Have you ever taken a trip and forgotten something, missed a flight etc? Creating your own online and offline custom travel checklist can help you get the most out of your trip. Get ideas advice on how to plan your trip, what to take and all the things you should do before you leave.
Let us help you take the stress out of your travels. We can guide you through with our extensive travel knowledge, so start planning your next trip now.
To get started you should:
Plan your trip
To be able to prepare for your trip, first you need to determine where you are going and what you will be doing. Our trip planner will help guide you through in more detail, but here are some basics:
- Determine what climate you are likely to encounter so you are prepared.
- Determine budget.
- Make an itinerary
- People have different ideas as to what level of detail they want to go into, but having at least a basic idea of what you want to do and achieve during your travels is a good idea.
- Research Safety
- Check Health and Safety warnings for places you will visit.
- Investigate booking purchase history.
- Sometimes it is better to book early and receive discounts, other services may offer better deals closer to the time you use them.
- You may be better off booking directly, or through a third party.
- Some services provide alerts to let you know when a good deal is found.
- Figure out
- Decide if you want to pay extra to select seating?
- Do you want to sit with family and / or friends.
- Do you have a preferred location to sit?
- Do you want a certain class of seat?
- Seating may later become unavailable (e.g. train).
- How much luggage you have and how heavy you expect it to be. Get it right now, so you don't have to upgrade or pay excess baggage.
- Consider if it will be easier and more comfortable to book a hotel near your transport?
- Vehicle Rental
- Event Tickets
Get Travel Insurance
- Cancellation Cover
- If you are going to get this, then do it straight after making your booking so you are covered. When something happens and you need to cancel your booking you may be able to claim back money up to the amount stated in your policy.
- Read the conditions carefully to know under what circumstances you can claim.
- Note: Many travel insurance policies are not valid if you try purchase them after you trip has started.
- Purchasing a policy after your trip has started is often more expensive.
- Make sure you are covered for the destinations you will be visiting, or will potentially visit. Many policies are cheaper if you are only travelling in certain areas.
- Make sure you read the policy carefully to know what you will be covered for and under what circumstances (e.g., being under the influence of alcohol or drugs taken as directed is often written as an exclusion)
- If you are unsure of your plans and they change, make sure you contact your insurance provider to discuss and potentially update or get a new policy.
- If you are going on a long trip, selling items may make sense.
- You will not need to find a place to store the items while away.
- Prop up your savings with the extra cash and perhaps help out your budgeting plans.
- Here are some good places to offload your possessions:
- Friends or family. Social media (Facebook etc) may come in handy here.
- If you fail to sell items, or are feeling charitable, look into organisations that will take items off your hands for free.
- You may need to move your possessions to a storage location if you are leaving where you live or renting your property out etc.
- Store items with family or friends.
- Commerical storage facilities.
- Hold / Redirect or Forward Mail
- Postal services can provide you with options to redirect, hold or forward your mail.
- Mail Collector
- If you are lucky, you may have someone you trust collect your mail for you.
- Some companies provide services to collect, scan and send you copies of your mail.
- Try learn some local phrases, especially in places where they are not likely to know your language. Sometimes the locals are more friendly and helpful when you have shown some effort.
- Local Customs and Etiquette
- So you don't end up needlessly getting yourself into trouble, or causing embarrassment to yourself or locals.
- You may like to research local cuisine that you will be interested in trying and the best places to get it.
- Google Maps is a great way to mark locations you want to visit. You can then turn on your GPS and get directions to where you want to go. Just be careful that the addresses, locations and information are not always up to date or correct. The place might never have been there, is closed, or the location has been entered incorrectly.
- You may be able to download map areas to use offline.
- Get any maps you might find useful for you trip.
- Go paperless
- Receiving correspondence digitally can make it easier to track while travelling.
- Reduce paper waste.
- You won't need to dispose of your documents in a secure manner, but do take care of your digital security.
- Suspend newspaper delivery
- You should suspend home delivery so there is not a mountain of newspapers when you get home, which is inconvenient, but also a tell tale sign that nobody is staying in the house and creating a security risk. You may be able to get a digital copy to read while you are away.
