While the holidays are meant to be merry and bright, traveling during the holidays can sometimes be less than cheerful. As a notary, you may have the extra anxiety of making sure your business is properly handled while you are away. We have compiled a list of things you can do to help ensure your travels are not riddled with unnecessary stress.
✓ Calendar As soon as you are aware of your travel dates you should immediately place them on your calendar to avoid any unintentional conflicts or missed opportunities.
✓ Email and Voicemail Auto-Reply Good communication is vital to a notary public. Be sure to let your customers know why you are unreachable with a terrific voicemail and email auto-reply. A great message will include the dates you will be unavailable, when you will return, and possibly the contact information of a trusted colleague for urgent situations.
✓ Tie-up Loose Ends A week or two before you travel is a good time to reach out to business colleagues regarding any outstanding matters. Tying up loose ends will help ensure a restful holiday vacation for you, and will limit frustration upon your return.
✓ Reach Out to Your Important Clients If you have certain customers you interact with on a regular basis, you may want to let them know ahead of time about your planned absence. This gives them time to resolve any matters before your departure. Consider giving them the contact information of a trusted colleague for just-in-case scenarios.
✓ Create a Checklist It's amazing how forgetful we can become after a vacation. Taking a moment to write a list of all the important things currently on your plate will ensure nothing is missed upon your return.
✓ Tidy your Office Spending the time now to unclutter and clean your work space will reward you two-fold when you jump back into your work after vacation. Take five minutes to water the plants, take out the trash, stack papers, put away folders and lightly dust. Trust us, no one likes coming back from vacation to an office with dead plants and smelling like weeks old lunch.
✓ Snacks and Water If you’re flying, try to eat a good meal before the flight and pack some easy snacks in your carry-on in case your flight is delayed.
If you’re driving, pack snacks and drinks. Make sure they are easily accessible in your vehicle.
✓ Charge Electronics and Pack Charging Cords Be sure to travel with a fully charged phone and phone charger. Any other necessary electronics like laptops, tablets, and smart watches should be at 100% charge before leaving.
✓ Do Your Research First and foremost, research the airlines you intend to fly with before booking your flight. Pay attention to their respective fees and policies regarding cancellations, delays, and carry-on and checked luggage. When booking, keep in mind that flights departing earlier in the day have a better on-time record than those leaving later in the afternoon or evening.
✓ Pack Light It’s usually a good idea to pack lightly. Lost luggage is an unpredictable occurrence that can add an enormous amount of stress to your trip. If you don’t need to check any luggage, you can avoid this risk as well as the baggage claim wait time. If you must check your bags, make sure you have all of your essentials in your carry-on bag. This includes important documents, medications, a change of clothes, and any other items that would be pertinent and necessary if your checked bags were lost.
✓ No Wrapped Gifts Another item to avoid is packing wrapped gifts. The TSA has the right to unwrap and inspect all packages. If you’re traveling within the United States, consider having gifts shipped directly to your destination to save the inconvenience of having them inspected. If possible, ship them ahead of time to avoid any carrier delays.
✓ Extra Time On the day of your flight, give yourself extra time in case life does not go as planned. A good tip is to arrive at the airport at least a couple of hours early. Security lines can be rather long, especially during the holidays, and it’s always better to spend a few additional minutes at the airport instead of missing your flight.
✓ Car Maintenance If you’re planning a road trip, it is critical to have your car serviced and tires inspected prior to leaving. Poor vehicle maintenance can result in major travel delays.
✓ Plan Alternate Routes With the holidays comes massive amounts of traffic. There are bound to be a few accidents. In case you are met with heavy traffic, it helps to have a few alternative routes planned. Consider traveling when there are the fewest amount of people on the road. This typically means early in the morning or late at night. Regardless of the time of day you travel, the driver should be completely awake and alert.
✓ Emergency Supplies The more you plan ahead the less likely something will go wrong when you’re on the road. Even with all of your preparations, there is always the possibility that you will hit an unforeseen speed bump on the metaphorical road of traveling. In case of emergency, essentials such as water, flashlights, and bandages, should be kept in the car. Additionally, if you have roadside assistance, be sure to have the necessary contact information on hand.
✓ Entertainment When traveling with children, it helps if they can be engaged in some way. Books, car games, electronic devices, and music are all excellent ways to keep kids occupied and less focused on if you’re “there yet.” For prolonged road trips, planning stops that the kids will enjoy can help relieve all of their bottled-up energy. Any activity helps.
We hope these tips will help you plan your holiday adventure.
Safe travels and happy holidays!