So, the day of your lovely vacay has arrived. The suitcase is packed and all you need to do is hit the road, hit the rails, or hit the air. But wait, are you really ready to go? Well, over the course of the next few posts, I will provide a few tips that have used when preparing for my various trips.
Wait! Hold up, wait a minute Mr. Postman
- Unless there are other people living in your home, or you have an agreement with a name to check on your mail, don’t forget to put your mail on hold. Nothing is more of a dead giveaway that the home is unoccupied and ready for criminals than having your mail pile up.
Lights, camera, action
- In keeping with the theme of deterring the criminal element while you are away, make sure your home still looks lived in while you are away. Using timers to control the lights in your home and one or two appliances such as a radio or television will aid with the process of making sure you home has the “occupied” feeling.
Check it once, check it twice
- Before you get ready to check your luggage or pass through security, check your carry-on bag to make sure that there no illegal or prohibited items on your person, or items that exceed the TSA . There is nothing worse than getting to security and realizing that you have a pair of scissors in your bag, or that you accidentally have that $12 8oz bottle of Victoria Secrets lotion in your bag. So, just take the time to thoroughly check your carry-ons to make sure that you do not have to make a deposit of your beloved items into the TSA bulky trash.
Money makes the world go round, but US currency doesn’t travel well everywhere
- Before you go, make sure you get the skinny on the local currency. Will the hotels exchange money for you? How much will it cost to exchange money at the airport vice at a local bank? Is it even necessary to exchange money? There are some places that will accept US currency; however, you will be charged a surcharge, so you must count the costs. Sometimes a local will be willing to exchange money “straight”, dollar for dollar, as was the case for me in Canada. In the same vein, if you need to exchange money, make sure that you only exchange that which you will actually use, especially if you are not planning to visit that particular country ever again.
Tape it up
- It may sound crazy, but masking tape/packaging tape can be your best friend. You can use tape to protect luggage from getting damaged in transit or to secure your precious valuables in a designated hiding spot in your room. The hiding spots should not be under a bed or behind a headboard as that is totally obvious. But, there are some spots in a room where the cleaning staff will never look (let alone clean), but I will not reveal them, lest I compromise my safe spots. One final, VERY important use for the tape is safely securing the liquid courage that you may bring back from those caribbean destinations.
Bubbles, bubbles everywhere
- Bubble wrap, like tape, is a great tool to keep in your suitcase. Not only is bubble wrap great for protecting your “love in a bottle”, but you can also use it to protect those delicate souvenirs that need a little extra tlc to make sure they journey back home safely.