Things To Do Right Before Your Trip [Checklist]

When planning your trip, it’s easy to forget those everyday to-do’s that need attention while you’re gone. After all, who’s looking after Spot, and which of your friends has a green thumb for that fico plant sitting in your windowsill. 

Weeks leading up to your trip, you start to wonder “Did I miss anything?” 

Well, you’re in luck!  Here is an ultimate checklist I’ve compiled of things to take care of so your mind can be at ease:

  • Decide where & whether you’ll keep your apartment/home & car
    • Decide whether you’ll be keeping your living quarters if you’re renting or what you’ll do with your home if you own.
    • Hand in your notice to your landlord if you need to
    • Adjust your thermostat settings & check its batteries as appropriate.
    • Clean your toilets, and anything else prone to “growing” stuff when you’re not around.
    • Check your refrigerator & other storage locations for food that could spoil.
    • Dispose of your garbage (including any lurking in the disposal unit).
    • Turn off taps, washing machines, and anything else that could leak or freeze while unattended.
    • Inspect all your doors and windows to ensure that they are secure. If you use an alarm service, notify them of your plans, and let them know who to contact for emergencies.
    • Unplug things (don’t just turn them off)
    • Water your plants.
    • Clean the gutters; water is not always your friend.
  • Make sure that someone you trust knows your travel plans and can deal with emergencies (and have a key to your home and travel documents) in your absence.
    • Make arrangements for the care of any pets and plants in your charge.
    • Schedule the payment of any bills that might come due during your trip; switching to on-line payment options can facilitate this. If using a cellular telephone with a prepaid plan, ensure that it has sufficient remaining time.
  • Suspend your mail delivery, or have it forwarded appropriately (or to a rented P.O. box if a long trip makes it necessary).
    • Suspend or cancel your newspaper delivery and other services (like magazines, cable, gym membership, etc.).
  • Inform your credit card issuer(s) of your travel dates & locations; else they might suspend your accounts when unexpected charges appear from a different country.
  • Ensure that nothing important (passport, ATM & credit cards, etc.) will expire while you’re away.
    • Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your end trip date as that’s a usual requirement for traveling internationally.
  • Confirm accommodation reservations, late check-in-times so they know you’ll be arriving late if applicable
  • Print out a hard copy and email yourself a copy of:
    • Vaccinations (I just type mine up)
    • Bank statement (they may ask you for it at customs- but prob not)
    • Flight/flight return plane ticket
    • Passport
    • Driver License
    • Birth certificate
    • Travel insurance documents and their phone number
    • Friend’s phone numbers, emergency contact phone number/email
    • Credit card company contact phone number (in an emergency, I use hostel wifi and skype to call them. Put some money on your skype account, lowest amount $10 is good enough). If you wish, you can buy a SIM card for your phone, top it off with some money to make urgent calls.
    • Put hard copies in Ziploc back.
  • Phone Apps I recommend:
    • good for when you are getting lost or are trying to get somewhere. No wifi or data needed; you can use offline. Just make sure to download each country’s map before you get to the country. This saved me a lot when I entered a new country and hopped of the train and had to figure out where my hostel at night was and walk in the right direction.
    • Google Translate: Now you can download a language before you leave so you can use it offline (without wifi or data) when you get to your destination
    • XE currency: currency converter.  Select each country’s currency to be in your menu before you travel while you have wifi.
    • Skype: make calls with wifi (once I had to call my bank because my card wasn’t working!) or to keep in touch with family & friends
    • Convert units: you probably will rarely need this, but it’s good to have to convert weights (ie. Luggage and grocery shopping at a market) and distance
    • iP Free: (for women) – it’s convenient to track your monthly period and will alert you when it’s about to come. Mainly good for those with a consistent cycle.
    • Whatsapp: I use this (other apps like this include Line, Viber, etc.) to keep in touch with my friends. It’s texting, video chat, calling – all for free.  You just need wifi (or data) for it.  Many travelers have this app already so it’s easy to keep in touch!
  • Keep cash in different areas (ie. large backpack, day bag) secretly.
  • Pack your backpack or suitcase using my ULTIMATE PACKING LIST


