Whether you’re leaving for a long while or are only taking a quick weekend trip, there are a few essentials that are always included in a vacation checklist. This list works as an international travel checklist or for smaller trips within your own country to ensure a smooth trip.
Below I’ve detailed all of the things that you should do before leaving on any trip. Though all will not apply to shorter trips, it’s still important to double check a travel checklist before leaving on your next adventure, business trip, or whatever has you traveling.
At the end of this travel list I have attached a file for you as handy checklist for travel to use before any trip! It is a simplified version of this post as a travel to do list without all the extra details.
Passport: You’ll need three copies: one to put in your luggage, one to leave at home, and one digital copy to store on your computer
Important Documents: Make copies of any cards or documents that you are traveling with like bank cards, health card, drivers license, etc.
Passport Details: Check the expiration date (many countries require it to be valid for six months before entering a country) and how many pages you have left (some countries require multiple pages or will not stamp your last one or two remaining pages)
Travel Notification: Notify your bank of your travel plans (dates and destinations)
Foreign Transaction Fees: Get a credit or debit card that doesn’t have any foreign transaction or overseas ATM fees. Or just ask what the fees are so you can budget accordingly
Exchange Currency: Have some of the currency of where you are headed and some of your home currency in cash as well for emergencies
Emergency Numbers: Have a list of numbers you may need to contact if an issue arises (like if your bank card won’t let you take out money)
Emergency Contact: Have the phone number and email address or your emergency contact for back home on you at all times, like on your phone
Trip Itinerary: Leave a copy of your trip itinerary with someone at home, even if it is just a rough idea of places and dates. You can give updates to your contact as you go
Downloads: Have all your music, movies, TV shows, and books ready to go
Backups: Backup any electronic devices you’re taking in case you lose them, they get stolen, or break
Charge: Every item you’re taking with you should be fully charged
Memory: Clean all memory cards, phone etc., to have room for pictures/video
Laundry: Do this enough in advance so your clothes are dry before packing and wash any new pieces so that if you wash them while on the road then new colours won’t run and dye other pieces
Kitchen: Clean out any perishable items
Pet Sitter: Hire if necessary
House Sitter: Hire if necessary
Unplug electronics: Unplug everything, it’ll help with your bill!
Bills: Change all to auto-pay
Immunizations: Book an appointment to look into these at least a month in advance, some will require multiple shots a few weeks apart
Prescriptions: Pick up any new prescriptions and fill up on usual prescriptions
Travel Insurance: Buy travel insurance. I recommend World Nomads, but if you need help choosing travel insurance refer to this guide
Visas: Apply for visas that may be required in advance prior to arriving in a country
Reservations: Confirm any reservations made beforehand (flights, accommodation)
Travel Alerts: Set these up on your phone or email to notify you if your flight is delayed
Transit Details: Have a hard copy of your transit ticket or details or a copy on your phone (screenshot it all in case you can’t access your email)
First Destination: Have the address and map of the first destination you need to get to show a taxi driver, or directions for you to use public transit
Language: Learn the language of the country you’re going to! The local’s will really appreciate it.
Pack: Obvious, but it must be done
Weigh Luggage: Avoid paying extra fees or ripping open your luggage at the airport while everyone waits for you
Luggage Restrictions: Double check the airline to make sure your bags fit the requirements to avoid extra charges. Here is a great resource to check you carry-on luggage size limitations.
Cellphone: Purchase a plan to use overseas, or know where to get SIM cards in the country you’re visiting
Did I forget anything? There is a lot to think about before taking off on your trip. Bookmark this page or download the PDF below to refer to this pre trip checklist before every trip.