==== ====World Travel: Where is Explore your Next Travel PlansExpedia.com.au: Book you next flight with no flight booking fees!==== ====The trick to successful and stress-free travel is planning ahead. Challenging, though it mightseem, your goal is to think of every possible contingency that might come up, and take actionbefore it happens. What will you do if your luggage is lost? If you get sick? If you forget your bluepumps? Being PROACTIVE will reduce the possibility of a serious crisis occurring during your trip.BUDGETING FOR YOUR TRIPTravel doesnt have to break the bank -- not if you are willing to plan ahead for your vacationspending. Decide first how much you can AFFORD, then make your travel plans. Start searchingearly for travel deals -- talk to your travel agent, look for internet specials, and check with travelclubs for discounts. You can find some great bargains in package deals that combine hotel andairfare at a discounted rate.If vacations tend to get you in trouble on your credit cards, consider starting a savings account justfor travel -- where you put away a small amount each month toward your next trip. You should alsoplan to use travelers checks instead of credit cards to stay within your budget. Its amazing howeasy it is to go overboard when start handing out the plastic! And be sure to keep track of howmuch you actually spend -- as compared to your budget -- throughout the trip. You might keep asmall pad of paper with you for recording expenses and tallying up your total for each day.If you cant seem to make it happen on your budget, consider COMPROMISING on lower priorityexpenses in exchange for the higher priority ones. When my husband and I travel, we are alwayswilling to stay in a budget hotel so we can afford to eat out and attend cultural events. We decidedthat expensive hotels are wasted on us because we spend very little time in our room, and wewould rather spend our money elsewhere. Where are you willing to trade off?PACKING MADE EASYHave you ever been away from home and suddenly realized that you forgot your toothbrush, yourshoes, or your bathing suit? Having to rush around replacing items that you left behind not onlywastes time and money, it also reduces your enjoyment of the trip. And sometimes, you mightforget an item that isnt so easily replaced -- like your checkbook or the report you were supposedto present at tomorrows meeting. But you can save yourself a lot of heartache by taking theguesswork out of packing.Start by developing PACKING LISTS for both short-term travel (from one to three days) and longertrips. You can even create different lists for different kinds of travel -- camping, business, foreigntravel, trips to the beach, cold-weather travel, etc. Try to include any and all generic items that youmight need -- clothes, toiletries, alarm clock, night light, whatever you like to take with you. Then
use these lists as memory-joggers as you are packing for each trip. You can also cut down on thetime you spend preparing for travel by keeping a "pre-packed" toiletry bag with duplicates of theitems you use in your home. Fill your kit with samples of shampoo, soap, lotion, cosmetics,toothpaste, and shaving cream -- even miniature toothbrushes and razors. These travel-sizeditems take up less room in your suitcase, and you will be less likely to leave something importantbehind.And dont forget your important documents - especially if you are travelling overseas. You shouldplan to bring proof of citizenship, an official government photo identification (drivers license ormilitary ID is fine), a state-issued birth certificate with a raised seal, and a passport. Rememberthat children and infants are also required to have a state-issued birth certificate for travel.LESS IS MOREIf you can get away with it, try not to check your luggage. I purchased a very roomy pullman carryon that will accommodate up to a weeks worth of clothes -- that way, I never have to beconcerned about losing my bags. If you pack "mix-and-match" outfits and plan to do somewashing along the way, you dont need 15 different outfits for a one-week trip. And if you have tocheck a piece, be sure to keep those items you couldnt live without in your carry on -- toiletries, achange of clothes, clean underwear, medications, maps, travel confirmations, and any materialsyou might need for an upcoming business meeting. But try to take no more than one medium-sized and one carry on bag per person. Remember, you can always remedy underpacking, but notOVERPACKING! However heavy your suitcase is when you start out, it will be twice as heavywhen you come home.If you plan to do any shopping while on your trip, you may decide to bring along an extra bag forcarrying your purchases home. Put your filled suitcase inside a slightly larger empty one -- or, geta collapsible tote that will take up very little space in your bag. But the easiest option (althoughperhaps not the cheapest) is to have each store ship your treasures directly to your home. This isan especially good policy if you are bringing home anything large or bulky on a plane, as theairlines often charge extra for oversized parcels. And each bag you have to lug around limits yourtransportation options. Heavy suitcases mean cabs and porters and inconvenience and fatigue --while a light suitcase equals travel freedom.PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR BELONGINGSWhile no one wants to be paranoid about their safety when travelling, its a good idea to err on theside of caution when planning your trip. So lets start with your "stuff" -- list the contents of eachpiece of luggage and keep your list close at hand anytime your bags are out of your sight. This willsave you a great deal of frustration if your bags are lost and you have to file a claim or replaceyour belongings. And dont forget to mark your luggage for easy retrieval -- all those blackpullmans are starting to look alike, and its easy for someone else to pick up your bag.While you are making lists, create a WRITTEN RECORD of your credit card numbers, travelerschecks, medical insurance, emergency phone numbers, and other important information to takewith you when you travel. And always keep this information hidden away someplace secure -- ahotel safe deposit box is a good choice -- where you can easily access it if you need it. Do not -- Irepeat do not -- keep this record in your purse or wallet. Think about it. Those are the first things a
