So to prepare for any trip, I seek advice and make plans with a select group of individuals who end up saving me a considerable amount of money per trip.
Here's who is on my "talk to" list before any major trip:
- My doctor: Of course, my family doctor OKs my health for long international trips, but she also shares invaluable information regarding precautions, travel tips, and staying healthy techniques. From her, I learned to always swab down the airplane tray table with an antibacterial wipe during an international flight (as germs here are the most likely to be conveyed into my nose and mouth from in-seat activities like eating) and to try coco tea to reduce altitude sickness during my upcoming trip to the Andes Mountains.
- My health insurance company: As my doctor suggests specific vaccines I may need in order to travel to certain areas around the globe, I always call my health insurance provider to approve coverage BEFORE I get the vaccine. Some vaccines I've received have been totally free because I obtained authorization and because they are viewed as preventative measures to an illness.
- My credit card company: Any company that you use for handling finances should be warned of an impending trip out of country so that they can be aware of charges and also monitor for any suspicious activity should a card or account number get lost or stolen. Additionally, ask your CC company what travel protection programs are offered (my Discover card offers several travel assistance services). Activate the protection before your trip, and it can always be cancelled immediately thereafter (still, read the fine print of any offer or speak directly with a customer service rep. to see if there are any hidden fees for cancellation).
- My postal worker: I used to pay a teenaged neighbor to retrieve my mail and keep it safe while I was on vacation before I learned that the U.S. Postal Service will hold it for me for up to 30 days—for free! All it takes is a quick signup. Even packages will be held safely until my return.
- My bank teller: Your personal banker may offer some help for your upcoming travel. Aside from making change or copies of important documents, my teller can also help with foreign currency transactions. I take advantage of my Wells Fargo bank's foreign currency exchange program so that I am set with the money I need prior to a trip. Sometimes I might get better rates at an international airport (even though I've found this is not always the case), but nothing beats the convenience here.
I am always excited to travel, but before I do, I make sure to check with all of the individuals above. They save me money and offer great advice so that I can relax and enjoy my trip!