The late December and early January holidays are popular times to travel, often to see relatives far away as families get together. It should be a great chance to unwind and ring out the old year while ringing in the new, or just an occasion to express family love and share gifts and time with one another. Still, such travel can prove really stressful if you’re not prepared for it. Keep reading to learn a few pointers that can smooth out the hassles.
If you’re going to travel outside of the country, then keep certain information readily available. You need to know the contact information of any places you are going to be staying. You should also know the contact information and location of the embassy or closest consulate that your government maintains in the nation that you are visiting. If you run into any emergencies or serious situations, they can help you deal with things.
Once you know where you are going, familiarize yourself with that area. Study maps of the routes you’re going to take there, your destination, and things in between. Look for points of interest, notable landmarks, and things you might want to do there. Just an hour or two on Google can help you learn a lot about a place, and that makes it easier to find your way around and talk to locals when you arrive.
Are you going to be flying? Window seats obviously have the best views, but they can also come with some hassles. Aisle seats give you easier access to the bathroom and your luggage. They’re also a bit more comfortable since you’re not wedged in between two people or another passenger and the exterior of the plane.
Schedule things as far in advance as you can. The earlier you make arrangements and pay for your travel necessities, the more money you will save. Minimizing last-minute spending can make your travel budget stretch a lot further.
Take an extra step towards a good night of sleep. While most hotel rooms have chains or deadbolts, it’s not always the case. A good doorstopper doesn’t weigh a lot or take up a lot of room in your luggage. Hopefully, you never actually need it to be there, but the fact that it is can give you the peace of mind that lends itself to a great night of sleep on the road.
Stay active as long as you can at the airport. Long flights can get tedious, and sitting in the very same position for many hours might make your legs and back cramp up. Prevent these cramps or at least minimize them with some exercise and stretching before you get on the plane.
Anytime you visit a hotel, grab a token book of matches, brochure, or just their business card. Keep that with you everywhere that you go. If you get lost, you can just show a local this item, as it should have the address. That will help them guide you back to the hotel. It’s particularly useful if there is a language difference.
Are you going to do any international travel? Different countries have their own rules about passports. Not only will an expired passport prevent you from entering a country, but you might not even be let in if you’re in the last six months before expiry. Look up the rules for every country you intend to set foot into.
If you can’t or didn’t get enough currency at home before you set off for travel, don’t immediately head to local banks to get the area currency. If there are bank ATM machines available, you might actually get better exchange rates than you would at a full-service desk. Also, save money by avoiding currency exchange in airports, as their premium location usually means premium markups.
If you are traveling with children, make sure you pack quite a few snacks. A good rule of thumb is doubling the amount you think you’re going to need. Just a little bit of food will go a long way towards keeping everybody in a good mood. It’s also very useful when you can’t find a place to eat or the menu doesn’t have anything the kids want.
Make sure your travel insurance provider knows whether or not you are sick already before you leave. If your condition worsens on the trip, then the underwriter might reject your claim under the assumption that it’s a pre-existing condition. That would leave you fully responsible for any bills that you accumulate.
Before you do any travel with your dog tagging along, make sure you give his coat a really thorough brushing. By doing this, you’ll won’t be traveling with as much dog hair. As much as you need to make and follow a packing list for yourself, follow suit for your canine friend. Include his food, water bowl, leashes, crate, and toys.
Wherever you are or are going, make sure to get as much sunlight as you possibly can. Days are already so short this time of year that vitamin D production is minimal in your body. Spending just 20 minutes in direct sunlight can help your body maintain its internal clock and natural rhythms, which helps you keep moving. This is particularly useful if you’re jumping more than one time zone in your travels. Also, if you’re flying from south to north, the days are going to be shorter the farther north you go, so you’ll get less sunlight while up there.
Know what the climate is going to be like where you travel to. If you’re going from south to north, you might be shocked at how much warm clothing you are going to need. Likewise, if you go from north to south, you might be pleasantly surprised to find out you can golf in shorts.
Try to bracket your actual travel with two or even three days off at each end of the trip. This gives you time to really get ready for a trip and maybe even prepare for time zone changes or deal with jet lag. You might even need time to recuperate before returning to work, and it’s never fair to expect kids to land late one night and go right back to school the next morning.