When it comes to planning a holiday, most people aim to tick off the essentials – tickets, accommodation and itinerary. However, in order to truly enjoy a smooth and carefree holiday, there’s a lot more prep work that needs to be done prior to the big departure.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Nothing dampens the excitement of a vacation more than unwanted surprises you could’ve planned for.
To help you out, here are 10 things to tick off your pre-holiday checklist.
Review Visa & Passport Requirements
The last thing you want is to arrive at the airport with an expired passport or at your destination without the required visa. If a holiday is on the cards, make a habit of reviewing your passport expiry date and checking whether or not you will require a visa before you book your airfare.
Some visas can take weeks to process, so make sure this is sorted well ahead of time to avoid disappointment. There should be a list of visa requirements for traveling overseas on your government website; ie the visas for Australians travelling overseas list.
Be a Smart Traveller
It doesn’t matter where you’re travelling to, it’s always a good idea to register your travel with your government and maintain contact with your consulate or embassy throughout your trip.
Many countries have a smart traveler program (for example Smart Traveller for Australians) where you can lodge your travel plans ahead of time. This is usually a free service which ensures Government officials know your whereabouts and can send you alerts on areas that may be classified as dangerous.
The service also provides information on laws of the country you’re traveling to, embassy information and other advice on legal and safety matters.
Consider Your Wi-Fi Needs
Planning on using Google Maps and Uber to get around? It’s best to research your internet options ahead of time. Depending on the destination you’re heading to, Wi-Fi accessibility will vary.
In most cases, it’s wise to purchase a local SIM/data card or a pocket WIFI to remain connected. Ensure your phone is unlocked before departure and that you turn off your cellular data to avoid hefty roaming fees.
Secure Your Home
If you normally live alone, give yourself some peace of mind by setting up scheduled lighting before a long getaway.
There are lights you can install that turn on at a particular time, giving the appearance that someone is at home. It’s also a good idea to remove any spare keys you may have hidden and leave them with a close friend or family member, in case anyone needs to get in.
If you’re close with your neighbours, it may be wise to let them know you’re going away.
Depending on how long you’re going away for, it may be an economical decision to cancel any subscriptions, such as newspaper, wine, magazine or food deliveries. Otherwise you may return to a stack of dated papers or valuable packages left unattended.
Don’t Forget Your Pets
Whilst we’d all love to bring our favourite furry legged animal with us, it’s not always feasible and practical when heading overseas.
If you don’t want to burden friends and family, you can always outsource pet minding via Airtasker. There are plenty of animal lovers in your community who would be happy to take care of pup!
Hold Your Plans
It can be very frustrating paying for a service that you’re not using while on holiday, for example a mobile phone or gym pass. For mobile, contact your provider and request your plan to be put on hold. Generally, plans can be held for up to three months.
As for gym passes, some fitness providers permit their users to freeze their account for a certain amount of time, so you don’t have to pay your usual membership fees while away.
Empty the Fridge
Prevent attracting moths, fruit flies, cockroaches or mice by making sure you have cleaned out perishables in the fridge as well as fruit and vegetables left out. If you have any flours open, perhaps relocate them to the fridge while you’re away.
Ask a Friend or Family Member to Collect Mail
If you’re going away for a lengthy period, you can expect that a few important letters will be sent during that time. Have a friend or family member to collect your mail and give them permission to open any mail that may be important, such as car registration renewal.
Make a Financial Plan
Don’t ‘wing it’ when it comes to money. Different travellers have varying preferences on cash vs. card however it’s recommended you bring a mix of both for safe measure.
If you’re planning on using your credit cards, set a reminder to notify your bank of your travel plans. The last thing you want is to be stuck overseas with no access to your funds.