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Do want to have a relaxing trip? Of course you do! It all comes down to proper preparation.
I’m going to show you how I make my final preparations just before a trip so that I can leave my house knowing that everything is in order. I go through this checklist any time I am leaving home for more than one or two days.
Because what’s worse than sitting in the car on your way to the airport and wondering if you left the kitchen light on?
It gets even better! I have created a FREE PRINTABLE that goes along with this post. It’s basically this post condensed down to a pocket-sized cheatsheet so you can put it to use IRL. All you have to do is join my Love Letters tribe and you’ll get instant access to this printable plus many more in my Maven Lifestyle Library!
Just to clarify, when I say DEPARTURE, I’m referring to your departure from your house. Not necessarily your flight departure.
CHECK IN FOR YOUR FLIGHT
Most airlines now allow you to check in online 24 hours prior to your flight departure time. In addition to the obvious benefit of skipping the check-in queue, (especially if you don’t have checked luggage,) you also secure your seat on the airplane before almost anyone else. This is especially important on popular flights that are often oversold by airlines. Oftentimes, if not enough people want to give up their seat, the last passengers to check in are the ones getting involuntarily bumped off the flight.
PRINT & DOWNLOAD HARD COPIES OF ITINERARIES & VOUCHERS
Even though we know where we’re headed, sometimes the small, but very important details escape us. Having a hard copy doesn’t necessarily mean printing it on paper and stuffing it into your backpack. The information just needs to be accessible on your device even without a wifi or data collection. So, no, in your email app doesn’t count.
I suggest taking screen shots of your itinerary and saving them in a photo folder titled “Important Travel Docs,” or something similar. For iOS users, the iBooks app is a great place to organize important PDF’s.
CONFIRM ARRANGEMENTS FOR PET/PLANT/HOUSE SITTERS
Your pets are very important, and so is the peace-of-mind in knowing that your home won’t have a “I’m not home, burglarize me!” spotlight on it. If you haven’t already done it, definitely make arrangements to have someone water your plants and prevent your mailbox from overflowing.
On the day of travel, connect with your “sitters” and confirm that they are still planning on taking care everything of things for you. Side note- please don’t forget to bring home a small token of your appreciation for your sitters!
PHOTOGRAPH YOUR PASSPORT, ID’s, & CREDIT CARDS
In the event any of these important documents are lost or stolen, you won’t lose the important information contained in them.
With these copies handy, continuing your trip as planned becomes much easier. Wallets get lost and stolen all the time. Being stranded without an ID is terrifying, but avoidable. Don’t let it happen to you.
CONFIRM YOUR AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION
Air travel is typically the most time-sensitive (and stressful) part of any trip. Making sure you arrive at the airport on time is critical. On the day before departure, confirm your transportation to the airport. This can mean reserving a taxi in advance, checking to ensure public transportation is running as you expect it to, or calling the family member who promised you a ride. If plans fall through, there’s still time to make new arrangements.
While you’re at it, it’s also a great idea to confirm your plans for how you’ll leave the airport at your destination. Being stuck at the terminal is no way to start a vacation.
STOW YOUR VALUABLES
Place any expensive jewelry, cash, credit cards, and personal documents in a safe place. If you own a fireproof safe bolted to your closet floor, now is the time to use it.
For larger items that may not fit in a safe, just avoid leaving them lying around in obvious places. Hide them in drawers, under the bed, etc. Any place where a would-be-burgler must actively dig to find it is good.
CHECK UPCOMING DUE DATES & PAY BILLS
It’s too easy to forget the mundane tasks when you’re focused on packing and other fun stuff. Vacations are amazing, but they’re not worth risking your good credit over. Gather up all your bills now and make your payments for everything that will be due while you are away. Even better, set up bills to auto pay.
SEE IT, CLEAN IT
Clean the kitchen, do the dishes, take out the trash, wipe down the bathroom, wash and put away laundry, change your bedding, vacuum, and do just a general tidying up.
Nothing is worse than coming home from a fun and relaxing vacation only to be faced with a boatload of chores and an all-around icky home. Clean before you leave, and you’ll feel like your vacation lasts just a little longer.
It’s a good idea to clean out your refrigerator and get rid of food that will expire while you are away. Time doesn’t stop just because you aren’t home. Those 2-day-old leftovers will transform into week-and-a-half-old leftovers by the time you return. If you anticipate something going bad while you are away (and it’s not freezable), just get rid of it now. You’ll save yourself a disgusting job when you get home.
DOWNLOAD TRAVEL APPS & ENTERTAINMENT
I know, all of the things I’ve told you to do aren’t the most fun jobs. But now is when you can start getting excited!
With 12 hours to go, you have plenty of time to download all the books, movies, TV episodes, magazines, podcasts, or whatever you like, onto your device. I find that 12 hours is just enough time for me to download everything I need, but not so much time that I’m tempted to watch everything before I leave.
In addition to entertainment, download any apps you think may be handy while traveling. These include non-data maps, translators, currency converters, etc. And your airline’s app is a must!
SECURE YOUR HOME
Check to see that all windows are closed and locked. Lock your back door (and add a chair if you’re paranoid like me.) Slip pieces of wood into the tracks of your sliding doors to prevent them from opening.
