The Pre-Travel Checklist: 12 Things to Do Before Your Trip

So many things to remember!

Once your flight is booked and hotel reservations made, you realize that there are still a dozen or so important details to take of before you leave.

That's why we put together this handy travel checklist to help you stay organized and stress-free.

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1)Call your Credit Card Company and/or Bank to let them know you’re leaving the country.
Most have anti-fraud services in place, so if foreign withdraws start popping up in your account a red flag is going to go off and your account might be frozen. Let them know where you’re going and how long you’ll be there.

2)Place a stop or hold on mail and deliveries.
A pile of newspapers on your front lawn is a clear message to thieves that you’re away from home.

3)Write down emergency numbers
… For you and for those back home. Give family, friends, neighbors and/or house sitters a way to reach you should an emergency occur. This includes both your new cell number if you’re using a SIM card and the number and address of the hotel you’re staying at.

For yourself: write down any numbers you might need during your trip. This includes family, friends, Doctor, bank, credit card companies and sitters. If you’re friendly with your neighbors ask them to keep an eye on your place.

4)Prep your home.
If you have a security system this is the time to use it. Set some lights in and around your place on atimerto make it look like someone is home.

Throw out all garbage and go through your fridge for food that will expire. I also highly recommend cleaning up your place before you go. There’s something to be said about coming home to a clean and tidy home after a long trip.

If you have lawn or pool maintenance, either put the service on hold or let the company know you will be out of town. Turn your thermostat off or set it at a base temperature that will keep your pets and plants alive and healthy.

5)Set up pet care.
Figure out if a friend can watch your pets from their home, or if they can come over regularly to take care of them. For more info, check out thisLazy Traveler’s Guide to Leaving Pets at Home.

6) If you’re bringing your laptop, back up all data before you go.
Use a cloud backup service likeSyncplicity(2GB free) orDropbox(also 2GB free). You can also save stuff to your Google account inGoogle Docs.

Clean out the memory card on your camera and save those to your computer or an online program, like Flickr or Globetrotting Tips.

7)Learn some of the basics of the local language.

8)Pack maps, guides and public transportation schedules.
Do some research beforehand about your destination so you know what you want to see while you’re there. Tentatively plan out the first few days - you don’t need a rigid schedule but rather a loose idea of the sights, restaurants and other local spots you want to check out.

9)Check the weather.
Especially if you’re not familiar with your destination, it’ll help you determine what to pack.


  • The minimum amount of clothes that can be easily mixed and matched throughout the trip.
  • Extra contact lenses, lens solution & glasses.
  • Camera, batteries & recharger.
  • Voltage converter, small flashlight, cell phone & charger.
  • Any RX, vitamins & anti-diarrheal medications.

If you have a medical condition that might cause some delay at the airport (like a metal implant or liquid insulin capsules) bring the appropriate doctors note. Meet with your Doctor before your trip and ask for a written or typed, formal note on the Doctor stationary with the Doctor’s signature at the bottom. The note should be as specific as possible.

If you have a disability, let the airline know ahead of time. For every official staff member that asks for your ID, show them your paperwork proving your disability or condition.

11)Pack your carry-on.
Make sure you have your identification, credit card(s), flight tickets and hotel reservation information / confirmation numbers. If you have them, bring your list of frequent flier numbers and any insurance cards. Don’t bring any more credit cards than you need to. Buy quart-size zipped lock bags if you plan to bring any liquids (under 3oz).

12)Get some cash.
You shouldbring credit cardstoo, but always try to have some cash on you for cab fees and other incidentals. Find out what the local currency is and try to bring some if you can.

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