Everything You Need for a Safe Vacation

Getting ready for a vacation is stressful enough as it is for an able-bodied, healthy person, but for someone suffering from an illness or disability taking a holiday can become a nightmare. When we travel we take for granted things like accessibility, mobility and proximity to trained healthcare professionals. It’s this kind of attitude, however, that leaves us unprepared for emergency situations. The best course of action (for any individual, really, regardless of ability) is to put a little more thought into the care that is required for you and your family to have a safe vacation. Is it a drag? Yes. Is it worth it? Totally. The best case scenario is that you have a peaceful, relaxing vacation knowing that you’re covered in an emergency. Worst case scenario is you’ll be grateful you put in the effort ahead of time so you can deal with your crisis as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Here are some things to consider before you travel in order to have a safe vacation:

Location, location, location. It’s a good idea to do a little research before you travel so you’re up-to-date with the local living conditions (i.e., is there safe drinking water?) and which diseases may be endemic to that region. A travel vaccine clinic or your family doctor may have information on which travel vaccines may be appropriate for you or your family and how often they need to be updated.

It pays to be insured. If you do skip the travel insurance, make sure you’ve got money in reverse in case you incur any medical expenses while traveling.

But know what your insurance covers. You may still incur additional expenses such as medications, etc. that are not covered under your current plan, so it’s best to be prepared. It’s also a good idea to find out ahead of time if there are any implications should you actually have an emergency. It may seem scary to explore the worst-case scenario but you’re better off knowing know that your insurance won’t cover expenses such as prolonged hospital stays or medical transportation.

Accessibility is also key. Do your due diligence and find out where the closest medical facilities are. You may also want to plan your activities with certain conditions in mind, such as proximity to washrooms, accessibility for wheelchairs, etc.

Play by the rules. Find out the customs regulations ahead of time, and make sure you plan accordingly- sometimes a doctor’s note is required to travel with certain medications. And always, always, always pack your pills in their original bottles with the prescription label to clearly identify them as yours.

Finally, go easy on yourself. Don’t push yourself too hard or jam-pack your schedule, or have too strict an itinerary. The idea is to have fun and relax, so choose a trustworthy companion that has a basic understanding of your medical condition. A truly understanding friend will let you know when you’ve pushed your limits, and not be resentful about any rest or recovery time you might need.

Safe travels!

B

Have you faced any challenges while traveling? Do you have any crazy travel stories? Warnings for future travelers? I want to read them all in the comments below, or you can email me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. Wanna find out more about vacation planning? Click here.

Managing your personal life actually takes a lot of work and organization- even when it seems like it really shouldn’t. Here I’ve researched all the many ways I could make my life easier here, from choosing an outfit to choosing a colour for your bedroom. For even more best practices for a better life, click here and here.

 

 

5 Things to Do Before You Take Time Off Of Work

KBB_flipflops_on_the_sandWhenever I plan a trip for anyone (and considering I don’t travel all that often, you’d be surprised at how often I have done this for other people), I always joke about the extra work involved in taking time off. Vacations are supposed to be restorative, relaxing and fun but it’s easy to get caught up in stressing over the details of planning your holiday. Next thing you know, you’ve spent the first two days of your vacation trying to come down off of the adrenaline rush.

I’m not going to sugar-coat the truth for you and tell you there’s some magical formula that will leave you completely worry-free when planning your vacation. But if you are planning to take time off of work, here are a few ideas to get you from stressed out to stoked.

Do thy research. It’s a good idea to store all of the details concerning your flight, your accommodations, etc. all in one place for easy reference. In doing this, you may find you’ve missed a step (do you know how you’re getting to the hotel from the airport?) It’s also a good idea to check if your passport and any other travel documents are up-to-date, as well as your travel vaccines. If you’re traveling to some place exotic, make sure you read up on the weather, currency and other issues you might feel are of concern to your health and/or safety. A prepared, informed traveler is a safe, happy and healthy one.

Tie up loose ends. There’s nothing worse than trying to pick up a colleague’s project and realize that you have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Leaving someone or something dangling at work is impolite, unprofessional and not a great scene for anyone involved. You don’t want to leave someone with a mess of a project, and let’s face it- you don’t really want to deal with that mess when you come back to work, do you?

Make an action plan for your absence. If you’re taking work with you, make sure you have the appropriate means to get done what you need to get done. If someone else needs to get something done while you’re away and they need your input, let them know how best to get in touch with you, if at all. (Kind of like Number 2).

Plan your vacation before you leave. Too often we expect ourselves to come back from vacation and jump right into the thick of things, which sounds almost as stressful as not having a vacation at all. Do yourself a favor and don’t spend most of your vacation anticipating your return to work. Take an extra day off to unpack, schedule catch-up time, telecommute or do whatever it is you need to do to make sure the stress of transitioning back to the workplace doesn’t counteract the positive, relaxing effects of your vacation.

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Unless you want to be associated with this elusive anti-hero, please inform the appropriate authorities of where you are going- your loved ones, your boss, etc. I once was hired for a job because one of the employees decided she was going to take off to Australia for a month and not tell anyone. It may seem like common sense, but this really, truly did happen and I want to make sure you don’t make the same mistake!

If you know ahead of time where you’re going, what you’ll need and what’s going to happen when you get back you can automatically forget everything else. You’ve done the work already. Now: sit back, relax, and have a margarita. Those are B’s orders.

KBwB-BFlower-50I bet you anything that you travel more than I do (it’s not that difficult) so if you’ve got more travel tips to share, I’d love to hear them! Comment below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. I may choose to share them in another travel-related post.

Or you could just tell me stories about your travels, really. My goal is to live vicariously through other people’s vacations.

Book Review: Timothy Ferris on Scrunching Your Schedule

KBB_Book_Review_TimothyFerrisPeople are often surprised to find out that in addition to my freelancing career, I work part-time as an office administrator at a local family practice. It isn’t easy trying to balance a regular job between freelancing clients but I have to admit that one of the ways that I’ve achieved this is through Timothy Ferris’ technique that I like to call “schedule-scrunching”, as outlined in his bestselling book The Four-Hour Work Week.

Scrunching your schedule isn’t necessarily about sacrificing certain key elements of your workflow- for instance; it would be impossible for someone in a service-based business like my own to cut down on time spent with clients. Instead, making extra time during your work week depends on 1) figuring out which tasks can be streamlined or delegated; and 2) maximizing your schedule for efficiency by grouping together tasks.

Ferris sounds like he leads a pretty wild lifestyle- he dances competitively and travels the world- and he claims that his methodology presented in The Four Hour Work Week has allowed him the time and flexibility to pursue his passions. I’m a little skeptical about the feasibility of running a business using only a weekly four-hour marathon work session, but it’s definitely an attractive idea.

When applying this to my own schedule, I tried to make the most of the days when I work half-day shifts by scheduling client meetings or other appointments during the portion of the day I’m free. It means that for a few days every week I’m working my butt off but the payoff of building a couple of flex days into my schedule has allowed me the freedom to take on new clients, keep on top of housework, and develop personal projects.

For those of you who haven’t totally bought into the hype, there’s still lots of interesting tidbits on how to automate your business, on which tasks to delegate and how, and the most interesting of all (to the budget-obsessed like me), Ferris offers lots of different suggestions on how to cultivate the lifestyle that best suits you for as cheaply as possible. He covers everything from cutting down on business costs to finding cheap airfare so you can too make that dance competition on another continent.

As for me? I’m taking Timothy Ferris’ suggestions to heart, but I’m sticking to armchair travel for now.

KBwB-Flower-50

Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.