Plan your next trip with this essential Travel checklist and schedule.
One of my favorite parts of a vacation is planning the trip. Is that weird? Maybe, but I enjoy the process of choosing where we will go and what we will do and see. For me, the anticipation is almost as fun as the trip itself!
But preparing for the vacation? That’s another thing. It’s stressful!
There are so many things to do before we go on vacation. The only way for me to stay organized (and sane) is to keep a schedule and checklist of everything we need to do before we travel.
If we are just going on a quick weekend getaway then, of course, I don’t have as much to do to get ready. Especially since my suitcase is always packed. However, if we are going out of the country or planning an extended vacation, then I will begin planning and preparing months in advance.
Prepare for Your Next Vacation with this Travel Prep guide!
One Month to Several Months Before Your Trip:
- Start Planning Your Trip. Be on the lookout for special deals on travel.
- If needed, apply for a passport. It can take up to 12 weeks to receive your passport so be sure to allow yourself enough time. The same for immunizations. Some vaccines are given in stages weeks apart so you will need to plan ahead.
- Book your flight, reserve your hotel room, and purchase travel insurance if necessary.
- Arrange for pet care. Be sure to call in advance, especially if you are planning a trip during the holidays. Kennels can book up months in advance for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Call in your reservation as soon as you know your vacation dates.
- Plan what you will need to have for your trip. Buy anything you do not already have on hand. Examples – Clothing, Luggage, Travel Accessories, etc.
- Create a Travel Portfolio- A folder filled with your travel information.
One Week or More Before Your Trip:
- Have your mechanic check to make sure your car is travel-ready. Get the oil changed, the tires rotated, and have him check the brakes, belts, and fluids.
- Arrange for mail to be held until you return. Stop newspaper delivery and other delivery services while you are away. Mail left in the mailbox and newspapers collecting on the doorstep are signals to thieves that no one is at home.
- For extended trips, you may want to arrange for lawn care.
- Create a Packing List of all items you will need for the trip – clothes, accessories, books, magazines, maps, passports, airline tickets, etc.
- Gather the items you don’t need now but will need for the trip. Place these things in an out of the way spot until you are ready to pack them.
- Invest in a few electronic timers and attach them to lights, a television or radio in the home. Setting the timers to turn on at random times during the day and evening will make it look like someone is home.
3 Days Before Your Trip:
- Wash clothes.
- Pay any upcoming bills in advance.
- Place jewelry or other valuables in a safe or safety deposit box.
- Leave a house key and your itinerary with someone you trust – a friend or family member. Include in your itinerary the phone numbers for where you can be reached and flight numbers if you are traveling by air.
- No one wants to come home to a messy house after a relaxing vacation or a busy business trip. Take the time before you travel to straighten and clean your home. You’ll be glad you did when you return to a clean house.
- Pack your suitcases. As you place an item in your suitcase, cross it off your packing list. Highlight any remaining items that you will need to pack at the last minute.
24 Hours Before Your Trip:
- Remove any perishable foods from your refrigerator.
- Take out the trash. Ask a neighbor to take your garbage cans to the curb on trash pick-up day.
- Fill your car with gas. Start your trip with a full tank of gas.
- Don’t forget to water your plants before you leave. If your trip is longer than a few days, arrange for someone to care for them.
- Go online to reconfirm your flight.
- Recharge your cell phone, iPad, eBook, and other rechargeable items.
- Check the weather forecast for your destination.
- Check online for road conditions and any construction notices.
Day of Departure:
- Wash Dishes and straighten the house.
- Confirm and check the status of your airline flight.
- Pack last minute items into your suitcase. Use your highlighted packing list to ensure you don’t forget anything!
- Turn on the timers you added to your lights, television, and radio the previous week. Set the timers to go on and off at different times during the day and evening.
- Unplug electronics and appliances.
- Be sure stove, oven, irons, curling irons, etc. are turned off.
- Adjust your thermostat higher or lower than usual to save on electricity while you’re gone.
- Secure locks on all windows and doors before leaving. Activate your home security system.
- Double-check that you have everything you need: Your wallet, driver’s license, passport, health insurance card, auto registration, proof of insurance, electronics chargers, airline tickets, and itineraries.
So, eliminate the stress of getting ready for your next vacation by following this schedule and travel prep guide. You will know you have everything you need for your trip. Your home will be safe while you are away, and will be clean and organized when you return home.
Did I leave anything off the list? How do you stay sane when preparing for a vacation? Please, Let us know in the comments below!