Before Take Off…Check Off

Posted On: November 24, 2014

Because of your stellar contributions to your company’s team you have won a trip to (fill in the blank). Assuming you have at least three months before you travel, here are some savvy travel tips while you’re preparing for your long-overdue business reward trip. 

3 months prior:

❏ Passport Application: For out-of-country travel, now is the time to apply for your passport. You need plenty of time to gather materials to apply, have it processed and mailed to your home before you leave to avoid expedition fees. See the US Department of State website to start the process. (And remember, there are some US protectorates and unincorporated territories of the US in the Caribbean that do not require a US passport for entrance: The US Virgin Islands [St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John] and Puerto Rico.)

❏ Passport Safety: Print two copies in addition to your government-issued passport and carry all with you. Upon arrival to your hotel room leave your government-issued passport locked in the room safe.

2 months prior:

❏ Pets: Organize your pets now. Find a sitter or secure their stay at a kennel.

❏ Medical Cards: Have the most updated version to take with you on your trip…if you don’t have one, order one now.

❏ Medical Insurance: Call your provider to understand the kinds of coverage you can expect while traveling outside the US.

❏ Living Wills: Sounds dramatic to have on hand, but you can save precious time and resources trying to locate these vital documents in an emergency. Get them in a designated, memorable place in your home…a place you could easily direct someone.

1 month prior

❏ Keys: Get your house and garage keys squared away. Make necessary copies then designate a trusted key bearer.

❏ Luggage: Get a status on your luggage…any broken wheels, busted handles, destroyed zippers? Either fix or get new because damaged luggage turns a relaxing trip into a bad memory.

❏ Alert Yard Service: Let your snow removal and lawn service know to plow if it snows or mow the grass while you’re away. There is nothing worse than returning home with a city citation because snow hasn’t been removed timely (let alone how an un-shoveled walk announces your absence).

❏ Cell Phone Service: Check your carriers cell charges for using your device at your destination and then understand how you’ll use your mobile service while away.

❏ Credit Card Alert: Call your credit card companies and let them know the dates of your travel and the location. There is nothing as frustrating as having a card stolen during travel or having your credit card company deactivate it because of red flags alerting them to unusual purchasing behavior (even if it is you making the purchases…credit card companies don’t know it unless you tell them).

3 weeks prior

❏ Clothes: Plan what you’ll wear (it does seem premature, but you’ll be glad you are thinking through this now…you don’t want to try on your bathing suit the day before a beach vacation only to realize the elastic has become worthless since last season).

❏ Dry Cleaning: Get any dry clean only clothes sent off this week so they’re ready to pack when it’s time.

❏ Kids: Get their care situated and then check in with teachers, coaches and instructors to learn the expectations for the week you’re away…and then help finish projects early, get rides coordinated for practice or simply create the plan in your absence.

❏ Emergency Plan: Record allergies, doctors contact info, parents of close friends, dentist location and any other special information for caregivers.

2 weeks prior:

❏ Mail Hold: Schedule your mail to be held while you’re away. You can either choose to pick up at the post office or have a bundle delivered after you get home. See the United States Postal Service (USPS) website to easily schedule your vacation hold online.

❏ Paper Hold: Don’t let papers pile up on your front step…it draws too much attention to an empty house. Put a hold on your paper.

1 week prior:

❏ Buy Light Timers: And then test them one night the week before your leave. 

❏ Pack: Start packing your (carefully chosen and dry cleaned) clothes in your (undamaged, useable luggage). Oh, and leave a square of space to tote home a memory. Curious about what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends for packing? Avoid the hassle of unpacking everything in front of a long line of strangers at the airport and pack appropriately from the get-go.

❏ Itinerary:

o print itinerary

o snap pic of itinerary with your phone

o email yourself itinerary

❏ Cell Phone: Back up your phone and contacts to your home computer (then delete all those memory-gobbling pictures from your phone!)

3 days prior:

❏ Deal with Food:

o clear the fridge o pack some protein for your trip (or pay $14 for a tuna sandwich at the airport…seems reasonable).

o pack your pet food and accoutrements for an animal boarding

❏ Laundry: Finish it up. Don’t leave piles of soggy clothes to gather mold. Plus no one likes to come home smelling like sunshine only to have laundry to attend to.

❏ Cash: Lots of life is electronic, yet much of the world still relies on cash…go to the ATM or bank and withdraw the cash you’ll need.

❏ Garbage: Take out the trash and recycling. Just get it done.

Day of:

❏ Plants: Give your plants a good drink before your trip.

❏ House: Lower the heat or turn off the air conditioning.

❏ Lights: Set your timers.

❏ Wave: Goodbye to your house.

For pictures of travel incentive destinations, event news and other dish, check out Docherty Incentives & Meetings on Facebook.