Congrats, you’re going on vacation! We are just as excited about your upcoming trip as you are, and we want to help you keep riding that high by addressing a major stressor that is often overlooked: preparing to leave for vacation. As much as we all want to just pack our bags and magically be transported to your destination, we all know there’s more to it than that. As your travel advisor, I want to provide as much value as possible for every aspect of your trip, even the un-fun things. When you take the time to plan for such things, you will help alleviate most of the stress and frustration during travel. Here is our list of actionable items and tasks to take care of, broken down by how far in advance you need to tackle them.
AFTER BOOKING YOUR TRIP:
Check expiration dates on documents (Do you need to renew your passport? It is recommended that the expiration date is at least 6 months POST your return date).
Do you need any vaccinations or immunizations? Check dates on things like tetanus and get any boosters prior to traveling.
Check your luggage - is it in good working order? Is it time to replace it? Do you have proper luggage tags with easy-to-recognize markers on it?
Start creating your packing list - do you need any new wardrobe items or travel accessories?
Work on your trip budget and ensure your emergency fund is built up.
Review itinerary from your advisor, along with any reservations that need to be secured.
1-2 WEEKS BEFORE:
Secure all your travel documents, keeping them in one place, ready to travel
Hire a lawn care service/snow removal service
Set up ‘hold mail’ with postal service
Arrange for a pet and/or child sitter
Arrange for transportation to/from airport
Order travel versions or a new set of chargers and/or boosters for your devices
Download any travel apps
Refill any prescriptions
Make copies of your travel documents and store in safe place
Reach out to someone to be your emergency contact- give them a spare key, a basic itinerary, possibly a letter of “next of kin” in case of extreme circumstances
Notify your bank and/or credit cards of your travel - the dates and locations of where you’re traveling to
Contact your alarm company - let them know when you’re traveling
Get any cash, currency exchange if necessary
Add international calling/data plan to your phone plan, if necessary
Ask a neighbor to tend to your garbage bins and/or collect your mail, and collect any deliveries (if you did not put a hold on it)
1-2 DAYS BEFORE:
Put outdoor lights, and a few indoor ones, on a timer
Reprogram your thermostat so it runs less while you’re away
Unplug small appliances, make sure things like coffee pots, curling irons, etc. are unplugged
Make sure all doors and windows are shut and locked
Check your phone! Keep any contact information in one place - your travel advisor, your emergency contact, hotel, car service, babysitter, etc. Do you have any/all phone numbers and emails?
Clean out fridge/pantry, getting rid of anything that may go bad while you’re away from home
Take out garbage
Turn down thermostat
Make sure everything is unplugged and/or turned off (oven, faucets, lights, small appliances)
Take a picture of the inside and outside of your luggage and carry-ons
Take a picture of where you are keeping your keys while you travel - then you will know where to find them when you return
ESSENTIALS TO KEEP ON HAND WHILE TRAVELING:
Travel documents in a safe, but easy to reach place
Copies of travel documents (consider putting them in secret pocket of checked luggage within a sealed envelope or pouch)
Valuables secured in carry-on
All prescriptions in carry-on
Chargers and boosters
Change of clothes and basic health items (toothbrush, deodorant, pain medicine)
Picture of your checked items, inside and out, as well as your carry-ons
Take a picture of your parking space
Traveling with kids? Snap a picture before you leave home, so you know what they are wearing
We wish you happy and stress-free travels! When you prepare properly in advance, you’ll have a much better chance at handling unforeseen circumstances more efficiently. If you have any questions about this or any other vacation planning, please feel free to contact us with any questions.