Usually travel involves months of planning but sometimes it can be a spontaneous, last minute decision. Make sure you are prepared regardless of the nature of your next trip.
Destination. Before deciding on the next place you want to visit, make sure to look into these key decision factors:
Weather is often something that people overlook and it can make or break your next vacation. Not only will you determine if the forecast calls for rain or shine, you will also have an easier time choosing the articles of clothing you should pack.
Search the internet for reviews of hotels, attractions, restaurants and more. This is a quick and fun way to find out about interesting experiences so you have a relative idea of what to expect. With the click of a mouse, you will find photos, stories and advice on most destinations.
Once you have selected your destination, use these strategies to prepare for your trip:
Attractions list. After researching where you are interested in going, create a sightseeing list. You may not be able to see everything you planned, but this will ensure you visit your top choices. If there is a lot you want to do, make a schedule on a calendar in order to see how much sightseeing will fit into your itinerary. Also, get maps online to help you find attractions.
Documents. You may need a visa and other official documents to enter your destination country. Verify that all of the papers needed to travel are in order including your passport. It's a good a idea to scan and email yourself copies of your passport, itinerary, credit cards and travel insurance. This precaution will protect you and provide access in case of loss, theft, travel disruptions or medical emergency.
Packing. Pack appropriately for your chosen destination. (Use our travel packing list[PDF] for some suggestions.) Don't just think about the temperature. Remember to keep cultural diversities in mind when choosing clothing. For example, some destinations do not approve of revealing clothing and may even prevent entry into certain buildings or areas. Check the internet or with your travel agent for more details.
Budget. It is important to review your finances so that you are aware of what is available to spend during your trip. This will help you determine the types of excursions and how many you can include, your hotel choices and how much you can spend on souvenirs and gifts. Make sure to account for transportation costs to and from the airport.
Inform your credit card issuers that you are planning a trip. Your credit card issuers will deny your purchases if they see unusual activity in your account and are unaware of your trip.
Determine roaming charges. Call your mobile phone provider before departing to gain a clear understanding of what charges you can expect from using your phone while travelling.
Protect yourself by purchasing travel insurance. Whether travelling within Canada or abroad, it is critical to understand the type and amount of health insurance coverage required. Even though you may live in Canada, you may not be covered for health insurance in other provinces.
Protect Your Home When You Are Away. Read this article for important tips on how to protect your home while you are away and deter burglars.
Once you have taken care of everything listed above, you can enjoy your trip with peace of mind!