The Pre-Travel Checklist PDF: Things to Do Before You Travel

You’ve spent months planning, researching and booking your trip.  Now as the final few months and weeks wiz by, the worry of what to do before you travel builds.

  • Do you have all your travel documents?
  • Which things should you print?
  • How do you prepare your home?
  • What about the pets?
  • And you haven’t even started packing yet!

I am going to share with you my pre-travel checklist that I use on every trip thereby helping you to navigate all the things to do before going on holiday or vacation.  Ensuring you walk out the door with a smile on your face and a spring in your step as you head off on your adventure.

In this Travel Preparation Checklist You Will Learn:

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The Pre-Travel Checklist

Things to Organise 3 Months Before You Travel

International Travel

If you haven’t already done this it is now time to organise these things before travelling overseas!

  • Passports
    • Either apply for a new passport or check that your current passport will be valid for your trip
    • Generally, you need at least six months of validity and a blank page in your passport
  • Organise visas
  • Vaccinations
    • If you visit your destination embassy via your country’s traveller program you can also learn which vaccinations you need to take.
    • Some vaccinations are must-haves eg. Yellow Fever if visiting Kenya
    • Others are by choice eg malaria tablets
  • Get travel insurance

Learn more about which documents you need for international travel and which ones to print in the…

Pets and House Sitters

Don’t forget the most beloved member of the family who is not going to travel with you – your furry friend.

Arrange for a caretaker or book a boarding kennel to look after your pet.  There are boarding kennels for all types of pets, not just cats and dogs.

Create Packing Lists

When creating your pre-travel packing lists take into account:

  • The weather
  • Planned activities
  • Length of travel
  • Luggage allowance – both on flights and any tours/cruises you are joining.

If you are unsure of where to start with making a packing list check out the…

Essentials to Buy Before Your Trip

Once you have created your packing lists you will discover things to buy before travelling.  I like to get started on this early, keeping an eye out for when these items go on special during the lead-up to departure day – every little bit of saving helps.

  • Extras for the kids:
    • Snacks
    • Activities

Discover more…

  • Toiletry must-haves:
    • Shampoo
    • Conditioner
    • Sunscreen
    • Insect repellent
    • Deodorant
    • Toothpaste
  • Medical essentials:
    • Paracetamol
    • Band-aids
    • Antiseptic
  • Reading material – whether you want the old-fashioned paper version or e-versions:
    • Magazine

Get the full…

2 Weeks Before Travel Checklist

About 2 weeks before you embark on your trip it is the time to start ticking off those last-minute things to do before going on vacation.


Book for any pre-travel PCR testing that is required. You will need to check your destination embassy website if you need to show a negative testing clearance certificate to travel.


If you want any special assistance or meals you need to pre-arrange this before you travel – it is too late once you get to the terminal whether that is for a flight, rail or cruise.


  • Special meals – this includes children’s meals, vegetarian etc.
    • This must be done at least 24 hours prior to departure
  • Special assistance
    • Be aware not all terminals offer porters
    • But most will help you if you are unable to walk distances
  • Transfers – including taxi or Uber from your home to the airport

I also like to send an email to the hotel confirming any special bedding requests I made during booking.

  • Accommodation requests – eg rollaway beds or adjoining rooms

These days we don’t tend to confirm flights but pre-departure check-in is encouraged.  About three days prior to departure you will receive an email from your airline to check-in.

  • Take the time to read the email and confirm the details are correct
  • If seat selection is available take advantage of this
  • Don’t forget to double-check luggage allowances
    • If you haven’t got any luggage allowance and think you may want some book it before you get to the airport. You can still pay for extra luggage at the airport but it will cost you more.

Register Your Travel

Before you go overseas it is important to register your travel details with:

  • Your Government Travel Website

Sadly in this day and age, you never know what may happen whilst you are away.  Natural disasters and terrorism are becoming way too common.  So let your government know where you are so that they can look for you if the need arises.

