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Authored by Carla Abanes

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 some tips for things you need to do while you’re packing and before you leave.

Share Your Itinerary

Share you itinerary only with trusted friends and immediate family. This is so they can keep track of your whereabouts while you travel.  For any reason that something happens back at home, they can contact you immediately.

Do not share your travel itinerary on social media. Lurkers may take advantage of this information and launch a scam during your absence, or may steal information shown on your itinerary. It also advertises to the world that your house will be empty while you’re away.

It’s easy to get excited in the lead up to a trip, and we all want to share that we are travelling somewhere exotic, but be cautious of the kind of information you share online. Just don’t post a photo of your hotel booking with your contact details or credit card.

Call Your Credit Card Company

Call and inform your credit card company that you will be travelling a couple of days before you leave, and make sure your credit card is ready for use in your destination. In case of an emergency abroad, make sure you have written down the hotline number for your card.

Putting a travel alert on your card also protects you against potential credit card scams. Ie if your credit card company knows you’re in Australia, they will know that anything from Texas is suspicious usage of your credit card.

Prepare a Photocopy of Your Travel Documents

This is for your safety in case you lose your travel documents that you have with you, at least you still have another set of photocopy sitting inside your luggage.

If the lodge or hotel offers safe or lockers make use of this to store your important travel and identification documents and valuables.

Hold Your Mail

If you will travelling for a long period of time, hold your mail and subscriptions at your local post office. Or maybe you can ask a trusted friend to drop by your house and clear the letterbox for you (give them permission to open any mail that may be important, such as car registration renewal).

This is so you avoid an overflowing mailbox and scattered subscription magazines at your doorstep. This attracts attention and says to would be thieves that no one is home.

Secure Your Locks

Secure your front door locks, window locks, back door locks and basement door locks. Make sure it’s bolted lock really tight and secure. It would be good if you some outdoor lights on timer or motion sensor night-lights. This is a big help to distract would be thieves. Double check your security alarms to make sure they are turned on and really working.

Arrange for house sitter if possible, especially if you will be travelling for a long period of time. There are great websites that offer this service, and it means your house will be more secure having someone living in it.

Hold Your Memberships

Hold your gym, carpool, zumba or any club memberships that you make monthly payments to. This is to avoid accumulating monthly payments when you come back from your long term travel. Imagine racking up 3 or 6 months of monthly payments for your club memberships that you didn’t use.  Ouch!


More of a visual person? Here is everything we have listed above summarized into a handy infographic.


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Carla is an oldie database geek based in Singapore who wants to save the world, one travel guide at a time.

You can connect with her through her blog ‘Just Travelling Solo‘ or on Facebook.

Photo credits: Letters by Charles Williams.



  1. It’s such a good idea to inform your bank before you travel and I also like to scan any travel documents like my passport and travel insurance and email it to myself

    • Absolutely Suze – we do the same thing. Also keep a copy of those scanned docs on your computer or a USB too – I was locked out of my hotmail account last year and couldn’t access any of the docs I had emailed to myself!

  2. I also report my plans to our ministry for foreign affairs, just in case :)

    • Great idea Nina – we often make a note on our Government website too, always better to be safe than sorry!

  3. These are all really great ideas. I think it’s important especially to alert trusted loved ones of our travel plans — you just never know!

    I also think so many people forget to call their credit card companies now. I usually call a couple days before I leave.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Natasha – I’m a big advocate of leaving your itinerary with someone you trust. We’ve done this ever since a family tragedy occurred and no-one knew where to find or contact us. So I religiously leave copies with people back home of where we’ll be.

      Happy travels!

    • Glad you liked the post Sher! And yes, being stuck overseas with a blocked credit card isn’t fun, so making sure you’ve placed a travel alert is so important nowadays.

      Happy travels!

  4. All great tips. Always good to call your bank and credit cards and let them know you’ll be traveling.

    • Glad you liked the post Lara :)

      And yes, being stuck overseas with a blocked credit card isn’t fun, so making sure you’ve placed a travel alert is so important nowadays.

      Happy travels!

  5. Agree with all these tips. It’s always important to have physical copies of the important stuff, as well as emailing it to yourself. We did a bug garage sale/purge before we left for a year. Great way to clean out stuff and not need to store the stuff you don’t want anyway.

    • One thing I’ve found that travel does teach you is how little “stuff” we actually need. I’ve come home before and forgotten that I even had some of the things I had stored away!

  6. Great tips! I think a lot of people get caught when they forget to notify their financial institution that they are traveling. It’s also a good reminder of who and where you need to share your travel intinerary with.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Sara! Some really straightforward tips, but find we often need reminding about these the most :)

  7. Loved that you put this helpful information into an infographic. Great idea and easy to digest!

    • Glad you enjoyed the info-graphic Sue! t’s always great to have something visual too :) Happy travels!

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