Things to Do Before Your Trip
Already booked your flight and locked in a date for your next vacay? Congrats! Keep reading for our awesome checklist on what you need to do before you leave for your trip:
📃 TAKE CARE OF THE PAPERWORK
With your passport in hand, you’re ready to conquer the world…well, not so fast! If you want to avoid stress, better get all your travel documents prepared. Don’t forget the following:
☐ Make sure your passport is up to date - Some countries require a minimum of 6 months' validity or will refuse entry if your passport doesn’t have enough empty pages.
☐ Get the required visa for your destination - Also check if you'll need a transit visa for any layover.
☐ Apply for an International Driving Permit
☐ Copies of other important documents:
✎ Flight Confirmation
✎ Hotel Reservation
✎ Transportation Confirmation / Tickets
✎ Proof of Identification (Driver’s License, Birth Certificate, etc.)
✎ Consent Letter (If only one parent is traveling with the kid)
✎ Vaccination Records / Info
✎ Health Summary / Info
✎ Travel Insurance Info
✎ Your Bank’s Emergency Numbers
Pro Tip: Make 3 copies of all your travel documents. Two printed copies - one packed in your carry on and the other left at home with a trusted family member. Then keep digital copies (screenshots + Dropbox if you want to be extra sure) of everything in your phone.
☐ Register with STEP - Makes it easier for the US embassy to contact you in case of an emergency. You can also receive updates about the destination you're visiting.
🏦 SECURE YOUR FINANCES / BANKS
Being in a new place can be overwhelming. One minute you’re asking the waiter to bring you the check, and the next thing you know somebody's already swiped your credit card. So, before you even think about leaving your home, make sure that all your finances are travel-ready.
☐ Get travel-friendly credit / debit cards - Check out this guide for the best travel credit cards!
☐ Double check expiration dates of your credit / debit cards
☐ Review your bank's policies - Research their foreign transaction fees, annual fees, daily transaction limits, etc.
☐ Research local banks / ATMs affiliated with your own bank
☐ Keep info of your credit / debit cards - Take photos of each card that you have (both front and back) along with your bank account info and your bank's contact number.
☐ Call banks to notify them about your travel plans - Do this a week or two before your trip. Don't forget to include any layovers!
☐ Have a Plan B - Always have an emergency card or cash stashed somewhere separate from your regular card / cash in case it gets stolen or lost.
💉 HEALTH IS WEALTH
It's a must to prioritize your health. You'll enjoy your trip more if you know you've taken all the necessary health precautions and you're prepared for any health emergencies.
⚠️ COVID-19 Update: Due to the current pandemic, the CDC recommends to avoid non-essential travel. If you're in a situation where you can't avoid to travel, check out the CDC's tips and the steps you need to take to stay safe.
☐ Visit your doctor - Inform your doctor about your travel plans, get the necessary vaccinations and obtain copies of your prescriptions / meds.
☐ Schedule vaccinations way ahead - Preferably at least a month before your trip. Some vaccines require several shots + your body also needs some time to build up immunity. Find out which vaccines are recommended / required for the country you're planning to visit here.
☐ Get travel health insurance - Don't forget to read the fine print!
☐ Tweak your First Aid Kit - A simple First Aid Kit for travel can be a lifesaver. Need a little help? Check this blog post to learn how to make your own First Aid Kit for travel.
🤳 PREP & CHECK YOUR TECH
You will be relying on your phone a LOT so make sure that it's prepared and good to go. Here's a little checklist to get you started:
☐ Research the best and cheapest data options - If you're traveling for a week or more, it's best to purchase a local SIM card (international charges can be very expensive!). Just make sure your phone is unlocked!
☐ Call your network provider to set up international data plan
☐ Download the apps you'll need on your trip - Maps, translators, airline's app, entertainment, Spotify, etc.
☐ Find out the necessary adapter for your destination - This guide lists the plugs / sockets for every country in the world.
☐ Consider getting a VPN service - Must have if you plan on relying on WiFi when traveling.
