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Preparing for Travel Time: The List You Don’t Like to Think About

By Marie Burns July 28, 2023 Lifestyle

Summer is the season for vacations, or I understand it’s referred to as the time for “going on holiday” in some parts of Europe. It’s a time full of fun, seeing new things, slowing down and relaxing as well as connecting with friends/family or making new friends.

Life Goes On

One week into my recent extended travel time this year, I was already reminded of the unexpectedness of how life still goes on all around us even while we are getting away for some extra fun. One family member vacationing at a family cottage had just arrived and got that dreaded call that a parent was in critical condition in the hospital (and then sadly passed away the next week).

A friend just talked to one of her adult children who received a call from her doctor to find out that she had a brain tumor. And another family member just learned about a car accident that left a loved one in a coma. That was week 1, I was almost afraid for week 2.

Be Prepared

I’m a big believer in preparing for what you can in life, but then living life as much as you can in the moment. You can’t worry about every possibility all the time (without getting depressed or turning into a worrier). Do what you can to prepare for the worst but then put it out of your mind and enjoy life, that’s my motto. So how do we do that?

Things to Consider

There are lots of things to consider and take action on, no matter what our age, for our protection and the benefit of our family. I’ve outlined these actions in my Checklist for Everyone bundle. But if you had to start with one thing, I would suggest assembling a “To Go” folder now, before your next trip. Here are some quick start ideas:

Create a “My Fact Sheet”

Think about what a medical person might need to know about you: Name, date of birth, health conditions, “medications, allergies, and a notepad to take notes if needed at a hospital.

Compile a “My Contact List”

Name who would need to be contacted if you needed care. Include your own contact information (address, phone, email), family or friends’ address and phone numbers, medical providers’ details, and applicable financial provider’s contacts, i.e., auto insurance, banker, etc.

Assemble “My Health Insurance Documents”

List people related to authorizing and paying for medical care. Copies of health insurance cards, health insurance agent business card/contact info, and power of attorney for health care documents (who you authorize to talk with and make decisions with the doctors) can be most helpful.

Ideally, if you have all of your estate planning documents up-to-date (trust/will and Powers of Attorney for financial and health care), a copy of those should be included in the “To Go” folder as well. I have seen large plastic zip lock types of bags, folders, large envelopes, binders, or accordion files used as the “folder.” Use what makes the most sense to you and consider keeping it safely in your vehicle, suitcase, or travel bag.

Plan for the Worst…

You know the old saying, “Plan for the worst and expect the best.” So do this once and then you can focus on expecting the best in life. Stephen Covey is a great author and has many books of wisdom. One of his main concepts states our greatest challenge well: learn, commit, and do one is no good without the other.

Too often we are motivated to learn and then even admit to ourselves that something we learned is important enough to commit to doing. But until we actually DO it, we have really not lived out the “learn” benefit at all.

I bet you can knock out this “To Go” folder commitment in one hour if you don’t already have one compiled. Before your next travel date, can you prioritize one hour to help yourself and your family?

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you compiled a “To Go” folder? Has there been a time you have already needed it? Any suggestions for contents or travel considerations?

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I just created my FACT SHEET and CONTACT SHEET. Thanks or a great article.

Marie Burns

Awesome, doable chunks of taking action work! Now you can enjoy your travels more!

Sandy Wilson

A timely reminder! I’m heading off for a two-week hike and even though my husband and I have our legal documents up to date, he will not be with me. I will put my own folder together and keep it in my backpack! Thank you for the nudge.

Marie Burns

Excellent to hear, congrats on taking action! Now you can enjoy that hike even more with that peace of mind in place.

The Author

Marie Burns, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), advocates for women’s financial health. She is an author of a financial checklist book series, speaker, podcast host and partners with clients to offer friendly financial advice in her independent practice Visit her at or

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