Take the stress out of traveling using this handy travel preparation checklist to help you plan your next trip.
Whether you're going on a short weekend getaway or an extended vacation, there are certain things you should do before you travel. Read on to discover what they are and how to get your printable travel checklist…it’s FREE when you join the Genie VIP Club!
We all love taking a vacation. It allows us to disconnect from our daily routine, visit new places, try new activities, and have a first-hand "taste" of different cultures. Planning and organizing our dream vacation can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Mistakes and oversights in the planning process can also spoil the perfect holiday.
Using a travel preparation checklist to plan your vacation, saves you time, money, and effort. It also stops you from worrying about forgetting something important.
Follow the steps indicated below to plan for your next vacation. I can assure you that you won't regret it!
You can skip to specific sections of this article if you wish:
Start organizing your vacation well in advance, especially if you plan to travel abroad. Address the following tasks on your travel preparation checklist around 2 to 3 months before your departure:
Check destination country information
Before making any reservations, you should check the country's entry and exit requirements. It may be necessary to have a visa, and vaccines, there may also be COVID restrictions in place.
Be aware that some countries still require proof of COVID vaccines and a recent negative COVID test to allow entry. It may also be necessary to wear face masks in some enclosed areas and on public transport.
Research any local laws or customs you might encounter while traveling to avoid surprises. It's also a good idea to check whether a specific dress code is required to visit certain places.
Make sure that everyone's passports are within the expiry date. Also bear in mind that some countries require passport validity of at least 6 months.
Flight and hotel reservations
Make your flight and hotel reservations well in advance, these tend to get fully booked rather quickly.
If you book early, you can often get good deals and use the money you save on your trip!
Don't forget to buy travel insurance for your trip. You never know what can happen! But make sure that you read the insurance documents thoroughly before you travel.
Pets are lovely to have but can be an added worry when planning to go on vacation. If you plan to leave your pets at home, consider investing in an automated feeding device. You may also consider getting a friend to look after them in your absence.
Another option would be to leave your pets at a local pet care center. Book this well in advance and make sure that your pets' vaccines are up to date. Find out whether there are any specific requirements that should be met before boarding.
When traveling abroad, there may be specific requirements for pet travel, such as passports, microchips, rabies inoculations, worming, vaccines, veterinary checks, etc. Check the destination country's government website, and the airline, also speak with your veterinarian to make sure that you obtain all of the required documentation before traveling.
Make sure that the following tasks are carried out approximately 1 month before departure:
Prepare the packing list for your trip well in advance to give you time to purchase any additional items that you may need.
Take your travel location and trip plans into account when you prepare your holiday packing list.
Suitcases and travel bags
Make sure that you have sufficient luggage capacity for your trip and check that your suitcases and travel bags are in good condition for travel. If they aren't in decent condition, you have sufficient time to get new ones before your trip.
As many airlines are strict about the dimensions of carry-on luggage, you should also measure your luggage beforehand to make sure that you comply with the size restrictions.
Be sure to include any wheels when you measure your hand luggage. I almost had a problem with this a few years ago when I checked in for a flight at the airport. My carry-on suitcase didn't fit into the sizer used to check the hand luggage dimensions (because of the wheels). Fortunately, luck was on my side that day, and I was allowed to take my carry-on suitcase into the cabin. Otherwise, I would have had to pay excess luggage charges to send the additional luggage into the aircraft hold.
Check requirements for car hire and driving in the destination country. If you plan to use your own vehicle to travel, arrange for pre-trip maintenance. You don't want to have a breakdown, especially while on vacation!
Attend to the following issues around 2 weeks before your departure:
Depending on the country you're traveling to, it may be wise to get a small amount of local currency before you travel.
Some banks may need you to order certain currencies in advance, so don't leave it to the last minute.
Get a house-sitter
If you need someone to feed your pets, look after your plants, collect mail, or carry out any other task that needs to be done in your absence, arrange for a house-sitter. Be sure to leave clear instructions on what needs to be done!
Notify your work colleagues
Let your colleagues know that you will be shortly taking your vacation. Check with your boss to make sure that there aren't any urgent issues that need to be addressed before you leave.
