Travel tips and advice
Notify family, friends and relatives
Before leaving on vacation, be sure to provide all travel information to your family and close friends. If anything happens while you’re traveling, more people know where you are and have a better chance of communicating with you and others who may need to get to you. Prepare copies of your passport, airline tickets and accommodation reservation form. It may also help if you leave phone numbers for where you stop just in case someone needs to contact you urgently.
Do you have a valid visa and/or passport?
Always check your passport and make sure you renew or apply for your visa before you leave. Ensure that your passport does not expire within 6 months of your travel date. The vast majority of countries insist that your passport be valid for at least that period of time or for a year. Make a copy, in case it is lost while on vacation, you can send the copy to your embassy.
Medical form E111.
Thousands of holidaymakers in the UK are still on holiday without having a signed E111 form from their local medical practitioner. This form is free and means that while you are in a member country of the European Community, you will receive free or subsidized medical treatment. Be warned though this does not mean you are covered for return flights, transfers from destination to hospital, and pharmacy costs.
Millions of vacationers around the world go on vacation without travel insurance. How crazy you can be, for the sake of completing a quick form or a phone conversation, you can cover any holiday event. It is very important for people to get back into the habit of buying travel insurance. The decline in holidaymakers taking out insurance is due to the increase in independent travel, with many travel agents in the UK insisting that you take out travel insurance as part of your booking.
Confirm your reservation
Make sure you confirm your airfare and rental booking, otherwise you may have an unpleasant experience if the property owners are out of the country and don’t leave the keys. Visit the airport website, or if you’re in the UK, look up the fax, or teletext for the latest departures and arrivals from UK airports to see if your plane is on time, back that up with a phone conversation with the airline.
Vacation rental site
When making a reservation, you may want to know if the property is located near a hospital, chemist, police station, etc. These services are great in an emergency, and it’s always a good idea to know your way around before you arrive. You will find that most of the owners have some literature on local doctors, chemists, etc. You never know what might happen while on holiday.
Purchase a destination guide/language dictionary.
Get yourself some travel books to learn about the best spots, cheapest restaurants, best foods, and hundreds of ideas for your destination. You may want to take some notes from your travel book that are relevant to the area you are visiting rather than taking the entire book with you to reduce weight. Most important of all is to have a language translation dictionary and carry it around with you. Learn some basic terms in the native language of the country you are traveling to. People will appreciate it and will be more helpful if you make at least an effort, it can also help you in emergency situations.
Put photocopies of your ID in your luggage to help your airline or cruise ship return it if it is lost while traveling. Another good idea is to get some masks, masking tape or stickers and put them all over the suitcase, the worst start to a vacation would be if your luggage gets lost or taken by accident because it is matched with other vacationers. Use your own locks instead of the ones that came with the bags. It is usually safer. Remember to keep your key(s) in your carry-on baggage. Don’t do what I did and leave the keys in the suitcase!
Photocopy your identification documents
Photocopy all documents and cards and keep them in a secret place in your bag. If your wallet is ever stolen, you’ll know exactly what you lost and have all the phone numbers you can call to cancel credit cards, credit card numbers, etc. right at your fingertips. Or, instead of copying all your important documents and carrying them with you, you can scan everything and email the photos to your email account or family and friends as attachments.
Don’t forget to try to arrange transportation to the holiday property before you set off. The worst thing that can happen is that it’s 11pm, there are no buses, and you have to pay a fortune for an hour drive to your accommodation. Most of the owners will have a contact to pick you up from the airport, or a private management company will pick you up, and there is a fee, but it’s definitely cheaper than the local taxi companies…it’s also safer.
Think about this scenario. You just get to your hotel, you see a nice bar down the road, you go into your pocket for all your foreign currency, and it’s not there! You’re in a strange country, in a strange language, and it’s your first day of vacation that you pay for all year long. Please remember traveler’s checks, ask for them before you go and you won’t be in this scenario.
This article is not written to scare you but to put your mind at ease on the important issues you will face when booking and organizing your next rental vacation. The best holidays I’ve had are the ones I organized myself.
Enjoy..but most importantly…be safe!