Preparing for a Trip: 4 Things You Need to Do

Many people think that they know all there is to know about planning a vacation. It’s easy to think that all we need to do is book accommodations, round-trip tickets, and rental cars. After all, those are the top three aspects of any vacation. But it would be best if you didn’t lull yourself into a false sense of security. You’re just getting started, and there’s a lot more work that needs to be done.

Nailing down the basics is good, but we want to go beyond that. If you want to achieve an easy and painless vacation, you need to adopt a proactive mindset and prepare for things that can happen. Whether you’re going for a weekend staycation or salmon fishing trip, tasks such as doing your research and getting your affairs in order before the trip are essential for a smooth experience. Here are a few tasks to get you started.


Hire a pet or house sitter

Planning a vacation can be difficult if you have pets. Once you’ve finalized your travel dates, the first thing you need to do is contact a house sitter or kennel service to ensure your pets will be taken care of before you leave. If possible, you need to book the dates right away so you can guarantee a spot for your pets. The last thing you need is a last-minute cancellation right before your trip.

Pause your recurring services and arrangements

If you’re going away for longer than a month, you might want to pause your recurring services and arrangements until you return. These can include gardening services, housekeeping, newspaper delivery, and postal services. If you’ve arranged for a house sitter to look after your home and want to continue some services, you might need to leave checks or pay in advance.

You can also pause some services online. For instance, you can log online to pause newspaper and postal deliveries to your address. Just make sure to do this ahead of time since most service providers require notice. If all else fails, you can make arrangements with a trusted neighbor to check your mailbox and doorstep once in a while.

Manage your finances

Whether you’re going for a quick weekend out-of-town trip or an extended overseas vacation, you need to visit your bank before leaving. That way, you’ll have enough cash on hand for your expenses. Take this opportunity to ask a manager about ATM withdrawals and credit card transactions abroad. While many banks allow withdrawals abroad, the fees are often exorbitant.

Make sure to research the bank and local exchange rates for your destination’s currency. Most international airports have currency exchanges, but the rates can be quite low. If the bank rates are higher, your best bet might be to withdraw local currency from an ATM. But it’s probably better to purchase local currency before your trip to be on the safe side.

Finally, call your credit card company’s hotline and inform them about your overseas trip. Otherwise, they might flag overseas credit card transactions as a sign of fraud and freeze your account, leaving you without access to your funds in a foreign country.

Make a plan

You can lose most of your first day traveling from the airport to your hotel and getting settled in your room. It might take you a few hours to fully adjust to your new environment. Unfamiliar sounds and sights surround you, and it can all get overwhelming. And since you’re on vacation, you want to make the most of your day. To avoid first-day confusion, you might want to plan well.

You can also take advantage of your hotel’s amenities for some much-needed relaxation after a long trip. For instance, you can research nearby attractions you want to visit. It also helps plan a walk around your hotel’s vicinity to get a feeling for your area.

The bottom line

These are just some things you must do before you leave home. You need to make the necessary preparations if you want to make the most of your trip. Start by putting your domestic affairs in order so you won’t have to worry about your home while you’re away. Next, contact your bank to make sure you’ll have enough cash on hand for your trip. Finally, plan for your first day and allow yourself to relax.

Timothy Washington
Hardcore internetaholic. Social media nerd. General writer. Freelance travel junkie. Music practitioner. Twitter guru. Alcohol maven. In 2008 I was writing about wooden trains for fun and profit. Earned praised for my work researching fatback in Los Angeles, CA. Spent 2001-2006 lecturing about walnuts in Cuba. Earned praise for analyzing tattoos on Wall Street. Uniquely-equipped for deploying wooden horses in Jacksonville, FL. Spent a year lecturing about tar in Salisbury, MD.