The concept of the best summer vacation is kind of subjective. For some people it might be a frenzied tour of galleries and museums, cramming your brain with as much culture as possible, with barely a moment to stop. For others it might be a couple of bottles of cold wine, consumed with a friend while stretching out on a beach. And for others it might simply be sleeping late every day, before going out to a pool lounger (with the effort of the walk resulting in yet another nap). Regardless of what your ideal summer vacation might be, there are a few things you’ll want to consider in order to make the trip as carefree as possible.
Time to Forget about Work
Make sure everything is tied up with regards to your job. This means you might want to activate an auto reply on your email, informing people that their email will only be viewed upon your return (with contact details for a colleague who might be taking over some of your duties in your absence, in case of an urgent matter). Sure, you might periodically be checking work emails while you’re away, but you don’t want to create an expectation that you will be diligently responding to all emails during your vacation… otherwise it’s not a true vacation!
In the week leading up to your departure, check on the status of the airports you will be travelling through. Industrial action can disrupt your travel plans in the blink of an eye, and many tourists passing through Barcelona in the summer of 2017 were caught out by these delays. You might even want to set up a Google news alert to inform you of anything that might be on the horizon (simply set up something along the lines of “strikes + the names of the airports”). Changes to immigration legislation and security requirements can also come into effect rather suddenly. Tourists exiting Europe’s borderless Schengen zone were subjected to additional immigration checks in a move that was not widely publicised, also in the summer of 2017. This meant significant additional delays, simply by waiting in security lines for understaffed passport control desks. You might also want to double check your travel insurance and the policy of the airline you’re flying with. What will you be entitled to in the event of a delay or cancellation, or if you simply miss the flight due to newly-imposed stringent security checks?
Whether the Weather is What You Expect
You will probably have a rough idea of what to pack in terms of the weather conditions at your destination. Don’t take this for granted though, and you should check the expected weather forecast a few days before departure. There might be adverse conditions outside of the normal weather at this time of year, and you don’t want to be caught off guard. It would not be an ideal situation to have a suitcase full of shorts and t-shirts during an unseasonal cold front. Naturally you should pack something for every eventuality, but by doing some diligent weather research you can ensure that the contents of your suitcase will be largely appropriate for type of weather you’re likely to encounter. Of course you need to ensure that your luggage does not exceed the weight allowance for your airline. Weigh yourself, make a note of the weight, and then pick up your suitcase. Subtract your own weight from the new total. This is generally easier than attempting to balance a suitcase on a set of bathroom scales.
A Handy Service
Most countries will offer an online travel advisory service for their citizens, and this can be handy to check. It will give both general information and any travel warnings that might be applicable. This can be the case if there was to be a change in the political situation of a country, which can make travel inadvisable (though generally not prohibited). These advisory services will also give you information about the type of visa that is needed, as well as any kinds of vaccinations that might be recommended. Please make sure that you take care of any required visas or vaccinations as well ahead of time as possible.
Not Everything Should Be Left to Chance
While you might want to leave some things to chance, to allow for some spontaneity in your travel plans, there are still some things which should be arranged before you go. This largely depends on your destination, however. For some places, it can be inadvisable to try to take care of certain things after you arrive, simply because it can be difficult to research your options. While the internet is increasingly common in a place like Cuba, for example, you can’t simply go online anywhere (or for long periods of time since you pay by the hour). So something like booking a tour in Cuba should be researched and arranged before you land in the country. But it truly depends on your destination, and if you were backpacking around Europe, you could easily arrange your trip while on the go, even travelling from one country to another by air, rail, or road, depending on your needs, all within a couple of days notice.