Summer Vacation Checklist – What to Cross Off Now

There are some things that can wait until the last minute. This stuff? Do it now.

LISTEN: Travel expert Rick Seaney says, this isn’t painful.

Read Podcast Transcript here.

Checklist – Do This Now

Don’t miss the tips that follow each checklist item.

1. Secure your vacation days

Sounds like a no-brainer but many of us wait until the very last minute only to be told by the boss that too many others have claimed your days. Ask now.

Tip: You’ll get a break on your airfare if you avoid the peak of the summer season by traveling before June 8 and after Aug. 24.

2.  Purchase your airline tickets

If you wait until sometime within the four- to six-week window before departure, you will likely pay more than you have to.

Tip: Hub to hub flights of less than 90 minutes duration are less affected  by seasonal high prices.

3. Don’t get blindsided

Read the fine print on tickets and travel insurance. The vast majority of us purchase non-refundable fares because they are much cheaper but there is a price if you decide to tinker with the itinerary later on: Expensive change fees.

Tip: Be sure of your dates before you travel. And be sure any insurance you buy covers what you need it to cover. If you’re not  sure, call the company.

4. Examine your documents

Your passport may be valid for the entire trip, but some countries require more; several European nations, for example, won’t let you in if your passport expires within 90 days of departure.

Tip: Check out countries you’ll be traveling to at Travel.State.Gov. Also, if you’ll be using your driver’s license at security, make sure it too is valid for the days you’ll fly.

5. Check your gear

Did your suitcase zipper break during your last trip? Get it fixed or get a new one. How about your little one’s car seat – is that in good shape? Make sure.

Tip: The FAA suggests all little ones – even so-called lap babies – have their own seats on planes.

6. Renew prescriptions

Get important medications ahead of time and be sure your eye glasses will allow you to see your destination in all its un-blurred glory.

Tip: Don’t forget chargers for electronics and any back-up batteries you may need.

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Published: May 2, 2014