A Successful Trip Starts Before You Leave – Start now with our handy travel check list

Travel Check List – Before You Leave


travel check list

  • Enroll in frequent flyer/discount programs & check membership benefits. Many of your current credit cards/memberships/clubs offer discounts when traveling.
  • Request in-flight meals for special dietary needs, and seating assignments
  • Check auto insurance/credit card policy to make sure coverage on rental cars
  • Check medical insurance policy for coverage of out-of-town needs
  • Decide whether to buy travel/rental car insurance. These may be cheaper if pre-purchased online
  • Request smoking/non-smoking accommodations/or extra beds in hotels.
  • Purchase or arrange to borrow guidebooks/phrase books for destinations
  • Ensure passport or visa is current
  • Have car serviced beforehand if you are driving


Also available for download:  Tools For Better Travel – Trip Planning Checklist, Everything You Need For a Great Trip


  • Arrange for pet sitter, watering plants, mail or packages pick up etc.
  • Leave emergency contact info and itinerary with relative or friend
  • Get appropriate inoculations for destination. Some countries will not let you enter without proof.
  • Notify credit card companies when and where traveling, and verify credit limits, cash access, service fees etc.  They may deactivate your card in mid-trip for  making purchases outside of where you normally shop.
  • Purchase local currency.  You may be able to lock in a lower rate at your local bank.
  • Pay bills or prepay items that may come due during your trip.
  • Put hold on mail, newspapers etc, notify trustworthy neighbors you will be away. Stacked up mail/papers are a sign for thief’s that says, come on in, we’re away and won’t be back soon.
  • Arrange transportation to and from airport. Hiring a service may cost less than the parking fees at airports.
  • Make two copies of your travel itinerary, passport, credit cards, driver’s license, and give one to trusted friend, one in carry-on. If you lose these you can have the information on hand, and it may even get you through immigration.


Checked-on luggage

  • Shoes, (hiking, dress, casual, slippers etc)
  • Swimsuits (swimsuits make great overnight wear as well.)
  • At least one pair of light clothing that will dry fast. These cloths dry fast and you can hand wash them and have regular clean cloths if necessary
  • At least one pair of dress cloths. Many fine restaurants, theaters etc. will not allow casual wear).
  • One good lightweight jacket.  Layering clothes when it’s cold can save you from lugging around a heavy jacket.
  • Toiletry.  Hotel’s usually give soap, shampoo, towels, irons, blow-dryers etc (some you have to ask for).
  • Leave extra space in your suitcase for purchases.
  • Only bring clothes you know you will wear. Remember many clothes take up room, are heavy, and often unnecessary.

Carry-on luggage

  • Passport/ID, All travel tickets, confirmation codes/phone #’s, credit/debit cards, membership cards, directions to hotel, local currency, insurance cards etc.
  • Bring a light change of clothes.  Your luggage may not make it with you, or arrive late.
  • Electronic equipment and chargers. A cell phone often can replace all other items.
  • Things to keep you occupied (magazines, books, hand games etc.)
  • Extra copy of your travel itinerary, passport etc.
  • Money/passport/credit card belt.  If you wear it under your cloths you most likely will not lose it, or have it stolen.
  • Prescription medicine, aspirin, upset stomach medicine.  Some doctors recommend taking a standard anti-biotic with you, especially to third world countries.
  • Travel plugs/adapters if leaving country
  • Extra pair of glasses, sunglasses, contacts etc.
  • Snacks and bottled water.  These can save you from paying $5.00 for water at the airport.


  • Set alarm, timers for house lights, watering etc.
  • Empty trash, water plants, check fridge for possible perishables.
  • Call emergency contact or person taking care of things.
  • Update websites, social networks, blogs that you manage.
  • Lock all windows, doors and turn down/off thermostat, computer & appliances.
  • Check flight/train websites for possible last-minute changes.

Making Your Trip Successful – A Travel Check List is a great place to start, but check out our other travel tips on our Travel and Recreation Section. 


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