Before You Go Checklist

by Female Abroad

With my upcoming trip, it was time for me to start preparing for my being away. Most people prepare for the trip but they don't think of the little things you should do before you actually leave. To help with my piece of mind, I do the following items to make sure I can enjoy my time away.

Check Passport / Visa

6 months before my trip, I make sure that my passport is still valid and that the expiry date is far enough out that it won't interfere with my trip. I also check any visa requirements and if I have a visa, if it is still valid. I also keep an eye on visa requirements leading up to my trip as these can change at the drop of a hat.

Contact / check my cell phone plan

I always check to see if my phone will work where I'm headed as well as what numbers I might need to know (ex. country codes, emergency numbers, etc) so then I can use my phone as needed. I also check out prices so I know how much it is going to cost me to use it while roaming. I'll also check to see what features on my phone I can use as not everywhere has 4G data so I'll have to rely on Wi-Fi. If I need to I'll also add on travel packages so I'm not charged an arm and a leg to use it.

Contact my bank / credit card company

To prevent my card being frozen while travelling I'll give my bank and credit card a quick shout. Since they know that you will be travelling (depending on the card) they will also allow you to go over your credit limit so keep an eye on this! If you are travelling over the weekend, credit card companies will usually allow you to go over the limit due to charges not being submitted by payers until the Monday. I've had this happen to me and is one of the reasons that I try to use cash as I don't want to be paying all the additional fees for being allowed to go over my credit limit.

Let the Government Know

I've written about this in a previous article but I will pop onto the government tourist website and let them know my travel plans so if there is any reason that the area I am travelling to needs to be evacuated (hurricane, civil unrest, terrorist attack, etc) then they are aware that I'm in the country.

Let Your Home Security Know

If you have a security system on your home and / or business then give them a heads up so they know that if anything goes off, it's not you plus there is a chance they might not be able to reach you.

Prepay Bills

If you are going to be away and some bills will be due while you are away, make sure to prepay them before you go. It would be horrible to come home and there be no water....

Check the Weather & Pack

This is pretty common sense but I like to state the obvious. If you are unsure of what to pack then check the weather and go off of that.

Confirm Reservations

  1. 2 weeks before my trip I always reach out to all hotels, car rentals, tours, etc and confirm that they have my reservation. With tours I also confirm that pick up/meeting point as well as request in location contact information in case something goes wrong or I get lost and need to call them.
  2. 24 hours out I check my flights to make sure there are no cancellations / changes. This also allows me to check in and a lot of airlines release seat assignments for free at this time so I'll grab my seats. If there are changes then I adjust things that are needed at that time. I also recheck these flights 5 hours prior to heading to the airport.

Check the Fridge

I'll eat, give away, freeze, or throw out perishable foods and I'll turn down my fridge a couple degrees as well. The reason for this is because the door won't continuously be opened / closed the temperature can get quite cold and I've noticed that things in the back of my fridge will actually freeze due to this.

Hand out Itinerary Copies

Email / give out a copy of your itinerary as well as contact numbers (other than your cell phone) to a friend and/or family member so then if anything goes wrong they know how to get a hold of you or they can assist with cancelling things if you can't. Also if you need something mailed to you (emergency credit card, extra medication, etc), they can send it to the next location that will meet you in time.

Empty Your Wallet / Purse

It's amazing what gets put into our wallets. Take this time to remove gift cards, receipts, lotto tickets, currency, and anything else you don't need to take with you.

Have your Mail Held

If you live in a house, are going to be gone for a while, or you are expecting a lot of mail, let the post office know so they can hold your mail for you.

Bring in Outdoor Furniture

If you have anything on your patio or in your backyard that could get blown around, stolen, or destroyed in storms bring them inside. If you have any keys hiding around outside, bring them inside too.

Close and Lock

All windows, doors, and other entry points. If you can alarm them, even better. Also close blinds.

Setup a Timer

Setup (and make sure it works) a light timer. I have one that will turn the light on at random times and lengths which makes it a lot more believable than the ones that go on at a set time on a set day and off at a set time and day. People who are scoping out your house will notice this pattern so the extra piece of mind was worth the couple of dollars more for the random one.