Even when a long journey looms (more than three weeks away from home, for example) there are still planners and procrastinators. I am a planner, so I am always amazed that others-sometimes my travel companions among them-simply throw things in a suitcase, rush to the nearest ATM and jump on the plane or ship. We all survive in the end, but I always wonder how.
On the eve of my departure on a five week trip to Italy and Ireland, I am looking back on the last year-plus, during which time I have planned and planned, spending hours on the web researching, saving and printing documents. I have booked hotels, cancelled and re-booked when I found lower rates. I found a credit card with a magnetic chip (the kind preferred everywhere else but the USA, and soon to be the credit card of choice globally) even when local banks stateside told me such cards were unavailable.
I even packed my bags a week ago for my departure date two weeks from now. My goal? I wanted to weigh the suitcase I would be lifting on and off a number of trains to be sure I could manage it. I then have removed items I felt I could do without to get the bag’s weight down.
I check weather reports online to see if the cities on my itinerary are warmer of colder than I anticipate making sure I have the right clothes with me. I also double check my bank’s ATM and foreign transaction fees, along with those of my credit cards, to make sure the cash I withdraw on my trip will cost me as little in fees as possible.
Others I know seem content to pack at the last minute and cast caution to the wind regarding their travel expenses. They will bring some cash and use their bank cards for ATM withdrawal and thumb their noses at the fees. Some just take cash advances on their credit cards and pay the bill in full on their return which is another way to avoid some fees.
I, on the other hand, like to think my advance planning pays off. As a frequent traveler I know the ropes and my planning and research don’t take as long as it once did. So, to help you plan a little more efficiently and- hopefully- to assist in making your longer trips go more smoothly and less expensively-here you will find some travel-planning links I created in the recent past that you may find helpful in preparing for your own “big trip.”
Whether you plan ahead or you still prefer the toss and fly method of packing and the withdraw-at-will method of banking, I wish you safe and enjoyable travels.