After two long pandemic years, a lot of us are feeling eager to take to the roads, the seas and the skies. Whether you’re traveling solo or with family and friends, some simple pre-trip organization can save you grief when you’re walking out the door, keep you comfortable when you’re on the move, and make sure that you have what you need when you get where you’re going.
This is just a reminder that organizing isn’t just for your home; it’s a way of life!
If you’ve gotten out of the swing of traveling, here are some things to check as soon as you make your travel plans, especially when traveling abroad:
Passports—Make sure you’re up to date. No one wants to get to the airport to find out your passport is expired! Be sure to carry a photo of your passport’s main page on your phone, and share a copy with a trusted friend.
Visas—Does the country to which you are traveling require them? Make sure you’re in compliance.
Driver’s License—Some destinations require an international driver’s license. Check local regulations well before you depart.
COVID Vaccines & Other Vaccinations—Check the CDC website for country-specific testing and vaccination requirements and recommendations for entry and exit, including your return home. And always carry a photo of your vaccination card, front and back, on your phone.
Three Tips for International Travel
Make sure you have country-specific electrical chargers or converters.
Check your cell phone plan to see if you’re covered for international travel; if not, plan to get a local SIM card for your phone.
Let your credit card companies know you’ll be out of town, so they don’t flag your charges as fraud and check for any foreign transaction fees you may incur.
Taking Care of your Home
Wherever you’re headed, you’ll be leaving your home behind. Make sure to take good care of it with some pre-departure planning.
Pets—Arrange for a reliable sitter and make sure you leave phone numbers and detailed instructions.
Plants—Give keys and instructions to plant sitters and set timers for sprinklers and irrigation.
Mail and newspapers—Put a hold on your deliveries so they don’t pile up.
Email—Set up an out-of-office responder so you can relax and enjoy your trip.
At last! It’s time to get ready to go! To make sure you bring what you need, create a checklist in each of the following categories:
Clothing—Check the weather and think of all your activities and what they require, from bathing suits to formal wear.
Toiletries—Toothbrushes, medications, makeup. Many places offer basic toiletries and hairdryers. Check where you are going and if you can, leave the bulky hairdryer behind.
Electronics—Phones, e-readers, tablets and handheld video games for the kids. Don’t forget your cords, chargers, and converters.
Music, podcasts & audiobooks—Nothing passes the time like favorite shows and books, especially when you’re traveling with kids.
Reading materials—Books and magazines. Keep it light, but bring what you think you’ll really read and enjoy.
Work items—If you can’t leave it behind, make sure you have the files and documents you need.
Even with a list, you’re likely to pack more than you’ll actually need. Try to pare it down and maximize your space using travel cubes or even Ziplock bags to keep clothing, toiletries, jewelry, and cords organized and compact.
It's almost time to go, but before rushing out the door, take a little time to make sure your trip and your return home are stress-free.
Clean out the fridge so you don't come home to a moldy science experiment!
Put lights and radios on timers so it seems like someone's home.
Give a friend or family member your itinerary.
Give a friend or neighbor your key so they can check the house if needed.
Turn off heating, air conditioning, water, and set your alarm.
File all of your trip-related emails in a single folder for easy access.
Print out your itinerary and copies of reservations so you have them on hand even if your phone doesn't work.
Preparing for the unexpected will make sure you're not sidelined by unwelcome surprises.