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Heading South? Before You Check In, Check Out These Travel Tips

Whether you’re a seasoned sun-seeker or a first-time flyer, getting to your vacation destination never seems to be as simple as you’d like. From remembering to lock the front door, to preparing for the unexpected, like tropical diseases, there’s always something nagging at the back of your mind as your board the plane. But even last-minute travellers can take off with peace of mind if they plan ahead.

Your best bet is to take a few minutes to make a checklist of the things you’ll need before you leave. Here are a few thoughts to get you started:

• Gather all your travel documents in one place – this includes your passport, tickets, visas, confirmation numbers and any additional information the resort or travel agency may have provided to you.

• Make an appointment with your physician and let them know where you are going. They may recommend a number of preventive medications including those against hepatitis A and B and malaria. Malaria can occur in popular travel destinations in the Caribbean including the Dominican Republic and parts of Jamaica and the Bahamas. Some anti-malarial medications can be started just a couple of days prior to your vacation. More information is available at

• If you have pets, arrange for them to be taken care of by a friend or a kennel, and ask a neighbour to pick up your mail.

• Think about what activities you’ll be doing and make a list of the clothes, shoes and accessories you’ll need while you’re there. Also consider packing a small first aid kit including acetaminophen, sun screen, anti-diarrhea medication, and insect-repellent containing DEET to ward off malaria-infected mosquitoes.

• Empty the fridge and cupboards of perishable foods.

• Before you leave for the airport, do a quick walk around the house to make sure you have picked up everything you need and have turned off, or unplugged, all your appliances.

• Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and check-in. It’s much better to wait in the departure lounge for a little longer than to miss your flight!

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