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Unexpected Travel

Updated: Sep 25, 2022

-18 tips to travel at a moments notice-

Whether it be an unexpected death in the family or a sudden once-in-a-lifetime job interview, immediate travel requirements have a way of presenting themselves at the worst of times. Be prepared for whatever life throws at you by taking heed of this article’s travel-preparedness advice.

1. Use those travel points! The sole requirement for being fiscally prepared to travel at the drop of a hat is having the means to do so without breaking your budget and going into debt. If you’ve purchased our guide on how to become a full-time traveler, you already understand how we use credit cards to reap all their travel reward benefits. In addition to traveling around the U.S. full-time, we also fly to other destinations for shorter vacations, and thus use credit cards that reward us with frequent flyer miles. Those free miles can also be used to book a flight in a moment’s notice, when life happens. This helps us stay within our monthly budget. We use a credit card that isn’t airline specific, so the points can be used to purchase an airplane ticket with any airline, ensuring procurement of a last-minute ticket no matter where we are, where we’re going or the time of year.

2. Save on rental insurance. Some credit cards include car rental insurance, in the event you’re in an accident while traveling. This built-in insurance helps keep car rental costs low by not having to purchase insurance from the rental company. Is there a chance you could be traveling internationally? Consider obtaining a federally approved international driving permit.

3. Download travel apps and ensure they've got your correct billing information. Another aspect I like to have squared away before heading out for a last-minute trip are ride-share apps. These have a way of never having up-to-date billing information. Ensure you’ve updated the relevant credit card information prior to departing. Don’t forget to also update billing information on any money swapping apps and hotel booking apps.

4. Download a map of where you are going. Most mobile devices come with GPS apps already installed. But just in case yours does not, make sure you’ve got a navigation tool. Ideally download a map of where you are going and save it to your phone in case you lose or don’t have service.

5. Maintain your mobile device's ability to act as a hotspot. Public WIFI is inherently less secure than your home's so maintain your ability to access the web on your larger devices by having a hotspot via your phone.

6. Select the right luggage. Typically, an unexpected trip is a quick trip. Packing a carry-on is usually all the space you need for such a fast voyage. Having the right piece of luggage is an important piece of the puzzle that should add to the succinctness of the entire experience. We like Hynes Eagle 38L Flight Approved Weekender Carry on Backpack. Find it here on Amazon. This Carry-on Backpack is very comfortable, especially if you have to walk a significant distance. With a compartment for a laptop, a chest and waste strap and interior clothing straps, this luggage is everything you need for a hassle-free trip. Bonus tip: Take a picture of your bag and any expensive items you typically pack and save to your phone in case your bag is lost or stollen. This will help with the police report.

7. Invest in reusable toiletry containers. Travel sized toiletries aren’t always on hand and there may not be time to make a trip to your local drug store. Be prepared by investing in some universal toiletry containers here and simply refill them using your favorite products from home.

8. Know how to use an electronic language translator if you’re heading to a place where English isn’t their native language.

9. Consider purchasing comprehensive travel insurance and/or accident insurance.

10. Make sure your passport isn’t expired if you’re traveling internationally.

11. Check with your mobile service provider to ensure you’re not racking up enormous roaming and international charges.

12. Check the weather of your intended destination before you leave to ensure you’re packing the appropriate attire.

13. Have several entertainment sources always downloaded to your electronic device so you’ll never be caught bored on an airplane.

14. Leave certain items in your carry-on incase you forget to pack them when you’re in a hurry (see list below).

Items to leave in your carry-on

1. Compact umbrella

2. Sunglasses

3. Cash

4. Electronic charging cables and charged battery banks

5. Disposable facemask

6. Imperviable grocery bag (for stinky laundry)

7. A small-ish towel that dries quickly

8. Extra socks

9. A copy of your passport (also a good idea to email yourself a copy too)

10. A small flashlight

11. Empty metal water bottle with built in filter

12. Squishable, warm, water-resistant jacket

13. Earplugs- sleep well my friend

14. Portable Door Lock

15. Sunscreen

15. Let your bank and credit card companies know where you are traveling so, they can expect purchases to be made from those locations.

16. Remain up to date with vaccinations so you’re not scrambling to get inoculated. If time permits, do a little research, and find health care facilities in your network.

17. Have a plan and appropriate medications packed to ensure you will be able to get a good night’s sleep (we like Natural Vitality’s Calm), won’t be in pain (ibuprofen), have regular bowl movements (generic laxatives and generic loperamide and bismuth subsalicylate in case of diarrhea) , take care of heart burn (generic chewable antacids) and minimize allergies (generic antihistamines). Don’t forget antimicrobial cream, alcohol swabs, and adhesive bandages.

18. Change out your flashy wedding ring and wristwatch for less expensive rubber rings and cheapo time pieces.

Trip lasting longer than expected and have extra time to kill? Start by visiting the local tourism office. These folks are usually underwhelmed and armed with a plethora of knowledge about the area. Plus, they’re almost always exceedingly kind and empathetic! Hostel staff also have a wealth of information for the budget-minded traveler and will usually answer questions regardless of if you are staying there.

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