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A Travel Check List: 9 Things "To Do" Before You Leave Home by Meryl Shattuck

Here are some great tips to keep your vacation stress-free!

  1. Tipping will get you far. Get one hundred dollars in $1s and $5s before you leave, especially if you are going outside the US. It may be hard to get someone to break your $20s once in another country.

  2. If you are leaving the US, call your cell phone provider before you go to upgrade to an international calling plan if you plan on making calls and sending texts. You can switch back when you return.

  3. Double check your passports at least 1 week in advance. That will still give you time to make any emergency changes if you need to.

  4. Weigh your bag. 50lbs is the max. Don't get stuck at the airport with all your bags wide open while you try to reorganize to your belongings. I am guilty of doing the suitcase shuffle, shoving heavy items like hairdryers and shoes into my kids’ suitcases.

  5. If you are arriving at the hotel before check in time - have bathing suits, sunblock and other items you may need easily accessible - so if your room isn't ready you can still enjoy the resort.

  6. If you are going to Mexico or somewhere else where you shouldn't drink the water - start taking probiotics 2 weeks prior to your trip. Having the “good bacteria” in your stomach will help to balance out any bad bacteria you may pick up. My family used this trick last summer and it worked for us.

  7. Pack fever reducers, upset stomach medication, band aids and any other first aid items you think you may need. Any time I pack them I don't need them - but of course the one time I leave them at home is when one of my kids gets a fever.

  8. Pack all your toiletries in plastic bags. Cleaning up an exploded bottle of shampoo from the inside of your suitcase is not how you want to start your vacation. Don't forget to save them for your trip home.

  9. When it comes to catching a flight this piece of advice comes from my father. It's better to be 1 hour early then 1 minute late. They will not hold that flight for you. If you happen to be lucky enough to breeze through security and find yourself with time to kill don't worry, airports are filled with shops and restaurants. Get something to eat because you know you won't get anything on the plane. Pick up a good book or a few magazines. You can even get a chair massage at some airports. Or just sit back, relax and get ready to begin your vacation.


~Meryl Shattuck, Travel Agent and owner of Shattuck Travel


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