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Travel List: What To Do Before You Leave For Vacation

This time Friday, I’ll be at Disney World hanging out with my two favorite guys – boyfriend and the Mouse! A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Here is a Travel List of “to do’s” I’ve found helpful in the few days leading up to a vacation:

Travel logistics

  • Confirm hotel reservations and flight reservations
  • Print record of confirmation numbers and contact information for hotel & airline


  • Check accuweather.com for weather updates about your destination
  • Do laundry (nothing worse than having a big bag of laundry to do when you get home from a nice vacation).
  • Pack accordingly (and bring at least 1 pair of comfortable shoes!)


  • Make sure you have your driver’s license or state ID for domestic travel
  • Passport for international travel


  • Credit card / debit card
  • $20-$50 in cash
  • $100 in local currency (if you are traveling internationally)


  • Cell phone & charger (and get adapter if traveling internationally)
  • Laptop & charger if you’re bringing them


  • Prescription medication
  • Doctor’s note if you’re traveling internationally
  • Small first-aid kit with band-aid’s, Neosporin, a few cotton swabs and tweezers


  • Turn off all the lights
  • Check doors and windows are locked
  • Take out the trash – your nose will thank you when you return
  • If you’re going away for more than 1 week, ask neighbors to get your mail or contact post office to hold your mail for pick up when you get back
  • If you’re going away for more than a month, turn off refrigerator.

Information to bring with you

  • Phone numbers of credit card company (in case your card is stolen on the trip)
  • Phone numbers of close family members / friends (in case your phone is stolen on the trip)
  • Poison Control Center number (hey, you never know…)

Emergency Contact

  • Send an email of your travel information (where you are staying, flight #’s, your travel companions’ name, number, and address, planned itinerary) to two people you trust
  • I might  have watched too many CSI shows but if anything happens, you’ll be glad there’s a paper trail

Have I forgotten anything? What essentials would you add to this Travel List?

  • Jenn @ Paying Myself - I always make a photocopy of my passport and other ID and any travel insurance paperwork and I take them with me in case anything happens to my originals.

    Enjoy your trip! I can't wait to hear about your adventures! ReplyCancel

  • The Asian Pear - I was also gonna suggest the copy as well… But also leave a copy with a family member or friend. If anything happens, you can ask them to email or fax a copy to you.

    I also call my credit card companies (for the cards I'm taking) to tell them I will be travelling and to where. This way they don't freeze my account thinking it's because my credit card is stolen.

    Don't forget to double check all stoves and stuff is turned off (not sure about you but I get neurotic if I don't do a double check – JUST in case)

    Have fun! ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Thanks for the post! I am packing as we speak to visit my dad in Las Vegas tomorrow (I live in Chicago). I would have forgotten my cell phone charger if it wasn't for your post. Thanks! ReplyCancel

  • Bucksome - Love the comment about CSI.

    Our household list includes putting a vacation hold on the newspaper (I know we're old school; still read a physical paper). ReplyCancel

  • Investing Newbie - Ah, contacting the credit card companies is actually a smart idea. I'll keep that in mind.

    Actually depending on where you live, you should probably not keep the lights off. Maybe keeping one light on, or having a timer attached to a lamp to just turn the lights on and off. It will give the perception that someone is home so that your house isn't a target for theft!

    Or maybe that's my parents being overly-cautious again. ReplyCancel

  • L.A. Daze - I'd just like to add: make sure your suitcases aren't overweight, and that all the locks work!

    My suitcase was overweight by 3kg (i've never ever had issues with this, but I had a really grouchy rep check me in). I wanted to transfer those 3 kg to my carry-on, except the lock on my suitcase broke and wouldn't open. So I ended up paying $120 in overweight fees. I was mad because technically i'm allowed TWO suitcases weighing up to 25 kg each, so if I only have one suitcase that's 3 kg overweight, what's the freaking difference!!

    Anyways, have an amazing time at Disney World! ReplyCancel

  • Athena Creamer - Be forewarned that if you pack or try to take a cell phone charger on an airplane, it may disappear (be confiscated) without explanation. It costs a great deal to replace them.
    Very nice column and well thought out list, too.


  • Amy - A disney specific essential – Are you using magical express ? Dont forgry the book let they send you in the mail or to put the special tag on any check luggage. If you have the ticket from the booklet you can skip the check in desk and head straight to the bus line ReplyCancel

    • WellHeeled - Yes I did use Magical Express! It was great – we arrived in Orlando VERY early in the morning, so we got the whole bus to ourselves. It was like having a private car picking us up. :) ReplyCancel

  • Kim - Along with the taking out of trash, I would like to add CLEAN OUT THE FRIDGE. We were gone for over a week, and last night, as we ravaged the nearly-empty fridge for things to eat, I realized that I hadn't thrown away the already-not-so-great produce before we left. Moldy zucchini? Check! Liquefied green onion? Check! Carrot mush? Check Check Check!!! That was a gross little surprise to come home to. Nothing like a fridge that is empty save for a few moldy veggies! ReplyCancel

  • margo - Add these:
    Run the dishwasher with the last load of dishes.
    Have 2 credit cards if you are touring a place known for pickpocketing (one on your body, another in your purse for convenience).
    Unplug appliances that are energy vampires (or turn off the power strips).ReplyCancel

  • Tina - I like giving my house a good cleaning before I go. I love coming home to a nice, clean apartment that I can relax in after a long train ride or flight. :-) ReplyCancel

  • Allison - I always print directions to the hotel and any where else we are trying to go from the hotel. Minimally, I have the address handy. ReplyCancel

  • dajolt - If you fly internationally, buy a prepaid phone card for your mobile phone (on ebay).

    Scan all travel documents, passports and credit cards and email the scanned files to and online email account where you could access them if you lose them.

    If you take your laptop: Backup all important files and leave the backup at home. Keep local copies of web sites you need on your travel, because you will not always have internet when you need it most. I use Mozilla Firefox with the Scrapbook-plugin for this.

    Regarding the cash: I'd feel naked travelling with only $50 in cash.


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