Vacations sure are loads of fun but, preparing for them isn’t. We understand your pain! Here’s a checklist for you to help you have a smooth and relaxing vacation.

Patience is key

Don’t work yourself to the bone! It doesn’t matter if you miss your bus because there will always be another one. So what if your ATM has run out of money? Grab the chance to go out on an unplanned walk of discovery to the next village. Patience and tolerance should be a very important part of your travel agenda.

Consult good travel agents

Using a good travel agency is the first step for a hassle-free vacation. By finding out the best possible vacation for your budget from their resources, these agents not only save you time, they also save your money. They also have a lot of good contacts as they are regular customers of different hotels and other touring amenities which is very helpful in getting you a room upgrade, a fee waiver or even the greater joy of a reservation at a popular show.

Always be prepared for any emergency whatsoever

Be prepared. You cannot be stuck in an alien land with no gear or be stuck in a tourist cave and run out of batteries for your flashlight. Also, imagine forgetting your camera battery charger and not knowing the language enough to get a new one, what will you have to show your friends back home?

Make sure you take a multipurpose gear, a small flashlight, first aid kit, an umbrella, extra cash and cards, copies of all your documents, list of emergency contacts and a fundamental knowledge of the culture of the place you are visiting.

Have back ups of back ups 

Not just your documents, back up your contacts and most importantly, your pictures. Once, lost, you do not have the option of going back to the city and getting them. Uploading them to the cloud would be your best option.

Buy Insurance

Get a travel insurance for big-ticket trips. It will cover emergency medical expenses and baggage loss and delay, and recover at least some of the cost of your trip if your vacation has to be cancelled or cut short. Make sure you buy from a third-party insurer.

Read reviews online

It is the internet era, time to make the best use of it. Sites like TripAdvisor with more than 20 million reviews are your best bet to figuring out a vacation schedule that suits your personal needs.

User reviews are helpful, but be sure that you are not entirely swayed by them. Always read between the lines while keeping in mind about the writer’s mindset. If a bad review is because of personal prejudice/experience, you might not face the same issue. Also, make a note of the date which the review was posted as an exemplary establishment might go into ruins two years down the lane.

Compare all possible options 

There is always a better option. Make sure that you look at an issue from all possible angles. This way, you won’t regret having paid too much for a hotel or shelling out a larger amount of money for the same trip through a different travel agency.

Double check on hotel accomodation

If you plan on not using a travel agency, it is advisable to recheck your hotel bookings as it is usual for misunderstanding to creep in when you’re booking a hotel. You wouldn’t want to reach Paris at midnight only to find out that the hotel has no record of your reservation and that you’ll have to fit your whole 8 member family into a single room! 

Talk to bloggers from that area/ Join a travel forum

Talking to bloggers will help you in fine tuning your trip. Whether it is questions about the best place to eat a fettuccine Alfredo or about the local souvenir shops, bloggers in that area are your best bet. Not only have they lived there, they are open to giving you all sorts of tips. Who knows, if you are lucky and they are generous, you might even get invited to lunch!

Enjoy the moment

It is very common for tourists to be glued to their camera, not that it’s a bad thing. But ensure you spend quality time absorbing the sight through your eyes rather than through the lens of a camera. 

Go out, talk to the locals, speak their language (how much ever you know of it), taste the local cuisine and make the best out of your vacation!

If you are the ardent religious traveller type, here’s a list of exemplary travel services for Haj Pilgrimage from Raipur.

Written by Sangeetha Alwar

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