- Program phone numbers for the hotel(s), rental car company, airline, etc… into your cell phone. You never know when that information may be needed…safety, emergency, to change/cancel a reservation and it’s nice to have it easily accessible without having to look it up.
- Most people have probably already done this, but in case you haven’t….. Put an ICE # ( In Case of Emergency #) in your phone. If you are in an accident or otherwise unable to speak for yourself, police will check your phone for an ICE # (in states where they are allowed to). We actually CHANGE our ICE # when we go on vacation. At home, we are each others’ emergency contact – I am my husband’s….he is mine, and our kids list us as their emergency contact. When we’re traveling together, we change that to another family member, (not traveling with us) then change it back when we get home.
- To freshen suitcases – place a fabric softener sheet in the top of the suitcase. Another option is to use the cologne/perfume papers that are included in magazines throughout the year. (I keep an envelope in the closet with the suitcases to put these scented papers in. I grab a couple when packing. Sometimes suitcases can develop a “smell” when closed up for long periods of time in the heat. This counteracts that. 🙂
- I have read to ROLL clothes whenpacking to save space. Honestly, I doublted this could really make a difference.
It seemed that an item of clothing will take up the same amount of space regardless of whether it’s folded, rolled (or wadded….) 🙂 So, on our last trip, I ‘tested’ it…packed by folding, then packed the same items with rolling. Results: The rolling DID take up less space. hmm… It also wrinkled items significantly more. MY CONCLUSION: I will roll jeans, sweaters, and items that don’t wrinkle easily. I’ll fold everything else. I’m saving a little space….without having to iron everything when we arrive. It’s a good compromise/solution, I think! 🙂
- Leave a travel itinerary with a family member at home. Include flight numbers and times, hotel/accommodation phone numbers, days when you will be out of cell service range. Note: I usually “translate” times to the time zone of the person receiving the itinerary so they don’t have to make that “adjustment”. Make it as easy as possible to be “found” by those who care about you — in case your cell phone doesn’t work or gets lost….or God Forbid, something happens to you and your family.
- Limit the number of credit cards you take with you… Select them carefully…remembering which one you’ll need for the rental car if you’re relying on the card for insurance. Leave this CC # with a TRUSTED person back home – in code, of course (insert a predetermined series of numbers throughout the number to disguise it. How? Let’s say you graduated high school in 1989. Add “89” into the number in 2 different places. Your “trusted person” will know to remove the 89 to reveal the REAL number. Use any number that is ‘important’ to you…or easily remembered by the person you’re giving this to. Next, write down the phone numbers for reporting lost or stolen cards and put that # in a safe place. Yes….I realize this number is available online or from other sources. But honestly…if this happens to you, you’re going to be in a HURRY…and probably stressed and pressed for time. ANYthing that makes your next steps easier will be a welcome thing.
- Credit cards are a better option for travel expenses than debit cards. They give you protection in case of loss or theft. Debit cards do not. While I typically don’t like to live on credit, in the case of travel, I ‘modify’ that opinion somewhat.
Duct Tape: Don’t leave home without it! 🙂 Yes, I’m serious! I wrap 3-4 feet of duct tape around a pencil stub (No, we don’t take the whole roll…it’s huge) and I will say, there has NEVER been a vacation that we haven’t used it. Once it was to repair my son’s tennis shoe when we were in Grand Canyon (where they don’t sell tennis shoes). Another time, it was to tape the back onto my husband’s phone when it broke. Yet another time, it was to actually tape up a suitcase after the zipper broke the morning we were flying home. That suitcase looked ridiculous, but it was OK. Our only other option was to leave the bag and it’s contents in Boston. Thank goodness for duct tape!!! 🙂
- Most of our vacation meals are “DIY” 🙂 to keep costs to a minimum, however, when we DO eat out, we try to make it part of the ‘vacation experience’, not just something to eat. If we’re in Sante Fe, NM, we go out for authentic Mexican food (different from the Tex-Mex we get at home). When we were in Wyoming, we had buffalo burgers and elk. When we were in Boston, it was North Atlantic sea food…in Philadelphia, it was an authentic Philly Cheese steak. 🙂 When we were in Hawaii, it was native Hawaiian fare….in South Florida, it was Cuban food. If we’re going to spend money eating out, we want it to be a memorable experience.
- Apps or weather.com will give you weather reports for your destination as far as 10 days in advance. However….recently I have begun searching for LOCAL TV station websites. After more than one weather report that was WAY WAY off base, I’ve found information that’s a little ‘closer’ to accurate from the local news reports. (understanding that meteorology is not an exact science ha) Just search “Television stations in (town)” You’ll find the ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. Choose one and watch their weather report. 🙂 That information is often quite helpful…before zipping up that suitcase.