General Travel Tips

Trip Tips! Before you travel.

Have you ever felt like the days leading up to a big trip are always some of the most hectic and chaotic of your life? I’m leaving for 10 days in the Pacific Northwest on Thursday, and I can tell you from my personal experiences that this is definitely the case. There is preparation to be done, shopping you need to do, making sure the house is in order and all of your fresh food is eaten, packing, making sure all documents for travel are in order, and of course the seemingly endless list of preparations that need to be made at work.

Still, travel is always worthwhile and it’s worth it to go through a few hectic days in order to make memories that will last a lifetime. Since I’ve been spending a large amount of my time thinking about what preparations need to be made for a trip, I figured I might as well publish my prep list for all of you. It can sometimes be hard to think of all the things that need to be done in order to get ready. Hopefully this list will help take a little of the stress and strain away.

At Work

It’s always a good idea to make sure you are extremely prepared and organized at work before you go on a trip lasting more than a few days. Not only will you make your own life much easier upon your return, but your coworkers and managers will feel a lot more at ease and will be more likely to approve future travel if you prove you are on top of things. Nobody wants to inherit a mess from you. Inspire confidence in your colleagues by making it really easy for them. Prepare the following:

  • A list of contact information and instructions to get in touch with any clients, freelancers, vendors, or other people you contact on a regular basis that your colleagues might need to get in touch with.
  • A listing of your current workload- where you are at with all projects, what still needs to be done, detailed instructions on how to do the things that are needed, due dates, etc.
  • Prepare any documents your colleagues might need while you’re out. In my case, I work with freelancers and send out documents for them to work off of. If I prepare these documents ahead of time and provide my colleague instructions on how/when to send it, this makes their life much easier.
  • Information on general stuff you access often- how to log in to your computer, how to access the files they might need, where to find certain documents, etc. Also include logins to any sites you use regularly that they do not in case it comes up while you’re out.
  • Notes on your general processes for things your colleagues will be taking care of while you’re out.
  • Notify all parties that you will be out and who they should contact while you’re away. For instance, if you work with clients or sales reps, let them know you’ll be away ahead of time and direct them to the colleague they will need to contact.
  • Don’t forget to set up your out of office emails as well.

At Home

  • Take out the trash! I’ve made this mistake before. Don’t make my mistake.
  • Do the dishes. Again, don’t make my mistake.
  • Eat, throw away, or freeze ANY food that will go bad before you get back from your trip.
  • Don’t forget to lock up all doors and secure all windows.
  • Unplug appliances and devices such as coffee maker, curling iron, etc.
  • Inform your landlord (if renting) or a neighbor/friend you’ll be away in case there are any emergencies. If you think you’ll need it, make sure a trusted person has a key…just in case.

Preparations to Make

  • Make sure you have a passport well ahead of time if you’re leaving the country! Also make sure your passport expiration date complies with your destination’s rules (some countries want a certain amount of time left on the passport before expiration, for example).
  • Reserve flights
  • Reserve hotels
  • Reserve transport to airport or airport parking
  • Reserve any additional transportation (ferries, trains, etc.) that needs to be booked ahead.
  • Reserve rental car, if applicable.
  • Reserve any tours, concerts, shows, etc. that need to be planned ahead for.

Pets, Children, Elderly Care, (plants?) etc…

  • If you have any living things that need taking care of while you’re away, be sure to make arrangements well in advance.

Things to Print

  • Boarding passes
  • Rental car reservation information
  • Airport shuttle or parking reservation information
  • Hotel or Airbnb reservation information
  • Any reservations you’ve made for tours, ferries, trains, etc.
  • Important contact information for all of the above.
  • Driving directions to your hotel from the airport (seriously, even if your phone has GPS. You don’t want to get lost because there was no signal).

For those of you who have traveled frequently, do you agree with this list? What are your essential things to prepare before a journey? Did I leave anything off that you think is important? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


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