Other type of “to do list” …before going on vacation!

Planning the details of your vacation is just one necessary part of taking a trip. But before you head to the airport, it’s vital to take care of some very important last-minute details that will make both your departure and your return home safer and less stressful.

Do some banking stuff

Call your bank to notify them of your travel dates and let them know where you will be traveling.Your bank may be partnered with a foreign bank which allows for free cash withdrawals.

Withdraw cash and change it for single dollar bills in case you need to tip shuttle drivers, skycaps, hotel valets, etc.

Write down your credit card numbers and your bank’s customer service number, and store the information in a safe place. If you have to report lost or stolen cards, this quick step will be a lifesaver.

Check what types of cards are accepted in the destination you are going to (I was surprised that my card was refused in Amsterdam on the grounds that it is not issued by “a Dutch bank”), what currencies are accepted, find out about commissions and exchange rates.

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Print copies of your flight tickets, boarding passes and accommodation reservations

Mobile ticketing is just one of the many technological wonders that travelers can enjoy today. But does having your boarding pass on your phone really make your trip easier?

Printing out a ticket is a good way to avoid any technical issues that may come with mobile ticketing: batteries dying, Wi-Fi failing, running out of data, and accidentally cracking your screen.

Printing a paper ticket and neatly folding it into your passport is much easier than juggling between your personal items and phone and some airports don’t allow mobile ticketing

Pack a travel adapter

The first accessory to go: the converter. Previously, travellers needed a converter to synchronise their single-voltage Made in America item (hair dryer, curling iron, etc.), for example, with the foreign country’s high-wattage outlet. Without it, prepare for a potential meltdown. Today, most smart-gadgets and beauty products are dual-voltage and can handle a range of current strengths.

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Unlike the converter, the adapter is essential, regardless of the device. The plastic nub bridges the design divide between the US plug and the foreign socket. With it, you can use your three-pronged hair straightener in a two-holed outlet. Without it, you are stuck with curly hair in Paris or Bangkok.

There are currently 15 types of electrical outlet plugs in use today, each of which has been assigned a letter by the US Department of Commerce International Trade Administration (ITA), starting with A and moving through the alphabet. These letters are completely arbitrary: they don’t actually mandate anything.

Click here for a global map showing the spread of the different plug types used around the world.

Click here for a detailed list of the countries of the world with their respective plug and outlet types, voltage and frequency.

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When you’ve finally powered your way through that seemingly endless to-do list and are ready to check out of work mode once and for all, there’s one final thing you need to take care of: set up an automatic out of office reply.

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