As I write this, I am currently in Australia’s Gold Coast. This trip to Australia is the longest and furthest one I am taking all year, and because of this, the week leading up to my trip has been – as expected – a bit chaotic. There were a million things I needed to sort out before I got on the plane. Who’s going to cover for me at work? Am I going to be able to eat all of the produce in my fridge before I leave (very important)? Do I have the right currency? When am I going to do laundry this week so that I can actually pack matching socks to take with me on the flight?
Before you go on vacation, there’s a flurry of things buzzing around in your head. You’re excited, anxious, and maybe a bit stressed out. You haven’t even started packing, and you’re still scrambling to get your life in order so nothing burns down or falls apart while you’re gone. It’s complete madness! But even though it’s always going to be a little crazy during the days leading up to a vacation, it doesn’t have to be chaos. I much prefer to strive for chaos-lite.
Whether you’re going on a quick weekend getaway or a long-haul trip, here are 11 things you should do the day before you go on vacation to give yourself peace of mind and get fully prepared, so that all you have to do once you hit the road is enjoy. No stress allowed.
CHECKLIST: 11 THINGS TO DO THE DAY BEFORE YOU GO ON VACATION
1. TURN ON YOUR OUT-OF-OFFICE
This goes for both your personal and your work emails. Turn your Out-Of-Office message on to give yourself extra time to get back to people while you’re away. And, if you’re in the middle of any conversations, be sure to send a quick courtesy message letting people know you’ll be traveling so they don’t think you’re ignoring them.
2. MAKE A PACKING LIST
Even if my suitcases are more or less ready to go, I always make a packing list on a Google Keep note so that I can mentally check everything off. This has helped prevent me from forgetting everything from earplugs to my wallet in the past. I also use this same Keep note when I’m packing up at the end of a trip to make sure all of my possessions are accounted for.
3. GET YOUR BILLS PAID
Check to make sure no bills are due while you’re going to be gone. Or, if there are, pay them in advance or set up auto-pay so you don’t rack up late fees or penalties.
4. FIND SOMEONE TO TAKE CARE OF THINGS WHILE YOU’RE AWAY
Whether it’s a coworkers who’s going to be covering for you, or a neighbor who you’ve enlisted to water your plants, identify your point people to help keep your life in order while you’re away. Be sure to buy these people gifts or souvenirs from your trip to thank them, too.
5. PREP YOUR HOME
Unplug appliances, TVs, desktops, modems/routers, and any other energy-suckers. Make sure all ACs, water heaters, and light switches are off too. This way, you won’t be draining unnecessary energy or money while you’re away, especially if you’re planning to be gone for more than a week.
6. WRITE DOWN NECESSARY INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP
Whenever I leave the country and I know there’s a chance I won’t have WiFi, I try to plan ahead by writing down the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all of the places and things I need to know. This includes local cab numbers, hotel info, booking confirmation numbers, car rental office addresses, and more. Keep this info handy in either a notebook or in a note on your phone in case you need it.
7. RECONFIRM YOUR RESERVATIONS
I always forget to do this, but you can be seriously screwed if you don’t! Double-check your flight bookings, hotel reservations, car rental information, etc. to make sure nothing looks out of place. The last thing you’ll want is to land in a foreign country only to realize your hotel wasn’t confirmed or your rental car was reserved for the wrong day.
8. CHECK IN TO YOUR FLIGHT & SCREENSHOT YOUR BOARDING PASSES
Mobile boarding passes are truly a blessing, but sometimes, cell reception at the airport can be nonexistent, and the last thing you want to be is the person holding up the rest of the line because you can’t seem to get your ticket to load up on your screen. Once you check into your flight and get your mobile boarding passes sent to your phone, take a screenshot of the QR code and your passenger details to avoid an awkward TSA delay in case you don’t have service or a WiFi connection.
9. NOTIFY YOUR BANK(S)
Go online and log your travel details with all banks associated with cards you’re planning to take with you on your trip. This isn’t as necessary for domestic trips, but if you’re going abroad, make sure to register your details so your account doesn’t get flagged or frozen while you’re trying to use your card. There’s nothing more stressful than being financially handicapped while you’re in another country!
10. TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND/OR FAMILY WHERE YOU’RE GOING
I always share my basic trip details with close friends and family before I go anywhere. As a secondary precaution, you can also set up Google Maps on your phone to share your location with a designated recipient if you want someone to be able to find you in case of an emergency.
11. DOWNLOAD ANYTHING YOU’LL NEED OFFLINE
My download routine consists of the standard long-flight fare: podcasts, Spotify playlists, Netflix movies, and Kindle books. But, in addition to all of that, I also always make sure to download the map of the area I’m traveling to in case I need directions while I’m there and can’t connect to the internet. This was a lifesaver when I was in Alaska earlier this month and had to drive for 2 hours in unfamiliar territory and needed to rely on my offline map download to get me from point A to point B.