thief will take -- if you keep your list with the credit cards and travelers checks, it doesnt helpmuch when they are stolen. You are better off sticking it in your shoe (as long as your feet dontsweat a lot!)Finally, be sure to have a POINT OF CONTACT at home -- someone who knows where you areand how to reach you. Make sure to give this person any information that could be important in theevent of an emergency -- the phone number and address where you are staying, the code to youralarm system, your doctors name, etc. It will ease your mind to know that you can be contacted ifsomething goes wrong at home -- and that you have someone who can act on your behalf ifsomething goes awry on your end.KEEPING YOUR HOUSE SAFENothing can ruin a fabulous vacation more than worrying about your home while you are gone. Buta few simple precautions can help ease your mind and keep your domicile safe. Before you leave,let the police or a very trusted neighbor know you will be gone -- especially if you are planning alengthy trip. Nothing says "not home" more than a pile of newspapers in your driveway ormagazines pouring out of your mailbox -- so stop your mail and newspaper delivery or haveneighbor collect them. Investing in timers for your lights, radios, etc, -- and setting them to go onand off at random times during the day - will make your home look lived in and keep burglarsaway. And if you still arent comfortable abandoning your home, hire a housesitter.INSURE YOUR TRIPOne thing that very few people remember to do before leaving home is review their insurancepolicies. This is particularly important if you are travelling overseas. First, make sure that you havethe proper personal liability coverage. This is meant to insure the loss or theft of your personalpossessions, injury (to yourself or someone else), your legal defense (other countries dontoperate like the US -- remember that kid in Singapore who was caned?), and the repatriation ofyour remains should you die overseas (not a nice thought, but it does happen). Check with yourinsurance carriers -- your homeowners policy may include coverage for your possessions whileaway from home, and your credit card company probably offers inexpensive life insurance.If you plan to operate a vehicle while on your trip, check to see what your automobile insurancecovers. If you are in an accident in a rented car, what is paid for? Are you covered if you are in anaccident overseas? Are there any hidden costs that you will be expected to pay? You should alsofamiliarize yourself with your MEDICAL insurance. What actions does your insurance companyrequire if you become ill or injured while out of state? Out of the country?If you are taking a package tour or an expensive trip, if you will be visiting a dangerous orunpredictable parts of the world, or if you have a personal or medical situation that might disruptyour travels, you should also consider trip cancellation and interruption insurance. This type ofcoverage can protect you in case of bad weather (ie: a cruise cancelled because of a hurricane),illness, family emergency, and even the default or bankruptcy of your travel suppliers. Butremember that certain situations -- like pre-existing medical conditions, terrorism, hijacking, andwar -- can void your trip cancellation coverage. Make sure that you clearly understand all of theterms, requirements, and EXCLUSIONS before you purchase your insurance. Does it only coversituations when someone in your party gets sick, or if someone at home gets sick as well? When
does your coverage start and end? Does "medical evacuation" mean that you are evacuated tothe nearest medical facility or back home? You might want to contact the insurance companyyourself, as many travel agents may not understand all the terms of your policy. Dont assume thatanything is covered until you check it out for yourself.SCHEDULING AS A SCIENCESome of the biggest frustrations people face when travelling are disruptions to their SCHEDULE --flight delays, traffic jams, getting lost, long lines, you name it. But you can take a number ofprecautions to make sure you are able to stick to your itinerary while travelling. Dont wait until youarrive at your destination to learn the lay of the land. Take the time to research your trip beforeleaving -- develop at least a cursory knowledge of the routes, directions, tourist attractions,transportation systems, and weather. Look at your options and pick a few major sights that youreally want to see while on your trip -- just remember that you cant do everything! Then make asmany advance reservations as possible once your itinerary is set, remembering to build the traveltime from sight to sight into your itinerary. Be sure to confirm any appointments and reservationsbefore leaving -- and then reconfirm everything when you arrive. There is no such thing as double-checking too much!Weve talked a lot about physical preparations for your vacation -- but preparing yourself mentallyis just as important. Determine ahead of time what your EXPECTATIONS are for your trip. Whatmust happen to make this a successful trip? Which activities or sights you it would disappoint youto miss? Which activities or sights you it wouldnt bother you to miss? And what problems that youhave had on other trips that you would like to avoid this time? Try to admit to yourself that thingsmay not go perfectly throughout the entire trip. Be FLEXIBLE and have other options ready(reading, other activities) if your schedule gets off track. Understand that you can not control every(or any!) aspect of travel. The more willing you are to accept difficulties and delays, the lessdisruptive they will be if they do occur. Happy travels!Ramona Creel is Professional Organizer, NAPO Golden Circle Member, and the founder ofhttp://www.OnlineOrganizing.com A former Social Worker, she has always enjoyed helping peoplefind the resources and solutions they need to improve their lives.Ramona now travels the country as a full-time RVer, sharing her story of simplicity with everyoneshe meets. She leads by example -- having worked for more than 10 years as a ProfessionalOrganizer, and having radically downsized and simplified her own life as a full-time RVer. Ramonanow considers herself a "Renaissance Woman" -- bringing all of her passions together into onesatisfying career.As "The Traveling Organizer", she can create a customized organizing plan for your home oroffice, or teach your group the "Ten Steps To Organizing Any Area Of Your Life" in a workshop. Asa "Simplicity Coach", Ramona provides a proven program for making every area of your life a littlebit easier -- perfect for those who want to make the time and space to focus on their true priorities.As a "Frugality Coach," she can teach you how to quickly reduce your household expenses, ingood economic times or bad.
As a Professional Photographer, Ramona captures powerful images of places and people as shetravels. And as a freelance writer and blogger, she shares organizing techniques, socialcommentary, travel tips, and film reviews with others. You can see all these sides of Ramona --read her articles, browse through her photographs, and even hire her to help get your life in order -- at http://www.RamonaCreel.comArticle Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ramona_Creel==== ====World Travel: Where is Explore your Next Travel PlansExpedia.com.au: Book you next flight with no flight booking fees!==== ====