Things to Do Before Going on Vacation (Besides Packing)

20 September 2022 Posted by: Lake Lawn B&B Travel Tips

Whether you are taking a short trip or will be away for weeks or even months, there is a number of things to do before going on vacation.

You’ve planned your trip, now it’s time to create a checklist of the things you should do at home before leaving on vacation.

From tossing out soon-to-expire food to making sure everything is safe and secure, making a few small preparations beforehand can make a big difference.

Here is a practical list of things you should do before your upcoming vacation.

Things to Do Before Going on Vacation

1. Contact Your Cell Phone and Credit Card Company

If you’re going on vacation, and especially if you are traveling abroad, it’s best to let your credit card provider know.

They might otherwise block your card because of suspicious transactions.

As for your phone, check if you can use it at your destination.

Many cell phone providers offer reasonable day passes or short-term plans for international use. That might be perfect for your vacation, so make sure to activate the plan that suits your needs.

Or, especially if you are going on a longer vacation abroad, a local sim card might be best. I often get a local sim card at the airport I fly to because local sim cards generally offer cheaper data plans than using your local provider abroad.

If you plan to get a local sim card abroad, check if you can pause your current plan to save some money during your trip.

Also Read: Why Use a VPN on Your Phone While Traveling

2. Make Sure You Have Valid Travel Insurance

a man forgetting to do things before traveling

I know, we all assume nothing bad will happen to us during our trips.

But what if it does?

I’m very careful but during all my years of traveling I’ve had my luggage lost, my purse stolen and, the worst one, I ended up in an Indonesian hospital with Dengue fever.

All those times I was happy I had travel insurance!

And, travel insurance doesn’t have to be expensive.

I’ve written a separate article about what to look for in travel insurance.

3. Verify All Your Reservations

I call myself an experienced traveler but I once showed up at a hotel in Dubai with a reservation… that turned out to be booked for the wrong month!

My ex booked the hotel, so I blame him, of course 😉

But that did teach me to always double-check my reservations.

Check dates, times, and whether any of them need reconfirming before arrival.

If you have access to a printer it’s not a bad idea to print out confirmations. If not, just make sure you have all the confirmations handy on your phone.

4. Write Down Important Information for Your Trip

woman writing things down in a notebook

You might not have a good internet connection at all times. Or worse, have your phone stolen.

So I always make sure I write down the most important details of my trip on paper.

That includes the details of my accommodation, flights, car rental office, public transport tickets, etc.

5. Make Sure a Friend or Family Member has Your Itinerary

No matter what type of vacation you go on, it’s always good to have an emergency contact who knows your itinerary.

Don’t forget to let them know as well if your itinerary changes during your trip!

6. Make a Copy of Your Passport

If you’re going on vacation abroad, make sure you have a copy of your passport.

It can be a hard copy or simply a picture of your passport, but in case you lose your passport it will be very helpful to at least have that copy.

And if you take a picture, make sure it’s stored online somewhere just in case your phone would get lost or stolen.

7. Download Things You Might Need Offline

downloading Google maps before going on vacation

In case internet gets spotty during my trips I always download Google Maps for wherever I’m going.

If you love listening to Spotify, certain podcasts, or watching a movie while offline, then make sure to download all of those as well.

8. Make Sure You Have Suitable Luggage

Hand luggage only? A big suitcase? Or is a backpack best suited for this trip?

Make sure you have the right luggage ready to pack.

And, if you are flying or taking public transport, make sure your ticket has the right luggage allowance.

9. Leave Anything You Don’t Need at Home

a purse with lots of items

You’ll probably bring your wallet and a purse or bag you use regularly.

Check what’s in them.

Remove any loyalty cards, extra credit cards, personal items of sentimental value, etc.

Don’t bring anything you don’t need. This way you can’t lose it either.

10. Make Sure Your Bills are Paid

This is especially important if you are going on a longer vacation.

You wouldn’t want to return to overdue bills and all the late fees or penalties that can come with that.

So, for peace of mind, check all bills are paid or set up auto-pay for any upcoming bills.

11. Clean Before You Go

After a great vacation you won’t want to return to a dirty house.

So this is the perfect time for a deep clean!

Clean your home, wash your bedding and make your bed just before you leave.

Look inside your refrigerator while you’re at it. Eat, freeze or throw away anything that will spoil while you’re on vacation.

And don’t forget to take out the trash just before you leave!

12. Prepare Your Home

unplugging appliances before going on vacation

Unplug appliances and make sure all the lights are off. Although you might want to put one or two lights on a timer to make it look like you’re at home.

Turn off the heating or set your thermostat to vacation mode if it has one. It’s a good way to save energy and money while on vacation.

Turn off your water heater or set it to vacation mode.

If nobody will use your house while you are on vacation it’s best to turn off the main water supply to prevent leaks and flooding.

Check all entrance points to your home just before you leave is a good idea. Make sure that no seldom used windows or doors are unlocked or left partially open.

Any outdoor items you have in your home that would be easy to steal are best kept indoors. Think cushions, lightweight chairs, and anything of (sentimental) value that’s easy for thieves to take.

13. Make Sure You Have Suitable Insurance for Your Home

No matter how well you prepare your home before you leave, things happen.

Make sure you have suitable renters or homeowners insurance before you set off on your trip.

The appropriate insurance can cover the loss of your goods if a burglar breaks in.

Additionally, any damage a storm or other unexpected incident could do to your home and belongings is covered by the insurance as well.

14. Water Your Plants

a boy watering plants

If you’re only going on a short vacation, water your plants right before you leave and they’ll be fine.

If you’re going on a longer trip, you might want to ask a friend or neighbor to take care of them.

15. Consider Having a Neighbor or Friend Collect Your Mail

If you’re going away for a longer period of time, mail piling up might be an easy sign that your house is empty.

For those longer trips having someone collect your mail or placing your mail on hold at the post office can be a good option.

16. Check the Weather

You might be traveling to a sunny destination and think all you need are shorts and flip-flops.

But it could rain while you are there. Or get chilly in the evening.

Check the weather a day or two before you leave to get an accurate forecast and pack accordingly.

17. Learn About the Place You’re Going

Do some research on the locations you are visiting.

Any festivals that will be taking place while you are there, and activities you may take part in.

Learn what supplies you’ll need to pack and what you can get locally at a reasonable price.

And leave some room in your baggage for mementos!

For more tips on planning the perfect vacation, I’ve written a separate article about that here.

Final Thoughts on Things to Do Before Traveling

a woman going on vacation

If you’ve made your way through this checklist you’re well prepared to set off on your next vacation.

Now pack your bags, lock the door and enjoy your trip!

Also Read:

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Things to do before going on vacation

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing.

I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this website to share “the good, the bad and the ugly” of traveling and living abroad. Visit the About Me page for more info.

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