- Suspend local health insurance
- Sometimes you can put your health insurance policy on hold where you do not make payments while you are away because the policy does not cover you in other countries. Make sure you have some travel insurance instead.
- Automate Bill Payments
- Look into changing any bills to pay automatically so you do not need to remember them.
- Suspend Recurring Services
- Any other recurring services you can put on hold or cancel while you are away?
- Can you get membership or access to a lounge area so you can relax, freshen up etc?
- Check if you can notify the bank of your travels, sometimes it can stop them freezing your account for suspicious usage.
- Find your bank contact details so you can ring regarding issues like a lost or blocked ATM card.
- Get a good bank card that allows you to access your money without a lot of fees, eg foreign transaction fees, ATM fees etc. Also weigh up reward schemes. Some bank cards have free reward systems, while others may pay you back more even though there is a fee, especially if you are a big spender. Take advantage of free flights, upgrades etc.
- At least one backup bank card is a good idea.
- It can be nice to have some local currency, either from an exchange or from a previous trip to that country.
- Some small currency for when a taxi claims to have no change, or for tipping is nice to have.
- Note that getting foreign currency can be expensive and some tourist places like airports may give terrible rates. Depending on where you are travelling and the facilities available, you may still be able to get better rates when you arrive, either using an ATM and a no foreign currency conversion bank card, or from exchange shops etc.
- Take any money out of the ATM that you want to exchange or have as emergency money.
- Do you need a house sitter? If you can't find any, there are some websites that specialise in helping you find someone.
- Do you want someone to occasionally check on your home?
- Notify security company or how you want your security system dealt with while away.
- Set the alarm.
- Can you set an automated lighting system to make it seem you are still home?
- Unplug any electronics you don't need running.
- Be careful not to accidentally turn off items you do want running, like WiFi or recording devices.
- Any items with a power supply / brick will be drawing current unless you turn them off or unplug them.
- Stand-by items like TVs can be switched off to save the small drain on your power and budget.
- Do you need to someone to help look after the garden, or can you set the reticulation on a timer?
- Close and lock any doors or windows.
- Take out any rubbish and bins. Do you need to ask someone to bring the bin in after it is emptied?
- Turn down, or off any cooling or heating devices, air conditioners, fans, heaters etc.
- Some climates may require leaving these devices on low to avoid freezing or bursting pipes etc.
- Turn off or down the water heater to save money and chances of leaks.
- Turn off the water supply in case of a leak. This can be extremely costly.
- Turn lights off, or put them on a timer if you want to use them for security. Leaving lights on can also be a fire hazard.
- Don't leave any candles burning.
- Turn off the iron.
- Improper use of extension cords and overloading power sockets with too many devices can be a fire hazard.
- Plan to leave as little in your fridge that can expire to reduce waste and take anything out that will rot before you leave.
- Organise how they will be taken care of while you are away.
- Do you need any documentation like vaccination paper work if the pets are staying in a commercial facility?
- Get an International Driver's License if you need one.
- Road Trip
- Service car to make sure it is in good working order.
- Do you need a taxi or a ride from a family or friend to the airport, station etc.
- Long term parking - Are you going to leave your vehicle at a location. What are the costs and details needed for this?
- How are you going get around during your trip, taxi, buses, tours etc.
- Some places have taxi services that you might want to avoid. Do a bit of research to avoid falling into any traps.
- It can be a terrible feeling and dangerous wandering around lost and not being able to find the place you are looking for.
- How will you get back home at the end of the holiday.
- A visit to your doctor to check your general health.
- Get any vaccinations
- Note: you may require vaccinations months before your trip and multiple doses, so plan ahead.
- Get medicines you may want to take (e.g., malaria tablets).
- Do you need:
- a medical certificate (e.g., you are flying pregnant).
- any prescription medication and scripts.
- Check your first-aid kit is topped up with anything you used before and that none of the contents are past their used by date.
- Completing or refreshing your first-aid course.
- Check you have room in your passport to fit any full page visas and immigration stamps you expect to require.
- Plan and work out how and what visas you will need for places you will visit.
- Get Visas
- Check any requirements other than visas you will need.
