You may have seen the TV commercials with Captain Obvious talking about obvious travel things. I’m like that guy, except that I don’t like surprises when travelling: I’m more of a Captain Redundancy.
My wife, daughter, daughter’s friend and I recently vacationed in Clearwater, Florida area just before hurricane season got started. It’s my job to organize trips and make sure they run smoothly. I’m a systems analyst by trade so analyzing, planning and risk mitigation is second nature in everything I do. Here are some of Captain Redundancy’s Travel Tips:
- When traveling internationally with someone else’s kid, make sure you have a notarized travel consent form their parents. Make copies, both physical and digital, and squirrel them away in various places.
- Make sure that the kid knows the place you are going to and when you are returning, just in case a keener border guard starts asking questions.
- If you’re lucky enough to have access to two benefit plans that offer travel medical coverage, make note of and bring both.
- Call your insurance company to check what coverage you may already have for rental cars or liability. Bring copies of your auto insurance pink slips and keep copies online, Sheriff Deputies don’t always have a sense of humor.
- Set up online accounts and tools to keep your travel documents archived online. I use Evernote and Box. Scan your passports, credit cards, insurance documents, reservations and maps. Make sure people in your travel party know the passwords and access methods.
- Bring an old school GPS and your smartphone with a travel package for talk, text and data.
- Charge all your gadgets before you leave. Pack spare cords, chargers, batteries and SD cards across various pieces of luggage and travelers. I like to bring a power bar too.
- Remove any start pages from your device internet browsers in case your resort’s auto Wi-Fi is configured to open the browser for you. If you have a start page set with no Wi-Fi connectivity you’ll never get to the Wi-Fi log-on page.
- Check your phone for data roaming settings either globally or by app. After $70 of data overage, I realized my wife’s iPhone was set to “switch to cellular if Wi-Fi is slow.”
- If using an airline app on your phone to check in and generate boarding passes, make sure your app works. Install it on multiple phones and screenshot your boarding passes to image files in case the app won’t work at the airport. I saw a family of 7 wait until everyone boarded before they found their seats because the one phone with their passes on it had a dead battery.
Basically, always try to have a backup of everything and make sure someone else in your party has access to the originals and backups. If it can go wrong, then it probably will go wrong.
Be prepared, not paranoid, and you’ll have a less stressful travel adventure.
– Robert Kulig
Computer Systems Technology ‘98