What to Do Before You Go on Vacation
Vacations are wonderful things. They allow you to take a break from your responsibilities and enjoy a relaxing time away from home. You’ll see memorable sights and let loose and enjoy yourself. But all of that will only start when your vacation actually kicks off — and before that happens, you have some things to do.
Sure, you’ve done the basic planning — you have your plane tickets and your hotel rooms and all of that. But before you head off, let’s do some double-checking and nail down a few of the finer points that you may have missed.
Familiarize yourself with local laws
Depending on where you’re traveling, you may not be encountering anything too exotic. But it’s always a good idea to make sure that you know enough about the local culture to be respectful and enjoy yourself — and it’s extremely important that you know about local laws.
Many nations have laws similar to those that we find in the United States and Canada. But what you don’t know about local laws, especially criminal laws and personal liability laws, can hurt you. If you’re injured on vacation, you will likely need a local lawyer on the case — your lawyer back home in New York won’t necessarily be able to do much about a personal injury that you sustained in Canada. You would need a Vancouver personal injury lawyer instead.
And if you break the law on vacation, you could be in big trouble. Do not expect foreign laws (or even laws in other states) to be kind to you. Drugs that are legal in Colorado can land you in deep legal trouble in Idaho, for instance, and even prescription drugs can get you jailed in Japan. Do your research carefully!
Make reservations for specific attractions
You presumably already have reservations for things like travel and hotel rooms. But have you done enough to lock down your spot at crowded attractions?
You don’t want to overstuff your vacation schedule and make it too rigid, of course, but you really do want to grab reservations and tickets for popular attractions like West Palm Beach boat tours. Planning ahead will ensure your place onboard the boat tour or in the stands at that sporting event.
And while you may or may not actually need a reservation to dine at the restaurant that your guide book recommends, it won’t hurt to have one — you’ll have a stress-free guarantee of your spot, and you won’t lose a minute to waiting for your table. A half-hour wait for your spot in the restaurant is a half hour you can’t spend on the beach or walking the beautiful city streets, so why not plan ahead?
Take care of money matters
You’ve budgeted carefully for your vacation, and you’re ready to go and enjoy it. But there are a few minor money-related chores that you should probably take care of first.
Did you remember to call your bank? What about your credit card company? If you don’t let them know that you’re planning to be out of town, then you might end up convincing their fraud units that someone has stolen your credit card or your identity. They could try to help by freezing your account, and then you’ll suddenly be stranded in Palm Beach or London without any money.
You should also take a look at your bills. No, not your vacation-related ones — we know you’ve budgeted and planned those out already. But what about your electric bill? What about your credit card bill? What if they come during the week that you’re on vacation, and you return home to find the power’s out or the cable cut? Those are worst-case scenarios, but pay ahead of time to avoid any late fees or frustrations.
These are little things, but taking a bit of time to handle them ahead of your vacation can make your trip more relaxing and fun.