- To enter most countries, you will need at least 6 months of validity on your passport.
- Check your passport is in good physical condition so you are not refused entry.
- Make sure you have any friends names, phone numbers, emails and postal addresses (useful if you want to send postcards or ship items etc).
Share Travel Plans
- Notify Friends or Family
- Give someone you trust a copy of your travel plans so if anything happens, it will be easier to determine your movements and give you and them peace of mind.
- Notify Your Government
- Some governments have websites where you can notify them of your travel and be notified of any concerns they have about where you will be.
- Save money by moving to a lower plan or different provider if you will be gone for a long time and want to keep your number. Some providers have plans like yearly expiry with a small minimum credit requirement.
- Disconnect your account if you no longer need the number or have no fixed plan to come back.
- Configure ICE (In Case of Emergency) number that can be used without unlocking your phone. Follow these instructions for iPhone (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207021). Android users may be able to display a message on their lock screen, depending on what version they are running. Otherwise there are some third party apps you could try.
- Do you want to enable international roaming? This can be very expensive and often it is cheaper to get a SIM card for the area you will be in.
- Forward SMS messages. One way to get around taking your SIM card and still getting your SMS messages is to install an app that will forward them. Leave the phone plugged in with internet access and potentially with someone you trust in case you need to troubleshoot a problem.
- Print copies of (sometimes electronic versions are not accepted and on demand printing is often expensive):
- Useful for when you need to provide a copy, e.g., visa applications.
- You can reference the details without getting out your real passport.
- Having a copy if you lose your real passport.
- Vaccination history
- Download or get any books you want to take on your trip.
- Library Books
- I don't know about you, but I still sometimes have nightmares about overdue library books, so sort out any returns or renewals before you leave.
Close to when you will be leaving
- As the date grows closer, make sure you have the right date and time for any important events in your travel plans.
- Set yourself automated reminders.
- Make a checklist
- Make a packing list
- Plan time to pack your luggage.
- Determine the best packing techniques
- Some people like to use zip lock bags, vacuum sealed bags, etc, to keep items together
- Don't leave anything in your carry-on that will need to be left behind, pocket knives etc.
- Make sure you can fit everything you need in your baggage. A test run is a good idea. You may also want to take into account what you want to add as you travel and bring home. Buying more baggage is also a possibility, or sending items while you are away.
- Check any weight and size restrictions for transport you plan on using.
- Check what you can take as hand luggage (sometimes a second bag / laptop etc is allowed)
- Check how many bags you can check in.
- Weigh your baggage to make sure you know if you will be over your baggage limit.
- Measure your bag or check its dimensions.
- Remove old checked baggage tickets to avoid any confusion.
- Update any contact information on luggage tags.
- Power Adapter
- Make sure you have any plugs you need for countries you will be stopping in packed in your carry-on luggage.
- Charge Electronics
- It is a good idea to fully charge items before your trip so you are less in need of finding a charging location and security checks can force you to prove the item can be turned on.
- Eating beforehand or having some food you bring yourself can save you money, keep you from and empty stomach if nothing is available and maybe your taste buds if the offerings available when you travel are not to your liking.
- Use as much perishable food in your fridge so it does not go to waste in the lead-up to your trip.
- Freeze any food items that will last until you come back home.
- Some people like to have some food available for when they get back from a trip.
- Make sure there is anything like food left around that will attract insects or animals. Wipe down any preparation areas that may have food residue.
- Clean any dishes and do not forget any dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
- Confirm transport bookings
- Check for any transport delays
- You may be able to sign up for automatic alerts.
- Confirm accommodation bookings
- Confirm rental bookings
- Confirm how you are going to get to your transport, taxi, a lift from family or friends, etc.
- Setup any email forwarding for home or work
- Setup any away auto responses to email if you will not be able to check email or do not want to deal with email when away.
- Have you organised a way to access priority check-ins, like a concierge service?
Check in online
- Print any required documents like boarding passes.
- Cutting it fine can lead to you missing out, or needing to rebook. Add some extra time into your budget to make sure you have time if there are unexpected events (like traffic jams, huge immigration queues etc.