So you’re going on a big trip huh?? Ooo, lucky you! While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, there’s some things you need to do before embarking on your journey. This is a list of my usual routine, some things are necessary and others are just niceties that ease your mind, and allow you to get the most enjoyment out of your vacation. I hope these are helpful, tick them off as you go and have a fantastic time!
Call to confirm
Boy have I learned this one the hard way…..Booking through an external travel site can sometimes be cheaper and easier, but they are renown for not letting customers know about cancellations and changes quick enough to adjust, and have left many a person stranded for hours or even days. So if you book through a travel site call them before you leave AND call the airline and make sure the itineraries are identical and there is no unforeseen changes. It’s also a good idea to do this before you leave to come home too. Knowledge is everything.
Clean your house/apartment
This is not necessary of course, but it’s also so nice and welcoming to come home to a clean house. This is especially true if you are going back to work shortly after arriving home. You will be tired and it’s the last thing you will want to deal with. I always throw away all perishables out of the fridge and plug in an air freshener and take out all trash.
Winterize your living space.
I always tend to travel in winter (because I’m always going to the Middle East and winter is the best time to go), which means that my cabin in the mountains needs to be winterized before I leave. This entails shutting off the water, draining all the pipes, and leaving the furnace on the lowest setting in case of a snow blizzard. I have come home before to a busted pipe and a flooded house, so it’s best to prepare beforehand. Get all of your personal hygiene done first, switch everything off, drain the pipes and leave.
Depending on how long you are planning to be away and where, it’s always a good idea to pay your bills first. It doesn’t really matter too much if it’s something like phone or internet, they usually give you a wide grace period, but credit cards are a different story. They expect a payment or they will start piling on fees. Most countries have reliable internet so you can pay bills online, but to be sure, pay what you can before you leave.
Call the bank
Ahhh some banks just love cutting off your credit card and the slightest inkling of fraud, don’t they? This is only a minor inconvenience at home, but if you’re overseas, it can be really frightening. Call them and put a travel alert on your account. Tell them where you will be and from which dates and they will put a note on your file. I was told recently this isn’t really necessary now with the introduction of chip cards, but i would still cal anyone. Having full access to your money is the difference between eating and paying for a hotel, or not.
Turn off appliances
It’s always a good idea to do this. Not only do they constantly draw on your electricity, they are a potential fire hazard, and if there is any power surges you wont have any destroyed appliances. Some people also disconnect their fridge, or cut off power to the house altogether. It’s up to you what you feel is necessary and how long you will be away for.
Tell the mailman
My post office only seems to want to keep packages for 2 weeks and then sends them back. It’s not a huge deal if your just getting mail, but i sign up for monthly package subscriptions, so i have reoccurring things being sent to my house every month. I always tell my postman to hold everything. I wouldn’t even know how to get things that have bee sent back, you might even get charged extra shipping.
Wash clothes and pack
There’s a real science in packing a suitcase and we always forget things we really need. The best thing to do is lay your open suitcase out days before your trip and conceptualize what you need to pack and what you don’t. Wash all your clothes and pack them first, then finish with your toiletries, put them in bags and pack them before you leave. Always leave extra room for souvenirs and things you will buy on your trip. I always put 2 washing pods or some powder in a zip lock bag. You never know what the washing facilities are like, especially when going overseas.
Fill your prescriptions
Obtaining medicine in other countries is really hit and miss, especially when there is a language barrier. Not only could it mean going in for a foreign doctors appointment, a lot of medicine, especially in developing countries could be made anywhere and contain anything. Some things you can buy over the counter and others your can’t. It’s best to bring everything you need. I’ve also heard a few stories of people getting sick overseas and desperately needing antibiotics. If you think this is going to be a problem for you then speak to your doctor about it, and also any immunizations you may need.
Be prepared for Anything
Make copies of your passport and keep them in a separate place, make sure that at least 2-3 nights of hotels are booked and paid for, you have transport from and to the airport, you have timetables for any internal train and bus travel and you have maps and people to contact at home and abroad. If it’s an unsafe area, register at your embassy and let them know of your whereabouts,
Be safe, prepare for anything, take everything you need with you, make sure your home and vehicle is secure, and don’t forget to have a great time!
If I have missed anything, leave a comment below. thanks! 🙂