4 Things You Should Do Before Your Vacation

This blast from the past post, 4 Less Obvious Things You Should Do Before Your Vacation, was originally published July 2008 . I thought it would be good to republish it as a reminder.

Days before our vacation, we’re usually busy getting our work done. If we have time to think of the vacation, we prefer to be researching a tour or two or selecting some restaurants for sunset dinners or just daydreaming about relaxing at the beach.

We often assume that all the logistics of our vacation will go on without a hitch.  Many times that is indeed the case.  That being said, you should spend a few minutes verifying some important details in the days leading up to your flight to paradise. Here are four things you need to do before your vacation.

1.  Verify your flights. In an effort to reduce operating costs, airlines are cutting out flights and modifying schedules. According to Janice at Tripso, the airlines may or may not contact you to inform you of the flight cancellation.  As I cautioned in this post, you should periodically check that your flights are still scheduled. At a minimum, check your flights the day before your trip.  If your flights have been canceled, the sooner you know about it the sooner you can get an alternative plan in place.

2.  Check with your health insurance plan for approved care facilities at your destination. In the unlikely event that you have an accident, you should know where you can go for approved medical care.  I accidentally scratched my cornea on my first trip to Maui. The accident happened on a Sunday and the call center for my health insurance was closed.  I didn’t know where to go, so I went to the most convenient spot, a Doctors on Call urgent care office in Kaanapali.

As it turned out, according to my health plan Doctors on Call were not an approved provider.  According to the health insurance representatives, I should have gone to the emergency room at Maui Memorial Medical Center in Wailuku. I had a minor injury and in the end the insurance company made an exception to cover my costs. Since health insurance is a real pain to deal with, particularly after the fact, it’s best to know in advance their approved service providers.

3.  Call the hotel directly to verify your reservation. Do this at least a day or two before your vacation.  Occasionally I read about lost hotel reservations on Chris Elliott’s blog. (Here’s just one example.)  If something got lost in the reservation process, it’s best that you get the issue resolved before you go rather than show up at the check-in desk with a “I’m sorry. We don’t have a record of your reservation.”

4.  Call your credit card company and let them know when and where you’ll be on vacation. In an effort to stop credit card fraud, card companies will sometimes place a freeze on your card if it considers your activity unusual. Though the credit card company may be sophisticated enough to realize your on vacation, sometimes they’re not.  So, it’s best to pre-empt a freeze by calling the toll-free number on the back of your card and let them know when and where you’ll be on vacation.


It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes total to complete these four tasks.  Hopefully you will find that you didn’t need them after all.  In case you do discover a blip, you are in a much better position to resolve the issues days before the trip rather than at the airport or hotel.

Do you have any other less obvious, but important recommendations to add?  Please share them.

  1. 5) Browse the GoVisitHawaii Blog and frantically research your vacation opportunities before you run out of time. Print out several pages and make a small book.

    6) Brag to all of your friends and coworkers that you are going to Hawaii.

    7) Don’t do too much of this bragging online.
    Attention world! – I will be in Hawaii for the next two weeks so feel free to break into my house while I’m gone.

    8) Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your place and maybe get them to pick up your newspapers.

    9) I like to rent a pile of DVD’s the day before I leave so I can entertain myself while I’m sitting on the plane or in the airport, etc…

  2. Hmmm… I had no idea the number 8 + ) would create a smiley face with sunglasses. I kind of like that! 8)

    A bit off topic… I’m an electronics gadget nerd. I always pack a small power strip. Airports never seem to have enough outlets. Having a power strip helps to keep everything charged and allows more than one person to share the outlet.

  3. 10) Bribe your brother and/or mom to bunnysit your rabbits for you while you’re gone (and look over the place, too). 🙂

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