Don’t Leave the Coffee Pot On!

The day that you take off for a trip can be hectic. In the rushing around, it’s easy to leave the house in a hurry without some important steps. Here are the last set of “Before You Go” tips – the day of departure.

1. Turn off/unplug unnecessary appliances – coffee pots, fans, hair dryers, toaster over, etc.

2. Check the status of your flight to make sure there are no changes, as well as the departure gate.

3. Adjust your thermostat to keep your electricity/heating bills lower while you are away. If it’s winter, don’t turn the heat all the way off – pipes could freeze and burst. If you turn air conditioning completely off in the summer, indoor plants might not be alive to welcome you home. If you have important plants, adjust your air conditioning accordingly.

4. For international flights, arrive at airport at least 2-3 hours before your flight; domestic flights arrive at least 1-2 hours before flight. IMPORTANT: Check with airport for suggested arrivals as this may change. Leave additional time for traffic, parking, and other issues that could delay you. Mornings, especially early in the week, are busy times for business travelers so allow for extra time at security if traveling during this time.

5. Make sure all items in your carry-on are allowed on board. Airlines require some items to be in your checked luggage. You can find a list of permitted/prohibited items on the TSA website. There’s also now a TSA app that you can download for updates.

6. Make sure you have not packed any important documents/necessities for your trip in the luggage you plan to check at the airport. This includes passport/identification, tickets or confirmations, medication, money, or anything with personal details on it. The same goes with items that are either monetarily or sentimentally high in value. If it’s something you that you can’t easily replace, or will cost you a lot to do so, keep it in your carry-on, assuming it’s allowed.

Before You Go – 1 to 3 Weeks

You’re trip is just around the corner and you’re getting all excited! Here are some important things to think about that to help make sure you’re trip goes smoothly!

1. Make two copies of your passport and itinerary. Give one to someone back home; pack the other in your carry-on in a separate spot from your actual passport/itinerary.

2. Call credit cards, debit cards, and bank to let them know that you will be traveling overseas. For theft protection, many banks/card companies will freeze an account if they see overseas charges that they do not believe belong to the cardholder.

3. Copy down your credit card numbers/information and the international telephone number. Keep them in your luggage/carry separate from your credit cards.

4. Check voltage at destination ? you may need a voltage/outlet converter.

5. Arrange for your mail to be stopped or have someone pick up your mail for you.

6. Alert a neighbor/friend of your travel dates. This lets them know to be suspect of any activity around your house.

7. Have luggage tags on each piece of your checked luggage ? put at least your name and phone number on the tag, or use a business card. You may also want to put something distinguishable on your luggage if it is a common color.

8. Check the amenities of your hotels ? you can avoid packing items that the hotels already have. Check other hotel details such as if they have air conditioning and elevators, and pack accordingly.

9. Check the weather at the destination.

10. If you plan on using your phone – for calls, texts, email, or internet – while traveling, call your phone company to let them know and see if you need any additional features added to utilize overseas without incurring outrageous roaming charges.

Before You Go – 1 to 3 months

Part two in this series of “before you go” tips contains those items that I suggest doing one to three months before you travel.

1. Check luggage restrictions for flight/transportation. You may not think you need to do this so far in advance, but I recently stayed at a hotel that required a boat transfer, and they only let you bring carry on bags and personal items on the boat, and therefore to the hotel. We had to leave the rest of our luggage locked in their head office in town from where the boat departed. This is certainly something you want to know ahead of time – some of us actually purchased new carry on bags to make sure we could hold enough for our few days at the hotel.

2. Check with your bank about obtaining local currency. Some currencies could take a while to order because the bank doesn’t have them in stock at the branch. You want to have at least some local currency when you arrive at your destination ? most cab/transport companies will not accept US Dollars, and in some locations taxis do not take credit cards or charge a large fee for doing so.

3. Begin a general packing list (on the computer if possible). It doesn’t need to include specific items, just categories – i.e. jeans, long sleeve shirt, walking shoes, etc. Add things as you think of them. Keep this list for future reference. If it’s an electronic list, you can easily adjust it as needed.

4. Make arrangements for any pets/your house. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the planning and forget but if you plan to be away, you want to know that your pet and/or home will be taken care of.

5. Have a copy of all travel confirmations/confirmation numbers. Your travel planner should provide you with the confirmations when you book, but you want to make sure you can easily locate all of the essential details and that you have no major questions. If you look at this in advance, it provides time for us to answer any questions you may have.