What You Need to Do Before Traveling

What You Need to Do Before Traveling by North Carolina lifestyle blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Life gets really frantic right before you travel. While you’re busy packing your suitcases and reading reviews of the major tourist attractions, it’s all too easy to forget a few things. It’s even worse if you forget critical items that can make or break your trip.

Where’s the passport?

It’s the stuff of nightmares: You’re at the airport and have checked in for your flight. All that’s between you and the gate is the long line at security. As the line moves forward, you start digging around in your purse or wallet for your passport. It’s a bit tricky to find, and the line is moving fast. Finally, just as you’re approaching the TSA agent with the Lintech passport scanner, it hits you: Your passport is at home, on your nightstand. And there’s no way for you to get home, grab it, and still make your flight.

If you were traveling domestically and forget your passport or driver’s license, there’s still a chance you can get through security, although you’ll have to go through more screening. You’ll also be asked to produce anything else that says you are who you say you are, like a work ID, student ID, or even debit card. But if you’re traveling to another country, there’s pretty much no wiggle room. You have to have a passport to board a plane.

So what can you do to avoid that nightmare scenario? Pack your passport first, for one. Stick it in your purse or wallet and don’t lose track of it. If a friend wants to see it, let them look at it quickly, and then put it right back. Make sure you don’t accidentally stick it in your checked luggage, either. Set a reminder on your phone if need be. You have to be able to present your passport quickly in the security line. TSA won’t have a lot of patience for people without the proper ID.

And if you don’t have a passport or need to renew it, do it at least a couple of months before you go, as it can take up to six weeks to process. You don’t want to have to pay for an expedited passport.

How’s the house? And the car?

When you pack up and leave the house, it’s common to feel a bit anxious. Will everything be OK in a week or two that you’re gone? For added peace of mind, make sure you take care of any needed repairs before you leave.  Don’t leave home with a clogged shower drain; clogs can intensify, so having a trusted local expert do an inspection is always a good idea  If you’re worried that your car battery is going out, take it to a reputable shop before you drive to the airport. You don’t want to get back from a long day of travel to find your car won’t start in the airport parking lot. And you don’t want to try to take a nice, hot shower to wash off the airport grime only to discover that your shower won’t drain at all. It’s tempting to say, “I’ll worry about this when I get back,” but finding a solution to a problem is always harder when you’re cranky and jet-lagged. Take care of it now to make sure you have one less thing to worry about when you return to the daily grind.

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