The Power of a Checklist When Considering Vacationing

Regardless of how much time a person gives his or herself to begin the planning process for traveling, the day of departure seems to always sneak up. The key aspect to successful traveling is organization! There are many times where at least one thing is left behind, no matter how minor it may be, or how many times you “thought” the item was already accounted for. Planning for the days (and possibly week) prior to the departure day, the morning of, and last-minute, out-the-door packing is an essential responsibility to ensure that the trip starts out smoothly. Although there are times when help from others or past bad experiences does not motivate someone to plan ahead because of procrastination, having a checklist in hand can reduce the amount of stress that is caused by this last-minute rush.

Things to Do a Few Days Before You Leave

• Pay off your bills before you leave or schedule automatic payments for your bills. You definitely don’t want to be responsible for any late fees.

• Sort through your wallet and remove items you don’t need for your trip. Think foreign currency from your last trip, extra credit cards, or reward cards that only apply in your country of residence.

• Make copies of important items. Be sure to have copies of your passport and credit cards with you in case you lose them on your trip.

• Update your calendar. Be sure to check your work calendar to see what commitments you have made while you are gone. Reschedule them before you leave. Check what other non-work appointments you have.

• Put mail on hold. You don’t want strangers knowing that you’re away with the pile of newspapers at your door, so be sure to go to the USPS website to request to hold your mail, or speak with a neighbor about collecting and holding the mail while you are away.

• Call your bank. Let your bank or credit card provider know that you are going to be out of town so they should expect to see some charges from out of the area and will not put a “freeze” on our account to where you are unable to use it.

Things to Do the Day Before You Leave

• Arrange for care for your pets.

• Wash all dishes in the sink and run the dishwasher. Clean off all the kitchen counters and clean out the sink to be sure there is no food in the drain that could rot or attract bugs.

• Make sure all laundry is clean/pack clothes for trip.

• Water all plants.

• Get some cash out of an ATM, so you have it for last-minute travel needs.

• Charge camera/laptop/phone and all spare batteries.

Things to Do the Morning of Departure

• Close blinds and curtains.

• Double check that you have IDs and itinerary packed in carry-on bag.

• Make sure all windows are shut and locked.

• Take out garbage/recycling from every room in the house.

Out-the-Door To-Do’s

• Pack up any last-minute things you need to take (eyeglasses, retainer, water/snacks from refrigerator, phone, wallet, medicine).

• Turn off all power strips/unplug any electrical devices you won’t be using. This protects your electronics from power surge and reduces the energy use.

• Turn off the heater/air conditioner if you live somewhere temperate.

Once you finally shut the car door and pull out of the driveway and onto the street, the sense of relief overcomes you of not having to scurry around the house to gather last minute things, and you are now ready to begin your desired vacation. Without proper planning and organization, a vacation or trip can start out with negative motives, causing you or the people traveling with you to miss out on the excitement one should be acquiring from this intended memorable experience. By simply taking the time to create and follow a checklist, such as the one provided above, more value is added to the trip because you can ensure that you have all of the necessities as well as leave home with a positive outlook for the trip.