Don’t leave home without consulting this first.
The Ultimate Travel Checklist to Follow Before Your Next Holiday
Don’t leave home without consulting this first.
It’s the holiday season, which brings with it the new year vacation period, long weekends, and relaxed vibes. But whether you're planning to travel overseas for a lengthy trip or you're organizing a shorter getaway close to home, there are lots of things to take care of before you hit the road to keep you and your home safe and to minimise any stress.
Here’s the ultimate travel checklist to follow before your next trip to ensure it’s smooth sailing.
As soon as we’ve locked in our holiday, we start a packing wishlist. In some respects, this helps us to narrow down what we want to take and make sure that we’re only packing the essentials. (Of course, you always end up with too much stuff, but it still helps to have a list to work from to help guide you as you fill up the suitcase.) But writing a packing list is more than just planning outfits. It’s also a way to think about what you might need on your vacation that you will have to purchase or borrow. Will you need any specialty shoes – are you going hiking or diving, for example? Do you need to get a new swimsuit? Do you need something formal for a dressy dinner? Or do you need loungewear for a resort vibe? Writing your packing list and starting to check off items from it will help you make sure you have everything you need before you go.
Read through our 10 Travel Packing Hacks to Get Your Suitcase Closed.
If you take prescription medication, make sure you have enough for the duration of your trip and then some. Also, think about putting together a little first aid kit with some of your most used medical items and stashing it in your toiletries bag. If you need destination-specific medical items, such as specific vaccinations or tablets, make sure you get those with enough time before you go.
Buy an airtag
If you’re planning to check in luggage, get an airtag before you go and slip it into your bag. This handy device from Apple helps you to track your suitcase’s whereabouts in case it takes an unplanned detour. It won’t help you get the suitcase back, but it will ensure that you’re aware of its whereabouts, and it will give you peace of mind on the journey.
Protect your home
Consider installing a security system with cameras that can give you real-time updates if there’s movement in or around your home. Set your lights to automatically switch on at different times of the day/evening to create the illusion of presence within the home. It’s also worth pausing mail and also alerting trusted neighbours if you will be away for a lengthy period of time.
Sort out your phone
Will your phone work while you’re overseas by paying a small fee on your existing plan? Or will you need to get a new SIM card? There are some companies that sell overseas SIM cards for short trips and ship them out to you while you’re still home, which is a great option for people who want to be organised the second you land.
We recommend figuring out the foreign currency before you go. On recent trips we’ve opted into a travel money card, to save on foreign conversion fees and to help us keep track of how much we’re spending. Commbank offers a great travel money card, but they’re also available from providers including Wise and Revolut, which let you lock in rates before you go. Also, sometimes you just want good old-fashioned cash, especially if you’re going to places where you’re likely to want to shop in markets or if you need to tip in cash, such as in the US. Make sure to get some notes in advance and ask for small bills, to help with tipping.
A couple of other things to think about: Travel insurance. Make sure you book this as soon as you have locked in your trip, as this will cover you for any cancellations to the holiday before you fly. Look for policies that offer comprehensive cover while you’re away, especially if you’re going to be skiing or doing any extreme sports. Some plans will also cover some COVID-related fees – do your research before you go about which travel insurance plan is right for you and keep in mind that some countries require you to have COVID travel insurance in order to enter the country.
A few other bits of administration to think about: Visas. Do you need a visa for the destination you are going to? Do you need to apply for an entry form such as an ESTA with the US government? Make sure you do all these applications with plenty of time before your departure, so as to avoid any hiccups along the way. Does your passport have at least six months validity? This is a must for most travel these days, and many countries won’t let you enter if you don’t satisfy this requirement.
For long trips, there are some other administration bits and bobs that might be important for you. For example, do you have private health insurance? If you’re going overseas for months at a time, some providers will let you pause your private health cover so you’re not paying for cover you won’t be needing. You can also think about pausing gym memberships and other subscriptions while you’re away.
And right before you go the airport…
Do you have your passport? Have you printed out everything that you might need printed? Have you got your phone and other devices, and chargers for them? Do have your wallet? Fantastic, let’s go. Anything else you’ve forgotten – toothbrush, toiletries – can be picked up at your destination. Get ready to relax and enjoy yourself. Bon voyage!