How to spend a happy, hassle-free vacation

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If you’re looking forward to your summer vacation and you’re daydreaming about your destination, we’re going to give you tips and advice on how to prepare for these days that you’re so eager about.

First let’s take a look at the preparation stage of our trip. Documents and papers. Is everything in order? The first thing is to think of what our final destination is going to be. We have to choose a destination that is compatible with our tastes, our family (if we plan to travel with them) and our way of life. Sometimes people venture into destinations that are very strange or very exotic and things don’t always end well.

Image courtesy of  Club Med UK Follow  at Flickr.com

Image courtesy of Club Med UK Follow at Flickr.com

So not only do we have to see where we’re going to go. We should also worry about having our up-to-date passports and Visas -if needed- and any other documents that we might need to take with us to our destination.

Learn more about your destination

It’s a good idea to look at touristic guides (physically or online), to get information about local customs, religion, events, people, landmarks and everything we’re interested in learning about the place that we want to visit. Then it’s time to decide what kind of travel insurance we’ll take.

Take good care of your health

If you happen to have any sort of problem during the trip, you will really need to have insurance. We tend to think that nothing’s ever going to happen to us but, if we get sick all of a sudden or we have some sort of accident, these insurance policies will save us tons of money and they will get us out of trouble a lot easier than if we were not covered. This applies for locations inside your country and outside of it. It is important to find a place in which you can receive proper medical attention should you need it, and usually these places are very expensive. The cost of insurance is only a fraction of what you would pay if you didn’t have it. You should also have an emergency kit with supplies and common medications such as acetaminophen, antidiarrheals and cold and cough pills or drops.

If you’re visiting a country in which a different language is spoken and you’re having trouble to communicate, it would be a good idea to carry translations of the names of the medications you need, along with a doctor’s prescription just in case. This will help people realize -particularly in airports or checkpoints- that this medicine is important and not just any kind of prohibited substance. Some countries will want and demand you to be properly vaccinated before visiting them. Visit your country’s health ministry’s website in order to find out what vaccines are recommended and which of them are obligatory. Some vaccines should be applied with several weeks of anticipation, so all of these factors should be carefully reviewed whenever you are planning a trip to a different country.

Take some money, but not too much of it

It’s important to think about the amount of money that you will take with you for your trip. Consider that, if the place you’ll visit accepts different types of credit or debit cards, it is always advisable to exchange your currency in the destination to which you are headed. We also recommend to use credit cards abroad and carry only a small amount of money with you.

Get ready to pack!

We already talked about the importance of having your ID and documents up to date. You should make digital copies of every reservation, ticket, receipt or document you need, in case they get lost or stolen, and send them to your personal e-mail address. This will make it a lot easier for you to identify yourself when going to the local authorities, embassy or consulate office. Your trip will not be completely ruined, at least not as much as if you had no evidence of your identity while in a foreign country.

Be careful if you’re going out

Try not to go out with expensive items on you. Avoid wearing flashy watches, necklaces or jewellery. Stay away from dark alleys or streets at night and beware of using public transportation -taxis or buses- out on the street. This does not mean, though, that you must live inside a “bubble”. You should adapt to the place, try to have fun and enjoy your experiences there. In most countries there is a tourism police to watch your back, they may even speak your language and they can help you out in case of any unfortunate events.

What to do if you didn’t get what you ordered

When you’ve already planned your trip and things don’t turn out as expected, you should contact your travel agency. It may happen that you hire a service based upon certain characteristics, but then you get to the hotel, resort or beach house only to find out that what you were promised has nothing to do with what you paid for. Do your best to document everything, call the travel agency, and try to solve everything from wherever you are. If they don’t offer you a satisfactory solution, you will want to resort to a consumer protection agency.

Image courtesy of Roderick Eime at Flickr.com

Image courtesy of Roderick Eime at Flickr.com

On the road

When it comes to road trips, you should also make use of your common sense. If you’re thinking of driving for a long period of time, you can’t forget to check if your vehicle has an adequate tire pressure, enough gas, zero leaks and air conditioning if needed. Another really important thing is to make sure that your cell phone has enough charge. Carry an emergency charger with you or a spare battery if your phone allows it.

Try not to stuff your vehicle with things, especially if you’re traveling with family. If the car is overloaded, it can lose stability and speed. That’s why it’s important for you to travel only with the items that you need.

If you have children, one of the most important things to consider is the position of the chairs. Always check that your kids are wearing a seatbelt. Keeping mobile devices or tablets charged is also a good idea to keep your children entertained during long road trips.

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