The natural high that comes with traveling is hard to top. The mere thought of finally exploring bucket-list destinations like Australia, Bora Bora, or South Africa and experiencing everything they have to offer is exhilarating and hard to forget.
Escaping the home (and possibly the work-from-home office) to see the world is good for the soul—and, it turns out, for the body. Studies have shown vacations can aid mental health by keeping cortisol (i.e., the stress hormone) in check.
The pandemic kept frequent travelers cooped up inside, but only temporarily, thank goodness. Like many other women empowered to travel, I’m eager to reacquaint myself with the endorphin boost that comes with waking up in an overseas hotel room with a world full of possibilities at my fingertips.
To make up for lost time and plan the trip of a lifetime, here are a few travel preparation steps that can push our trips from great to unforgettable:
1. Travel agents are back and better than ever. Connect with them early.
As an article in The New York Times notes, travel agents are in high demand. Their advocacy skills and overall understanding of the tourism industry are helping them reestablish themselves as trusted tourism curators.
Travel professionals can help us attain the luxury we seek. Furthermore, they can help us secure amazing hotel reservation discounts and make sense of any confusing vaccination requirements.
How should we vet potential travel agents? Ask to see reviews and check out their online presences to make sure they’re knowledgeable about intended destinations. For instance, agents who only focus on domestic travel or cruises wouldn’t work for international trips.
2. Pack self-care essentials to maintain routine and minor healthcare needs.
The realization of traveling halfway across the world without a trusted self-care item can put a temporary damper on any overseas trip. Put together a list, and then double- or triple-check to ensure everything is there.
Medications to cover headaches, antacids for stomachaches and seasickness, or first-aid kits for cuts and scrapes are a start. Be sure to pack travel-sized skin care routine must-haves, too. Many luxury natural skin care brands offer travel-sized multistep kits that include cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and SPF.
Additionally, try not to overlook the travel essentials for women that make us feel most at home. For example, consider carrying emergency medications for any high-adrenaline activities if anxiety is an issue. I once experienced a whale shark snorkeling excursion in Cabo and had a panic attack in the water when I noticed a school bus-sized animal in the water beneath me. After taking the prescriptions I brought, I settled down and got back in the water to be pleasantly carried away by the current that the gorgeous shark created.
Illnesses are common for travelers, but several accessible remedies and wellness therapies can help curb those ailments. The unpleasant effects of altitude sickness, for example, can be eased by IV hydration services that will send out RNs to administer IVs filled with fluids, vitamins, and medications targeted at treating nausea and relieving migraines and other pain.
3. Order foreign currency before leaving home.
Traveling with foreign currency is a must. Yes, some places take credit cards, but not all do, and plenty of shops would probably prefer that visitors pay in their local currency. Some even offer discounts on merchandise to customers paying with cash. Plus, it’s nice to have extra cash on hand to buy from street vendors or pay for drinks at bars.
With foreign money in hand, we’re less likely to look like tourists (i.e., targets) because we won’t have to use ATMs or find currency exchange storefronts. Although some banks used to do currency exchanges, it’s becoming less common. However, travelers can order destination-specific currency online at terrific rates and have it delivered to their homes or offices.
How much foreign currency should travelers bring along? Usually, the foreign equivalent of $100 per day will suffice. Be sure to order enough currency for every country on the itinerary. Different types of paper money may be necessary when crossing borders.
4. Map out all transportation options.
Overseas trips are often the result of much thoughtful planning. Don’t overlook transportation. Upon arrival, map out options for getting to everything on the to-do list and back.
A private driver or guide could be surprisingly affordable for solo travelers and much safer than cabs in many areas. Car rentals allow for freedom and fun; just make sure to bring along copies of a passport and U.S. driver’s license to every stop on the trip and understand any unique rules of the road (e.g., how to navigate multilane roundabouts).
Start planning now for that next trip! Do a little homework, prepare well, and get ready to travel the world once again.