Preparing for travel doesn’t need to be stressful. Before you can relax on that beach vacation or the climb through the Rocky’s, there are some things you should take care of at home. Depending on where you live and your specific logistics, you may need to make changes to this list. I’m here to help you prepare and make the most of your hard-earned vacations and much-needed time away!
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Surprisingly, there can be a lot of prep work before going on vacation. This prep work will save you stress during traveling and help you have a relaxing return. As we travel more and more, we find ourselves using checklists to ensure we cover all our bases before trekking off on a new adventure. To help you, I decided to share my pre-travel prep guide in order to help navigate you through this important time.
I hope that this list will assist you and bring you comfort that you are ready to travel without any of those pesky “did I remember to…?” moments.
- Schedule It! – Ensure your vacation is on the schedule with all appropriate approvals.
- Brace Your E-mail Box – Set up an out-of-office automatic reply message. It helps if you suggest an alternate contact and let them know when you will be back in the office.
- Say “See You Later!” – Try to actually disconnect and relax during your vacation. Namaste.
- Stop Delivery of any Mail/Newspapers/Packages – the build-up of these items in front of your home can alert burglars that you are not home. Stop your services by contacting the newspaper and/or post office or have a dependable neighbor/friend grab your mail for you.
- Clean Up! – The cleaner your home is before you leave, the nicer it will be when you return. Imagine coming home to no dishes in the sink, all the laundry done, clean sheets on the bed, and clean floors. Make sure to avoid odors by taking out the trash, throwing out any perishable food from the fridge and ensuring no wet clothes are in the washer/dryer. These little details make a huge difference!
- Pay Bills – especially bills that will come due while you are gone. Who wants to pay bills right after a vacation anyways? Do it now and your future self will thank you.
- Lock up & alert security – before you leave the house, double-check all the doors/windows are locked. If you have a security system, set it and make sure your security company knows the dates you will be out of town.
- Keep Living Things Alive – Make sure pets and plants are cared for when you are away. A reliable house or pet sitter can come and watch your pets and/or plants, or you can arrange for pets to stay in a kennel or with a relative.
- Medication – Check your levels of medication and make sure to refill before your trip if you are running low.
- Call Bank & Credit Card Company – This is less common now as more and more companies use chip & PIN technology. If you’re unsure, just call your bank and let them know you will be traveling and where. This way, fraud protection will not block your purchases and the bank will keep an eye on any unusual purchases.
- Get Cash Money/Currency exchange – Check your card to see if it has foreign transaction fees; if it does, you should seriously consider getting a travel-friendly credit card such as CapitalOne360 Venture Card! Not all places accept credit/debit cards and cash is also useful for tipping drivers, wait staff, tour guides, bartenders, etc. If you need to go to your local bank for currency, do so the week before you leave.
My Favorite Travel Credit Cards
- Confirm, Confirm, Confirm! – Ensure you confirm your flight, your hotel, your excursions and any other reservations you may have made. You never know when your phone may die or malfunction, so it is a great idea to print out/write down any confirmation numbers, important addresses, and receipts.
- Transportation – People often forget to set up a ride to and from the airport, whether that be a paid ride, train, or your Uncle Lenny, make sure you have it figured out. Also, make sure that you have transportation from the airport to your hotel, resort, cruise, etc. or plans to find transportation when you land. It’s always best to reserve a car or service company before you leave.
- Weather Check – Do one last check on the weather in the destination you are traveling for the time you will be visiting. This will help you pack the right clothes and gear for journey and know what to expect when you arrive.
- Flight Check-In – Make sure to check in for your flight and print your boarding pass to avoid lines at the airport. Also, this is a great way to see if any better seats are available or book a seat. This is especially important if you are flying Southwest!
- Passport/Real ID – Do you have one? Have you made sure it is not expired? To get through security at the airport you will need a current passport or state ID. Starting October 2020, you will need a Real ID to fly anywhere. Read my article here on it’s importance. This can take some time, mine came after 3 weeks, so make sure you plan ahead.
- Directions – If you are going on a road trip or a place you have never been, it is always a good idea to have some sort of map. This way, you can help navigate, mark places you explore and have a general sense of direction in case you get lost or have an emergency. A printed map is best in case of technology difficulties or roaming phone charges.
- PACK – This step can be overwhelming. Knowing how much to pack for the duration of your trip, what to pack and remembering everything can be stressful. Read my article on must have carry-on items.
- Trip Itinerary – Create one and provide one to the important people in your life: parents, dependable neighbors, friends or anyone watching your pets/house. This is a great way for them to know how to contact you if there is an emergency and to know when they should expect you home. Creating an itinerary is also a great way to plan your trip.
- Download Google Translate – If you are going to a location in which you do not speak the language, Google Translate will be your best friend!
- Charged up and ready to go! – Make sure all the devices you are bringing are fully charged and you pack the charging cable. Cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten a charger and what a pain! Bringing extra batteries for cameras or a portable charger for your phone, tablet, etc. can also be essential!
- Stay Connected – Ensure you program in all the phone numbers you will need (airline, hotel, transport, etc.) and give important contacts your cell number.
- Entertainment – Have some books, apps, games, music and movies downloaded on your devices so that you have entertainment during travel and downtime. This is especially important if you have young children with you during travel.
- Storage Space – Do a pass through of your phone settings to see if you have enough available storage space. You will want to take plenty of pictures and videos on your devices during your trip and do not want to run out of space when something epic happens! Plan to bring additional memory cards if storage may be an issue. This way, you can capture every moment.
- Sleep – This may sound obvious but its important to rest up before your trip so you are ready to do. To avoid jet lag, get in a sleeping pattern that suits your destination.
Read More: ID No Longer Works at the Airport
Now you can rest easy that you have prepped thoroughly for your trip. We know this list can feel overwhelming. The trick is to spread out these to-do’s over the course of the week or so before the trip. This will help reduce the stress of it all and give you more time to run to the store for last minute items as needed.
Print this list so you can check these items off as you go along and feel like a productive bad**s. Rock on \m/
Did I miss something? Feel free to add suggestions in the comments below or any tips that you found useful, I would love to hear from you!