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When it comes to planning a holiday, most people aim to tick off the essentials – tickets, accommodation and itinerary. However, in order to truly enjoy a smooth and carefree holiday, there’s a lot more prep work that needs to be done prior to the big departure.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Nothing dampens the excitement of a vacation more than unwanted surprises you could’ve planned for.

To help you out, here are 10 things to tick off your pre-holiday checklist.

Review Visa & Passport Requirements

The last thing you want is to arrive at the airport with an expired passport or at your destination without the required visa. If a holiday is on the cards, make a habit of reviewing your passport expiry date and checking whether or not you will require a visa before you book your airfare.

Some visas can take weeks to process, so make sure this is sorted well ahead of time to avoid disappointment. There should be a list of visa requirements for traveling overseas on your government website; ie the visas for Australians travelling overseas list.

Passport

Be a Smart Traveller

It doesn’t matter where you’re travelling to, it’s always a good idea to register your travel with your government and maintain contact with your consulate or embassy throughout your trip.

Many countries have a smart traveler program (for example Smart Traveller for Australians) where you can lodge your travel plans ahead of time. This is usually a free service which ensures Government officials know your whereabouts and can send you alerts on areas that may be classified as dangerous.

The service also provides information on laws of the country you’re traveling to, embassy information and other advice on legal and safety matters.

Consider Your Wi-Fi Needs

Planning on using Google Maps and Uber to get around? It’s best to research your internet options ahead of time. Depending on the destination you’re heading to, Wi-Fi accessibility will vary.

In most cases, it’s wise to purchase a local SIM/data card or a pocket WIFI to remain connected. Ensure your phone is unlocked before departure and that you turn off your cellular data to avoid hefty roaming fees.

Backup Data and Update Software!

Secure Your Home

If you normally live alone, give yourself some peace of mind by setting up scheduled lighting before a long getaway.

There are lights you can install that turn on at a particular time, giving the appearance that someone is at home. It’s also a good idea to remove any spare keys you may have hidden and leave them with a close friend or family member, in case anyone needs to get in.

If you’re close with your neighbours, it may be wise to let them know you’re going away.

Cancel Subscriptions

Depending on how long you’re going away for, it may be an economical decision to cancel any subscriptions, such as newspaper, wine, magazine or food deliveries. Otherwise you may return to a stack of dated papers or valuable packages left unattended.

Don’t Forget Your Pets

Whilst we’d all love to bring our favourite furry legged animal with us, it’s not always feasible and practical when heading overseas.

If you don’t want to burden friends and family, you can always outsource pet minding via Airtasker. There are plenty of animal lovers in your community who would be happy to take care of pup!

Pet Pug dog

Hold Your Plans

It can be very frustrating paying for a service that you’re not using while on holiday, for example a mobile phone or gym pass. For mobile, contact your provider and request your plan to be put on hold. Generally, plans can be held for up to three months.

As for gym passes, some fitness providers permit their users to freeze their account for a certain amount of time, so you don’t have to pay your usual membership fees while away.

Empty the Fridge

Prevent attracting moths, fruit flies, cockroaches or mice by making sure you have cleaned out perishables in the fridge as well as fruit and vegetables left out. If you have any flours open, perhaps relocate them to the fridge while you’re away.

Ask a Friend or Family Member to Collect Mail

If you’re going away for a lengthy period, you can expect that a few important letters will be sent during that time. Have a friend or family member to collect your mail and give them permission to open any mail that may be important, such as car registration renewal.

Letters

Make a Financial Plan

Don’t ‘wing it’ when it comes to money. Different travellers have varying preferences on cash vs. card however it’s recommended you bring a mix of both for safe measure.

If you’re planning on using your credit cards, set a reminder to notify your bank of your travel plans. The last thing you want is to be stuck overseas with no access to your funds.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Passport by Kevin Spencer. Girls on phone by Garry Knight. Letters by Charles Williams.

    20 Comments

  1. Great post! As a seasoned traveller, I like to think we have it down pat and (thankfully) already do these things! But some of these tips can be easily overlooked or forgotten. Notifying your bank is a great one, as I’d forgotten to do it once, and thankfully they were able to get hold of me to check I was actually overseas, as they were going to cancel my card! . I’d also add vaccinations, as some places may require vaccines that you wouldn’t expect.

    • Thanks Kim-Ling! Vaccinations is a great one to add – I agree that even the most well traveled of us can overlook some of these essentials from time to time. Sometimes we get too comfortable in leaving everything to the last minute because we’ve done it so many times before that we forget :)

  2. Great Tips!
    Especially the one about money! Not only thinking about how you gonna pay your expenses during the trip (cash or credit card), but also planning some saving for when you will be back home. After the trip life goes back to normal, daily bills plus the credit bill from the trip can make a huge impact on your family budget.
    Happy Travels,

    Nat

    • Thanks Natalie! Great point re thinking about saving for the bills which will immediately come up once you get home. I think that’s something people definitely forget to consider when doing up their budget for a trip.

  3. All fantastic tips to planning and making it effortless when you travel. Things do always happen and not to get phased by it, like when I came back home after a month of travel and my new fridge had some issue and didn’t work and all that food was spoiled…yuck!

    • Sorry to hear that your fridge went bad while you were away Noel!! I’ve found that if we’re away for long periods of time I’ll have my sister or other family member periodically check in on the house. Hopefully you won’t have any issues with your fridge again! :)

  4. Great list, Megan! I didn’t know about Airtasker – great, but unfortunately is not an option for me. Guilty of often forgetting about some of these – like notifying the bank or cancelling subscriptions.

    • Thanks Sia – I always forgot to notify the bank until they cancelled my credit cards lol so I haven’t forgotten to do it ever since :D!

  5. Great tips! I’m glad you mentioned finding someone to take care of the pets. Some people choose to travel with their pets, but I think it’s too stressful on them, it’s better to leave them in their own environment and finding a person to look after them.

    • Thanks Luminita! Some great options out there for finding people to take care of your pets – especially on longer trips which involve a hectic itinerary and a lot of transit, it’s just easier to leave them at home :)

  6. My biggest thing is remembering to tell your credit card companies that you’ll be using your card in a different country. I can’t even remember the number of times I’ve forgotten to do that and then couldn’t get cash out or use my credit card until I called.

    • I think that’s happened to the best of us! I always make a hand written note to call so I don’t forget and then get stuck :)

  7. Although I know I tend to forget most of these when I travel, they are so important to implement! Especially on contacting the embassy with terrorism on the rise :(

    • I think a lot of people overlook these steps, though they really can be so important, and it’s better to have done them and not needed them, than regret, for instance, not having registered before hand.

  8. Great tips! I’ve had plenty of awkward interactions when my cards were declined because I forgot to tell my bank I was traveling. I’ve also come home to plenty of questionable food in the back of the fridge lol. Luckily, I’ve never forgotten the pets!

    • Thanks Mags – I think we’ve all definitely been there! I actually got home yesterday having forgotten to throw out a container of pineapple – man the mold!!

  9. This is a great post because it reminds us of things that sometimes are so obvious that we forget all about them. I always forget about my mail!!

    • Thanks Vicky – I agree – I think that while these tips are so simple, they’re very easy and all too often overlooked. I’m lucky that my mail goes to a PO Box so I don’t have to worry about it piling up in the letter box :)

  10. Great list as always! My parents fell into the whole you cant travel because your passport is expiring in 6 months rule…found that out too late as they were already in the airport.

    • Thanks Anna – it’s an annoying rule right!! I hope they were able to get a replacement fairly quickly without it having too much of an impact on the trip. X

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