Making a To-Do List Before Your Trip

Friends, in all honesty I’m a planner. I love To-Do Lists, making a game plan before my weekends, having a super organized calendar… The works. But I also recognize that not everyone is that way. Many out there have no idea where to begin planning before a getaway. And that is perfectly OKAY. Whether your trip is international, domestic, a month long, or just a couple days… this post is for you! Here are some tips on what you should include on your To-Do List before your next trip.

Your To-Do List will obviously depend on what you will be doing on this trip, how long it will be, and whether you’ll be leaving the country or not. So I’ve broken this post up between two types of trips: 1) Extended international trip AND 2) Shorter domestic getaway. You can make modifications to these lists as needed depending on what you’ll be doing.

For an Extended International Trip:

  • Money
    • Alert your bank that you’ll be leaving the country
    • Apply for a credit card if you don’t have one (credit cards are the safest form of payment internationally because they aren’t connected to your personal bank account)
    • Do NOT withdraw money until you are in your destination country
  • Flights
    • Check In for your flight
    • Make sure you have TSA PreCheck or Global Entry arranged and organized
    • Arrange for an Uber driver or friend to take you to the airport
  • In-Country Transportation
    • Arrange your in-country transportation for when you first arrive (train, car, etc.)
    • Download Google Maps or something similar so that even when you don’t have internet access you can still get around worry free
  • Lodging
    • Make sure you know how to access your Airbnb or hotel (have the address easily accessible to communicate that to your driver or arrange for your in-country transportation to know exactly where to take you when you arrive)
  • Phone
    • Arrange with your phone company an international plan
  • Important Documents
    • Make copies of all your important documents to keep in your suitcase at all times in case something gets stolen (passport, visa, credit cards, Driver’s License, etc.)
    • Make copies of all your important documents to give to someone you trust back in your home country
  • Clean Up
    • If you’re leaving for a long time it will be a good idea to:
      • Deep clean your home or apartment
      • Make your bed (including washing those sheets!)
      • Take the trash out
      • Empty your fridge of any expired or almost expired foods
      • Water your plants (and arrange for someone to take care of them while you’re gone – make sure that person has a way of entering your apartment *ahem* front door key)
      • Board your pet or find someone to take care of your pet
      • Dust
      • Vacuum
      • Turn off the A/C
      • Unplug all electronics & turn off all lights
      • Laundry
  • Personal To-Do’s (Optional)
    • Hair Cut
    • Dentist
    • Car Wash
    • Self-Care (Pedicure, massage, facial, etc. Don’t neglect to take care of yourself! Going on an extended vacation can be stressful at times!)
  • Last Minute Purchases
    • Neck pillow
    • Travel guidebook for destination country
    • Comfy walking shoes
    • Outlet adapters
    • Cheap sunglasses
    • Travel sized bathroom products
    • Reusable water bottle(s)

For a Shorter Domestic Getaway:

  • Money
    • Withdraw some cash to have on hand in case of emergency
  • Flights
    • Check In for your flight
    • Make sure you have TSA PreCheck arranged and organized
    • Arrange for an Uber driver or friend to take you to the airport
  • Car
    • If you’ll be using your personal car, make sure it is serviced, safe, and has plenty of gas
    • Arrange your rental car at your final destination
  • Lodging
    • Make sure you understand your Airbnb check-in process (self check-in, meet the host, etc.) or know how to reach your hotel
  • Clean Up – even after a short time away it’s nice to come home to a clean abode
    • Spruce your home or apartment
    • Make your bed (including washing those sheets!)
    • Take the trash out
    • Empty your fridge of that leftover Chinese take-out from earlier this week
    • Water your plants
    • Board your pet or find someone to take care of your pet
    • Turn off the A/C
    • Unplug all electronics & turn off all lights
  • Personal To-Do’s or Last Minute Purchases
    • Do you need a cheap pair of sunglasses you wouldn’t mind losing or getting broken while you’re away?!
    • Pedicure/Manicure
    • Hair Cut
    • Travel size shampoo, conditioner, CHAPSTICK?!
    • Neck pillow

I hope these lists help you to start wrapping your mind around the things you should do before you leave! Look out for another post on packing lists soon!