Planning a holiday getaway? You’ve booked hotels, flights and time off of work, but it’s always the little things that leave one scrambling at the last minute. Our ultimate pre-trip travel checklist will help you enjoy a stress-free vacation, secure in the knowledge that you’ve locked the doors and packed the phone charging cables.
Ultimate Pre-Trip Travel Checklist
Check Your Passport
Check if your passport is valid. Now check if it’s valid for at least six months before expiration, as many destinations have that entry requirement. If not, renew that paperwork ASAP. If your destination requires a visa, visit the Government of Canada’s travel site for more information. FYI – You may need to send your passport to a foreign consulate for a period of time for visa processing, so ensure that you won’t need to use it during that waiting period. Finally, make a hard copy of each person’s passport papers, and store in a separate place from the actual documents.
Have you had your shots? It’s always a good idea to protect yourself and your family from serious illness, and some destinations require proof of certain vaccinations. Check with your local health authority or iamat.org for more information based upon your travel destination.
It’s crucial to have extended medical insurance when travelling outside of Canada. Many employer insurance plans and credit cards offer some built-in insurance, but call your provider to check on specifics. Purchase additional coverage based on destination, and the age and size of your travelling party. Some third-party insurance providers offer family plans that can bundle coverage.
Medications + Prescriptions
Pack a clear, resealable bag with your favorite household pain relievers, in particular children’s medication. The pharmacy at your destination may have completely different medications than what you’re used to, or language barriers that may be an issue. Ensure any prescription medications cover the duration of your holiday.
Prep Your Home
Stop mail and paper delivery. Tell a trusted neighbor that you’ll be away and ask them to keep an eye on your home. Install a timer on select lights to give the impression that someone is home, and book lawn maintenance if needed. Tidy up before you leave. I love returning to a clean home after a long trip, so we vacuum and ensure the house is clean and tidy before departure.
Cellphone + Data Plans
One of the number one forgotten items is phone chargers and wires. Invest in a small storage bag to keep all that electronica in its place. We swear by our STM Cable Bag when we travel.
Avoid the nasty shock of international roaming charges from any calls and data usage. Contact your service provider before you leave for their roaming rates and data plans, even if you only intend to use your phone for GPS navigation. Make sure to add Skype and Periscope to your phone Apps to keep in touch with family and friends while abroad.
Let your credit card company know when you’ll be out of the country. It may save on purchase hassles, and those panicked phone calls from the card issuer checking whether your recent purchases are legitimate. Confession: this just happened to me in while travelling in Florida, and I appreciated the company’s due diligence in protecting me against potential fraud.
Cash is king in many destinations. You should always have local currency (and US dollars as a secondary option) on hand upon arrival. In addition to larger denominations, pack a stack of small bills for tipping, hotels and cabs.
Of course, obtaining foreign currency can be a very time consuming process. We’re busy parents. Who has time to stand in line when you have a million things to do before you leave?! Well, here’s some good news that’s about to make your travelling life a whole lot better.
CIBC Foreign Cash Online is an incredibly convenient service that allows you to order the currency you need online before you travel, and the best part… it’s delivered free, straight to your door or your branch, anywhere in Canada. How great is that? If you live in the GTA, it can also be picked up at the Toronto Pearson Airport location (T1 international departures, post security) before you take off.
Existing CIBC clients can use the Foreign Cash Online services through Online Banking, by clicking “Order Foreign Cash” from the left hand navigation pane. This experience is fully integrated and allows clients to order within a few simple clicks – even better, your exchange rate is locked in as you purchase! Your bank account is debited immediately, and you can get it delivered to your home, Toronto Pearson Airport and any CIBC branch in Canada. Delivery time: Two-to-three days for most urban branch/home locations. Three-to-five business days for most rural locations.
Not a Client? Not a Problem.
Non-CIBC clients can also order Foreign Cash Online via CIBC’s eCommerce portal fx.cibc.com. This eCommerce solution provides non-clients with the same number of currencies, the only differences are that you pay via credit card and delivery options include home and Toronto Pearson Airport. Delivery time: Two-to-three days for most urban branch/home locations. Three-to-five business days for most rural locations.
CIBC Foreign Cash Online works to provide customers with innovative and convenient ways of ordering/receiving their foreign currency. CIBC is the only financial institution to offer this complete suite of delivery options: with CIBC Foreign Cash Online you have access to up to 75 currencies representing 90 countries. Now, not only can you have cash delivered to Toronto Pearson airport, but you can purchase it last minute on your way out of the country as well!
Whether you are a CIBC customer or not, using the service is easy and you are all set anytime you need foreign cash!
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by CIBC Foreign Cash OnlineTM. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Photo Credits: CIBC, Shutterstock