Travel With Trang’s Personal Tips & Notes

  • Hostels/hotels require passport for check-in. **ALWAYS REMEMBER TO GET IT BACK.  (I once almost forgot and would’ve been screwed when I left and got to the train station)
  • Mistake I made: The train from Tokyo to Tokyo airport runs like only every 30 minutes and goes through only certain stops. ALLOW EXTRA TIME to get to the airport.  I timed everything perfectly that day, but failed to allow extra time in for making mistakes.  I missed my flight =(
  • Check weather/season before your trip to know generally what type of clothes to pack. It makes packing easier and lighter when it’s warm weather.
  • Don’t exchange money at the airport. Worst conversion rate + fees on top. Best rate is to withdraw from an ATM.  I love CHARLES SCHWAB Bank – they refund all your ATM fees!
    • After I withdrawal money from an ATM try to break down to smaller bills by going to a supermarket or 7-11 or McDonald’s (aka not a small business owner who probably doesn’t have many small bills available).
  • Always have some American cash hidden/stashed somewhere to exchange in case of emergency.
  • Tipping is not much of a thing outside of the U.S. At restaurants, about 10-15%.  In America, 20% is standard.
  • Europe: Watch your wallet. Pickpockets are the main scam here, not guns.
  • A travel friend gave me interesting advice: he didn’t run into trouble (aka scams) when he chose to not talk with locals/strangers on the street—you can use your intuition on this.
  • Don’t bring a lot of soap and toiletry. Travel size is enough. Emergency? You can always buy it there at their store.
  • Usually trains/buses get into the city really early or super late. Pretty must at inconvenient times.
    • Usually I arrive early in the morning (brain dead) and kind of do this:
    • Arrive at hostel. Drop off your bag (since you can’t check in until 2 or 3pm or whatever). Get a map and ask them questions. Usually in Europe there is a free walking tour and that’s a great way to meet people at the hostel (and you don’t have to think about where to go and you get a bit of info or history or whatever on the city). You just tip whatever you feel at the end.
    • Keep your day bag (ie. messenger bag or purse) with me to hold things like a camera, phone, water, money.
    • Eat free breakfast at the hostel /hotel if they offer it or grab something to go at a nearby supermarket.
    • Go out and have fun. Come back at night. Do social events or cultural activities that the place may hosts. Europe hostels tends to have bar crawls too.


Click HERE for have  a Free Printable Checklist sent straight to your email!


Hopefully this list covers all the major items before you leave for your trip!  Are there any other tips that you personally do or suggest?  Comment and share below!

2 thoughts on “Things To Do Right Before Your Trip [Checklist]”

  • I keep telling myself that I am going to move overseas, but then I never end up doing it. I think I am waiting until the massive amount of student loans I accumulated goes away (6 more years) — I will be older, but I will be older either way right? I just want to make sure that when I am on my death bed, I have no regrets, and I think if I don’t make that jump it will become a regret for me. I also want to be here while my Grandma is still here, she is my heart and soul. Was it hard for you to be away from family? I always get so homesick when I move, I have discovered one thing though, I need the mountains. Thanks for all these thought-provoking tips, it really is something I will bookmark so when I do make that jump I make sure to check all these things off my list.

  • I love hearing about everyone’s background and life situation because it makes us realize how not everyone has it easy to just “pick up and go”. Having loans and older family members (my parents are starting to get weak as well, so that just adds a layer of feeling of guilt) make it harder. I don’t know how to explain it, but it wasn’t hard for me to be away from family but I think when I have a goal, I can sometimes push everything else aside (which can be good or bad). I did miss my close friends but I also made new ones too!

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