15 Things to Do Before Departing for Your Summer Vacation
Are you ready for your summer vacation?
There’s a lot to do before you can enjoy your time in the sun– from arranging for friends or family to watch your house when you’re away, to purchasing travel insurance. Whether you’re heading up north to the cottage or flying across ocean waters to the Amalfi Coast, it takes a lot of effort and planning to prepare for a vacation.
But once you’re done you can rest assured that your summer getaway will go off without a hitch! Before you depart for your summer vacay, there are a number of tasks to consider. And while the list may seem long and arduous, we promise it’s not as bad as it looks.
Today’s blog will provide 15 things you can do before departing for this year’s summer vacation, from a week before you’re set to depart to the morning of, to ensure your trip is enjoyable from beginning to end!
Most Importantly, Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Arguably the most important to-do on this checklist, travel insurance is an absolute must. Whether you’re going on an international vacation, or just a quick weekend getaway, it’s important to make sure that no matter what happens, you and your belongings are protected.
From lost bags and delayed flights to medical emergencies, travel insurance can help provide you with peace of mind in knowing that if something unexpected happens during your trip, it will be covered.
What to Look for in Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance in Ontario is designed to provide coverage under several different circumstances:
- Medical Emergencies: Protect yourself from sudden accidents or illnesses while you’re away, including emergency evacuation fees or costs associated with emergency care, with travel health insurance.
- Cancellation: In the event that you must cancel your vacation, trip cancellation insurance can help provide compensation and/or reimbursement for your airfare, hotel room or travel fees so that you don’t have to pay for events that are beyond your control.
Although travel health insurance and trip cancellation insurance are the two most common forms of coverage related to travel, you can speak to an Acumen Insurance broker to add on policies that will cover the loss of baggage, airline accidents and more.
Without further ado, here are 15 items to cross off your to-do list before departing on your next adventure:
A Week to 48 Hours Before Your Trip
Do some research on your destination
Homework, seriously, in the summer? Yes, and here’s why. Researching your destination beforehand provides copious advantages, like helping you plan the best itinerary ever known to mankind.
Deep dive into your destination ahead of time and familiarize yourself with all activities available. Then scope out travel blogs and reviews to find out how they rate. In turn, you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable adventure.
In researching your destination, it’s also important to find out the answers to the following questions:
- What currency is used?
- Are any vaccinations required?
- Are there any medical precautions you should be aware of?
Pay any bills due while you’re away before departing
When you’re on vacation, paying bills is the last thing you want to worry about. But if you don’t pay them now, you could end up with late fees – and nobody wants that. Avoid the risk of running up late fees and pay any bills that are due while you’re scheduled to be away ahead of time.
Alert credit card company of your upcoming travels
Let your credit card company know if you’re travelling a considerable distance from home. If you don’t, you run the risk of them noticing suspicious activity while you’re abroad and suspending your card or worse– even cancelling it altogether.
Speaking of credit cards, before heading out on your trip, it’s also not a bad idea to make sure you have enough available credit. You don’t want to be a few days into your trip to find out the issuer has cut off your card because you’ve reached your limit.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when travelling is overpacking.
Packing only the essentials makes getting around easier and avoids excess baggage fees. If you’re unsure of what to pack for your upcoming trip, take a look at your itinerary and only pack the items you’ll require for those activities. For example, if you’ve scheduled several afternoon hikes, you’ll want to make sure you pack a good pair of runners, bug spray, sunglasses, a hat, as well as plenty of comfortable t-shirts and shorts.
Contact your cellphone provider if you plan on crossing borders
If you’re travelling abroad, it may be worth it to call your cell phone provider and set up a plan for your time away. Many companies offer affordable international talk, text, and data plans. These are especially useful if you want to stay connected with friends or family back home or need to make business calls. You’ll need to do some research to find out which one works the best for you, but it doesn’t hurt to look!
Check and copy travel documents
Even if you’re just heading a few hours up north to the cottage, it’s vital that your ID and health card are valid. In the event that something happens requiring you to seek medical attention and your health card is expired, you may be refused treatment or be forced to pay out of pocket.
If you’re crossing state lines, this policy extends to passports. If you’re worried about losing travel documents in your time away, consider leaving the original copies at home and instead bringing digital copies with you. And one more thing, if you’re boarding a plane, train or some other transportation service, don’t forget your tickets.
Schedule a trusted friend or family member to collect mail
If you’re going on vacation for more than a day or two, there are a few things you can do to make sure your mail doesn’t pile up. One option is to have a trusted friend or family member collect your mail while you’re away. Whether you provide them with a spare key so they can place it inside or have them hold onto it until you arrive back home, you can rest assured that all your mail will be safely secured.
