Travel Checklist: 24 Things to Do Before Going on Vacation

See recent posts by Megan Wood

Planning the details of your vacation is just one necessary part of taking a trip. But before you head to the airport, it's vital to take care of some very important last-minute details that will make both your departure and your return home safer and less stressful. Whether you're hitting the road for a long weekend or going on an extended vacation, taking the time to complete these 24 tasks is essential. 

Marco Nürnberger/Flickr

Marco Nürnberger/Flickr

1. Take a phone photograph of your passport and any prescriptions you have. You’ll want this information on hand in case of an emergency.

2. Alert the bank that you’ll be traveling so your credit and debit cards aren’t flagged for fraud.

3. Withdraw a stash of cash from the ATM.

4. Write down your credit card numbers and your bank’s customer service number, and store the information in a safe place. If you have to report lost or stolen cards, this quick step will be a lifesaver.

5. Program the airline’s customer service number into your phone. In case of a flight cancelation or missing bag, you’ll have their number at your fingertips.

6. If available, download airline and hotel apps. Airline apps allow you to check-in for your flight, store an electronic boarding pass, and find your gate. Hotel apps vary, but some allow for check-in and freebies.

7. Write an out-of-office response for emails.

8. Sync and back up your phones, laptops, and tablets. Make sure each device is fully charged.

9. Throw out, eat, or give away any perishable foods in the refrigerator. You can also lower the temperature setting, since the door will remain closed and you’re not keeping any perishables.

10. Sweep the floors to ensure all food crumbs are removed. No one wants to return home to mice or roaches. 

11. Run the dishwasher and ensure there aren’t any damp clothes in the washing machine or dryer.

12. Take out the garbage and recycling. Make sure there isn’t any lingering food in the garbage disposal. Bonus points for adding a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to destroy odors. 

13. Make your bed with fresh sheets. This is optional, but it’s nice to come home to a clean bed. 

14. Unplug any unnecessary appliances like toasters, computers, and fans. You’ll protect them from power surges and save on energy costs.

15. Remove excess items from your wallet and purse. There’s no need to travel with your library card and gym membership ID.

16. Pay any bills that will be due while you’re away.

17. Put valuables in a safe deposit box, or hide them in your house. Just remember what you hid and where you put it.

18. Ask a friend or trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your house and stop by occasionally.

19. Close the curtains to keep out the sun and prying eyes.

20. Put your mail and newspaper subscriptions on hold. Or, ask someone to pick it up every few days; nothing says no one is home like a stack of mail.

21. Adjust the thermostat so that you’re not overheating or overcooling an empty house.

22. Pick up reading materials and snacks for the flight. There’s no reason to spend more for these items at the airport. 

23. Check the weather at your destination to see if you’ll need an umbrella or warmer clothes than anticipated. 

24. Turn on your house alarm and ensure that all windows and doors are closed and locked.

Now Watch: 7 Things You Shouldn’t Do While Traveling Abroad

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