Ultimate Pre-travel Checklist

Updated June 16, 2020.

It’s Travel Tip Tuesday! This week I’m filling you in on some travel tips most people may not think about–the stuff you should do before you leave, so you don’t have to deal with them when you come home from a trip! Here are the things my sweet husband and I always remember to do before we leave our house for a trip of any length. Is it just me, or is there something just a little bit luxurious about coming home to fresh sheets? Here’s to beginning with the end in mind!

1. Stop Your Mail

Visit the USPS Mail Hold website at least three days in advance of your trip and put a hold (or stop) on your mail. We usually only do this if we will be gone more than 3 mail delivery days (weekends and holidays don’t count). This is important especially for people in urban areas or suburban areas with a high population because thieves look for piling up mail or newspapers as a sign that a home is unoccupied.

2. Give Your Neighbor a Key

Along those same lines, give a spare key to a trusted friend or neighbor. Sometimes packages arrive when you’re not expecting them, or you are expecting it but have no control over what day you’re told it will arrive. Our upstairs neighbor has our spare key, and if she knows we’re out of town but sees that we’ve received a package, she kindly opens our door and puts the package in our entryway. It’s good to have good neighbors!

That’s a mighty big key!

3. Go to the Grocery

This is a little counter-intuitive. You don’t need to go too crazy at the grocery before a trip, but you do want to have some meal options for a day or two after you return. We like to have a few bags of frozen veggies, frozen protein like shrimp or chicken, or frozen pizza. We do not get milk or other perishable items, and I don’t advise you to do so either!

I’m not saying you need to be able to make a gourmet afternoon tea when you come home, but a night or two’s worth of food is good to have on-hand!

4. Do the Laundry

You already know you’ll have to do laundry when you get home because you will be wearing clothes on our trip, but do yourself a favor and get a jump on any laundry that may already be mounting before you leave! I usually do all the laundry I possibly can the day before we leave, including bath towels, kitchen towels, clothes, sheets, unmentionables, etc.

This works best if you’re leaving in the afternoon, but even if you have a morning flight, you can do a load or two the night before. I’ve been known to leave fresh laundry in the dryer if I don’t have time to fold it before we go.

5. Change the Sheets

I love coming home to fresh, clean, not-yet-slept-on bed sheets. After 12 or more hours of flying (I cannot sleep sitting up, much less on a noisy plane), nothing is sweeter than coming home to a hot shower and fresh sheets. I actually look forward to it! Even if I didn’t get anything else on this list done, at least I will have clean sheets! Try it sometime. You might love it!

Coming home to fresh sheets helps my travel-induced stressors melt away! (Confession: my hospital corners are not nearly as sharp as the ones here at the Hotel Molokai!)

6. Do the Dishes

If you’re a little uneasy about having your dishwasher on while you’re away, fill it up a couple of hours before you have to leave your house and run it! Pile in the parts of your Keurig or coffee maker (when was the last time you cleaned that?), the spoon rest next to your stove, and anything else you can think of to give it a good cleaning. There’s always one more spoon or plate that needs to go in after you’ve run the dishwasher, but plan to do those couple of things by hand.

7. Adjust the Thermostat

Is it summer vacation season? Turn the thermostat up a few degrees (we usually do up to 78). Leaving for a week with your in-laws for Christmas? Turn the thermostat down (we turn it to about 62). Some of the things in your house need to stay between that range, and by working with the outside temperature, your gas or electric bill will thank you.

You can enjoy the tropics more when you’re not paying for the tropics at home, too!

8. Take Out the Garbage

Have you ever forgotten to take out the trash before a trip? Did you come home to a stinky, fly-infested house? Ant problem? Rats found their way inside? Do not forget to take out your trash! Take the bag out of the trash can and put it by the door. Don’t tie it up until you leave and take it out because you will find more things to put in it before you go. Check the smaller trash cans in your bathrooms as well.

Keep it clean, keep it pristine!
Feeling eco-conscious these days?
Check out my list of Practical Ways to Travel Sustainably!

9. Check the Stove and Oven

Put this on your checklist in big red letters! Get in the habit of checking these things before you go anywhere, especially on a trip.

Hot like lava!

10. Turn Off, Unplug, and Lock

One last thing: take one more walk around the house, apartment, or condo and turn out all the lights, unplug anything that doesn’t need to be plugged, and lock up. It’s time to go!

Worry-free travel is on the horizon!

What do you always need to do before you leave on a trip? Comment and I may add it to the list!

Want more? Check out my Travel Planning Page for all your trip planning needs!

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2 responses to “Ultimate Pre-travel Checklist”

  1. Great tips! I love your mug collection! 🙂

    1. Thank you! Hope it is helpful! We do love our mugs, but I wish I knew of a safer way to display them! 😳

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