28 Things Smart Travelers Do Before Leaving Home

With so many things to think about before you travel, it’s likely you’ll forget something. But wise travelers have always managed to get things in order before leaving home. 

You can also adopt this mentality just like any seasoned traveler does. Just make sure to get this list in check every time you go away for holiday. This checklist hopes to minimize, if not eliminate, such experience that often cause anxiety and disrupt the holiday excitement.

Leave home secured

Don’t be overwhelmed with both excitement and anxiety as you travel. Also make sure that the place you’ll leave behind is in order. Ensure that gas supply is turned off, appliances unplugged (with few exceptions like the refrigerator), doors and windows securely locked. If you have pets, make a plan to look after their safety and welfare while you’re on the road.

Fully charge phone and other gadgets

Without your usual electrical outlets to rely on, things can get unpredictable when you look for places to charge your phone. So make sure it is charged 100% before departing. As a contingency measure on extended hours on the road, bring a power bank — be certain it is on hand carried luggage when you fly.

Bring enough drinking water

Keep yourself hydrated during travel for optimal experience. Since there’s a restriction on liquid as you pass by airport’s security screens, just have adequate amount between home and airport. Remember that dehydration can be life-threatening and wine and spirits are not suitable substitutes. Hydration helps you prepare for the rigors of travel. And while we’re in the topic, make sure you watch what you eat before travel.

Sort out credit cards and ATM withdrawal access

As part of their security measures, many banks require account holders to activate their ATMs for overseas withdrawal. This means that before you need to go to the ATM or use your Internet banking account to activate your ATM so you’ll be able to withdraw money from a machine in your destination

Bring appropriate power adapter

Not all countries use the same power plug as you currently have. Check the type of power plug your destination country uses. In case you are crossing multiple territories that use a variety of such plugs, consider getting a travel adapter that caters to various types of plugs (plus USB charger) at less than $20.

Take photograph of travel documents

As a precaution, have your air ticket, passport copy, travel insurance and other important documents copied onto your mobile device for easier access (like writing down your passport number on immigration cards). Also comes in as a convenient resource when transacting with customer service or as a life saver if such pertinent documents gets lost (God forbid).

Download offline maps

Map reading may be a good skill to have, but using folding maps is so old school, inconvenient and even risky. Google Maps comes handy to help your way towards your desired place. Your hotel. The train terminal. A tourist landmark. Or just any other location you need to find out.

Simply select your destination city and download an offline copy of Google Maps to allow offline access to routes, directions and locations. Although there are also limitations (you won’t know the traffic situation or walking directions), this tool still helps a lot in giving you navigation guidance.

Check doors and windows

Ensure that doors have proper locks and windows closed to prevent intrusion or elements from ruining your indoors.

Arrange for pet care

Pet owners sometimes have this feeling of guilt and indecision when it comes to finding temporary shelter for their furry family members. If you have pets, you may arrange for pet sitter or kennel stay using Trusted Housesitters or your trusted pet-loving neighbor.

Replace bedsheets

Tired and exhausted from your trip, you’ve been looking forward to jump into bed. But if it’s been stale while your’re away and due for a wash, replacing pillow cases and bed sheets can be a tedious job. Do the task before your holiday trip instead.

Prepare smaller bills for tips

Make sure you have smaller bills in your purse or pocket so it’s easy to tip the bellboy, luggage porter, airport shuttle driver or waitress at the diner. Doing so also avoids that awkward situation that makes these folks suspect you’re pretending to be a nice guy but ends up being a penny pincher.

Consider fumigation

Being away from your home for a while can also be an opportunity to get rid of infestation of roaches, ticks and other unwanted creatures lurking in the basement or remote corner in the house. Just make sure you have enough time to secure your kitchen utensils, foodstuff and other safety measures.

Also, don’t forget to notify your building management / neighbors about your plan so they would pay attention and not alarmed about the smoke coming from your premises.

