Before Leaving Home

Before you leave home, there are a few things you can do to make your trip easier, protect your vacation investment... and create a memorable journey!
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If you have a Kindle, Sony Reader or other electronic reader, stock it up with some titles for the plane rides over and back. My wife has a Sony Reader and can upload through AT free when she is in the States. Not so easy when you’re overseas. Also, these are great for downloading guidebooks (although I prefer my I-Pad).

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Set up pet care – Seems like a no-brainer. Yet I had a friend who waited until a week or two before their flights to Europe to call their kennel. Yep, it was fully booked. Now she was scrambling to find an opening and fearful to leave “her precious” with people she did not know. So plan this when (or before?) you buy those non-refundable plane tickets!

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Copy/Scan your credit card, Passport, and Identification info. You have to take the time to protect yourself! Before you leave town, copy all your credit card info. I scan BOTH sides of my cards and email the files to myself. The worst imaginable holiday event may be losing your credit cards. Have a plan so you’re prepared. I’ve done the same drill for 30+ countries and thankfully only had to use it once! But because I was prepared, we were able to continue our vacation with no disruption.

Copy/Scan your credit card, Passport, and Identification info. You have to take the time to protect yourself! Before you leave town, copy all your credit card info. I scan BOTH sides of my cards and email the files to myself. The worst imaginable holiday event may be losing your credit cards. Have a plan so you’re prepared. I’ve done the same drill for 30+ countries and thankfully only had to use it once! But because I was prepared, we were able to continue our vacation with no disruption.

Practice on Skype. For many travelers, Skype is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family back home. Don’t wait till you get there to use Skype, Start practicing now so you (and the folks you’re calling) will be veterans by the time you travel. This practice will save you much frustration.

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Get an International Driver’s Permit. If you are going to be driving in many foreign countries, an IDP is required by law if you are a USA  licensed driver. They are very easy to get and although your rental agent may not ask to see yours… it is the law in many countries - ask your travel consultant... or just go get one from your local AAA office.

The IDP Question-The “IDP” Question-Driving in Italy…If the thought of THAT is not stressful enough, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what is an International Driver Permit – also known as an IDP.

Move you money to your Primary Banking Account. If you plan on using your ATM cards, know that in Europe and overseas you can usually only access your "primary" account. So if you have a debit card that can access your checking (Primary) and savings accounts… when you get to overseas you’ll probably only be able to access that checking account. So move your money BEFORE departing to your primary account. Nothing could be worse than not being able to get to your money!

Move you money to your Primary Banking Account. If you plan on using your ATM cards, know that in Europe and overseas you can usually only access your "primary" account. So if you have a debit card that can access your checking (Primary) and savings accounts… when you get to overseas you’ll probably only be able to access that checking account. So move your money BEFORE departing to your primary account. Nothing could be worse than not being able to get to your money!

Buy some Euro. Once in Europe, ATM’s will give you the best exchange rate. But it always helps to have €100+ in your pocket. You never know if the ATM machine at the airport is working and you’ll still need to get to town, where there are many, many ATM options. Check your local bank, buy some before you come, and avoid the airport exchange booths as they usually have the worst rates and the highest surcharges.

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Bring an inexpensive corkscrew/bottle opener in your checked luggage.

There are a multitude of styles available. A primer on corkscrews via the link.

Call your credit cards and banks and let them know the dates you’re headed overseas. Failure to notify your bank may lead to an interruption of your service. Then you might have to make an international phone call to let them know where you are! So avoid all the hassle by contacting your banks, credit unions, etc. While you’re at, DO check out the expiration date on your credit cards before you leave town.

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Have someone pick up your mail – or contact the post office to hold it. Contact the newspaper and have it stopped. Arrange for a friend or trusted neighbor to “check on” your residence.

Congress has the right to establish postal offices and roads. This helps establish widespread communication across the nation.

If you’re going to use a mobile phone in Europe or overseas, research your options. You will need a tri-band, unlocked phone to use a European SIM card. You can also call your hometown vendor and see if they have an international option and what it will cost you. I’ve bought many unlocked phones on eBay and then purchased a SIM upon arrival. Talk with your travel consultant or your local mobile phone provider (not my first choice). Know there are MANY, MANY options!

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Lost luggage - it could happen to you. I would suggest you consider these preventive steps:   (1) First, assume your luggage will be lost – prepare for the worst-case scenario. (2) Choose what you’ll wear on the plane carefully – If your luggage gets lost, you may be in these clothes for some time! (3) Always carry a change of “clothes – or undergarments” in your carry-on. (4) Always carry your medicines and other health required items

Lost luggage - it could happen to you. I would suggest you consider these preventive steps: (1) First, assume your luggage will be lost – prepare for the worst-case scenario. (2) Choose what you’ll wear on the plane carefully – If your luggage gets lost, you may be in these clothes for some time! (3) Always carry a change of “clothes – or undergarments” in your carry-on. (4) Always carry your medicines and other health required items

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