Ideas for Your Pre-Departure Checklist

Why do you need a pre-departure checklist for your vacation?

Because you want to go on your trip and not have to worry that you forgot something...

...or worry about your house.

Let's deal with what you need to think about before you pack for that trip.


The first thing we're going to tell you is to check your passport if you're traveling internationally. That seems obvious, doesn't it?

Yes.... but....

I can't tell you how many times Mark has had passengers come up in a panic because they left their passport on the dresser at home, or because they just realized that their passport isn't current... or... here's one I love... they shredded their NEW passport, and came with the old one.

So check your passport. Make sure it's current. Check to see if you have all the proper visas, if necessary, for the countries you will be visiting.

Check to make sure you know whether you have paper tickets or e-tickets. Again... how tough is this? Mark has passengers all the time that show up thinking they have e-tickets when they really have paper tickets that are home on the dresser....

Make sure to check which kind of airline tickets you have. If they are paper tickets.... take them with you. If they are e-tickets, print out the confirmation and take THAT with you, so you have proof of what you purchased and where you're going.

What else should be on your pre-departure checklist?

  • Get any required or recommended vaccinations and medications.

  • Think about your money. Make sure your ATM will work abroad, and find out what your daily withdrawal is. If you're carrying traveler's checks, make sure the documentation is safely stored in a separate place.

  • Call your credit card companies and tell them you will be traveling.

  • And speaking of credit cards... choose one or two and leave the rest at home. Leave cards you won't use (like library cards) at home, but do take cards that might help you get a discount like Student IDs, Auto Club Cards, or Senior Cards. We take our AAA Card and (I hate to admit it) our AARP Card.

  • If you're going to be renting a car, make sure you have the reservation ahead. Take your Driver's License. It's a good idea to get an International Driver's License.... some countries require it.

  • Leave an itinerary with friends or relatives along with any emergency contact number you might have.

  • Make sure you have plenty of prescription medication. It's a good idea to pack more than you will need in case you're return is delayed. Pack an extra pair of glasses or extra contacts. Get copies of prescriptions for eye glasses and prescription medications.

  • Check your camera. Do you have plenty of memory or film? Pack extra batteries or the charger and make sure you have the adaptor plug you will need so you can plug it in.

When it comes to your travel safety, there are some things you might want to add to your pre-departure checklist. If you're planning to travel to areas where there has been some unrest or health issues, you might want to check on travel advisories.

Find out the address and phone number of your country's embassy in the country you are visiting. Some governments suggest that you register with the embassy so they know you are in the country. While this may seem a little extreme, it makes things easier for your embassy if there is a natural disaster or general emergency.

There is a lot to think about when you're getting ready for a trip. These are only suggestions. Make your own pre-departure checklist. Make a pre-departure checklist for making your home secure during your trip too. If you take a little time for this, you'll leave on your trip knowing you've got things under control... then the other little travel surprises that might crop up will be easy to deal with.

Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it!   Judy and Mark

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