Leaving for a trip can be stressful, even if the purpose is to relax. We’re covering my top 10 things to do before you head out on your next trip. Keep in mind that this isn’t an exhaustive list, however, this list should help you prioritize the most important tasks. Stay organized with your free printable travel checklist.

10 Things to Do Before Your Trip

1. Contact credit card issuers

Rember to submit a travel notification online or by calling the number on the back of your card. Don’t forget to include your debit card too! The last thing you want is for your accounts to get frozen.

2. Get cash

This might seem obvious, but I suggest getting smaller denominations so you can tip easily and avoid having to break your bills.

Don’t bother getting any foreign currency though. I suggest getting that at the ATM once you arrive at your destination.

3. Get spare passport photos

If you’re getting a visa on arrival (especially at a border crossing), you may be asked to provide a photo. Carrying a few extra passport sized photos can save you a lot of time, money, and effort.

4. Make a photocopy of your passport

While some people carry their passport on them at all times when traveling abroad, I much prefer to leave mine in the hotel safe and carry a copy instead. To me, it’s much safer, and I’m less worried about theft and damage from the elements.

5. Set-up a hold of your mail

If you’re in the US, you can arrange to have your mail held until you get back from your trip. It’s a great way to reduce the risk of mail theft and also makes it less obvious that you’re gone.

6. Set-up light timers

I have my lights connected to the network using a system called WeMo, so I created a special vacation profile when I am out of town. But you don’t have wifi enabled switches — a simple and cheap plug timer will do the trick!

7. Set the thermostat

There isn’t a hard rule on what you should set your temperature to while you’re away. It really depends on what you may have in your home. Things like wine or certain electronics may be affected by extreme temperatures, so it’s best to do a quick survey of your belongings.

For me, I usually set the temperature not to exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, and not to drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.

8. Turn off alarm clocks and unplug small appliances

Have you ever had to listen to a neighbor’s alarm clock go off for hours? How about days? You don’t want to be that person!

Make sure your alarms are off before you leave your home. Also, just unplug any small appliances. You don’t want to be on the plane wondering whether you unplugged the iron or left the coffee machine on.

9. Prop open doors

If your pets are staying home while you travel, make sure they can’t lock themselves in rooms by propping open doors. I usually leave pillows or boxes next to the doors to make sure that they can’t accidentally close.

10. Take out the trash

One of the worst things is to come home from a trip only to find that your place stinks or even worse, has a bug infestation. I left for a two-week trip once and forgot to empty my trash. When I came back, my apartment not only smelled terrible, but I had fruit flies everywhere.

Learn from my mistake and empty out all your garbage before you leave.

Bonus Tip – Home Security System

Lastly, though it’s not an official tip, you may want to consider installing an alarm or home monitoring system. I always thought that this was overkill, but since installing a Canary home security device, I have to admit that I’ve felt more peace of mind when being away.

Devices like the Canary not only give you a glimpse of activity in your home, but can also monitor temperature, air quality, and humidity. Check out my Canary review for more details.

Free Printable Travel Checklist

There are many more things that I do as well. I’ve put together a comprehensive list of all my to-do items before I leave for a trip, as well as my full packing list. Download your free printable travel checklist.

Do you have any other tips or routines before you leave? If so, leave a comment below.

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