Traveling is fun and exciting, but even the most meticulous packer might forget something at home. We’ve all been there before, and for some of us, it has taught us a very important lesson.
Perhaps you’ve scored a great deal on your trip thanks to all the tips I share here on Mint Notion.
However, before you get too excited and let some of these important to-dos slip your mind, read through this list of things people often forget to pack or do before going on vacation.
Your vacation time is too important to put off packing for your trip until the night before you leave. Plus we tend to forget things when we are pressed for time, which could lead to unplanned vacation expenses if you need to replace items while you’re away.
I like using this pre-trip checklist included in my Travel Planner to help me stay organized.
Things to do when planning the trip:
- Create a vacation budget
- Research the weather during your trip
- Research transportation options for your trip / getting around your destination
- Research accommodation options and prices – I like using Booking.com and Hotwire to find cheap hotels.
- Research things to do and see on your trip – Save money on attractions by using the GO City Pass.
- Research ways to save money during your trip
- Research where to eat
- Research where to shop
- Research tips and cultural etiquette of destination
- Research best times to visit popular attractions
- Research required travel visas or immunizations
Things to do one week before your vacation:
- Arrange a pet sitter
- Buy appropriate travel insurance for your trip
- Pay bills that will be due while you’re away
- Ask a neighbor to collect your mail and packages
- Refill your perscriptions (if necessary)
- Arrange transport to and from the airport
- Let family or friends know about your travel plans
- Buy items you need for your trip – Check out my tips on what to pack for a 2-week vacation
Things to do a few days before your trip:
- Notify your credit card / bank about your travel plans
- Take out cash you’ll need for your trip
- Make copies of important documents (such as your passport and IDs)
- Print hard copies of travel reservations (hotel, car rental, flights)
- Enter important numbers into your phone
- Update phone plan for your trip (if needed)
- Confirm all your travel reservations
Things to do the day before your trip:
- Eat up perishable food from the fridge
- Pack your luggage and carry-on bag
- Clean and tidy up your home
- Charge all electronics
Things to do right before leaving on your trip:
- Unplug electronics at home
- Take out the trash
- Check your flight or train status
- Lock all doors and windows
- Set thermostat
- Turn off water (if necessary)
- Close blinds and curtains
Road trip prep:
- Check tire pressure
- Check fluid levels
- Get oil changed (if necessary)
- Check car first-aid kit
- Program GPS / Navigation system
- Check headlights
- Pack snacks and water
- Pack hand sanitizer / antibacterial wipes
- Make a music playlist
- Clean our car / trunk of unecessary items
- Fill up gas tank
- Pack a travel blanket
- Bring a flashlight
Below are 28 more things to do before going on vacation!
- How to travel more without going into debt
- 10 travel expenses you’re forgetting in your vacation budget
- 30 airport hacks every traveler should know
1. Check your passport expiration date
As a general rule, your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the date you’ll be traveling outside of your home country. This is especially important for international travel.
I have heard many stories of people traveling from the USA to Europe, only to be told that they can’t board the plane because their passport is expiring in less than six months.
However, not all countries follow the six-month rule. Some countries require that you have a passport with a three month duration period. Always check the requirements before your trip so you’re prepared.
2. Arrange for pet sitters
If you have pets, make sure they will be looked after while you’re away. You may find using a site like Rover helpful to find a local pet sitter.
3. Arrange for someone to watch your house
Depending on how long you’ll be away, it’s a good idea to have a neighbor, friend, or family member stop by to check up on your place.
You can let them know what to expect (such as a package arriving) while you’re away so they can notice when something looks fishy.
4. Call your bank to notify them of your travel dates
Call the number on the back of your debit or credit card and let them know where you will be traveling to and your dates of travel. You want to make sure that your credit card will work while you’re traveling.
Your bank may be partnered with a foreign bank which allows for free cash withdrawals. I also recommend making sure that you have enough available credit on your credit cards.
5. Pay off your bills before you leave
If your bills are not already scheduled for automatic payments, make sure to pay off any outstanding balances before you leave. You don’t want to receive any unnecessary late fees.
Prep for your trip
6. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance for your trip
It’s important to make sure that your travel insurance will provide the necessary coverage for your trip – just in case.
If you’re planning on renting a car, make sure that your driver’s license is valid at your destination.
7. Make copies of important documents
I like to have copies of my passport, credit cards and travel itinerary on me just in case I lose them on my trip. Whether it’s an electronic or hard copy – just make sure that you’ll be able to retrieve it, if needed.
Just in case your luggage gets lost during your travels, I like to keep a copy of my travel itinerary in my luggage. This includes a phone number someone can reach me at and the name of the hotel or Airbnb I’m staying at.
8. Update your calendar and create an automatic email response
Make sure any appointments or commitments that have been scheduled during your trip are either taken care of before you leave or rescheduled for a later date.
It’s also important to create an “out of office” email to let others know that you will be out of town.
9. Put your mail on hold
If you receive the daily newspaper or are expecting packages, make sure to put your mail on hold so they are not sitting at your door step.
