Whether you’re a habitual homebody or a seasoned sightseer, traveling can be stressful. However, a little planning can go a long way toward protecting your peace of mind so you can savor the sand and sun, conquer that conference, or give grandkids your undivided attention. No matter what your reason for hitting the road, try these tips to make travel a little more tranquil.
Make a Travel To-Do List
Make a checklist of all the things you want to remember to do before leaving home. It may seem silly to write reminders to lock all your windows, unplug electronics, and put a hold on mail and other deliveries. But ticking off these simple tasks as you accomplish them will help keep you from second-guessing yourself about whether you latched the back door when you’re when you’re 500 miles down the interstate or 10,000 feet up in the air.
Consider Car Insurance
Reviewing your auto insurance policy before leaving home can pay off in peace of mind and significant savings. For instance, if you are driving your own vehicle on a road trip, it never hurts to call your insurance agency to inform them of your plans. While you’re on the phone, ask if benefits such as roadside assistance, which you may have opted to add to your policy, will be easily accessible on your route.
If you plan to roll in a rental, your existing auto policy may cover costs if you’re in an accident, making insurance from the rental car company an unnecessary expense. But what is and isn’t covered can differ dramatically depending on your policy, so take the time to call or email your agent before revving up the rental car.
Review Your Health Coverage
Similarly, your pre-travel planning should include a health insurance checkup. If you are going somewhere far off the beaten path, you may want to check if your policy covers medical evacuation costs in the event of an accident. It’s also helpful to find out which out-of-town doctors, if any, would qualify as in-network providers under your healthcare plan.
In fact, conducting a periodic insurance review is a good idea even if you don’t have a trip planned in the near future. Taking a closer look at your coverage could prompt you to choose a plan with a wider network of doctors or enhance your existing policy with a supplemental plan. For instance, you may opt to invest in personal accident insurance, which helps cover costs if you’re disabled or injured in an accident. Or, if you’re covered under Medicare Part A and Part B, also known as original Medicare, you might feel you need a Medicare supplemental health insurance policy that allows you to see any doctor in the U.S. who accepts Medicare among other benefits.
Figure Out Finances
Before taking off on a trip, give your credit card company a call to let them know you’ll be logging some travel-related transactions away from home, providing them with your anticipated departure date and return date. And, speaking of credit cards, make sure they will be paid while you’re out of town. This applies to your other bills as well. Putting everything on auto-pay will take care of this travel task and also save you time and postage if you elect to keep bills on an automatic payment schedule when you return.
While it may be one of the most dreaded pre-travel chores on your list, you should also make sure important documents like wills and insurance beneficiary designations are up to date. They should be stored in a safe place that’s known to a trusted friend or two who won’t be traveling with you. Similarly, you should share your itinerary with at least one reliable friend in case of an emergency.
While these tasks aren’t nearly as exciting as choosing your hotel room or researching restaurants, dealing with a few more mundane duties before you leave home will help make travel less taxing, whether it’s for work, play, or a bit of both.
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