It’s easy to get so caught up in the excitement of your trip that you simply forget to do vital things. This can lead to all kinds of problems. The simple solution is to make a list of the things to do on the day you travel that will keep you focused no matter how much you want to jump for joy that you’re getting away.
Checking the weather forecast may at first glance be one of the odder things to do on the day you travel, but when you think about the havoc storms and floods can cause, you'll realize this is important. Road diversions due to fallen trees or local flooding can cost you your flight. It's also a good idea to check what the weather will be like at your intended destination. This will give you a chance to make last minute changes to the clothes you'll pack. Warm socks and a sweater, perhaps an umbrella and wellington boots are more appropriate than a bikini and flip-flops? What's the local traffic like - any road works that might cause hold-ups on the way to the airport?
Avoid long delays at the airport by phoning ahead to check your flight status. It's one of the essential things to do on the day you travel. If you're not flying, call the train station or coach tour operator to make sure your journey will start as scheduled and that there are no cancelations. You can usually download a travel line app for trains and buses and your airline will have its own app to give you flight-status alerts on your mobile device. You can also visit your airline or train operator's website to check.
As a sensible precaution, start recharging your mobile devices the evening before you're traveling. If you've used any of them prior to leaving your home, be sure to give their batteries a quick top up. For long-haul flight entertainment, download TV shows or movies while you still have a high-speed Internet connection available at home. Airports rarely provide you with good Internet speeds when you use their Wi-Fi links, which at any rate are only free for the first 30 minutes at most airports and quite expensive after that.
Unplug all electronic devices such as your computer, TV and electric cooker. This will protect them in the event of an electrical surge, prevent a spark setting fire to your home and lower your energy bill. Even when not in use, plug-in devices still use low levels of energy for which you must pay. Lock windows, patio and back doors; turn off the gas and water. Be sure to tell a neighbor you're off on holiday. Cancel regular milk, newspaper or magazine deliveries, if you're going away for a longer period.
Thinking ahead is one of the things to do well in advance of the day of travel. Start by checking the expiration date of your passport or ID card; applying for a new one can take weeks and most destinations require a passport that is going to be valid for at least six months. Be sure to apply for visas where necessary. This can take weeks for some destinations. Get out enough cash to pay for the taxi or bus taking you to the airport and any refreshments you might buy prior to boarding the plane. Never pack your wallet with passport, travel documents and cash into checked luggage.
Check for last-minute changes to your travel plans. Your airline or tour operator may have texted you or sent an email notification. Your hotel reservation may have been changed due to over-running building works, your flight might be re-routed to another destination because of strikes. Be sure you know where to pick up the key for your holiday villa or apartment - has the landlord changed instructions at the last moment? Do all of this at home, since airport Wi-Fi is pretty unreliable and costs quite a lot after the complimentary free period.
If you've got a pet, you'll need to arrange for its welfare during your absence well in advance. Pet hotels or a helpful neighbor, friend or family member can take care of your goldfish, pooch or kitty. You, on the other hand, will have to ensure your own welfare by packing all the necessary medication you need, one of the essential things to do on the day you travel. Be sure you'll have enough prescription medication to cover the entire trip and keep this in your carry-on bag with a document from your doctor confirming you legitimately need these drugs. Pack a snack and a bottle of mineral water for the journey.
These items on a ticklist should ensure your trip starts without a hitch. Have you got any stories of travel plans going seriously awry?
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