Twelve Things to Do Before Your Trip

21 May Twelve Things to Do Before Your Trip

If there’s anyone who needs a pre-trip checklist, it’s me. Not only do I have to pack for myself, I also have to oversee the packing efforts of my two kids, make all our travel arrangements, and prepare our house and pets to be left for weeks at a time. I’ve created the following list of things to do before we leave, because in the frenzied days before we leave town, I need all the help I can get.

packing for a trip
© HultonArchive

1. Call your credit card companies
Credit card fraud departments are more vigilant than ever, and most block overseas charges first and then ask questions." Also, since the process is automated, sometimes calling ahead doesn’t do you any good. Find out how to get in touch if you get blocked, since toll-free numbers won’t work.

2. Freeze one meal
It’s all very well to imagine that you will prepare a simple meal on your first night home, but it’s infinitely nicer to pull something (chili, lasagna, or macaroni and cheese) out of the freezer. If you’re not much of a cook, pick up some takeout and freeze it.

3. Renew library books
On your way out the door, log into your library account and renew all your items. If anything can’t be renewed, take it back before you leave town and check it out again when you get home.

4. Refill prescriptions
About a week before your trip, make sure you refill any prescriptions. Before long trips, you may run into the hassle of your insurance company only wanting to dispense a month’s worth of medication at a time, and you may have to pay out of pocket.

5. Water plants and move them to a cool location
Even if you have a house sitter coming, water all your plants and move them somewhere cool, like the bathtub. This will not only contain leaks, it will also ensure that none of your plants gets overlooked in the watering process.

6. Ask neighbors to park in your driveway
It’s always a good idea to let your neighbors know you’ll be out of town, so they can keep an eye on your place. If your driveway will be empty, also ask them to park there to make your house look a little more occupied.

7. Copy important documents and email them to yourself
It’s good to have a color copy of your passport and any other important documents tucked away in your luggage. For a second backup, scan them and email them to yourself, so that you can access them anywhere you have an internet connection.

8. Check the washing machine for damp clothes
There is nothing worse than coming home to a washing machine full of damp, mildewed laundry, so make sure everything is clean and dry and put away before you head out the door.

9. Hide or lock up your valuables
If you have a secure cabinet or safe to lock your valuables in, do it. If not, consider hiding them somewhere that will thwart any smash and grab burglars. A plain cardboard box marked “extension cords” on a garage shelf should work just fine.

10. Clean out your wallet
If you have dozens of loyalty cards, receipts, credit cards, and gift cards choking up your wallet, you might want to lighten up. I have a tiny travel wallet that I bring on trips, but you don’t need to go that far. Just take only what you need and leave everything else at home.

11. Prepay bills
Make sure to pre-pay or schedule any bills that will come due while you’re out of town, but don’t com-pletely deplete your bank account. You might need fast access to funds in an emergency.

12. Buy milk boxes
Nothing is worse than arriving home late at night after a vacation, collapsing into bed for a few hours, and then waking to a house with…no milk for your morning coffee. To avoid this, buy a package of shelf-stable milk boxes that don’t have to be refrigerated.

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Jamie Pearson
Jamie Pearson is a freelance writer, a mother of two, and the publisher of the independent family travel blog Travel Savvy Mom. She regularly writes about family travel for Vail Resorts and Homewood Suites, and her dispatches have also appeared on National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel Blog and on
Jamie Pearson

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