An American Girl in Ireland: Things to Do Before You Leave

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Your passport is up to date. You’ve sorted out your mail pick up. Your pets have their babysitter. Your plants have a designated waterer. The suitcases are packed and weighed. Your boarding passes are in your hand. You’re all ready for your big trip, right?

While you may think you’ve dotted all your Is and crossed all your Ts, there are a few things that every traveller should have on their checklist, but are often overlooked.

Here are a few important things you should do before heading to the airport.

Make copies of important documents.

Make two copies of all important documents like passports, driver’s licenses/photo IDs, and medical insurance cards, as well as confirmations for things like hotel reservations and car rentals. Keep one copy in your carry on and another in a safe location at home that someone you trust can easily access. This way, if an issue arises or something gets lost or stolen, you have two backups you can utilize.

Notify your bank and credit card companies.

In a world where identity theft is a real threat, some banks and credit card companies will freeze your card if they see charges outside the country. Prevent this by notifying your bank and any any credit card companies that you will be out of the country and for how long you will be gone. Add on an additional few days past your date of return just in case you have issues with your flight and get stuck.

Swing by the pharmacy.

Okay, no one wants to think about sickness or injury putting a damper on a highly-anticipated vacation, but I have seen it happen, leaving those affected scrambling. Hit up your local Walgreens or Rite-Aid, and pick up a few things to create a small first-aid kit. Hey, it never hurts to be prepared.

Things to get include:

  • Tylenol/Advil
  • Imodium
  • Decongestants
  • Bandaids
  • First-aid ointment (like Neosporin)
  • Pads/tampons

Boost that immune system.

Want an added way to prevent getting sick before or during your trip? Increase your odds staying healthy by boosting your immune system with either elderberry or Airborne a few days before your flight. Be sure to pack some with you for your return flight home.

Write up your souvenir list.

Remember that episode of Gilmore Girls where Rory and Lorelai come back from their European trip and realize they forgot to get something for diner owner Luke? Learn from their mistake and write up a list of everyone you want to buy something for. Carry it in your purse, so you don’t leave anyone out. (Bonus points for creating budget for each person, so you don’t break the bank.)

Order your attraction tickets ahead of time.

If you know the exact dates of when you be in certain locations, save time by order all attraction tickets online ahead of time. You’ll be able to skip general admission lines and get to the fun a whole lot quicker.

Pack some American cash.

I’m a cash girl through and through. I would much rather pay for things with tangible money over using a plastic card. (Strange for a girl in her late twenties, I know!) Plus, there are some places that won’t take a debt/credit card, and an ATM may not always be easily accessible in these situations. (Also, no one likes those pesky service fees.) I picked up a good portion of my euros before I even stepped on the plane, but I had concerns I would run out. I made sure to some U.S. dollars in my bag in case I needed to do a quick exchange to replenish my euro stash. If you go this route, I recommend taking about $300.00 and storing it in a safe place like the inside pocket of your suitcase. Be sure to check the exchange rate before you leave as you may need to increase how much you bring based on the currency rate fluctuation.


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