Taking a trip can be exciting, but the preparation beforehand can be exhausting. There is a lot to do as the departure date nears and increasingly less time in which to do it. However, if you pace yourself and avoid doing everything at the last minute, you can alleviate the stresses associated with being an unprepared traveler.
Below are four items on your checklist that you should do before you board the plane.
- Secure Your Mail
Have your local post office hold your mail. You will need to fill out a short form indicating your name, address, and the dates you would like your mail to be held. The postal service can hold it up to 30 days. Should you need more time, you can request an additional 30 days.
If you live with others, make sure that only your mail delivery is temporarily suspended. If you do not indicate this, everyone’s mail will be held. Because you can specify the date to hold mail, you can mail the form days in advance. Alternatively, you may wish to purchase a PO box and have your mail delivered there.
Ensure that you have all the documentation you need to board the plane. If you are traveling domestically, print your plane tickets and boarding pass prior to leaving home. You may also have your tickets scanned upon arrival. You will also need a form of government identification, such as a license.
If you are traveling internationally, make sure you have your passport, and if relevant, your visa–not the credit card, but the documentation that is needed to enter some countries. If you plan to travel several months internationally out, you can apply for a passport at some post offices. The mclean post office in Mclean, Virginia, is one such facility. They make it easy for you to fill out an application, get your picture taken, pay the fee, and send off the paperwork. You can expect your passport in six to eight weeks. To schedule an appointment to apply for a passport at the McLean post office, visit their website or stop at your local post office.
Check your local listings to find out which post office closest to you offers this service.
- Important Information
You should have all your important information in a safe place to take with you. You will need health and travel-related insurance cards and emergency contact information, just to name a few. Call your bank to notify its staff you are traveling and will be using your ATM card in another city (or country). If you are going on a business trip, make sure you have all the documents you will need for any upcoming meetings as well as remembering to bring your laptop or tablet.
- Make a List
Develop a list of things to pack and things to do. Things can get hectic before taking a trip. If you don’t write down what you have to pack and do, you may leave some valuable items behind. There may be prescriptions to fill, medicines to pack, extra eyewear to bring, services to temporarily suspend, phone calls to make and things to buy.
Though you have a great memory, you should not rely on it alone before taking a trip. If you have writer’s block, you can effortlessly search for a list of things to pack and print one out. Don’t leave this task to chance.
Finally, have a great time. Even if you are on a business trip, try and make time to tour the city. If possible, tack on an extra day to your travel so you can relax and see new sights. After all is said and done, and the meetings are over, being a traveler has its perks.