Oops, I forgot!

The initial planning for a trip is fun … for most people. You’ve got your itinerary, passport, tickets, checked the weather, have your maps downloaded and a rough idea of what you will pack.  Think you’re ready?  Perhaps not!

I once rushed out the door for the airport and remembered I had not arranged a sitter for my cat. Lesson learned, I needed to update my trip list which is ever evolving.  I keep two – one for business travel and the other for my leisure travel.  It’s not just about having a list.  You need to review and start checking off items a prior to departure to avoid those last minute panic situations. Here are some of the areas I find help make travelling less stressful.  Note: There are trip list templates readily available on line which you can adapt.

  • Keep small “kits” ready packed and always stocked with essentials including one for medications, skin and hair care products, toiletries and make up. When you return from a trip, replenish anything that needs refilling. 
  • Keeping clothes and shoes clean and in good repair means they are always ready for packing, without thinking about buttons, broken heals or stains.
  • Outside your home: Make sure mail, parcels, newspapers etc. are collected regularly – a sure sign no one is home. Lawn and gardens should be tidy and garbage away from the curb.
  • Inside your home: Have light timers or apps to monitor away from home, turn heat/AC to a moderate temperature to save energy. Turn water off to avoid basement flooding but leave on if your gardens/plants need to be watered.  Arrange for care of any pets.  You can have someone stay in your home, which is also a lot of prep-work but gives you peace of mind. At the very least, have someone check in daily to keep your house insurance active.  Contact your home insurance company to see how many days your home can be left vacant otherwise you may not be insured.  
  • Inform your bank and credit card company when and where you are travelling (can be done online) so that there are no banking issues while you are away.  My credit card was once refused in a store in Rome – very embarrassing.  Once checked, I found out it was because they did not know I was travelling and thought it might be fraud.
  • Pre-order any foreign currency from your bank to cover you for the first couple of days.   Ask you bank if they have any reciprocal ATM services in your destination. This will help avoid hefty surcharges and exchange rates. 
  • Pay any upcoming bills or automate so you’re not scrambling to meet your financial obligations while travelling. 
  • Register with the government safe travel website: for Canadians at https://travelgc.ca/register and for Americans at the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program at https://step.state.gov/step/  Doing so makes embassies aware of your location in case of an emergency or disaster. Share your itinerary with a close relative or friend.
  • Power up and back up all your devices and ensure all your technology is in working order
  • Use up food that might go bad so you don’t come home to nasty smells and make sure to empty the trash.  I also ensure I have food in the house for the first couple of days home so I don’t have to scramble to the local market – which is no fun with jet lag.  I like to ease back into my life after a great trip.
  • If you’re driving to the airport or going on a road trip, ensure your car is fueled and in good working order. Plan ahead. This is one place I like to splurge so I now use a pre-booked airport transfer service. Door to door service both ways gets me to my destination far less stressed.  They even do wake up calls!
  • Know where you are going once you get to the airport, train station or hotel… where to park, where the airline lounge is located (another splurge I pre-arrange) and which terminal. The latter I learned the hard way!

Travelling is by nature, outside our routine and therefore causes stress.  Perhaps I’ve inspired you to pre-plan a bit more.  The less you have to think about the more you can relax and enjoy the journey!

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