V for Vacation Blog

by on Jan 29th, 2019

This Reading Break, you might be itching to get somewhere warmer, maybe you’re even going on SAMU’s Cuba trip. Regardless of where you go (or stay) here are a few tips to make sure you’re prepared for your vacation.

  1. Make sure your passport is up-to-date

It is recommended that if you are travelling outside of the country your passport should be valid for at least six months past the departure date. You can probably get away with less, but it is strongly recommended that you don’t. Passports take about a month to get renewed, unless you want to pay extra for a rushed one. So double check them now to make sure you don’t get stuck.

  1. Plan and Prepare

The key to having a successful, and stress-free vacation is planning and preparing your life at home before you leave.

There’s a good chance that you will have an exam or assignment due when you come back from reading break, but who wants to lug all of those heavy books along on vacation? The answer is nobody. You can avoid it by taking some photos of the pages you need, scanning the chapters, buying digital textbooks or just good old-fashioned notes. However you do it, bring something because you will likely need your material to write that important term paper or study for that mid-term.

Proper planning is the best way to avoid last minute stress about bringing school with you. A good way to plan out your assignments is by using an agenda. If you don’t use one yet, now might be the time to pick one up for FREE at the SAM Centre. Even if you only use it to plan your life around your vacation, it is the perfect way to make sure you are hitting your scheduling deadlines. Now if only it could study for you… 

  1. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is something that we often forget about, but it is one of the things that is better to have and not need instead of needing it and not having it. If you don’t have travel insurance, then you should check with your insurance company or credit card company to see if you are covered. You can also get travel insurance from your bank in a pinch if you have to, but it isn’t often recommended. If you are a plan member under SAMU’s health and dental plan, great news, you’re covered!

  1. Get cash

The biggest mistake we can make on vacation is forgetting to get cash. Sure, your credit card will probably get you through, if it doesn’t get blocked on your first purchase, but they will also charge you between two and three and a half percent on top of the exchange rate. Getting cash before you leave will always save you at least a little bit of money so keep an eye on the exchange rates! 

  1. Do your research

This one might seem obvious, but there’s nothing worse than going somewhere and not knowing what you want to do there. For example, if you go to Dublin, but only planned to see the Guinness factory, you might miss the Temple Bar District, the Jameson Distillery and many other exciting things to do. Even if you are just relaxing on a beach in for a week you should do your research about where you are going. You never know what kind of cool experiences you might find.   

  1. Check your roaming plan

Most phone companies offer five to seven dollar a day plans for traveling to the U.S., which can increase to about $10 if you go anywhere else. However, if you are traveling somewhere a little more remote, you may need to look into buying a travel SIM card while you are gone. Your provider may offer monthly add on plans for these types of places, but it’s always better to check in early, before you come home to an outrageous roaming bill.

  1. Talk to your Doctor

Depending on where you’re headed to this reading break, you may need to consider getting a check-up and making sure that you’re okay to travel. Your doctor may even discuss some strategies to avoid common travel fears like traveller’s diarrhea and hepatitis.