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You work hard throughout the year, and it’s only fair to reward yourself with a little rest and relaxation. Some people enjoy vacations at home. This is their opportunity to do a few things around the house. But why spend your vacation painting and making home repairs? There is a better way to spend your week off from work. Vacations don’t have to break the bank, and with the multitude of travel deals available online, you can find amazing deals on airfare, cruises and hotels like Caesars Palace.

johnny ward digital nomad
Never leave without my iphone

But regardless of where and how long you vacation, a few travel essentials can ensure a memorable and problem-free experience. Here is a checklist of five must-have travel items.

1. GPS. If you’re taking a road trip, a car GPS is one way to reach your destination in the quickest time possible. You can purchase a GPS from any electronics store, or download GPS software to your smartphone. Having navigational software of your cellphone is beneficial because you’re able to access directions when you’re away from the car. Most software programs or apps for smartphones provide driving directions, as well as walking directions. Thus, you can determine how long it’ll take to reach a destination whether you’re traveling by car or foot.

2. Digital camera. The days of film are gone. No vacation is complete without a digital camera. Purchase a camera with at least 2 gigs of memory and you can take hundreds of pictures. Upload these pictures to your laptop computer each night and you’ll free up space for additional pictures. And if you’re planning an underwater excursion, such as scuba diving or snorkeling, don’t forget your underwater disposable camera.

3. Auto club membership. Don’t hit the road without joining an auto club, such as AAA. Anything can happen on a road trip, such as a flat tire or mechanical problems. Plus, you might run out of gas or lock your keys inside the car. Being an auto club member gives you access to free tire changes, towing and much more. Sure, there is a one-time annual expense, but this is often cheaper than paying a company to tow your car to the nearest auto repair shop.

4. Travel insurance. Many vacationers skip travel insurance, but this type of coverage is useful if you’re traveling domestically and internationally. This coverage offers compensation in the event of trip cancellation or lost luggage. And if you travel internationally, having travel insurance can cover any medical expenses that occur while you’re out of the country. If you get sick in a foreign country, your hospital or doctor will not accept your U.S. health insurance plan.

5. Credit card. Even if you use cash your entire vacation, don’t leave home without an emergency credit card. This can pay for any incidentals that occur. If possible, bring a rewards credit card. This way, you can earn points, miles or cash toward future travel.

Referring to a vacation checklist can ensure that you have all necessary items. Vacations are a fun time for your family. Don’t let a wrong turn, a car repair or a medical emergency cast a black cloud over your downtime.

Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!

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