Travel can be incredibly exciting, but it can also be very stressful. The same trip that you’ve been looking forward to all year can be a source of anxiety and panic when you realize it’s closer than you think and that you’re not ready. With the date of your departure looming, it can seem impossible to remember everything that needs to be done. The last thing you need is to be on that overseas flight when you remember you forgot to stop daily delivery of the newspaper. This list should help you organize your pre-travel routine and avoid that panicky feeling while you’re flying over the Atlantic.
#1 Plan your first and last day. Even if you’re the kind of traveler who loves to “just wing it” you should plan your first and last day. You don’t need to make a minute-by-minute itinerary but outlining a few things you’d like to do is a good idea. When you get off the plane after traveling for a while you might be groggy or a little out of it, the last thing you’ll want to do is try to make a plan at that moment. If you want to make the most of your last day and still make it to the plane, it’s a good idea to plan that out, too.
#2 Check the weather. This one seems like a no-brainer, but when you’re wearing a tank top and shorts in unseasonably cold weather, you’ll wish you checked the forecast one last time before you took off.
#3 If you have pets or plants arrange for a kennel or house sitter. It’s bad enough you’re pets have to stay home, remember to have someone look after them.
#4 Temporarily stop delivery of newspapers and mail. Nothing says “come rob this empty house” like a pile of old newspapers at the end of the driveway or a mailbox overflowing with uncollected mail.
#5 Put your lights on a timer. A completely dark house is another obvious sign that no one’s home.
#6 Contact your bank. First, ensure that you have enough money in accounts you can access abroad and then have a plan for getting that money out. Check with your bank to see if they have partner banks abroad, because they might give you a break on ATM fees. It’s also important to let your bank know where and when you’ll be traveling—most banks monitor accounts for suspicious charges and could freeze an account if they think someone else might be spending your money.
#7 Write down all important phone numbers and addresses. Even if you are planning to bring your phone and use it abroad, things happen. As backup, write down all important numbers and addresses so you’ll have them on hand in an emergency or when you need to send that postcard.
#8 Make copies of all important documents and credit cards. If you lose your passport or your wallet gets stolen, it’s much easier to replace what’s lost when you have all the information on hand.
#9 Know what your cell phone company charges for international use. Many travelers simply go without a cell phone, but if you need to use your phone abroad, research the plans and charges. A hefty cell phone bill is not a pleasant welcome home gift.
#10 Clean out the fridge and take out the garbage. That unpleasant smell is also something you wont want to experience when you get home.
#11 Bring the appropriate electrical adapter. Depending on your destination, you might need an electrical adapter to ensure your plugs fit into the wall and that they are receiving the right amount of power. A quick search of electrical adapters and your destination should let you know what you’ll need.
Can you think of any other things travelers shouldn’t leave home without doing? Let us know in the comment section below or tweet at us.