A successful and pleasant trip or vacation depends on adequate preparation. While the dizzying array of vacation options can keep you focused on your trip, it’s also important to prepare your home for your time away. Before heading off to your destination, you want to make sure everything will run smoothly in your absence so you can really leave home behind while you’re relaxing and rejuvenating. Therefore, I list 7 essential things to do before a trip below to help you.

  1. Tie up loose ends at work

  • Set up an away message for your e-mail and voice mail, giving your return date and the names and numbers of coworkers who can be contacted in your absence.
  • Give a copy of important files to a contact in your department who can act on your behalf while you’re away.
  • Place other information that coworkers might need in brightly colored, clearly labeled files on top of your desk so they don’t need to rummage through your drawers.
  • A short list of the contents of each folder will encourage coworkers to replace anything they remove or copy, and also ensure you can tell if anything’s missing when you return.


  1. Medications

If you use medication, ensure you have enough to last throughout the duration of your trip. Carry a copy of your prescription for added security. Besides, if you are undergoing any special treatment, consider carrying a scanned copy of your records or a letter from your doctor detailing your treatment. Enjoy your trip but still take care yourself, it’s the most important thing of 7 essential things to do before a trip.


  1. Manage Your Cash Flow

If you’re traveling domestically, be sure to hit your own bank before leaving for your trip. That way you won’t arrive short on cash and have to immediately search for an ATM. Furthermore, you will save on ATM fees at machines run by someone other than your own bank. Go to your bank’s website and map out any available ATM locations near your destination so you are not forced to use other banks’ machines.


If you’re traveling overseas, the most economical option is to visit an ATM as soon as you arrive in your destination and make a withdrawal in the local currency. Check the website of the airport where you’ll be arriving to make sure it has an ATM you can use. Most international airports have several, but if you’re flying to a smaller airport in a developing country, there’s no guarantee that there will be one (or that it will be working properly). In these cases, you may want to purchase some local currency ahead of time.  

Call your bank or credit card company and let them know about your travel plans. Most banks and credit card companies keep track of spending patterns and may interpret an unexpected overseas purchase as credit card fraud. Your account could be locked if you use your card in another country without notifying your bank.

  1. Travel arrangements

Scheduling your trip involves careful planning. Travel agents can help you to organize some of your preparations. First of all, take care of your travel documents. Some countries require only passports, but others require passports and visas. Do not wait until the last minute to obtain your passport because this may require several weeks. To get the best deals for your transportation and hotel accommodations, you will need to make your reservations well in advance of your travel. The best bargains can be obtained during the off-season when demand has diminished. Airlines that provide food service can accommodate special dietary requirements if you give them at least 24 hours advance notice.


Along with your passports and visas, you may need to take along vaccination certificates, and prescriptions for any special medicines that you need. Before embarking on a trip, check to make sure that you are allowed to travel with your medicines. Some medicines sold over the counter in the United States may be considered illegal in other countries and vice versa. There is nothing more unpleasant than starting a vacation on the wrong foot by having to explain to the customs authorities why you are carrying so many “drugs”.

As a result of terrorist activities, airports have increased their security inspections before allowing passengers to board. Get to the airport with plenty of time to manage the check-in congestion. Also, don’t exceed the container size limits of carry-on liquids, gels, and aerosols, otherwise, your toiletries will be confiscated. All liquids, gels and aerosols must be in three-ounce (84 milliliters) or smaller containers, and they must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. The locks for your luggage must be approved by the Travel Security Administration (TSA) so that your luggage can be opened for inspection without having to cut your locks.

  1. Pack Your Hands-Free Device

There is one modern item that has become an essential packing item: the cell phone earpiece or any other Bluetooth device that allows you to keep both hands on the wheel (and without a phone wedged between your neck and your shoulder). Local laws governing cell phone use while driving vary considerably, sometimes from one municipality to the next. Pack your hands-free device in your carry-on bag and you will not find yourself on the side of the road with a red siren whirling in your rearview mirror.


6. Do a Web Search of Your Hobbies at Your Destination

You never know where you will find the “best of” in any given endeavor. For example, one of the best guitar stores in the world can be found in Carlsbad, CA. Who knew? Melbourne, Australia, is renowned for its rich coffee culture, and Udaipur offers cycling enthusiasts spectacular paths for exploring rural India. Do a little research on your favorite hobbies, and you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find at your destination.

7. Security while traveling

Prepare for backup.

Set up an account with a service like DropBox or an internet photo gallery before you leave so you can back up your photos and computer files on the road. It’s peace of mind in case you lose your electronics.

Home security.

Ask a friendly neighbor to keep an eye out for deliveries, and have your local post office hold your mail while you’re gone. Have someone check on your place once a week and, if you rent, let your landlord know you’ll be away.


Keep copies of documents on hand.

If something happens to your passport or wallet, you’ll need all of your identifying information. Use your phone’s camera to take a photo of the important passport pages (personal information and visa) and photo ID so you will have it on hand in an emergency. For extra reassurance, pack color copies of all your important documents in your suitcase.

I hope this list will help you prepare carefully before a trip.