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Summer is around the corner, which means it’s almost time for summer vacation. No matter where you’re going or what you have planned, poor preparation can ruin your vacation instantly. According to the United States Travel Association, about 85 percent of Americans plan to travel this summer. That being said, crowds will be bigger, and you’ll have to prepare for whatever comes your way. Here are some summer travel tips for you and your family to get the most out of your vacation.

Invest in travel insurance.

Travel insurance is necessary whenever you travel, especially if you plan on going abroad. Travel insurance is excellent for paying you for delayed or canceled flights, lost bags, or stolen items. It can also cover hotels if you have to cancel last minute or switch hotels. Agents are always available for a call if you’re in an emergency, and it’s great to have in case things go wrong.

Consider booking flights early.

When it comes to booking flights, you’ll be better off if you book them early. Last-minute flights tend to be really expensive. For example, if you want to go to Hawaii next week, you’re looking at spending $700 for a one-way. It’s ideal to book your flights three to four months in advance. That way, you’re only paying $400 round trip. Also, consider what day you’re booking your flights. Prices tend to be higher on Mondays since it’s the start of the workweek and people fly out for work. Thursdays and Fridays are expensive due to weekend getaways since most families travel on weekends. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days to buy tickets. Early morning or late evening flights also tend to be cheaper.

Strategize your packing system.

When you’re trying to stuff your suitcase to avoid paying to check a bag, you may find yourself sitting on your suitcase praying it’ll close, and even then, the zippers might break. To avoid this hassle, invest in vacuum seal bags to save space. Put your clothes in the bag, close, and use a vacuum cleaner tube to compress. You’ll be able to fit way more stuff into your suitcase.

Consider buying anti-theft bags.

If you’re visiting a big city like New York or Chicago, it may be wise to buy an anti-theft bag before your trip. A cross-body bag is harder to steal than an over-the-shoulder bag for pocketbooks. As for backpacks, consider purchasing one with no zippers on the front but has access to the backside, making it easier to keep your valuables safe.

If you’re traveling out of the country, consider buying a passport cover. You’ll have to keep your passport on you for identification purposes, but something that looks like a passport could be a target for thieves. A passport cover could disguise your passport, and you could also keep your vaccination card in there.

Visit the local grocery store.

Try finding a local grocery store to fill your hotel fridge with drinks or snacks to prevent constantly eating out and spending tons of money. Take a bookbag with you if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, and take some bottled water with you in case you get thirsty. It’ll be scorching outside, and big cities typically absorb the summer sun, making it hard to stay hydrated.

It’ll also be hard to find places to purchase drinks for cheaper than $5 in tourist cities. You could do the same for food. Find a local Walmart and stock up on supplies to make sandwiches or other quick things to snack on. That way, you can keep them in a cooler and grab a quick bite if you stop by a local park or visit the lake or beach.

Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.

While on vacation, dressing comfortably should always be the goal instead of dressing nicely. Of course, you’ll want to look cute for any pictures, but imagine how miserable you’ll be walking around in brand new sandals or heels. Sneakers are the ideal option for vacations. Sketchers make comfortable shoes with memory foam soles if you’re going to be on your feet all day.

Sneakers are good if you plan on visiting any amusement parks this summer. Pack some nice outfits if a nice dinner or concert is on your itinerary. However, a shirt, shorts, and sneakers are the perfect outfit for museums, amusement parks, and walking tours.

Take breaks.

If you’re going to a water or amusement park, check if they allow re-entry. Travelers tend to lose energy throughout the day, and you’ll spend most of the day waiting under the hot sun in long lines for a ride that’ll last less than a minute. Go back to your car at midday to eat a packed lunch. Doing so will save you from paying high amusement park food prices.

Then take some time to rest in the car. You can recharge your energy levels, rehydrate and recover from being in the park all day. After you’re fully rested with a full stomach, go back into the park and have fun. Everyone who comes to the amusement park in the morning will be tired, and families with small children typically leave around 2:00 in the afternoon. You and your group will be able to enjoy the park for a few more hours, possibly until closing time.

Research your destination country.

If you plan on traveling out of the country this summer, you may need to be fully vaccinated, depending on where you’re going. The pandemic is still alive and well, and it would be terrible to catch COVID abroad and potentially bring it back home. There are also different things abroad that you may not be used to, such as the water quality. Traveling abroad can also throw off your internal clock. For example, Europe is up to a 7-hour time zone change, which can give you headaches, loss of appetite, and an upset stomach.

It may be wise to bring medication like Advil and Tylenol, as they’re hard to find abroad. Carry a medicine pack with you if you’re going out of the country. Put it in your checked bag, and you’ll be good to go. Also, research the laws of the country you’re traveling to. For example, did you know that you can get fined for leaning on a sign with braille on it in Germany? This fine is just one example of the differing laws around the world.

Summer vacations are when the family can come together and enjoy each other. You and your family will have plenty of time for fun, but it’s also wise to prepare before you go. You’ll be ready for anything that comes your way, and poor planning won’t ruin your fun.

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