Let’s be honest, you work hard for your vacation and want to make the most of it by unplugging from reality so you can rest and recharge. The last thing you want is to let poor planning get in the way of the R&R you deserve. Unfortunately, sometimes the unexpected does happen, but if you follow these simple fail-proof tips, you will have a much better chance of avoiding travel pitfalls and enjoying your break.\n1. Do a background check.\nI know this is probably the worst analogy for your vacation, but you wouldn't deliberately go into an important exam without knowing the material, right? Well it's kind of the same thing when you go somewhere new. Do some background research on your destination, so you have some idea what to expect, where to go, or any risks or dangers that you should be aware of.\nAre you planning to travel during the rainy or stormy season? Is there a significant crime rate in the areas you’re visiting? Are you going to be able to access emergency funds if needed? These are some important things to consider.\n2. Photocopy your important documents.\nYou don't have a choice when it comes to carrying your passport/visa/insurance papers when crossing borders, but you can limit how often you pull them out in a foreign place. Photocopy your important documents before you go, that way you can leave your hard copy identity, along with extra cash and jewelry, safely locked in your hotel room safe. This will ensure that, even if you’re victim of theft or you misplace copies, your original travel documents will be safe and secure.\nAnother good idea: share your travel itinerary with your family and loved ones back home. That way, they can keep track of where you plan to be and when, and offer financial or other assistance, if required.\n3. Assume your stuff will go missing.\nSo, imagine you’re on vacation; The sun is shining, the sand is soft and the breeze is warm. You think you’ve left your troubles at home, until you realize you’ve just lost your phone. That's exactly what happened to one Montrealer on a recent trip to Cuba. On top of feeling lost without his phone, the realization that the phone's SIM card could be used to rack up his bill was a massive mood killer.\nLuckily, the man happened to meet Mange, a TELUS employee who was vacationing at the same resort, and took it upon himself to call his colleagues in TELUS’ care department to make sure there wouldn't be any unexpected charges. Mange was an absolute hero that day, but you might not have the same good fortune.\nMoral of the story? Always keep an eye on your stuff and while you’re at it, make sure your phone has password lock, and call your service provider right away if you lose your device to protect yourself – and your wallet – against a roaming bill.\n4. Live like a local.\nYou can spot a tourist when you see one here in Montreal. Well, it's the same thing for the locals in Maui when they see your Hawaiian shirt and leather fanny pack. Okay, so maybe you are not that tacky, but consider what you look like when roaming the streets.\nTry as much as possible to integrate into the culture, limit how much bling you flash, how often you pull out your map and keep your expensive camera gear – if you have to carry it at all – safely stowed in a nondescript backpack. It might take a couple of days to absorb it all, but it's worth the added safety in the long run.\n5. Don't push your luck!\nA lot of money was spent booking flights, hotels, restaurants, etc., so the last thing you need is to spoil it all on a hospital bill. You're on vacation; there's no need to try and showoff by doing something stupid. This applies to trying trick stunts when you've never jet-skied before in your life or climbing up a steep cliff because you think the view will be better or standing up to a mugger who just might be dangerous enough to hurt you (or worse). Enjoy your time off and stay in one piece!\nBeing cautious and prepared for your vacation will never go out of style. Following these relatively simple tips and tricks will only help you create a stress-free getaway this Winter. Trust us, a little prep at the outset will go a long way.\nBONUS TIP – When travelling, sometimes the best way to buy some peace of mind is to add a travel pass to your mobile account before you leave. TELUS travel passes provide a savings of 50-90 per cent off regular pay-per-use rates and give you the flexibility and peace of mind to use your phone more freely without any unpleasant surprises.