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  • Writer's pictureSteve Farnham

10 Things You Need to Do Before You Travel

TEN Things You Should Always Do Before You Travel (either domestic or international travel)

  1. Have a Plan

  2. Tell Your Emergency Contact

  3. Let Your Neighbors (or a Trusted Friend) Know You'll Be Out of Town

  4. Check the Weather Forecast

  5. Pack Lightly

  6. Plan for the Unexpected

  7. Stop the Mail

  8. Pay Your Bills

  9. Understand the Basics at Your Destination

  10. Give Your Home the Appearance That Your Are There



While it would be nice to go somewhere without a plan, you could create great heartache, anxiety and panic for your loved ones back home if something ever happened to you. Where would they start looking? What had happened? Did you fall while hiking and break a leg? Were you abducted by drug smugglers or human traffickers? Were you lost? Had the weather changed suddenly and caused a gully washer or freak storm?

Roman Dial wrote about this very situation in The Adventurer's Son. His book is a heartwarming story about a father's search for his son, missing in the jungles of Costa Rica. I highly recommend you read this book.

More recently, you may have read about the very experienced hiker who was lost in Zion National Park for 12 days. She was rescued in a severely dehydrated state and is lucky to be alive. Her intent was to be dropped off by a shuttle bus in the morning and return for pickup at the same location that afternoon. When she never returned, her family and friends as well as Search and Rescue teams began an exhaustive search for her.

As much as we'd like to go wandering off without a care in the world, it really is smart to have specific ideas of where you are going, how long you will be there and when you will return. Even the most experienced hikers run into trouble.

What's a normal person supposed to do when things don't go their way? The best thing you can do is have a plan, whether that involves hiking in a National Park or going to a faraway destination that you've always wanted to visit.

Plans involve not just setting up an itinerary of where, when and how long. You'll want to consider the weather and the time of year. Going to Alaska to see the Northern Lights in the summer won't work out very well when the Midnight Sun provides nearly 24 hours of continuous daylight. Conversely, heading to New Zealand in December for skiing will probably be disaapointing as their ski season run from mid-June to September.

Whether you're going to Alaska or New Zealand, you will want to take appropriate clothing. Plan for the predicted weather but don't be surprised if upon your arrival the actual weather is an outlier. One of our clients was greeted in early October by snow. While not exactly surprising, it certainly was unexpected. You can plan for these situations by taking layers.

Travel agents have a vast array of resources that can help you experience the trip of a lifetime, whether that is a visit to the Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon or a tour of Ireland. Travel agents can arrange self-guided tours with the best time to travel in mind or select guided tours based on your personal preferences with budget and itinerary in mind.

Lastly, your plan is no good if it is resting on the coffee table after you leave. Tell someone, preferably the person who is listed as the Emergency Contact on your travel documents. This will be our next subject. #4nomadstravel

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