Secure any items you keep outside. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to come home to find anything missing, but this is important also in case of severe weather. If possible, bring anything you really don’t want stolen inside the house. Children’s bicycles are prime examples.
BACK UP YOUR COMPUTERS
You never know what may happen while you’re away. Protect your information against fire, theft, power surges, and more by simply backing up your important data. The more backups you have, the better. This way, you can enjoy your trip knowing that all of your information is safe.
I like to backup my computers to an external hard drive and place the drive in my fireproof safe. I also ensure my iCloud automatic backups are running as they should.
GET SOME EXERCISE IN
Between waiting at the airport and sitting on your flight, you’ll be sedentary for a long, long time. Get some physical movement in now, before you are glued to your seat. I like burn off some excitable energy with cardio, and follow with some yoga to help me relax. I find that this also helps me to sleep better in-flight.
CHARGE YOUR ELECTRONICS
Ensure all you electronics are charged and ready to go. You can’t count on having access to an outlet at your gate or at your seat on the plane. This includes your phones, iPads, cameras, laptops, etc. If you are in charge of packing for your family, be sure to check on the family’s electronics too.
Tip: Try to charge everything in one place; grab a power strip if you have to. You’re much less likely to forget one when you aren’t running around the house at the last minute hunting & gathering iPads, phones and chargers.
MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS IN ORDER FOR YOUR RETURN
When you arrive at home ready to crash, the last thing you’ll want to do is prepare for tomorrow. Transition back into your daily groove as painlessly as possible by preparing everything you’ll need soon after your trip, before you leave.
Wash and press work clothes so they’re fresh and ready to go.
Prepare an easy dinner, (lasagna, perhaps?) and pop it in the freezer. Instant meal for when you arrive home.
Is the car low on gas? Fill up now, (while you’re on pre-vacation high,) so it’s a non-issue when you arrive home.
PREPARE YOURSELF + PACK LAST MINUTE ITEMS
Airplanes are confined spaces with recycled air. For your own comfort, as well as your neighbors’, please take a shower, brush you teeth, and apply deodorant. Though, avoid spritzing strong cologne. Do this not too long before you leave for the airport.
I like to clean myself up about 1-2 hours before leaving home. This way, I don’t have to rush and risk forgetting to pack my toothbrush, but I am also clean and refreshed on my flight.
This is also a great time to satisfy Last Minute Items list. (If you’re unsure what that is, you need to read this post!)
TRADE ID’s WITH SOMEONE IN YOUR PARTY
Two is always better than one! It’s best to have more than one form of identification with you. But your two ID’s can’t help you if they’re both in your wallet, and that wallet gets lost or stolen. To protect against thieves, forgetfulness, and clumsiness, use the one-for-one rule.
Keep you main ID, such as your passport book or drivers’ license, on your person. Give your secondary ID, such as a passport card or state ID card, to a trusted member of your party. In exchange, you hang on to theirs. This way, in the event one of your wallets become lost or stolen, you’re not ID-less. That would be bad.
UNPLUG ALL UNNECESSARY APPLIANCES & POWER-STRIPS
Obviously, contain your excitement and don’t unplug your refrigerator. However, do unplug all non-essentials. This lessens the risk of electrical fires, and cuts down on “phantom draw.” Which if you don’t know, is the electricity that electronics leech even when they are not in use.
Visit every outlet in your home and unplug as many things as you can, while still being practical. Dragging the washing machine out of the closet to reach the plug? No. Unplugging your lighted makeup mirror? Yes.
DOUBLE & TRIPLE CHECK YOUR TRAVEL CHECKLIST(S)
I know you, you’ve been working on your list for weeks now, right? And you’re sure you’ve got everything, right? It doesn’t hurt to check one more time.
Scan the list (and your brain) and ensure it accounts for everything. Then, check to see that everything is actually in your bag.
TURN OFF ALL LIGHTS & TAPS
This one is pretty self explanatory, but it’s quite easily overlooked. Make a point to check that all lights are off and taps completely shut before you step out the door. This way, you won’t wonder if you left the bathroom light on while on your way to the airport, like I did.
Let the travel checklist hold you accountable. Perform each task deliberately, and check it off when completed. Leave your home in confidence that you’ve forgotten nothing. That’s a great to way to begin your trip.
That’s all for today!
If you like this post, check out this one too >> How to Write A Foolproof Travel Packing List
Also, don’t forget to download your free Pre-Travel Checklist from the Millennial Maven Resource Library! Just click on the banner to join and get access to all of my travel, beauty and time-saving resources!
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Till next time. ♥︎
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Chelsea Wallace says
Awesome tips and SO enlightening! So many things I never even thought of. Like, who thinks about making sure your work clothes and lunch are ready for when you get back? I’m guessing no one, and then they are scrambling and stressed right when they get home. This is totally me. This is a must keep!
Great job! Chelsea xoxo
Hello, Chelsea! I’m so glad you find this helpful. Definitely share it with anyone who you think could use it- I want to help as many travelers as possible! Thanks so much for your comment 🙂 xo
These are wonderful tips dear. I will have to stick this on my fridge before leaving for the holidays. Thanks tons!! 🙂
I’m glad you found my tips helpful! Have a great holiday trip!