text by Emma Zang Schwartz

With triple-digit temps just days away, you just know it…you’ve got to plan at least one getaway during the toasty Valley summer. In addition to escaping the heat, it’s also important for your own sanity to take a little time for yourself. Somehow you sailed through the holidays and, without skipping a beat, continue to juggle a demanding work schedule while making time for family and friends. Before you take that well-deserved break from the daily routine, here are some things to check off your list to make it easier to head off to that exciting locale. 


It’s important to know what kind of break you’re desiring. Do you want a thrill-seeking adventure in the great outdoors, or how about relaxing on a secluded tropical beach? Would taking in the sights and sounds of Rome or napping by the tranquil Mediterranean Sea be your ideal getaway. Step one is to decide what you’re up for, then do your research. Learn about your destination including the climate, customs, available activities and accommodations. 


Need vaccinations or meds where you’re going? What about passports, visas, permits, licenses? For every time-sensitive document, schedule all applications, prescriptions and processing far enough in advance to be sure that you have what you need before you go. The same applies to all medical concerns. Talk with your doctor early to ensure a smooth transition into your vacation. You might want to check into travel insurance as well.


Before you load up your luggage, lay out all the clothes you think you’ll be wearing on vacation. Then eliminate every item that isn’t absolutely crucial. Be honest. Think double-duty – select daytime items that, when accessorized, can be perfect for a night on the town. Opt for fabrics that are natural fiber since they travel better and are simpler to clean. Unless you’re headed to another galaxy, you can always shop at the local stores for something you may have forgotten to pack. And, for heaven’s sake, leave those stunning, but painful, shoes at home.


When security alerts are color-coded, it’s not always easy keeping track of the latest travel restrictions. Understand airport protocols and if you’re headed abroad, check with the State Department for consular information and international advisory updates. Also, each airline has different criteria regarding carry-ons, luggage allowance, excess charges, over-sized items, etc. so check with your carrier in advance. It’s best to know before you arrive at the airport.


Traveling does have its challenges. Preparing to leave can be exhausting, so make a checklist in advance. Include transitioning your work responsibilities and securing your home in your absence. Then there’s the rush to the airport followed by the endless wait to check-in and pass through TSA before finally boarding. Take the opportunity to catch up on those mags you’ve been meaning to read, plug into your playlist or treat yourself to a bon voyage cocktail. Whatever it takes, RELAX…relief is just one flight away. 


As the expression goes, “better safe than sorry.” And that goes double while you’re on vacation. There are folks who make a career taking what isn’t theirs, and tourists are unsuspecting targets. Only carry as much cash as you’ll need for the day and keep an eye on your belongings. Make use of your hotel safe for valuables and photocopies of your credit cards and passport. As pictured above, The Ned Hotel in London boasts a private lounge that houses vaults available to its guests. Be mindful of your surroundings, and if something seems fishy, trust your instincts.