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Last Minute Travel Prep Checklist

Getting ready for a trip, no matter how organized I am, it always seems like I remember a ton of things I have to do at the last minute before heading out – especially if I’m going to be traveling for a while.

I always get packed ahead of time and double quadruple check my flight or transportation details making sure I know what day and time my tickets are for – those are the big things – but I tend to overlook the random details and loose ends that should be tied up before heading out on the road.

Below is a list of last minute travel preparations to do before leaving home:

Finances

  • Notify your ATM and credit card companies –  Call your card companies or bank to notify them about upcoming travel plans.
  • Pay off your credit card – Before you hit the road, make sure your credit cards are paid as much as possible so you have more available credit for any travel or surprise expenses.
  • Make copies of your credit and bank cards – Keep one set of copies with you and leave another with someone at home. If you lose your cards you still have all your information, including the international numbers to contact your bank.

Travel Details

  • Outline your itinerary – Make sure you have a schedule of your itinerary both for you and for someone back at home.
  • Check your tickets – Including the day and time of your departure and where you’re departing from – don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re leaving from a major airport when actually your flight is from a smaller airport in a different place!
  • Organize transportation to the airport – How will you get to the airport (and how early do you need to arrive)?
  • Check your luggage – Double check luggage allowances and make sure your bags fit within any size or weight restrictions.
  • Check in to your flight early – Check in on line to get your boarding pass early. If I’m flying with only a carry on I’ll always check in online, but if I’m checking bags I may just wait to do everything at the airport.

Accommodation Details

  • Figure out how to get from the airport/station to your accommodation – Can you take public transportation to where you need to be? Or will you have to find a taxi or shuttle once you arrive? While backpacking I didn’t usually book accommodation ahead of time. Now when I do I feel really responsible and on top of things…but I’ve often overlooked that I need to actually get from the airport or train station to where I’m staying. Don’t assume you will have a Wi-Fi connection or can look up information easily once you arrive in a place!
  • Have your accommodation details – Have the address (in English and the local language), phone number, reservation details and an idea of where the place is located
  • Confirm your reservations – Make sure your reservations are for the time and place you think they’re for and call your accommodation ahead of time to let them know when you’ll be arriving if necessary. (You don’t want to arrive somewhere and find no one’s there to let you in…like what happened to me in Italy…)

Pack Your Carry-On

  • Travel documents
  • Identification
  • Any tech/chargers/converters you need
  • Medications
  • Travel-sized liquids in a quart plastic bag
  • Anything you have to have with you — In the chance that there’s an issue with your other luggage, what items do you want to make sure you have with you?

Miscellaneous

  • Make copies of your passport and license – Again, keep one set of copies with you and leave another at home. Some countries require you to keep your passport with you at all times, but I often feel uncomfortable carrying my passport around. Instead I always have my license and a copy of my passport on me for identification. Having copies of your passport with you and at home will also help you if you lose your passport while abroad.
  • Charge all the things – Before heading out the door make sure your phone/computer/camera/Kindle/every gadget you’re taking with you is fully charged – realizing your phone battery is dying while in transit and not being able to find an outlet is the worst. As soon as the batteries are all full pack those chargers up so you don’t forget them at home.
  • Cancel any services or subscriptions – Depending on where you’re traveling and how long you’ll be gone you may want to cancel services like mail delivery, phone service, etc. If you receive newspaper, magazine or other subscriptions have them paused until you return.

What last minute details to you take care of before leaving on a trip?

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