Monday, May 12, 2014

10 Things to Ask Yourself Before You Travel

Ready to jet off? 
Not so fast, worldly traveler. 
Before you hit the road, ask yourself these vital questions to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch. 
Is the destination safe?

More often than not, you’ll have no troubles in terms of safety. If you’re traveling to an unfamiliar region, however, it’s always wise to double check with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Not only will find the latest travel alerts, but you’ll also get the skinny on must-follow customs and laws.

Are my passport, visa and ESTA documents in order?

There’s nothing worse than arriving to your destination without the proper documentation. Make sure that your passport has at least six months of validity, and check that you have the appropriate visas for both your final spot and any countries that you’ll be stopping in along the way.

Do I need currency in advance?

Many travelers prefer to exchange their cash once they land, but some currencies may need to be secured before you even leave town. You may also need American dollars or travelers’ checks as a contingency plan.

Will I require any vaccinations?

Vaccinations are unpleasant but often essential. If you’re unsure whether you’ll need medical proof to depart from or return to a country, look to the Department of Health for the most detailed information.

Did I pack the proper health supplies?

Unfortunately, some items can’t be found on the go. Don’t forget to pack your medications, prescription glasses and any in-case-of-emergency items, and consider tucking a basic first-aid kit into your carry on. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Have I packed anything that I can’t carry on?

Speaking of carry-on bags, do a quick check of your items to ensure that you’re not packing anything that will be confiscated at the airport. If you’re unsure what an airline will and won’t let you tote on board, consult both the carrier’s website and your local airport’s guidelines.

Should I be insured?

The answer to this one is always a resounding yes. Cut your losses with travel insurance from American Express, and you’ll never be stuck in a financial crisis should something go wrong before you head out or while you’re there.

Has anything jeopardized my ability to fly?

Your doctor is the best person to advise on travel fitness, but you’ll generally want to avoid flying if you’ve given blood within 24 hours, had any form of anesthetic within 48 or embarked on a scuba-diving adventure within 40. Surgeries can also affect your fitness, so make sure to chat with a medical professional about any concerns.

Do I know how to get from the airport?

So much of traveling relies on letting yourself get a little lost, but it’s probably best to save the wandering for the vacation itself. Make sure you know the most efficient transportation options from the airport to avoid investing extra time and money once you touch down.

Did I write down in-case-of-emergency numbers?

Don’t worry: You likely won’t need them. If something does go wrong, however, you’ll want to have the support numbers for the Australian Embassy, Consulate and High Commission on hand. It’s also worth jotting down the contact information for your airline, airport and any travel companies that helped you book the trip.