This blog post was updated on February 25, 2019.

You forgot to bring your favorite bathing suit, you hit some serious traffic on the way to the airport (and now you’re wishing you wore your sneakers, as you sprint to the gate), and OUCH, you just spilled your pre-flight Starbucks all over yourself…and you haven’t even made it on to the plane yet. What else could possibly go wrong? We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but unfortunately, a lot.

The good news is, there are plenty of ways to prepare well ahead of time to try and prevent potential vacation catastrophes and we’re here to tell you all about them. Here are some super easy and essential know-before-you-go tips so even the trips you book with last minute flight deals will be mishap free!

Spell Your Name Right!

This may be the simplest tip on this list, but it’s also the most important! While everyone in your life may identify you as Chrissy, to a skycap, desk agent, or security officer, the fact that Chrissy is short for Christina, may not be as obvious. If your name on your identification doesn’t match the name on your ticket, you could land yourself in a bit of a sticky situation and potentially even lose your seat! Triple check that you’ve spelled your name correctly and that the name on your plane ticket is identical to the one on your passport.

When in Doubt, Print it Out

After your arduous journey, the last thing you want is to find out that the hotel you’ve booked and plan to stay in, doesn’t even have you in their system! Before you set out for paradise, call ahead and confirm all your reservations (we’re talking hotel, cars, bus tickets, restaurants, etc.) at least one week prior to takeoff! If you booked via phone, be sure to request email copies of your confirmations. If you have a phone and data available to you while abroad, put all necessary documents into an app like TripIt, which organizes everything for you. It’s also imperative that you bring physical copies of your confirmations with you. Yep, you heard us. In case you can’t access your booking via cell, or don’t have a phone/data at all for your trip, bring a printed copy of your booking validations. Similarly, bring printouts of all other important documents such as photocopies of your passport, itineraries, etc. It sounds silly this day and age, but trust us when we say you’ll thank us later.

Ready to get going on your next adventure ASAP? Find some last minute flight deals!

Don’t Let Fashion-Forward Turn into a Fashion Faux Pas

You want to look trendy, you want to take the best selfies, and you want at least 100 likes on your Instagram post. We get it. But, what you don’t want to be is that offensive, insensitive tourist. While it may not be intentionally done, often times your wardrobe choices can be discourteous to a country’s dress code and customs. So, before you pack your bags (and set out to be the next travel trendoid) research the country’s dress culture and choose your outfits with safety and cultural sensitivity in mind. If you’re going to be doing quite a bit of sightseeing, make sure you know the wardrobe restrictions and requirements for the sites you plan to visit. When it comes to visiting places of religious worship like temples, mosques, and churches, it’s important to dress appropriately to be granted entry. After traveling so far, don’t let a simple thing like a fashion faux pas lead to you missing out on seeing your most anticipated sites, or worse, getting in trouble with the law!

Over the River and Through the Woods… Download Maps and Go!

You’ve booked your ticket to paradise. Fantastic! Now…if you could just figure out how to get around the city without your phone and through the language barriers. Hmmm. Hiring a tour guide for every activity can get expensive, using your phone as a GPS will either use up all your data, or be impossible if you have no internet connection, and so, getting lost is, well…inevitable. But, there’s an app for that! (actually, there are a few.) These days, several travel booking mobile apps offer downloadable maps that you can actually access offline. Companies like CheapOair integrated a feature called CityMaps2Go into their app, so now you after you book, you can download and save maps of your destination right to your phone during or before your travels… and leave your fears of getting lost behind.

Turn Your Carry-on into a Weapon of Mass Survival

Possibly the biggest nightmare (and headache) of traveling is losing your luggage. To make this situation less painstakingly stressful, turn your carry-on bag into your saving grace. Pack everything you need for a 24-hour stretch – that means medications, a change of clothes, hygienics, a small first-aid kit, and anything else that is essential to your immediate survival. But don’t worry, you don’t need to make your hand luggage heavy to pack your essentials, as most drugstores have travel-sized everything for your convenience.  

Pro-tip: Choose luggage as unique as you are! Picking brightly colored or interesting patterned suitcases is a great way to set your luggage apart so that you can spot it quickly amidst the merry-go-round of black and blue baggage claim. Plus, there’s no risk of someone else accidentally taking your bag (let’s leave the bag swaps for the romcoms).

Achoo! Take Health Precautions to Avoid Getting Sick

How do you make a tissue dance? You put a little boogie in it! Other than this joke, there is nothing funny about getting sick on your trip. Depending on where you are, medical facilities may not be the easiest to locate. For potential serious maladies, take a look at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website before you leave for your trip, to get the information you need about doctors or an emergency department in the area you’re traveling to. Last (but definitely not the least), do your due diligence on what illnesses you could potentially face in the destination you’re headed to. Some foreign travel requires special immunizations, so consult your doctor to make sure you get all the proper vaccines.Vacationing is fun. But vacationing ailment-free is even better.

Call Your Bank Ahead of Time

When traveling, there are a lot of things you want to be locked for safety– your luggage, your hotel room, your seat belt…but your credit card isn’t one of them! Many banks and credit card companies have monitoring systems that may interpret foreign transactions as unusual activity. Giving your bank notice about your upcoming travels (even if they are booked on last minute flight deals) before you depart is now as easy as just a few clicks with banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America. So, go ahead and buy all those souvenirs and tchotchkes, worry-free.

Pro-tip: If you happen to run out of money, lose your card, or worse, get robbed while you’re abroad, keep a spare debit or credit card in your carry-on. Don’t forget to also jot down your bank and credit card company’s customer service numbers, just in case you need to report a stolen or missing card or order a replacement.

How do you prepare for vacation mishaps? Let us know in the comments below!

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About The Author

In a past life, Tasmiah was either a Bollywood actress, renowned ethnographer or master chef; no questions asked. In this one, she is a shower-singing, croissant enthusiast, who also writes content for Fareportal, in that order.