There are so many things to think about before you head away on your family holiday. Have you packed your clothes, toiletries, essential travel documents? While these obvious ‘to-dos’ will be on your check list to get yourself organised, there are some other pretty important things to do before going away on holidays (that you probably haven’t thought about).
1. Check that your passport has not expired.
Sounds obvious, I know! But you would not believe how many people have been caught out thinking that their passport was ok, when in fact, it wasn’t. There is nothing more stressful then finding out a few days before (or the morning of) your big trip that you won’t be going anywhere! As a condition of entry for some countries, you also need to have at least 6 months validity on your passport (beyond your anticipated return date).
2. Tell your bank that you are going away.
Banks are very efficient nowadays with putting an immediate block on credit cards if they suspect fraudulent activity. Overseas transactions are an immediate red flag that credit cards might have be stolen or compromised. Give your bank a quick phone call to let them know where you are headed, so they have it noted in your records where you will be. Some banks don’t require a call, but instead allow you to set up a notification through your online banking system or banking app. This is a tip you don’t want to ignore as you don’t want to be caught out with no access to money, especially in a foreign country.
3. Get a doctor's certificate.
If you have a medical condition, are carrying certain medications or travelling in the later stages of pregnancy, you will need to have with you a doctor’s certificate. Some medications are considered illicit substances in foreign countries, so it’s best to do your research and chat to your doctor about any medications that you require whilst away so you don’t get into a potentially compromising situation. Airlines have different policies regarding how many weeks into the pregnancy you are allowed to fly, so check with your particular airline and carry the relevant documentation that states how far along you are.
4. Research the recommended vaccinations for your travel destination/s.
Do your research and chat to your doctor about the benefits as well as the possible risks and side effects of vaccines recommended for travel. Have as much information you can, so you are able make an informed decision about the vaccinations you and your family get (if any at all). Also, in some cases childhood vaccinations like measles can be administered prior to the routine schedule, if travelling to certain destinations.
5. Let your child's school or preschool know that they will be away.
If you are travelling during the school term, you will require pre-approval from your child’s school for the period of time they will be away. Under normal circumstances, getting approval will not be a problem. It is a legal requirement that students’ whereabouts is accounted for, so definitely let the school know. Regarding preschool attendance, some preschools offer the benefit of reduced rates for long-term blocks of absence.
6. Clear out the fridge.
There is nothing worse than coming home to a fridge full of rotten, mouldy, foul-smelling food. Give it an overhaul and get rid of any perishables that won’t last the duration of time you will be away.
7. Empty the trash.
Go around the house and make sure all bins have been emptied and rubbish has been thrown out. Stinky rubbish left lying around will surely give you a horrible smack-in-the-face welcome home (that won’t be so welcoming)!
8. Pay any bills that are due.
If you know certain bills will be due whilst you are away, either pay them beforehand or set up an automatic payment system so they are paid on time. No one wants to waste money on a late payment fee. Instead, put that money to better use by spending it on something special on your holiday!
9. Email your holiday details to a family member or friend.
Just in case there is an emergency or accident, it is best to let family or a trusted friend know where you are going to be and when, so they can get in contact with you more easily.
10. Unlock your phone.
Do you have a phone that is on a payment plan? These phone plans generally have astronomical international call and data charges. Don’t get caught out with a phone bill that could unexpectedly run into the thousands of dollars. Check with your phone provider what your international roaming plan entails and if it is a viable option. Otherwise, make sure your phone is unlocked so you have the flexibility of purchasing a local SIM card for calls and data.