  • The Bank

Due to the high rates of fraudulent activity, banks now put a stop on credit cards if they suddenly see that they are being used overseas.  To prevent this from happening to your credit card whilst away let your bank know where you are travelling.  Just visit your bank’s website and find the link in your account for international travel.

Create copies of all these items.

  • Passport
  • Tickets
  • Itinerary
  • Travel insurance
  • Credit card
  • Driver’s license

Before you travel email a set to yourself, send a set to a trusted friend or family member and place one set on the top of your luggage – I explain all the benefits of this in the…


If you are going to travel overseas you will need to organise how to access your money prior to travelling.  Decide how you are going to access money whilst away:

  • Take cash
  • Debit card
    • These can be purchased from the Post Office or money exchange office.
  • Credit card
    • Remember to tell your bank you are travelling overseas.

Find out all the pros and cons of these options in…


These days we all like to keep in contact with family and friends even whilst we are on holiday.  However, nobody likes big mobile phone bills when they return home and no longer can the excuse of I didn’t know work with the phone companies.

Options for being contactable by phone include:

  • International roaming
    • You will need to organise this with your phone company prior to travel
  • Buying a local sim card on arrival
  • Using free WiFi to access Viber, Whats App or Skype.

You final last-minute thing to do before you travel is to switch off the data access as you board your flight or cruise.

Discover which will be the best option for you in…


Earlier we mentioned preparing your travel packing and that included purchasing items to keep you looking great whilst you are away.  But before you leave on your trip you may want to do a bit of extra grooming.  Make appointments in advance (you don’t want to be disappointed and can’t get in before you go) with your favourite stylists and beauticians alternatively you may like to prepare for your own DIY beauty session.

  • Hairdresser
  • Manicure and pedicure
  • Facial
  • Hair removal
  • Tanning

The House

Keeping your house safe whilst you are on holiday means ensuring that there are no visible tell-tale signs that you are away, so these items are a must on your before trip to-do list:

  • Put mail on hold
  • Place newspaper on hold
  • Set sprinkler automation
  • Give pot plants a good water
    • If you are going away for an extended time consider putting the pots in a sheltered position in the garden where they will get watered by the sprinklers
  • If the lawnmower/maintenance guy is due to ensure you leave out payment or discuss payment and access options prior to departure
  • Advise a trusted neighbour of the dates you are travelling and give them contact details for whilst you are away
    • Ask your neighbour to clear out your letterbox of junk mail and community newspapers


  • Use up the last of the fresh fruit, vegetables and milk – you don’t want to come home to rotten food in the bottom of the fridge, ugh!

Prepare Your House for House Sitters

If you have a house sitter looking after the pet and/or the house:

  • Clean your house
  • Inform your house sitter of which room they will be sleeping in and have fresh sheets on the bed
  • Layout fresh towels
  • Offer the WiFi password
  • Leave a list of:
    • Do’s and don’ts
    • Rubbish days
    • Watering days
  • Write a how-to-use:
    • Washing machine
    • Dishwasher
    • TV and DVD Player
    • Gaming machines
  • If your houseguest is looking after the pets
    • Leave a note about your pets’ routine
      • Food quantity
      • Feeding times
      • Walking times and route
      • Where pets are allowed off the leash – if that’s what you want
    • Provide more than enough food for your pets for the time away
    • Place your pet’s toys and accessories (eg. leash) in a place that is easily visible
    • Include contact details of your vet

Now that you have ticked off your pre-travel checklist you are ready to enjoy your trip without worrying that you have forgotten things to do before you travel.

Top Trip Tips: Before Your Travel

  • Don’t get overwhelmed with how much there is to organise take it step by step. You may find our printable pre-travel checklist helpful.
  • Start by breaking it down into things to do each month prior to travelling
  • Keep costs down and watch out for specials
  • Don’t forget to thank (and possibly buy a gift) for everybody who has helped you out

This pre-travel to-do list is the final in our travel planning series, however, I have popped the complete travel packing guide onto this list to help you finish preparing for your trip.

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