Things to do before going on holiday

Many of us remember the classic movie “Home Alone” when Kevin’s mother realises that she forgot her eight-year-old son. While this may seem unlikely, it’s not about putting together a whole scene with mannequins, music, and movement to ward off thieves like Kevin did in “Home Alone”, but if you are not prepared, your pre-holidays stress can make you forget the obvious and important things.

1. Make sure your passport is up to date

It might sound simple but the excitement of your holidays can make you forgot to check the expiration date of your passport. Most countries want you to have at least six months validity before it expires. It’s always recommended to check your passport a couple of months in advance in case you need to renew it.

2. Check if you have the essential documents for your trip

Find out if you need a visa to enter the country you are visiting. It may take days or even weeks for the embassy to issue one. It is also important to check if you need vaccinations for the place where you are going, for this, make an appointment with your doctor a few weeks before, because the vaccines may take a while to become effective.

In addition, it is also useful to make a list of numbers, for example, emergency contact details if your credit card or phone is stolen or lost.

3. Take out travel insurance and get an EHIC if you are going to Europe.

If you are traveling to Europe, it’s a good idea if you apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). With this card, it entitles you to use the state healthcare available in your holiday destination, either for free or cheaper than private treatment, it’s valid across the whole European Economic Area including Switzerland.

The Tar­jeta San­it­aria Europea card does not replace travel insurance, but the insurer may not charge any “excess” your travel insurance has and can make a claim, while others may reject the claim if they do not have the card. The Tar­jeta San­it­aria Europea is free and has a duration of 5 years.

However, if you are traveling out of the European Union, it’s advisable to take out travel insurance for your trip in case you have a medical emergency in your destination.

4. Sort out your travel money

Nowadays, credit cards are accepted in most places. However, it is good to have local money before leaving, although do not leave it until the last minute. Some research shows that exchanging money at the train station, ferry terminal or at the airport, receives the worst rate.

You can take money out with your credit card on your vacation, but banks usually charge a commission. For that reason it’s better to have cash in hand.

5. Make your home safe and secure

Close all doors and windows before leaving and for the alarm if you have one. Uncancelled deliveries such as newspapers and milk, are a sign that can reveal to thieves that you are on vacation. Do not post anything on social networks, because it is possible that your insurer does not payout in case of theft.

6. Disconnect all electronic devices

Although no one is going to use them at home, it is advisable to disconnect the electronic devices as they continue to consume energy despite being turned off. Depending on how long you are going to be absent, you will be able to see it in the results in the electricity bill.

7. Warn someone that you will go on a trip.

Warn someone (clearly that is trustworthy!) that you will go on a trip. It can be a family member living nearby, a friend, or a neighbor, so they can be aware of any movement or strange noise that surrounds your home.

8. Take out the trash and clean the refrigerator

Taking out the rubbish will save you some discomfort and unpleasant odors when you return after your holidays. It happens the same with the refrigerator, food can decompose and cause bad odors and even microorganisms like bacteria.



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