Another option is to halt mail delivery. For example, with Canada Post’s hold mail service, you can temporarily stop mail from being delivered when you’re not there to receive it. Instead, the mail is safely stored at a Canada Post facility, until you return from your trip.
If you require any medications, stock up ahead of time
Your vacation will be here before you know it. Start thinking about what medications you’ll need. If your doctor has prescribed something specific, make sure to get it refilled sooner rather than later. You don’t want to run out of medications while you’re on the road– it can be hard to get refills when you’re miles away from home.
It’s also not a bad idea to pack Advil, Tylenol, and any other over-the-counter medications that you think may come in handy during your travels.
The Day Before Your Trip
Confirm all reservations
The day before you’re set to leave for your vacation, triple-check all your reservations. This includes hotel, car rental, restaurants, attractions, flights – whatever’s on the agenda. You don’t want any surprises upon your arrival.
If you have access to a printer, print out the confirmations or take photos of them. If not, jot down or record confirmation numbers in your notes app so you can access them when needed.
Clean and Prepare Your Home
The last thing you want is to return from your sweet summer vacation to a home that reeks of foul odours. Before hitting the road, clean out your fridge, give away any food that will spoil while you’re away, and take out the trash.
In addition to cleaning out the fridge, you should also ensure the overall cleanliness of your home, both inside and out. Mowing the lawn, running the dishwasher, and cleaning your garbage disposal, are just a few tasks you can do to ensure you return to a sparkling clean, relaxing home.
And if you really want to outdo yourself, consider washing your bedding beforehand. Sleeping on a bed with fresh sheets the first night back is indescribable.
Check the weather
When you’re going on a trip, the last thing you want to do is risk being unprepared. But yet, many travellers fail to check the forecast before they leave, and as a result pack inappropriately.
The best way to avoid this? Check the weather forecast before you’re set to depart and when returning. This way, if a storm is coming in or a heat wave is on its way out, you’ll know what to expect and can pack and dress accordingly.
The Morning of Your Departure
Ensure everything is locked up
We understand that you’re excited to start your summer vacation, but before you jump in the car and take off, spend a few minutes making sure the house is locked up tight. For starters, double-check any windows or doors that open onto the outside of your home– they should all be locked. Make sure the alarm system is on, and if you have a smart lock, provide a trusted friend or family member with the code ahead of time so they can stop by to check on things while you’re away.
Set the thermostat for away temperature
If no one else plans to be home while you’re vacationing, there’s no point in cranking the AC. But at the same time, you don’t want your home to overheat either. So how do you balance the two? A good rule of thumb is to set your thermostat four degrees above the temperature at which you normally would. This helps you save on energy costs while preventing mould or mildew build-up while you’re out of town.
Double-check for often-forgotten items
The morning of your departure, it’s easy to get a little frazzled. Before you leave, double-check to make sure you have these 5 commonly forgotten items:
- Toothpaste, toothbrushes, and deodorant are essential toiletries that can easily get left behind. Although these items can be easily replaced, it adds up over time. Make a habit of checking to make sure all your toiletries are accounted for.
- Make sure everything inside is accounted for – ID, health card, credit card, etc. You should also have enough cash to cover your expenses while you’re away, including any unexpected ones that may pop up.
- Glasses and Sunglasses. You wouldn’t want to miss out on all the fun because you forgot your glasses or sunglasses. Take a few minutes to make sure they’re in your suitcase. The last thing you want is to be unable to enjoy the breathtaking because you forgot your prescription glasses at home.
- Phone and charger. Chances are you’re going to be charging your phone right up until the moment you’re getting ready to leave, making it easy to forget both your phone and its charger. Don’t let that happen! Slow down, and make sure both your phone and charger are on hand.
- We can’t imagine anything worse than arriving at your summer destination and realizing you’re without a swimsuit. Even if you’re unsure if the place you’re staying at has a pool, always triple-check to make sure you’ve packed a swimsuit. You never know when there might be an impromptu trip to the beach or even just a quick dip in the hotel pool.
Unplugging electronics, before you head out on your summer excursion, may seem like an extra step you might not need to take, but it can greatly decrease the risk of accidents. This is because electronics still draw power even when they’re turned off or in standby mode, which means they can still overheat and cause a fire. But don’t worry! By unplugging your TVs, stereo equipment, computer chargers, coffee makers, and any lamps that aren’t on a timer, you can easily prevent these types of catastrophes from occurring.
Ready For Your Next Summer Vacation? Ensure Protection with Acumen Insurance
Summer is the perfect time to get away. Whether you’re planning a road trip across the province or an island vacation to soak up the sun, Acumen Insurance has you covered. We can help you find the right travel insurance package for your needs. With over 30 years of experience providing insurance to the Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Burlington and Mississauga communities, Acumen has become a trusted name in the industry.