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What the Wise Vacationer Knows

by Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach

Vacation 101 - It's about having fun, peace of mind, not working and worrying. Do these things and increase those chances! And remember that the watchword today is not that it changes, but how fast it changes.

1. Pack those 'small' things.

You haven't had a vacation for a while, so you're forgetting what a hang nail, an itchy mosquito bite and a heel blister are like. Those 'small' things get really 'large' on a trip." The nail clippers, bandaids, hair bands, suntan lotion, and Neosporin will not only cost you 5 times as much on your trip, they will cost you precious pleasure TIME while you hunt them down.

2. Check your medical insurance two weeks before you leave.

Policies are different and you need to know WHAT will be covered on your trip and WHERE. Find out if injuries, accidents and illness are covered in countries other than the US. Call your insurance company to make sure, get names, etc.

3. Then fill in the gaps with travel insurance.

Pay for peace of mind. Consider the insurance that includes air evac back to the US unless you relish gall bladder surgery in La Disastro, Peru, population 20,000, and you not understanding Spanish. Bring proof of your coverage in writing.

4. If you buy special travel insurance, for instance, travel insurance through your cruise line, read the fine print to see what's covered.

5. Adopt the mental attitude that you've never flown, cruised or gone by train before so you can expect the unexpected.

Why? Because it's changed since 9-11 and keeps on changing. New security measures, restrictions, and time-consuming safety procedures are being added all the time. On my latest cruise I heard people saying, 'They don't do it this way on cruise line X.' Little did they know!

6. Call ahead for important information but, sigh, don't rely on it.

Go ahead and bring the hair dryer, converter, travel iron and toiletries and be pleasantly surprised if they're there. Do not trust the person on the phone, or your friend who has just returned. It changes. Realistically, it's impossible to keep up with.

7. Keep documentation papers.

On my last cruise a couple's luggage got really torn up. I listened to them argue it out with the purser. The cruise line claimed it says in their papers they aren't responsible; it's the baggage handlers on the dock. or maybe the airline. At any rate, at some time the couple is going to have to prove what the luggage cost. (Photographs help too.)

8. Which brings up a practical point: your luggage and common sense.

The above-mentioned couple was claiming, She - that she'd paid $300 for her fabric-type roll-on luggage. He - that his 'custom-made all leather carryon' was not replaceable. Use your own judgment, but seems to me the best practical measure these days is to buy the sturdiest least expensive luggage you can find. I think it unrealistic to imagine your luggage won't be at least nicked, scratched or slightly torn, and you can save yourself some emotional turmoil by preparing for that fact. i.e., don't give a toddler a crystal goblet and then be 'surprised' it gets broken.

9. Hot tubs and bathing suits.

The hot tubs on at least one cruise line contain enough bromine (via health requirements) to not only bleach out your bathing suit, but also suck out all the elastic, leaving you with a bleached bag, which information is posted near the hot tub, but won't help you if you don't know beforehand. Be practical. Bring an old suit, or bring an inexpensive one and treat it like a Bic pen: disposable.

10. If you're traveling abroad, alert your credit card company. Choose one credit card to take with you and alert that company in advance.

11. Take your Emotional Intelligence with you.

Traveling is a microcosm of life because it's full of new things, and often no learning curve. EQ competencies such as quick reality testing, and interpersonal relationship skills are extremely helpful. Brush up! Also observe others in the ever-occurring stressful situations and you'll see what works and what doesn't.

(c)Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, Coaching, distance learning courses and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your personal and professional development. Susan is the author of 'How to Get to Present on a Cruise,' Mailto sdunn at for free ezine.

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