You may also want to consider letting a neighbor know of your travel plans. Just in case you receive a delivery, they can keep it for you until you return home.
10. Unplug your electronics at home
Save money and energy by remembering to unplug and switch off electronics at home.
If you have a home security system, it’s also a good idea to notify them that you’ll be away.
11. Make a checklist of items to bring
Include essential items like your passport, travel itinerary, prescription medications, first-aid supplies, chargers, adapters, clothing, toiletries, and so on. Double check your list to make sure you don’t forget anything important.
I like using this packing checklist included in my Travel Planner to help me stay organized. It also includes a pre-filled packing checklist too, depending on your trip.
12. Fully charge your electronics and bring your chargers / adapters
I forgot to bring a travel adapter when I went to London and had to purchase one there. You also want to make sure that your electronics are fully charged so you don’t run out of battery before you reach your destination.
Prep for your trip
13. Clean your fridge before you leave
Eat up any food that will expire or perish before your trip to prevent waste and unpleasant smells.
14. Clean your bathroom and wash your bed sheets before you leave
This may sound silly, but trust me on this one! There is nothing like coming home to a spotless bathroom and freshly washed bed sheets after traveling.
15. Bring reading materials or snacks
These items tend to be more expensive at the airport or on the train. Also don’t depend on being able to watch movies or TV shows on the plane all the time.
When I flew home from London, I was on an older aircraft that did not have movies available. I forgot to bring reading material so needless to say, it was a long flight home. I also like to bring snacks since airplane food leaves a lot to be desired.
16. Be mindful of your liquids
Make sure to pack all liquids into your checked luggage. If you bring liquids in your carry-on luggage, make sure they are within the limit and stored in a clear resalable bag when going through airport security.
17. Avoid over-packing your luggage
Try to pack lightly, to prevent paying extra for over-sized luggage. This will also give you more room to bring back any purchases you make while on vacation. I love using these packing cubes when traveling. It helps keep everything organized and saves space in my luggage.
18. Keep all your valuables in your carry-on luggage
Just in case your checked luggage gets lost or damaged, make sure to pack all your valuables in your carry-on luggage so they can be with you at all times.
Prep for your tip
19. Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage
Just in case your checked luggage doesn’t arrive at your destination when you do, you’ll be happy that you brought a change of clothes along. It doesn’t have to fancy, I like to stick to the basics.
20. Check the weather before you arrive
It’s important to be prepared for the weather conditions at your destination. Don’t assume that it’ll be hot and sunny just because you’re headed to a beach destination.
Always check the weather before you arrive so you can pack any necessary items, such as a travel umbrella. This is the travel umbrella I like using and it’s held up well over the years.
21. Know what amenities are available at your hotel
You probably don’t need to pack a hairdryer if one is already available in your hotel room. Or maybe you need to pack extra items since your hotel doesn’t provide towels or toiletries.
Check to see what will be available so you can pack accordingly.
Read Next: 25 free things you can get at hotels
22. Bring lock for your luggage
You never know when you might need to use a lock on your trip. I don’t like to bring all my cash with me when I’m out exploring a city.
Instead I keep important items in my luggage and lock it up. This will also come in handy if you need to use a locker at the hotel gym or you want to lock your backpack / handbag to protect against pickpockets.
23. Slippers for the hotel room / bathroom
I always bring an old pair of flip-flops to wear when taking a shower in the hotel bathroom, and I suggest that you do the same! Even 5-star hotel rooms are not as clean as you might expect.
Unfortunately the truth behind hotel cleaning practices will scare you and I highly recommend bringing a pair of slippers to wear in the shower. You may also want to bring a pair to wear in the room too.
24. Call your cell phone provider
If you’re traveling abroad, your cell phone company can help set you up with the cheapest plan. This will make sure that you can make calls, text, and access the internet whil you’re traveling.
25. Confirm your travel reservations
Before your trip, it’s important to confirm all your travel reservations – flight, car rental, accommodations, tours and activities, and any other things that you have planned.
If you’re planning to visit any tourist attractions or restaurants, I like to double check their hours to make sure they’ll be open for my travel itinerary.
You may even want to consider printing out your confirmations or be able to show email confirmations on your phone.
I went to Florida once and the hotel overcharged us for our stay. Fortunately I had printed out the hotel comfrmation to show the price that was originally quoted.
Prep for your trip
26. Clean out your wallet
Before going on vacation, I like to clean out my wallet of any unnecessary items and leave them at home. This includes loyalty cards, gift cards, and extra credit cards you don’t need.
27. Secure outdoor furniture
If you have any outdoor patio furniture, chairs, cushions, wind chimes, or pool equipment, it’s a good idea to secure them indoors. This can prevent lightweight items from flying away or getting stolen.
28. Turn off water supply
It’s recommended to turn off the main water supply before going on vacation. This can prevent leaks and flooding while you’re away. Check to make sure that this won’t impact your appliances before turning off the water.
Ready to book your next adventure? Check out hotel deals below thanks to Booking.com.
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