“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Also, a journey of a thousand miles needs to be well planned in order for you to enjoy it thoroughly. Whether the travel involves adventure, exploring nature, a leisurely stay at a resort, or a series of business meetings, if the intricacies of travel planning are overlooked it can quickly become a nightmarish experience. This especially holds true for vacations when the last thing you want on your mind is work!!
Each kind of travel has its own specific requirements. Depending on your reason for travel, you need to plan accordingly. Travel planning is even more essential when it is with your family, as those are the times when you want to extract the most memorable moments from your vacation. Once your destination is chosen, the next things to work out are logistics. The gear you pack can vary from casual clothes and swim suits for adventure, to formal attire, for business travel. The need to take along your personal gadgets could also differ from a camcorder for capturing those fun filled pictures, to a laptop, essential for your board meeting. It is necessary to preempt the luggage you would be carrying along as there are weight restrictions specified by various airlines for luggage. Similarly, every country has different regulations/ constraints for carrying foreign currency. If youre visiting a place for the first time, it makes sense to use the services of a professional travel agent who can not only get you a good deal but also to suggest ways to go about preparing for your travel and what precautions to take to safeguard your belongings in a foreign land.
If you are planning to drive, ensure that you carry the requisite documents along with you. License, auto insurance papers, rental/ registration papers etc. For other means of travel, youll need booking confirmations and boarding or travel tickets, at all times apart from passport, visa (if needed) and any other proof of identity.
Here are some practical tips:
1.Register your travel plans with your state department, so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
2.Leave a copy of your itinerary, passport page, travel insurance and visas with your family or friends.
3.Ensure you have sufficient overseas medical coverage. You dont want to blow up all your holiday money on treatment/medication incase you need medical treatment.
4.If you plan to drive abroad, ensure you are familiar with the weather and road conditions as also with the car youre driving and have the documents you need to carry along handy at all times.
5.Familiarize yourself with the foreign countrys laws, culture and common customs. The more at home you are, the lesser are chances of you being cheated at any point.
6.Subscribe to country specific information, travel warnings and alerts, if necessary.
7.Know the countrys import restrictions.
8.Get yourself a vaccination, if necessary.
9.Senior travelers consider the following:
a.Pack light for a comfortable journey.
b.Make sure you keep extra copies of all your important documents at a secure place. Medical insurance is an absolute necessity!
c.Check the weather conditions of your destination beforehand. Dont experiment at a new place which might be uncomfortable.
d.Do not over plan. Keep your schedule stress free.
e.Travel in groups. That way not only do you have great company of like minded people but also a strong support system.
f. Look out for senior friendly travel deals and discounts. Organizations like AAA, AARP and a host of senior related websites will be able to offer you good deals and advice on ideal places for vacation.
A little travel planning in advance can leave you with wonderful memories of your trip. Take out the time beforehand to research and prepare. Its time well spent!
Christoper Smith is a retired personal finance consultant, interested in adventure living. He loves to explore new places, people and cultures with his wife. He writes regularly during his travels; mostly on the road, from his trailer. His interest lies in the fields of finance and insurance [home, life and auto insurance] – his favorite subjects from the past.
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