Are you planning a vacation? It’s always so exciting when you’re preparing for a trip – deciding where to go and what to pack and bring with you on your travels. But what most people forget are all the things to do before vacation. Remembering to hold your mail, plan for pet care, get your passport, and so much more. Let me help you be prepared for your next trip with my ultimate travel checklist of things to do before vacation. Follow along below and be fully prepared with your very own vacation checklist. Bonus: Get a free printable travel checklist pdf.
This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.
Travel Checklist – Things to Do Before Vacation
4 to 8 Weeks Before Vacation
1.Passport – Check that your passport is up to date and order a new one if necessary.
2. Travel Insurance – Decide if you need travel insurance for your trip and buy it if necessary.
3. Plan for Pet Care – Decide where to leave your pet while you are gone. If you will be using a pet center, make sure to visit it to insure you are comfortable with them keeping your pet. Check a few places to find the best prices and amenities for your pet.
4. Arrange transportation from the Airport – Decide if you need to arrange for an Uber or rent a car. Also, check with your hotel/ resort, many have shuttles to pick you up from the airport.
5. Security while your away – You will want to make sure your house is safe while you’re traveling for a better piece of mind. We use the Ring Doorbell to keep an eye on who is coming up to our house. It will ring on your phone to let you know someone is approaching and you can check out the video feed on your phone. There is even a function to talk to the people at your door through your phone. I love it for at home when I am busy with the kids, too. It’s also a great deterrent for robbers when they see a camera on your house. The Ring Doorbell has a simple installation and great function that will make you feel at ease when you’re away.
If you will be gone for a longer period of time, another option is to get a security camera. It also can be easy to install and record everything that is happening while you are away. Here is a great security camera system that comes with four cameras for indoor or outdoor use.
6. Get a timer for your lights -This is another great way to have cheap security. Program your lights with this easy timer and people will think you are home while your away on vacation. It’s a simple step we always do before heading out of town.
One Week Before Vacation
7. Bills – Pay any bills that are due while you’re on vacation. This can easily be done online through your bank or just mail in a check early.
8. Credit Cards – Let credit card companies know you will be out of town. This way, when you go to pay for something with your card, it will not get flagged as stolen.
9. Credit Card Alerts – Get alerts from your credit card texted to you so that if anyone steals your credit card information while your traveling you will know right away. Most companies can add this service on for free.
10. Confirm your hotel and airline reservations – You don’t want to arrive at your destination and have nowhere to stay. So, just take a few minutes to call or check online that the hotel and airline have you booked.
11. Travel Packing List – Print out a travel checklist for packing to make sure you don’t forget to bring anything you need on vacation. Get my free downloadable Family Travel Packing List.
12. Laundry – Get all of your laundry done before you go. It is the worst to come home for a long trip and not only have vacation clothes to wash but also the clothes you left behind.
13. Refrigerator – Look through your refrigerator and see what food you need to use up before you go. Make a meal plan for the week based on food left in your fridge. Bonus, you will also save money not eating out before you go on vacation.
14. Put your mail on hold – Don’t forget to do this, you don’t want bills or important documents sitting in your mailbox while you’re gone. You can put your mail on hold up to 30 days in advance. Use this post office link to put your mail on hold or go into your local post office.
15. Pack Documents – Make copies of any documents, id’s or passport information you may need on vacation. Keep them in a file in your carry on bag.
16. Plants – Ask a friend to keep an eye on your home while you are away and water your plants.
Day Before Your Vacation
16. Start Packing – I like to do this the day or two before so I have time to remember things I forget. Also, make sure to look over your Travel Checklist for any items you may have forgotten.
17. Adjust your Thermostat – Save some money while you’re gone by adjusting your heat and air conditioning before you leave. You can simply just turn it down or use a programmable thermostat like the Nest Thermostat to adjust your temperature. We really like the Nest because it is so easy to use and we save money with it all year long, not just on vacation.
18. Timer – Start your light timer today so you can make sure it is set up correctly.
19. Empty Refrigerator – Go through your refrigerator and throw out any perishable food.
20. Take out the garbage and recycling – If you do not have garbage pick up before you leave, ask a neighbor if you can throw your trash in their bin.
21. Run the dishwasher one last time – I like to do this the night before just in case there are any water leaks it happens while I am home.
22. Electronic Devices – Charge any devices you are bringing on your trip and don’t forget to pack the cords.
23. Pack Activities for the Trip – Download any shows you want to watch on your phone or iPad and pack fun travel games and accessories. Need ideas? Check out my Cool Travel Gadgets for Kids from Amazon or save some money with my 15 Best Road Trip Games for Kids at the Dollar Store. Tip: We love the travel tray and kick mats that hold the kid’s iPads. We use these on every road trip. Busy kids are happy kids (:
24. Water Your Plants – Water your plants both inside and outside and remember to ask a neighbor or friend to water them while you’re gone.
25. Tidy up the house – Who wants to come home after a long trip to a huge mess. Right?
Day of Vacation
26. Double-check all doors and windows are locked.
27. Double Check Your Checklist – Do one last check of your travel checklist to make sure you packed everything.
28. Close the blinds and drapes.
29. Unplug any unnecessary electronics.
30. Drop off Your Pet
Get all these great tips in my Free Travel Checklist PDF
How Much Will Your Trip Cost
Find out the full cost of your upcoming vacation with my free Trip Cost Calculator. Use this easy tool to help build your travel budget and get a better idea of how much you need to save for a vacation. You can adjust each travel item cost until you find a total amount that you can afford. Then build your dream vacation around your personal travel budget.
Now you are ready for a fun vacation! Did this travel checklist cover all the things to do before vacation? If you thought of something else please leave it in the comments for us all to add to our list. Don’t forget to print out the travel checklist to easily check off your to-do list at home.
If you found this article helpful don’t miss any of my new posts by joining my Happy Mom Hacks weekly newsletter with great travel tips, easy family meals, and household hacks. We are constantly working to find ways to make a mom’s life easier. Plus get a free Ultimate Family Packing List.
Don’t forget to Pin This For Later
Need Some Great Family Travel Destination Ideas?
- Epic National Parks to Visit Before Your Kids Turn 18
- Shenandoah Valley Virginia – Best Things to Do with Kids
- Luray Cavern Virginia – An Amazing Cave You Have to See
- 10 Best Weekend Getaways in the Midwest for Families
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Top Things to Do with Kids
- Best Guide to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio
- 10 Fun Free Things to Do in Naples Florida with Kids
- Top 10 Things to Do in Door County Wisconsin for Families
- Ultimate Guide to Chicago Attractions with Kids
- 10 Awesome Things to Do in Wilmington NC
Family Travel Tips, Accessories & Games
- 15 Best Road Trip Games for Kids at the Dollar Store
- 20 Tips to Make Traveling with Kids Enjoyable
- 5 Best Road Trip Apps
- 11 Amazon Road Trip Games & Travel Accessories for Kids
- Easiest Money-Saving Tips for Family Vacation
- 20 Beach Hacks to Survive a Family Beach Day
- 40 Things to Do With Kids on Staycation