My Pre-Trip Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before You Leave for Vacation

I consider myself an obsessively organized person, especially when it comes to traveling. Even though I can get overwhelmed when it comes to deciding WHERE to go (there’s just too many great places to see – how are you supposed to pick one??), I dive headlong into research and planning as soon as I know our destination. But even I am capable of forgetting things, and the best thing that helps me is making a million lists. In the next few posts, I’ll share the lists I’ve created over the last few years to help me get ready to go on vacation. First up is my pre-vacation checklist! Here’s what I’ve done before almost every trip Daniel and I have taken together.

1.  Print copies of all travel documents.

Plane tickets, hotel reservations, vacation package confirmation, maps of travel routes or places to visit – EVERYTHING. The last thing you want to do is get lost somewhere with no internet and no map, or stuck without proof that you’re supposed to be wherever you are.

2.  Update your work calendar.

Before you leave your workplace, set “away” messages for your email and phone, and make sure your trip shows up on any shared calendars. Try to finish up any projects you are working on and leave any relevant information for your coworkers, if they need it.

3.  Leave your house in good hands. 

Ask a neighbor, friend, or family member to keep an eye on your place while you’re gone. Have them feed your pets, water your plants, and bring any mail or packages inside.

4.  Check the weather one last time and finalize your packing list. 

And do the rest of your laundry a few days before, just to ensure that your favorite pieces are clean! Once you’re ready to start packing, lay everything out on your bed or the floor. Yes, everything. That way, you can see exactly how much you’re taking and narrow your choices down a little to save space in your suitcase.

5.  Make room for vacation pictures.

If you’re going somewhere pretty, you’re going to want that extra data space on your phone or memory on your camera. Don’t wait until you’re already on your trip to start frantically deleting things after getting the dreaded “Storage Full” message as the pod of dolphins swims right by you and out of your life forever.

6.  Let your bank and/or credit card company know that you’ll be traveling.

This is really important if you’re traveling internationally. If you don’t let them know ahead of time, there’s a chance that your cards could get shut down for “suspicious activity” in another country.

7.  Schedule your preparatory appointments.

Get a haircut, pedicure, spray tan – whatever you need to do to make yourself look acceptably attractive to people who will never see you again.

8.  Download stuff on Netflix.

Did you know that you can download TV shows and movies on Netflix to watch later without using the internet?? Best. news. ever. Long plane rides just got a little less boring.

9.  Clean your house.

You don’t have to deep-clean everything, but I usually wipe down the bathrooms and the kitchen, and I vacuum as many rooms as I can. It’s also good to get rid of perishable food in the fridge, run the dishwasher, take out all the trash, and put new clean sheets on your bed.

10.  Save some money.

Right before you leave the house, turn the thermostat up or down, depending on the season. Unplug appliances to conserve energy. Make a Walmart run and buy some snacks to keep yourself from spending $25 on soft pretzels at the airport (which I always end up doing anyway, because AUNTIE ANNE’S).

Any suggestions or tips that help you get organized before you travel? Share them in the comments!

One thought on “My Pre-Trip Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before You Leave for Vacation

  1. Staci says:

    Great tips– especially making room for vacation pics. I have plenty of “real camera” memory cards — but my phone is chronically at 99% capacity. I definitely need to get on top of that before my trips this summer.


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