Another year is here and it’s time to look ahead to your travel program. Hopefully you have most of it already set and are now beginning to promote it and receive early bookings. This year, let’s see how you might be particularly helpful to your trip members if you assist them to be properly prepared for each trip.

Those of us who work in travel/tourism and plan these wonderful trips know that many folks begin dreaming and thinking about the trip long before they come aboard. In fact, anticipation is one of the great pleasures of a trip. From the time they first hear about the particular tour or cruise until they finally decide to enroll, they’re already emotionally involved and usually excitedly looking forward.

However, what we may not realize is that in addition to being excited and happy anticipating the travel experience, many may not know how to prepare before departure so that they can go with a free mind.

Here are 12 tips that tour planners and their travelers should heed before taking off on their adventure.

  1. If the trip is out of the U.S., be sure you have notified them in writing whether they need a passport and if it is still valid. (It’s a good idea to ask for this information on the trip enrollment form so you can double-check it). It’s helpful to the leader to know if there are any non-U.S citizens aboard.
  2. Be sure they have given you an emergency contact in the event you may need to talk with a family member or specified friend.
  3. Get information on their medical coverage, policy number, doctor’s name, allergies and medications being taken.
  4. Be sure they’ve refilled any necessary medications before leaving home so they have a sufficient supply for the entire trip.
  5. Ask for their birth date. You may wish to celebrate birthdays en route.
  6. If they’re leaving their house unattended, remind them to stop the mail (or have it picked up by a willing neighbor) and leave everything looking “lived in” while gone.
  7. Suggest they select just a couple of credit cards to take with them, and leave the rest at home. If this is an international trip, they should call and advise the credit card company that they will be abroad so they won’t  be surprised if their card is turned down.
  8. Recommend that if they plan to buy gifts for friends and family, they should jot down favorite colors, sizes, etc. to make en route shopping easier.
  9. If the trip involves air travel, be sure to notify them about baggage allowance, size and weight. Nowadays virtually all air carriers have minimized allowance and are charging extra fees at check-in for additional bags.
  10. Help them select the right kind of suitcase for the particular trip in question. I travel with one small, sturdy bag with wheels – a bag that I can handle alone if there are no bellmen or porters anywhere to be seen.
  11. Also help them with wardrobe planning and suggestions. Over the years I’ve learned to live in black and white – using color only for scarves or accessories. They should pick a color scheme that works for them and stick to it. This will simplify life – traveling or at home
  12. Lastly, they should get a good night’s sleep the night before the trip. I often pretend I’m leaving the day before and I go to a motel near the departure airport so I can sleep and greet my tour bright eyed and rested the next day at departure.

The above dozen suggestions are just that – suggestions only. Some of them may help you and your trip participants depart with worries behind them, knowing that they are properly prepared for most any trip. If you have some additional good ideas, let us know. We love to hear from you and know what works for you and your passengers.