Your next vacation should be relaxing and stress free. You have worked hard and paid a lot of money to spend that time doing what you want to do where you want to do it. Let us help put your mind at ease with these simple steps that you can take to ensure your happiness, while traveling.

When you travel to visit friends or family, be a courteous guest and do not assume they will make all your sightseeing plans for you. Many people assume they are there to be entertained, which is of course an incorrect assumption and generates bad feeling. Instead, do your homework ahead of time, let your hosts know what you’re planning to do, invite but don’t oblige them to accompany you, and spend your time together in good will, knowing you are being a gracious guest.

Pack some plastic bags when going on a longer trip. Plastic bags always come in handy when you spill something, for toiletries or if you have some dirty laundry. Meanwhile, some places have laundry opportunities, so it is always useful to carry a plastic bag with you to keep your dirty laundry in.

Before undergoing any major traveling, make sure you get plenty of rest the night before you leave. A lack of sleep can cause you to make poor decisions and causes forgetfulness. The consequences of bad choices when traveling are far more severe, than normal, so make sure you’re well rested.

Book your reservations and flights with the exact name shown on your government identification card. Although you may typically go by a nickname or middle name, for the purpose of ticketing, use your given name. Small name differences can be a huge headache when trying to get through security, especially abroad where it isn’t obvious that Bill is short for William.

If you’re planning on travelling internationally any time soon, make sure you’re prepared for customs inspections and the forms you’ll have to fill out. Have your social security number memorized and keep your passport handy at all times. Find out before you leave your destination what you aren’t allowed to bring home, as your gifts can easily be confiscated.

Before embarking on an overseas vacation, check what documentation is necessary for travel to your destination. Different country pairs require different documentation, including visas. Visa requirements will also differ based on how long you plan to remain in that country. In many cases, if you travel without a visa you are attempting to enter that country illegally.

Before you leave on a vacation, get as much sleep as possible. Being well-rested will give you the energy you need to enjoy your vacation, as well as helping prevent jet lag. You aren’t going to want to sleep in and waste your vacation time once you leave, and you may have trouble sleeping in a new place, so it’s better to be prepared.

When choosing luggage for a trip, black isn’t always better. You want to be able to easily identify your luggage when it comes off of the baggage carousel, so buy luggage in a fun color like red or green, if you can. If you already own black luggage, add a distinctive ribbon or something colorful to mark it as yours. This will avoid any baggage mix-ups.

Before making firm travel plans call the hotel you are considering, and find out when it was built or last renovated. A low-budget facility can be a great place to stay if it is brand new, while a high class hotel can be a miserable experience for you if it is very old. You want to stay somewhere that was either built or renovated in the past five years.

To exchange currency for traveling abroad, it is best to wait until you are at your destination. International airports will have kiosks to exchange your money for the country’s currency. Exchanging at your own bank often comes loaded with extra charges. Using a credit or debit card abroad incurs high fees as well. Withdraw cash before you travel, and exchange it at the airport before you start your adventures.

When preparing to pack for your vacation, make sure to check the weather forecast for your destination. Try to check the forecast the day before you leave, for the best accuracy. Even though weather forecasts are never 100 percent correct, you can get a general idea of what type of clothing and shoes to bring.

If you are traveling with children, separate each of their outfits and put them in an individual freezer bag. Label the bags with the date that you want the child to wear the clothing. While it takes a little planning to do, this idea makes your mornings run much smoother since the kids just grab their bag and get ready to go. They do not have to dig through their suitcase, potentially creating a big mess.

A great travel tip is to bring clothespins with you when you’re staying at a hotel. Sometimes, the curtains in hotel rooms won’t close all the way, which can make it really annoying when you’re trying to sleep and there’s a ray of light getting inside. Clothespins can close curtains for good.

Now that you have some information that you will need, in order to have a well-planned and relaxing getaway, all that is left to do is to pack your bags and put the advice here into good practice. Travel should be an enjoyable experience and these tips will make sure that that happens.