Planning an exciting vacation with your friends and family is always entertaining. Whether you’re visiting somewhere for the first time or taking your yearly trip to the traditional spot, creating a vacation planning checklist is an absolute must for all travelers.
Why is a Travel Planning Checklist Important?
At the end of the day, the best vacations come from thorough planning and preparation. While leaving some days open for exploration on your vacation is always fun for spontaneity, there are a few items that should be personally required before your journey begins. A checklist is important because it helps you get key documents in order, as well as a plan, so that you can hit the ground running when you reach your destination.
8 Items to Add to Your Travel Checklist
Being prepared for your trip can make for a better vacation, and by handling the logistics prior to leaving you can free your mind once you touch down or arrive. For example, if you are going on a road trip it’s important to have a plan in place in the event of a car accident.
By ensuring your insurance information is squared away before traveling to a new place, you can avoid insurance companies trying to manipulate your treatment by lowering the value of medical bills. Use the following eight tips on your travel checklist to ensure the above, and other unexpected situations, don’t cost you time and money:
- Decide on a budget
Nowadays, prices for travel are steadily on the rise. In fact, a 4-night domestic trip or 12-night international trip will cost $581 or $3,251, respectively. With potential costs this high, setting a budget before picking a travel destination is an absolute must. Track your finances to understand what you can afford before booking any travel.
A good strategy to travel wherever you want to go is to set aside a portion of your paycheck monthly into a travel fund. By doing this, you can afford more expensive vacations out of pocket rather than putting everything on debt with a credit card.
- Select a travel destination
Once you have built a budget for yourself, it’s time to select the destination you will be traveling to. Be sure to pick a spot that lines up with your budget. Consider staying at certain hotels or taking certain airlines where you receive benefits, such as with credit card point redemptions.
If you are choosing to go international, think about the currency conversion wherever you are going and whether you need to dedicate more funds to your trip. Don’t forget to add up the total cost of any activities or food you might have while there.
- Research costs to find the best time to travel
There are times of the year when traveling is cheaper. If you are visiting a location known for its summer months, but you don’t particularly care for the weather, travel during the winter for better prices. On a more granular basis, the cheapest time to book a flight is often a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday.
- Research and purchase activities in advance
By adding the purchase of activities to your checklist in advance of reaching your destination, you will be able to build an itinerary while also potentially saving money. Many providers will offer discounts if you book far enough in advance. Also consider using credit card reward points, if applicable, for activity purchases, as you may get some benefit in return.
- Get all your personal documents in order
Before traveling anywhere, whether domestic or international, ensure that you have all your personal documents in front of you. Passports, driver’s license, insurance cards, itinerary, and more are all examples of items you should consider double-checking that you have.
- Learn about potential health risks in the area you’re traveling to
Every destination is different, and some locations might have health risks that you weren’t aware of. The last thing anybody wants is to accidentally contract a disease running rampant in their vacation destination. Research any sicknesses that have been going around and get vaccinated for any specific diseases that you can.
Also be aware, for international travelers, that you may not be allowed to a destination in the first place if you are unvaccinated for certain illnesses.
- Plan how you’ll travel when you arrive
Are you going to travel by car for your vacation? Will you be hopping trains to go to new cities? Purchasing your travel in advance is always the recommended strategy to get the best price. Additionally, it’s also an area where you can save a large amount of money. For example, if you’re planning a Europe trip then taking the Euro rail could cost you less than renting a car and driving between countries.
- Build a list of things to pack
Finally, the last item on your travel planning checklist should be determining what you need to pack for your vacation. Consider factors such as the weather during the time of year your traveling (remembering that seasons flip in the Southern Hemisphere) and keeping in mind the activities you are planning on doing.
These primary factors will help you pack, but also aim to pack light. Luggage fees can add up fast and paying hundreds just to get your suitcase onto a plane is never the ideal choice. Don’t forget to make a list of any medication or required items that need to be included in your luggage, as forgetting these can end your trip faster than you’d like.
Enjoy your dream vacation with peace of mind
The last thing anybody needs while on vacation is to have it ruined by an accident or medical issue. Understand the area you’re traveling to before you get there and create an itinerary with backup plans in case things change. If you are injured during the course of your travels, contact a personal injury lawyer to see if there are ways you can be financially compensated for what occurred. Don’t leave yourself stranded on your dream vacation.