If one of your colleagues will be covering for you in your absence, speak with the person in question to ensure they are clear about what is required of them.
If you need to take prescription medicines, make sure you have sufficient to cover your trip. Consider taking supplies for a few extra days in case of flight delays or cancellations.
About one week before you travel, review your travel preparation checklist and make the following arrangements:
Inform a trusted friend
Let a trusted friend or neighbor know when you plan to go on vacation. It's also a good idea to leave them a key, and your contact details. Ask them to check on your home whilst you're away.
If someone will be looking after your pets in your absence, leave clear instructions on feeding, walks, treats, where they sleep, and any other relevant information. Remember to give the person a small thankyou gift when you return.
Get any books or magazines you wish to take with you. If you use an e-reader, upload your favorite books.
If you have regular deliveries to your home (newspapers, mail, groceries, etc.), suspend these deliveries temporarily while you're away.
Transport to and from the airport
Make reservations for transport to and from the airport, and from the airport to your lodgings.
Make copies of important documents such as your passport and driver's license to facilitate replacement in case the originals are lost or stolen.
Organize your travel documents
Print all your travel documents and reservations for flights, hotels, insurance, etc. Put them all into a handy folder, along with copies of important documents and useful telephone numbers, so you can access them easily when you travel.
In addition to paper copies, I like to keep electronic copies or photos of important documents on my phone as a backup.
Check the weather forecast at your travel destination and pack appropriately.
Review your packing list and start gathering together the clothes and items you plan to take on your trip.
Start using up perishable foods in the fridge and pantry before you travel to avoid waste.
Confirm reservations for flights, hotels, local transportation, etc.
If you use an alarm company, inform them of your planned absence.
Inform your banks
Contact your banks to let them know you will be traveling to avoid them suspecting fraudulent use of your account.
Contact your cell phone service provider
Check with your service provider whether you can make calls or use cell phone data in your vacation location. You may need to ask them to activate roaming before traveling.
Be aware that charges for calls and cell phone data used while abroad may be quite high. Make sure you’re well informed before you leave to avoid surprises!
You're almost there! There are just a few more things to be ticked off your travel preparation checklist before you start enjoying your well-earned vacation…
If you have arranged to take your pets to a pet care center, set aside some time to take them there.
Set up automated out-of-office replies to let people know you'll be on vacation.
Make sure all the electronic devices you plan to take on your trip are fully charged. Don't forget to pack chargers and plug adaptors if they are required.
Set up timers and automated systems (pet feeding system, plant watering system, light timers, etc.)
If possible, check-in online. Print boarding passes and download copies onto your mobile phone.
Tag your suitcases and bags so they can easily be traced in case they get lost. Use a ribbon or unusual sticker so you can easily identify your suitcase on the baggage carousel.
Check the packed suitcase weight, you don't want to risk being charged excess weight fees at the airport.
To prevent your belongings from being stolen or misplaced, you should lock your luggage. Take two sets of keys, but don't keep them together. If one set of keys gets lost, you'll still be able to open your suitcase!
Get sufficient sleep
Make sure you get to bed at a reasonable time. As you know, traveling can be stressful and you'll cope far better after a good night's rest!
A few last minute items to be ticked off your travel preparation checklist before you leave:
If your pets will be staying at home, make sure that the cages are clean and there is sufficient food and water. Double-check any automated feeding devices.
Eat, freeze or dispose of perishable foods in the fridge and pantry.
Empty and clean all indoor bins to avoid coming back to unpleasant smells after your vacation.
Make sure all gates and sheds are locked.
Unplug electronic appliances that won't be in use during your absence.
Heating and hot water
Set the thermostat for the heating and hot water system to the minimum temperature to prevent pipes from freezing.
Windows and doors
Make sure that all windows and doors are locked.
Make one last check to ensure you have all travel documents.
Make a note of the number of bags you are traveling with. Remember to do a bag count every time you move from one place to another to ensure no luggage or bags are left behind.
This especially applies when you get into and leave taxis, buses, or planes.
Don't forget to set the burglar alarm when you leave.
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