Two new year’s travel resolutions everyone should make

Here are two travel resolutions that have to do with letting people in on your plans, at least the basic idea of what you are up to. They may seem like they’ll cramp your free spirit, hit-the-road on a whim style if you’re that kind of person, but these are the details that could save people at home some headache and give you a heads up if there has been a problem while you are away.

When I watched Chris McCandless burn all of his identificiation and not let people know where he was heading when he went off on his going it alone adventure as depicted in the movie Into the Wild, I thought, “Ya know, not the best plan.” I understood the sentiment, but still, not the best plan. Therefore, here are my two don’t be like Chris McCandless resolutions.

Resolution 1: When you are traveling, let people know you are going and for about how long.

A few years back I found out from a relative that my dad was trotting off to Europe or some such place and he had yet to mention it to me. He’s a big boy and can travel wherever and whenever he wants for sure, but I called him up to find out how I might be able to reach him in case there was an emergency. Ever since that day when I reminded him that we need to know when he’s traveling, he’s been good about filling me in. At least I know when he’s leaving and coming back and, if he has it, one contact number.

Also, if I had called him while he was away and he never answered, I’d get worried. We don’t live near each other. I’d rather know he’s out of town then wrack my brain figuring out how to get in touch with him or if something bad has happened when actually he’s drinking a glass of red wine in the south of France.

Likewise, most of the time when we travel, we let our families know where we’re going and when we will be back and our contact information in case they have to contact us.

Although I’ve never had to contact anyone because of an emergency, years ago a friend of mine had to contact me because my apartment was broken into. This caused me to cut my trip short by a couple of days since I wasn’t particularly comfortable letting him handle a broken window and my missing belongings from a couple thousand miles away.

Resolution #2. Leave important documents with someone and instructions just in case there is a medical emergency

My mom is big on telling me just where her documents are whenever she goes anywhere. Everything is written down in an elaborate list even. She’s done this for years despite my eye rolling. However, it’s not a bad idea. She’s also one to carry around a list of the medications she takes in case she has to go to the hospital, which could be resolution #3. She did have an emergency this past February and the list saved the ER folks time and energy.

In Chris’s case, he gave up all life’s trimmings ahead of time, but for the rest of us with bank accounts and what not, instructions are in order.