The following 10 tips come from the Trusted Adventures travel alliance,a group of nine travel companies. The travel tips are meant to help people have a rich travel experience, come what may.
Unexpected events may include changes in plans, volcanic ash, oil spills and other "have-to-roll-with-the-punches" events that all travelers should be ready to face and deal with.
"How mentally prepared you are can make the difference between a meltdown and a good laugh," says Brad Moss, executive director of the alliance.
Meltdown people, you know who you are! But travel usually comes with a degree of delay and uncertainty and you shouldn't expect perfection. So think about how to plan for problems and ease the discomfort should they arise.
10 Tips to assure a better vacation:
1. Plan extra sightseeing activities and build in some extra time, in case you face delays, miss connections or lost baggage. (If in Atlanta, check out the aquarium!)
2. Make sure you have a carry-on bag with a change of clothes, food, books or other entertainment, chargers and anything else you can think of that will keep you busy and happy when you face delays or other snafus. For me, those snafus have been lost luggage. Too many times. So the change of clothes is mucho important.
3. Carry healthy snack bars and water on as many legs of your journey as possible. Do this for a number of reasons, including the fact it often can be difficult to find healthy things to eat or an open store when you need one.
4. Never pass up an opportunity to use a bathroom and always have some toilet paper or tissues with you. Crucial! Sometimes there is toilet paper in a bathroom, sometimes you can pay for toilet paper but sometimes there just isn't any toilet paper at all.
5. Keep playing cards and travel games handy in case of transportation slow-downs due to road conditions, religious festivals, customs delays and who knows what else? The "keeping them handy" is the essential tidbit in this tip. Having them in a suitcase under the bus doesn't help.
6. Bring an empty bag for unplanned shopping opportunities. They say a duffel, I say some sort of light fold-up bag that doesn't take up much room when packed but one that can be checked onto a plane.
7. Keep your camera charged and ready for spontaneous photo opportunities. My addition to this is always take two camera batteries. You never know when one will run out before you have a chance to get somewhere to charge it. Yes, a second battery is expensive, but we're talking once-in-a-lifetime opportunities here.
8. Make several copies of your passport name page in case your passport is lost or stolen. I have these scattered throughout my luggage and on me.
9. Keep a list of your itinerary, with phone numbers and addresses, and numbers from home or business you might need. It's not so easy to look these things up on the road.
10. Embrace the new and unexpected, from indigenous foods to local dance steps and traditional activities. Amen!
Photo: Ellen Perlman. Georgia Aquarium