o you have time and money to spare? Do you want to escape from your routine? Did that documentary about Kenya make you want to book your own safari? There are so many great reasons why you should travel, and it might be time to start planning your next vacation.
Travel is a great way to make new discoveries, bring some new excitement to your life and create unforgettable memories. You have your destination in mind, you’ve looked at the flight options and decided which monuments you want to discover… It’s time to start booking flights and hotels, right?
Hold up! There are other things you may need to arrange before hopping on the next flight. Here are five things many people forget to do before vacation:
- Decide which vacation is right for you
The type of vacation you take may depend on things like your age, health and travel expectations. The holiday you planned when you were 20 might look a lot different to the one you plan in your 50s. Whether you’re hiking through the Andes or relaxing on a white sandy beach in Thailand may depend on what your body can handle.
This might also limit where or how you book your trip. A “China in 15 days” package might set too fast a pace for your taste. These tours often mean 5am wakeup calls, long rides in a hot bus, limited time at each stop and returning to the hotel well after dinner time. That can be exhausting for 20-somethings, and maybe even more so for older travelers!
Before jumping to book a cheap package or airfare, really decide if the trip is right for you. It may be worth it to spend a little extra on a longer trip where you can set your own pace. You might also want to contact the travel company to get information on who typically books their trips and how strenuous the activities are.
- Decide what you can afford
Vacation destination trends come and go. Everyone you know might be sharing photos from Paris or the Bahamas on Facebook, and these might be tempting you to go yourself. However, it might be worth it to look into less popular destinations.
Trendy spots that are in high demand often increase their prices, including hotels and restaurants. This could mean stress and headaches for travelers with smaller budgets. It’s no fun flying to an exotic locale only to find that everything is out of your prices range! Even worse, you might be tempted to put everything on a credit card and be stuck paying off your holiday for months to come.
Instead of cancelling your trip, look at less popular destinations instead. There are many countries and cities that offer a better value for money and plenty of opportunity for adventure.
- Check with your doctor before you go
An appointment with your doctor might be a good idea before heading on any holiday. A general checkup to rate your health and fitness could help you stay safe and healthy while you’re away.
Beyond a general checkup, your doctor may also give you personalized advice for your specific trip. It might make sense to discuss where you’re going and what you plan to do when there. Depending on where you go, you may need vaccines or pre-emptive medical treatment for things like meningococcal disease or malaria. If you’re planning a trip with lots of physical activities, such as hiking or water sports, your doctor may also provide fitness advice or tips for avoiding injury or aggravating an existing one.
- Pack your health documents with you
If you have a chronic illness, you may want to bring a medical checkup with you. It’s probably unlikely that you’ll need serious medical treatment on holiday, but it’s always best to be prepared, just in case.
Ideally, this information should be written by your doctor in English and in the language of the country you’ll be visiting (a professional translator can help with this). The document should mention things like current treatments, medications you’re taking and any allergies you suffer from. This could be invaluable information for medical staff should you need first aid or hospital care.
- Get the right types of insurance
Travel insurance is probably the first type that comes to mind, but you may find that having other safety nets in place before you go might put you even more at ease.
The terms and conditions on your travel insurance may change depending on where you’re going. To avoid surprises, take a look at the specific cover offered to travelers going to your destination. It may also be important to disclose exactly where you’ll be travelling (specifying each country, rather than just putting down “Europe”) and what activities you’ll be doing when you’re there. Some credit cards even offer services like 24/7 medical assistance that could come in handy.
It’s not very fun to think about, but you might want to consider funeral insurance, too. The risk of death on vacation is probably less likely than a simple health concern, however, it may pay to be well covered. Funeral cover often pays the benefit if you pass away overseas, helping to cover any medical bills, bringing the body home and the funeral service itself.
Enjoy your vacation!
No matter where you travel, it’s important to be well prepared before you go. That way, you’ll hopefully come home with happy memories that will last for years to come.