hotel AND possible lines at the more popular destinations. Hopefully, you will get an opportunity to return if you miss something! NOTE: I want to be perfectly honest here….this is something we’ve had a LOT of “discussions” over…The Good Doctor loves to pack 9 things into our 8 hour travel day…..I often felt frazzled by the non-stop activity and late arrival at some stops. Nowadays, we compromise and see things in a much more relaxed way.
- When visiting a place for the first time, consider setting up a “meet and greet” when you arrive (we’ve done this in different countries utilizing our Concierge at the hotel). Yes, the public transportation in less expensive but, if you do not know the area you may find yourself doing a lot of unnecessary walking dragging luggage. Much less stress to find out EXACTLY what the distance is from airport to hotel and arrange for an Uber or car service in advance. As someone who has wheeled her way through the cobblestone streets of Cinque Terre, I know the value of knowing the terrain FIRST!
- Remember that this trip is supposed to be fun AND restful! Understand that not everything will go as planned and there will be some unexpected challenges. Take a deep breath and do what you can!
Travel safely and Wander Until Found,