How To Prepare For Traveling For The Holidays
Planning a trip can be daunting. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the process, especially if this is your first trip. You need to plan well, so that you don’t arrive at your destination and realize that you forgot something important. Here is a guide on how to make your planning less overwhelming.
Select your destination
Where do you want to go? Knowing where you want to go is the first critical task. A definite goal makes it easier to plan and commit to it.1 Don’t select a destination without proper research. Check out the security and weather conditions first to avoid disappointments and adverse outcomes.2 Also, keep in mind how long you will to be away to determine the total cost of the trip.
Set up a budget
Now that you’ve decided where you want to go and for how many days, nail down to how much money you need for the entire trip. Research the cost of air ticket, accommodation, and trips at the destination. This will help to estimate the total amount you need for the trip.1 Check for travel deals at travel agencies. You may get better deals that come in a package that will save you some dollars.3 Ensure that you have a limit of what you’re willing to spend on the holidays, so that you don’t have to repay debts in January because you strained your budget.1
Prepare your traveling documents
Depending on your destination, you may need a visa. Apply for a visa early enough to avoid any delays.2 It can take about 6 weeks to get a passport. If you already have one, check to see if it’s valid. Your passport needs to be valid at least 6 months after your return date.3 Check the expiration date before you travel, because it can be a lengthy process to get it renewed. Also, get travel insurance to cover you for the trip. In case anything happens, you’ll be sure that the insurance will cover the expenses.3
Yes, you may be healthy at the moment and think that you don’t need travel insurance, but you just never know what may happen. Life is uncertain, plus the insurance is not only for medical protection.4 It also covers when your flight is canceled, if your camera breaks, or if something gets stolen, or if a family member dies and you have to go back home.
Book your flight and accommodation
Planning will ensure that you know the exact dates that you will be at your destination. Book your flight and accommodation in advance to get to get the best packages and airfares. Select early morning flights or late in the day flights because they are less likely to have delays.3
Before you book, check if you can get cheaper deals.1 Use Google flights to find the cheapest flights and compare the desired travel dates.4 Also, some travel agencies offer packages for flight and accommodation. Be on the lookout and shop around booking sites to get as many options as possible before settling on one.3
Book accommodation for the days you’ll be spending at the destination. If you’re staying for a few days, you can book a room for the entire trip. If you’re going to stay there long term, then just book for a few days. Consider taking package deals, which at peak seasons tend to be competitive.2
Take the necessary immunization
Check if you need to take any vaccinations before you travel, depending on your destination.1
Prepare a traveling checklist
Have a checklist of what you need to do before and during the trip. Pay bills before going for the holiday and organize with a neighbor to collect your mail in case you plan on staying for a long time.2 Ensure you have copies of your travel documents in case they get lost.
Start packing three days before the trip and check off items from your luggage checklist as you add them into the suitcase.3
Flights have rules about the liquids and gels you can carry onboard, so select small containers.3 Choose a suitcase with better quality and the appropriate weight. Check its construction and the style of its wheels.2 Get good backpacks with comfortable straps that protect your laptop and are comfortable to carry in the airport.4 If you have regular medication for a preexisting condition, ensures that you carry enough and even extra, in case you lose some of them or stay for an extra couple of days.
Prepare your activities beforehand
Planning your trip will help you find out what activities you can do. and book reservations for the activities if need be. Check out how much they cost and plan how to pay for them in advance.4
Prepare for the unexpected and every eventuality
Anything can go wrong. You need to know and be aware of any challenges that could occur during your trip and prepare ways to handle them in advance.
- To make payments oversees easy, inform your card companies that you’re traveling so that the payments that you make don't get flagged and your card gets blocked.3 Carry with you several methods of payments and have some local currency and credit and debit cards to cover any unexpected costs.4
- Check the weather of the city or the country you’re visiting. You need to be ready for any extreme weather changes, such as unseasonably cold weather or extremely hot weather.2 Planning accordingly, and always pack an extra change of clothes.
- You may have booked your trip early enough, and all systems were okay; however, life is dynamic and things change quickly. Stay informed and keep up with the current news of your destination to avoid any eventualities, like weather changes or political instability.2
- Leave early enough for the airport, because of traffic jams and security checks, to counter any delays ahead.3
- If you’re connecting within cities, book flights with some time in between to cater to any delays or weather problems.
- Avoid picking peak travel dates, such as the Wednesday that is the eve of Thanksgiving. You can choose to travel on the holiday, since fewer people travel then, to get affordable deals.2
- However, for Christmas and New Year, the peak dates vary depending on the days of the week they fall on. Just select dates that will not be too expensive to travel. If you’re not sure, check for packages that have flexible travel dates that have a good combination for the best deal. 3
- Use a ride service in the airport, such as Uber, taxis, or airport shuttles. Avoid going with your car to avoid paying for parking or inconveniencing a family member to give you a ride to the airport. Uber is a fast and inexpensive option.4
- In case you plan to drive abroad, be aware of the traffic rules before you drive.3
- Fill in the emergency contact details on the passport so that your family members can be contacted in case of emergencies.
- Leave the details of your flight and trip accommodations with a relative or friend so that they can contact you in case of emergency.2
Now that you have all in check, go ahead, and have some fun. Keep in mind the the real meaning of this holiday season, which is to spend time with family and be grateful for what the year has been