Take out rubbish

The house must be clean when you leave for vacation so get rid of rubbish in your bins in the kitchen, bathroom and other parts of the house. Otherwise, you’ll be greeted with an unpleasant odor inside the house once you arrive.

Check your laundry & dishswasher

Ensure that no wet clothes are inside the washer, or spin dryer waiting to be hung or folded. Similarly, dishwasher should free of kitchen and table utensils which are supposed to be piled neatly in the racks by now.

Activate out of office email

Set an autoreply email for every sender informing him or her that you are on holiday. Without revealing much about your travel destination, you send a message to the sender that while you still receive messages — and reply to them during travel if you can — you may not be able to respond immediately.

Plan your arrival itinerary

Plan ahead when you arrive in your destination. Map our the travel plans out of the airport arrivals. Get familiar with airport layout, time schedule of your onward intercity train or bus ride from airport to the city. Find out how much the fare costs, travel frequency, distance to your hotel or Airbnb accommodation from the bus stop.

If you plan to withdraw cash or transact with a money exchange shop, check if these facilities are available at the airport. This and other arrival itinerary must be in place before your departure.

Download offline films, music and podcast

If you are planning to binge watch your favorite TV series or set of movies at Netflix or listen to music on Spotify, make sure you download copies of these streaming media for your offline consumption.

Share your itinerary with a relative or friend

Having someone know your whereabouts helps them track you faster — if something comes up back home, or if there is unrest, natural disaster or emergencies taking place in your destination.

It’s not about making you feel less independent or less cool. It just makes others feel reassured knowing where you are.  Tools like TripIt comes in handy when it comes to sharing your travel information to family or close friends.

Check your destination’s weather

If you booked a flight to your destination months ago, there’s little to no idea about the weather. This time, about 24 hours from your flight, you should have a much better idea what to expect.

If it’s sunny, then by all means bring that sunvisor, shades and generous serving of sunblock. Otherwise, if it’s rainy, you can prepare an alternative itineraries and plan B of your journey.

Free up your wallet from unwanted clutter

You don’t have to bring things you don’t need in your holiday travel. Many of such things might be found in your wallet: extra credit cards, club membership, loyalty cards and other items that you won’t need but you’ll get in trouble if you lose them during your trip. Sift through your wallet and keep the unnecessary ones at home.

Clean up your refrigerator

Keep your refrigerator fresh and free from spoiled milk, expired food and unwanted smell from stale leftover food. Empty your fridge (freeze dairy milk and whipped cream), and utilize what’s left.

For example, whisk yogurt into salad, and create a fruit shake or frozen cubes of freshly cut fruit you can consume upon your return.

Confirm reservations

Another way of easing your mind from travel anxiety and unwanted disruption on the road is to confirm your travel plans (hotel or vacation rental booking, airport check in, car hires, group tours and so on).

Pay upcoming bills in advance

Consider arranging an advanced payment of bills in advance. This is helpful especially if you’re going to be away for a relatively longer time and getting past the due date incurs a significant surcharge or cancellation of a subscription service.

Print boarding pass

To save time waiting in line, you can print your flight boarding pass or store it in your mobile phone app.

Turn off water supply

Unless you have automatic water sprayer to your plants, there’s no need to keep the tap on. To conserve water, turn it off while you’re away.

Download appropriate travel apps

Certain destinations feature useful apps you can use. This can be transit and subway maps, walking tours, or simply getting good deals on last-minute hotel and flight offers in case there are changes in your travel plans.

Check luggage locks

Check if your luggage has padlocks that work properly. Ensure that they are also TSA compliant.

Label luggage properly

Have your luggage labeled properly. Remove old stickers from your previous journey and have labels that properly identify it as your property (name and email address).


Traveling is often both an exciting and an anxiety-driven experience. Having done your assignment and check out the list above helps ease the worries that sometimes accompanies you.

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