Wear sunscreen--and reapply!
There's literally nothing more stressful than getting an all-over burn on your first day, because then you're more focused on your pain than on your vacation!
If you're going abroad, talk to your mobile-phone company ahead of time.
Don't be surprised by a high cell-phone bill because you used your minutes abroad! Talk to them about a potential international plan, and ask them to unlock your phone so you can use it outside of the U.S. Bonus: If your phone is unlocked, you can purchase a SIM card with another phone carrier to use for your trip. I purchased one for 9 euros in France, and for just 20 euros/month I got unlimited calls and texts within France as well as 3MB of data. (Merci, SFR!)
And before you leave the country, call your credit and debit-card institutions!
If you don't call them ahead of time, I can almost guarantee that your card will be frozen after just one gelato purchase in Italy. Then you have to go through the hassle of trying to contact your card company to explain the situation, which will take precious time away from your adventures. Let them know in advance when you'll be leaving and where you're going (i.e., traveling throughout Europe, taking a Caribbean cruise, etc.) so you can purchase things with ease.
One more international note: Get a AAA travel/debit card to use global ATMs without a bank charge.
You can't escape the 3% international fee, but you can withdraw from any ATM in the world using a AAA debit card and you won't get charged a single bank fee. The card is only $4, and you can just drop on into your local AAA to get one. I used mine to withdraw money in every single country I've been to, and it has worked without fail.
|This is what the card looks like. The palm tree is so fun!|
Whether you're going by car, train, plane, or boat, be sure to pack plenty of snacks.
Trust me...you'll get hungry. Don't get stressed about finding a restaurant along the highway, having to pick at your airplane meal, or finding the restaurant cart on the train.
Install a Dropcam (or two) in your home for extra security of knowing your home is safe.
You can live stream your Dropcam feed over WiFi, so no matter where you are in the world, you can always check up on your home. Let's hope that the feed is boring!
Full disclosure: I was contacted by Dropcam about collaborating on this post, but all content and opinions are mine.