Your Complete Pre-Trip Checklist

When planning for a trip, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of the unknown. Especially when you haven’t been to a destination before. You may be wondering what in the world you should bring. You may have a million questions. And, frankly, there’s just a lot to do before going on a trip. Well, have no fear! I’m here to lighten up your fears as much as possible by providing you with a pre-trip checklist. This way, you can ensure all of your ducks are in a row before you go off on your trip. Now, let’s ease that stress and talk about your trip.

Three Months Out from Leaving

  • Get any visas and ensure all of your paperwork is in order – Alright, I know you may think that three months out seems like a long time, but there’s no such thing as being too prepared for a trip. And you never know how long it could take to get your visa. Most visas are required to be gotten within a 3-month window of your leaving, so make sure you research when you need to get your visa and apply for it with the maximum amount of time allowed. Three months out from your trip is the perfect time to check and make sure you understand the terms and conditions of any visas or required papers.
    Besides, it’s important to understand which visa type you need depending on the reason you move to a certain country. For instance, if you are leaving for Canada, you may need documents and a visa that is required for a common law marriage. In this case, you need to prove that you have lived together with your partner at least for one year. If you are interested, you can read more about common law marriage in Canada (en savoir plus sure le union de fait au Canada).
    Be sure to check HERE to find visa requirements for any destinations if you’re an American citizen.
  • Get any required vaccines- Normally, your standard cities around the world won’t require you to have any specific vaccinations, but you never know. It’s best to check what vaccine requirements are necessary for each place you are visiting. When going to tropical locations or more obscure places (like the jungle, for instance), you may be required to get a Typhoid Vaccine or something similar. And it’s also possible you need to get a prescription for Malaria preventatives. Be sure to check in with your doctor three months out from your trip so they can help you decide what you need to take when on your trip.
  • Book your flights, hotels, and transportation if you need to- There’s no such thing as “too much time in advance” when it comes to planning your trip- in my opinion anyway. Booking your flights, hotels, and transportation as early as possible is crucial to ensure you are taken care of on your trip. The earlier you book, the more reasonable the prices are likely to be. And the more you can feel secure knowing you’re not scrambling at the last second. When booking, I recommend checking out Kayak or Expedia are my go-to sites for booking flights and hotels.
  • Order anything special you may need for your trip- There are times when I go on expeditions where I need very specific items- headlamps, insect repellent with very strong Deet, etc. In order to ensure all your specific requirements make it in time, three months out is a good time to start ordering any special items you may need for any trip.

A Month Out Pre-Trip Checklist

  • Ensure your house plans are in order- While you’re gone, you’re likely going to need someone to come over, check your mail for you, and water your plants. Having someone check in every few days is a good idea and asking them a month in advance is the most respectful thing you can do for them. That way, it’s enough time in advance where they can prepare for it, and it’s also close enough to your trip to be fresh in their mind. However, if you don’t need anyone to watch your house, think about submitting to the post office to put a stop on your mail for the days you will be gone.
  • Ensure your pets are taken care of- For the same reasons mentioned above, a month in advance is a good amount of time to figure out what to do with your pets while you’re gone. It gives your pet caretaker or your boarder enough time in advance to plan.
  • Give your notice to your work- Most jobs require two weeks’ notice prior to a trip to be alerted about days off. However, I find the more time you can give your place of work, the more likely they’ll accept it and give you your time. You don’t want to put something on them at the last second, so a month out is a good point of reference for your notice (unless you can give it even earlier).

A Week Out from Leaving

  • Start packing– Okay, Okay. Many of you probably think I’m nuts. But the first thing I suggest on this pre-trip checklist to do when you’re a week away from your trip is to PACK! I don’t want to forget anything, and I like to plan through each day of my trip and what I might wear or need, so I like to put my suitcase out a week before leaving and slowly fill it up as things enter my mind. A good way to be prepared, as well, is to REFERENCE MY ULTIMATE PACKING LIST HERE!
  • Print out copies of all your important documents- Before leaving, it’s important to scan all of your important documents. This includes your credit cards, your passport, your plane tickets. Anything you need to bring with you on the trip that is of note, you should scan and have a copy of left at home with someone you trust. This way, if you lose anything important, someone you trust has a record of your documents. You should also save the scan of them all on your phone so you can easily access it in the case you misplace something while you’re abroad.
  • Send reminders- A week out is a good time to remind your work, your house sitter, your pet sitter, and anyone else who may need to know that you are leaving. Check in and remind them of the dates you will be gone again.
  • Get your ride to the airport- A week out is a good time to start asking anyone for a ride to the airport if you need one. This gives them enough time in advance, and it’s close enough to the event that everyone is likely to know their schedule.

The Day Before You Leave

  • Do one final check- I absolutely hate waiting for the last minute to do anything. But if you haven’t done anything above yet, do it now! If you have, then use this as an opportunity to check to ensure you have absolutely everything done. Check in with your ride or your house sitter one last time. Check through your packing list and your suit case one last time. Check to ensure you have all of your important documents and their scans easily within reach.
  • Go to bed early- I know it can be exciting, but try to go to bed early and get plenty of sleep so you can start your trip rested and ready to go!

All in all, there’s so much to do when planning for your trip. I suggest that you start with this pre-trip checklist that I put together and go from there. If you have a routine that works for you, take this and addend it to match your unique needs. I tend to over-plan and to start very early, as my OCD won’t let me wait until the last minute. But find the pre-trip checklist that works for you and work from there so you can have the best trip imaginable!

Malorie Mackey

Malorie Mackey is an actress, published author, and adventurer based out of Los Angeles, California. Throughout her experiences, Malorie found a love for travel and adventure, having journeyed to over a dozen countries experiencing unique locations. From the lush jungles of the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Malorie began adventuring and writing about her unique travels. These travel excerpts can be found on VIVA GLAM Magazine, in Malorie’s Adventure Blog, in Malorie’s adventure show “Weird World Adventures” and in the works for her full-length travel book. Stay tuned as Malorie travels the world bringing its beauty and wonder to you.

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