The Ultimate Pre-Trip Checklist

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Are you ready to go on vacation? Make sure all your loose ends are tied before you leave by consulting our pre-trip checklist.

6 Months To Go

Do you need any vaccines? Talk to your doctor about what immunizations are recommended for your destination and come up with a plan for getting vaccinated.

Do you need a visa or a new passport? Check the State Department’s country guide to determine what the entry requirements are for your destination. Renew your passport if necessary, and apply for visas early.

Do you have travel insurance? Travel insurance should be the first thing you buy for any trip, as you can always add new plane tickets, tours, and other costs to your initial purchase.

3 Months To Go

How will you get there? If you need to fly, buying tickets three months in advance gives you a good shot at a low airfare. If you’re taking a train or bus, you may also want to reserve your seat in advance. If you’re renting a car at your destination, make those arrangements now and ensure you have any international driving credentials you may need.

Will you be joining a guided tour? Some attractions, like the Inca Trail in Peru, require you to be part of an organized tour booked from your home country.

2 Months To Go

Do you have a packing list? The best way to make sure you don’t overpack is to have a plan for your suitcase.

Where will you be staying? Having to track down a hotel room after spending 12 hours on a plane is no fun. Book accommodations now, especially if you’re traveling during peak season.

How will you get to the hotel? Know what your options are for transportation from the airport or train station to your hotel or rental.

Does your family know? Give a copy of your itinerary to a family member in case of emergency.

1 Month To Go

Do you need a housesitter? If you don’t have a friend or neighbor who can help out, use a website like Trusted Housesitters or House Carers to find a qualified housesitter.

Do you need a phone? If you can’t let go of your smartphone, look into getting your phone unlocked and acquiring a local SIM card at your destination.

Do you have everything you need? If your comfiest walking shoes are worn out or you don’t have a travel adapter kit, now is the time to stock up. Make sure you also have any prescription medications you take filled before leaving.

2 Weeks To Go

Have you scanned your travel documents? Your passport, visas, medical history, credit card info, and any reservations should be scanned and saved to your email so they can be accessed from anywhere.

Have you been to the bank? Get any foreign currency you may need in advance, and put a travel alert on all your credit cards. You may also want to set up autopay on any bills that may arrive in your absence.

1 Week To Go

Are you getting mail? Consider putting a hold on your mail while you’re gone, unless you have a housesitter who can bring it in for you.

Have you confirmed your flight? Double check your flight status a few days out. Take this time to also double check carry-on and checked baggage restrictions so there are no surprises at the airport.

Do you know the weather? Double check your forecast to determine what you definitely will or will not need.

Are you packed? Don’t put off packing until the night before you leave. Have everything ready to go at least two days in advance.

Is your house clean and secure? Set a timer on your lights, make sure all the windows are locked, clean out the fridge, take out the trash, and unplug electronics to save power.

1 Day To Go

Are you charged? The night before you leave, plug in everything you’ll be taking with you: phone, kindle, iPod. Board your flight with full batteries.

Are you hydrated? Drinking plenty of water is key to staying healthy and avoiding jet lag.