Travel Tips & Reminders

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

The excitement of an upcoming trip, no matter how far in the distance, can make a person overlook some vital preparations while thinking of minor details. So much planning goes into vacation or other travel plans that having it go smoothly can only be accomplished by making sure every aspect is organized. Most important when making overseas travel plans is checking that your passport has not expired. Check your passport dates months before you are even thinking about where you want to go on vacation! According to friends that have recently applied for new or renewal passports, the back log for processing is almost double the amount of time it took pre-pandemic years. If your travel plans aren’t until the fall or winter holiday season, now is the time to submit your application. Paying the extra cost to expedite your document might be in your best interest, if your plans are for traveling anytime this summer. When we travel overseas I make a copy of my passport and leave it home with a relative in case I lose my passport. Then that person has access to help obtain a travel document from here in the states if I am not near an embassy abroad. You could also take a cell phone photo of it to have handy, then delete upon your return home.

Speaking of taking pictures, we always take one of each piece of luggage we are storing below the plane. A few years ago our luggage was lost when we arrived home and the airline representative at the baggage carousel wanted to know the color and description of each piece. All I could recall was one was 26 and the other 28 inches and both were black. She asked if they had one or two zipper compartments on the front and I totally could not recall.  I knew the brand of the luggage and she opened a huge binder with photos of the styles of luggage and they were so similar it was hard to recall which one we had. Luckily it was on our arrival home, so not having our clothing was not a dire situation. It was several days later the airline had a service deliver both pieces to our home, which is over an hour from the airport. Now we take a cell photo of our luggage for identification purposes. We also type a description of our itinerary, airline name, flight number and dates of travel, where we are staying, hotel name or address of family member’s house, if not using a hotel. Also included is the date of our arrival back to NY. Several phone numbers are included for stateside contact in case we are out of range.

When traveling to other countries, often the electric current is different than in the states, which is 110 volts. If the country uses 220 volts than you will need a voltage adapter to operate your standard hairdryer or electric shaver. Contact the hotel you are staying at to see if they have wall adapters so you don’t need to carry one with you.

Of course, while away, you don’t want to have to worry about security at home.  So, make sure your home doesn’t call to the world, “I’m empty…my family is away…come on in and take what you want.”  The following steps can help ensure your home’s security:

  1. Let your neighbors know you will be away. A friendly neighbor noticing something happening at your home is your best defense.
  2. Stop the mail and newspaper delivery or have a neighbor pick it up.
  3. Mowing – Make sure your lawn is mowed if you will be away an extended period of time.
  4. Snow shoveling – If it is a winter vacation arrange to have someone shovel the driveway.
  5. Lights in the house – Have several lights on timers, with varied on and off cycles.

There is so much to do before going on a trip and the excitement and exhaustion are about equal. To make the trip a little smoother, taking care of these procedures is one way to help you have a worry-free, relaxing vacation!