☐ Backup your phone and photos - Also clears up a little bit of space in your phone so you'll have extra memory for new photos!
☐ Download and setup an Authenticator app - Generates security codes without internet or sending a text to your local number.
🚕 PLAN OF ACTION FOR TRANSPORTATION
This is one part of trip planning that you just can't leave to chance. You don't want to land at 2 AM in your airport without knowledge on how to reach your hotel or Airbnb.
☐ Have a plan for airport transfer - If it's a long term trip, best to take an Uber, Lyft or shuttle instead of taking your own car and using the airport parking.
☐ Research the cheapest airport parking options
☐ Find out the best transportation option for your destination
🛫 FLY HIGH IN THE SKY
So you've booked your flight tickets and think you're done? Well, not quite! Don't miss the following:
☐ Sign up for Frequent Flier accounts for each member of the family
☐ Check for any flight schedule changes 1 to 2 weeks before you leave
☐ Download your airline's app - Be updated on flight delays, cancellations, etc. and a lot more. Some airline apps allow you to rebook your flight right from the app itself, super convenient!
☐ Check in online 24 hours before your flight - Don't forget to reserve your seats as well.
🛃 PACK LIKE A PRO
If you're the type of person who solves every packing problem by telling yourself, “just bring both or bring them all”, then this section is for you.
☐ Check your airline's baggage restrictions and weight limits
☐ Learn what the TSA allows in your carry on - Check the TSA website for up to date information.
☐ Download and print a packing list - So you won't forget anything important!
☐ Get a TSA Approved Toiletry Bag - Must have for carry on only travelers.
☐ Organize with The Complete Bundle - The perfect set for keeping your suitcase neat and organized. It includes 2 sets of each of our 4 packing cube sizes. Plus, 1 travel laundry bag, 2 shoe bags and 1 folding board set.
🏠 TRAVEL-PROOF YOUR HOME
By now we've covered everything you need for a fun and smooth trip away from your home... Home! Don't forget that you also need to spend some time making your home safe before going out to explore the world.
☐ Keep your valuables out of sight - Move all important items (like bank documents, jewelry, cash, etc.) into a safety vault or locked cabinet.
☐ Hold / forward your mail to a trusted person
☐ Pre-pay your bills - You can also switch to paperless billing which makes it easier to pay your bills online.
☐ Empty your fridge & wash the dishes
☐ Empty trash from all rooms and run garbage disposal
☐ Install some motion detecting lights
☐ Add wireless alarms into doors and windows
☐ Invest in light timer switches
☐ Arrange for a pet / house sitter - Also put together a list of key contacts, things to do, rules, etc.
☐ Find a trusted person to check in while you're away
📅 A FEW HOURS BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Counting down the seconds until you leave? Before you go, make sure you've ticked off the items below:
☐ Withdraw some cash from ATM - Just a small amount for the first few days, for tipping or as emergency cash.
☐ Charge your electronics - Very important especially if your boarding passes, reservations, etc. are saved in your phone.
☐ Pack "Last Minute Items" - Like your passport, chargers, smartphone, etc.
☐ Unplug appliances especially TVs and computers
☐ Download movies, music, ebooks, Google Maps offline, etc.
☐ Confirm your reservations - Check in online, make sure there are no changes to your flights, your Airbnb host hasn't cancelled or anything, etc.
☐ Check the weather forecast- Last minute changes can be very crucial to your travel plans.
☐ Setup "Out of Office" email message - You're officially on vacation mode so don't leave your fans hanging ;)
☐ Set thermostat for away temperature
☐ Prepare your Airport Outfit - Less stress on the day of your flight which is super important.
☐ Make sure that all windows and doors are locked - Don't forget to place your spare key/s in a safe, locked place.
We hope this checklist helped calm your pre-trip jitters. You can also download the checklist into a printable form so you can easily tick off items as you go. Check it out below!
Anything else we're missing? Let us know in the comments section.
Have a safe trip!
The EzPacking Team