Here in Toronto it is spring break, and while my teen and I are doing a stay-cation that involves lots of frugal fun right here at home in our city, many of my friends and their kids are getting on planes or in cars and taking off on vacation. Now if you haven’t already booked your vacation, my friends over at Lowestrates.ca have some great tips. If you do already have plans, then there are some important things you need to remember before you leave.
Buy Travel Insurance
My mom and sister both love to travel and one thing they never travel without is
travel insurance. On one trip, my mom took ill. Thankfully, because she had travel insurance, there were no issues and she got great care even though she was in Cuba.
Check Your Passports
I had a friend last year who got turned back at the airport because her passport was invalid. Remember: you have to have at least 6 months left before your passport expires if you are traveling outside Canada. My friend was unable to go on her trip to Turkey simply because she didn’t check her passport.
Pack Your Medications
Make sure you have enough of your medications in their original packaging to last the entire trip, and bring enough for an extra 2 days, in case there are any travel disruptions. This way you can avoid searching for a fax machine and a pharmacy while you travel.
Take Comfortable Shoes with You
Have a great pair of walking shoes with you. You don’t want to miss out on an adventure because your feet are tired and sore. For me, I wear my walking shoes most of the time when traveling and keep my flip flops for the beach and my heels for those special nights out.
Prepare Your Phone for Travel
Now my sister, when she travels, leaves her data turned off the entire trip to avoid any surprises on her bill. I know I could never do that. Thankfully, if you want data when you travel you have a few options. You can purchase a special data plan for roaming outside the country through your cellular service provider. If you are a Rogers customer you can #roamon for $5 a day using your home data while in the US. Personally, it’s the best plan I found so far for Canadians who have a Rogers cell plan. Additionally, depending on where you are going, you can buy a local SIM card and plan at a reasonable rate for many countries. You can always check out Roam Mobility if you are traveling in the USA or Mexico (they will ship you a SIM card that will meet all your data needs for your trip). It’s a great way to have data while away. When you have a mobile data plan with roaming, you can always use apps like Skype to stay in touch and save on minutes.
Only pack what you really need. Sometimes we think we need to take a large suitcase but we only use a few outfits. I prefer to travel with one carry on. I take the essentials and leave room in the budget to buy any must have while away. By only using a carry on you save the luggage fees (and yourself from waiting for checked luggage at the airport).
Visit Your Bank
When traveling, I always let my bank know I am going to be away and which countries I will be visiting. I have seen more than one credit card or bank card rendered invalid because a purchase was being made outside the norm for the account, and replacing cards while on vacation is a hassle. By letting your bank know where you are traveling and your dates of departure and return you can prevent the hassle of having your cards cancelled. While at the bank, also take the time to exchange currencies if you can, you will definitely get a better deal than doing so at the airport.
Before you go on that dream spring break vacation make sure you are prepared. Take the time to get travel insurance, remember to check your passports, pack your medications plus a little extra, get your phone ready for travel and visit your bank. These errands won’t take too much time out of your day but will let you relax on your vacation knowing that you have everything you need.