Are you planning to travel to visit friends, family, or a new destination over the holidays? Traveling during the holidays can be an exciting experience. Nonetheless, it’s important to prepare for the unexpected, including lost luggage, stolen valuables, canceled or delayed flights, or bad weather disrupting your plans. So, for safety and peace of mind, follow these holiday travel hacks to plan stress-free travel for the holidays:
Preparing for the Long Journey
Traveling during this time of year can be hectic, but here are some helpful tips to make your journey as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.
- Obtain your passport, visa, and any other necessary documents.
- Pack light! Remember that anything you forget can usually be purchased while on your trip.
- Check the weather forecast ahead of time to determine what to pack.
- Research your destination ahead of time so you know what sites to visit. It will also help ensure that something new and exciting awaits you at your destination.
- If traveling by plane, take a carry-on with the essentials only. Plan to arrive at least three hours early for domestic flights and four hours early for international flights, and be sure to account for airport traffic congestion.
No matter where you're traveling, it's important to pack a few essentials. Bring the following items with you when exploring a new place. A pair of comfortable shoes that can be dressed up or down is a must! Your phone should also be on hand in an emergency, as well as money, credit cards, and ID.
When You Get There
Once you're there, make sure that you've got all of your documents in order, and if traveling internationally, carry your passport with you at all times. If you're flying back home from a foreign country, double-check that your airline has a flight back and that it's not too late to book one. You might also want to learn the requirements for reentering the US. The Department of Homeland Security says travelers need a valid visa or other forms of permission to enter the United States, such as an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
In addition, travelers may need more information depending on their citizenship status. Citizens of Canada, for example, who visit Cuba and then travel to the US will need a Canadian transit or Cuban visitor visa in addition to an ESTA authorization.
Taking Your Pet on Vacation
You may be surprised, but your furry friends can come along on any trip. However, depending on where you're traveling, you'll need to take some steps ahead of time before you hit the road. Here are some tips for ensuring that Fido or Fluffy is well-prepared for their vacation, too!
- Start planning early—it's best to plan at least six months in advance so that you have enough time to ensure everything is ready for them.
- Prepare a bag for your pet with all their favorite toys and clothes and remember to pack enough food and water (it's also a good idea to bring extras in case something happens).
- If you're driving to your destination, make sure they are secured by a seat belt or in an animal carrier. If flying, call the airline ahead of time to see if they allow pets on board and if there is an additional fee.
- Consider renting a car with an animal-friendly option—this way, you don't have to worry about carrying your pet through terminals and crowded areas!
- Make sure that if you fly, they are healthy enough to fly, and always consider whether or not there will be room in the cabin for your pet. And finally, it's always a good idea to check with the hotel you're staying at ahead of time, as some hotels require certain vaccinations or restrictions that might not apply elsewhere.
Managing Jet Lag
The key to managing jet lag is being prepared. To minimize your symptoms, you must know what they are in advance. Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine and eat light meals before boarding the plane. Once on board, try to sleep when possible. If you're up to bat, work on crossword puzzles or listen to music with headphones rather than loud movies or music. If you can't sleep, drink water and nibble on some healthy snacks while trying to relax as much as possible.
Getting Back Home Safely
If you are traveling by air, make sure you get to the airport well before your flight. If you're driving, ensure you have a fully charged cell phone, and don't be afraid to stop at a rest area and take a nap if necessary. Avoid using expensive toll roads if possible, and constantly monitor gas levels. Finally, if your car breaks down, stay with it unless it's in danger of being hit by other vehicles or is on fire—in that case, get far away from it!
Don't Forget Travel Insurance!
Travel insurance protects against unexpected events that may affect your trip. Unfortunately, it's a common misconception that travel insurance is just for emergencies or travelers over a certain age. In fact, it can be a sensible way to protect your investment and yourself.
A few important things to consider when looking into travel insurance are what kind of coverage you need, whether or not you'll be traveling with children, and how many days you're looking at being away from home. Depending on which coverage you choose, different options will be available. For example, suppose you're going on a cruise. In that case, you'll want to purchase cruise insurance. On the other hand, if you're taking an adventure tour through the rainforest in South America, then trip cancellation and medical evacuation insurance might be best for you. Most travel insurance plans come with 24/7 travel assistance services.
Not sure where to start? USI Travel Insurance Services has the tools you need to plan a stress-free holiday trip. We offer single-trip and annual policies depending on the time, destination, and activities involved. With these comprehensive packages, travelers can rest easy knowing their needs will be met no matter what happens. Visit our site today to learn more about the options available to you!
USI Travel Insurance Services offers competitive rates for single-trip policies and annual travel insurance plans, so don't hesitate!