Summer Travel: Planning and Packing Tips

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School is out, the weather is warming and that brings with it summer travel. Whether traveling by ground, water, or air to hit the road, no one wants to get halfway to their destination to realize they left something crucial off of the vacation packing list.
Here are some easy things you can do before you leave to make your vacation less stressful:

Plan ahead.

Reservations for hotels, restaurants and rental cars get booked quickly during peak travel times.

Whether booking yourself online or using a travel agent, check for rates and customer reviews.  And make sure you have room for you luggage and whatever souvenirs you plan on bringing back home.

When traveling by car, truck or RV, remember to get a tune up.  Before any long-distance drive, make sure to have your oil changed and your brakes, fluids and tire pressure checked.

You’ll want to make sure you have enough money to make it through your vacation, but not too much for security sake.  A Patriot VISA credit card can enable you to pay for your stays, meals, and purchases without needing to carry cash – and you can pay off your purchases when you return.

If you’re in need of cash, find a surcharge free ATM nearby by visiting our web site or mobile app.  Your Patriot debit card gives you access to over 55,000 surcharge free Allpoint and Star SF ATM locations

Get an early start to avoid gridlock.

Traveling during late night/early morning hours helps.  The worst times to travel are after meals since most travelers postpone leaving until they’ve eaten with their families.  Make sure you are thoroughly rested.

Pack smarter.

Bring an empty, collapsible bag on your next trip to pack those souvenirs.  Remember, if you’re flying, it’s cheaper to pay for an extra bag than a suitcase that’s over the airline’s weight limit.

Remember to pack for the occasion, whether you’re headed to the mountains or to the beach, as well as for the weather.  Do a little research before you go to find out the average temperature plus the highs and lows when you’ll be at your destination.

Pick up an extra set of toiletries or personal items so you don’t have to spend $5 on a toothbrush.  And by having a spare set, you can get ready the morning before you leave without forgetting to pack them. If you’re flying, you might want to put your essentials and a change of clothes in your carry-on, just in case your suitcase doesn’t make it to your destination on time.

Also, as important as what goes on your vacation packing list is what stays off your list.  Nobody wants to over-pack and end up lugging around a bunch of clothes they don’t wear.  And things are bound to get lost or left behind so either leave those hard-to-replace items at home, or make sure you have insurance on them before you take them on your next trip.

Feel better faster.

If you’re going on a long trip where you might not be near a drugstore, make sure you have a simple first-aid kit in your car.  And be sure it is stocked with items such as bandages, hydrocortisone, Ibuprofen and a topical antibiotic.  Consider downloading the Red Cross First Aid app on your smartphone – it can help you deal with a variety of emergency situations with a few swipes on your mobile device.

Plane travelers, make sure your prescription medications are packed in your carry-on and read the Transportation Security Administration’s guidelines for bringing medications on your flight.

Eat healthier.

While you are likely going to eat out on your vacation, it isn’t always a choice between cheap, unhealthy food and overpriced, healthy cuisine.  To avoid packing on the pounds, first, skip the bread and butter or tortilla chips that are brought to the table while you wait to order.  Ask for your dressings and sauces on the side, and stay away from the friend foods.  And don’t feel like you have to finish the whole meal.  Get a to-go box and – most hotels have a small refrigerator and a microwave – you can enjoy your leftovers for lunch the next day.

Happy summer and happy traveling!