20 things you must do before going on vacation

The trip is booked, the visa is in place and the bag is packed - but what else do you need to do before you go? Here's the ultimate checklist of things to do at home before you go on vacation, so you don't have any unpleasant surprises along the way.

The week before departure

  1. Open the credit card for purchases abroad
    The thing that I usually forget and that I don't think about until we're standing there at the airport and have to pay. The "buy abroad" setting. Can usually be date controlled for specific region, so you don't have to do this at the last second. At most banks, you can change this setting in the mobile app, but mobile data can be expensive if you are forced to do so while traveling. Do you stopover on the way`? Unlock that country too so you can buy a coffee while you wait for the connection.
  2. Open the credit card for "rolling 30 days"
    Another great feature that you shouldn't forget is "rolling 30 days". A block that means you cannot make purchases on your card over a certain amount for a rolling 30 days is great to have at home, but can be unexpectedly complicated when you don't understand why you are refused to pay the hotel at check-out. Check what your limit is, so it's easier to be prepared.
  3. Review the bills
    Have you received all the bills you expect or is there something you need to resolve before you leave? Although you can easily pay bills on the go these days, it's not so much fun sitting in a phone queue with Sweden for an hour if something is wrong.
  4. Review your travel insurance
    If you have ever fallen ill abroad and needed medical attention, you know how important it is to have the right travel insurance. How long will you be gone? Home insurance only covers a certain number of days. Are you going to skydive? Not sure if your travel insurance covers it. Call your insurance company if you are unsure. Also write down your insurance number and contact details in the mobile phone.
  5. Store the record and pause the daily paper
    It is unnecessary for the mailbox to overflow when you are on vacation, nothing screams "the house is empty" like a full mailbox. Order storage of the mail. Pause the daily newspaper. Put an "advertising-no-thanks" on the mailbox - if for some inexplicable reason you don't already have one.
  6. Take pictures of important things – passports, visas, driver's licenses, medications
    If the accident happens and you lose your passport, it is very good to have a copy of your passport with you. Even better is if you upload photos of your passport, visa, driver's license and medicine bottles to a cloud service, so you can always access them - even if your mobile is also stolen.
  7. Fill in entry information and book special meals
    Log in to your booking on your airline's own site and fill in the entry information required by the country you are traveling to. Speeds up check-in at the airport, especially to, for example, the United States. Also make sure to book any special meals - especially important when traveling with children.
  8. Exchange some cash in local currency
    Even in the most credit card-friendly countries, it's nice to have some cash in local currency when you arrive.

The days before departure

We are getting closer to the dream trip! Time to fix the last thing!

  1. Check in to the flight when online check-in opens
    Secure your seat on the flight, verify the flight time (changes surprisingly often!) and get faster check-in at the airport in the bargain. A win-win.
  2. Clear the wallet
    Do you need to bring your membership card to the gym, five credit cards and your national vouchers? Doubtful. Clean out the wallet and look for any old currency from when you were last there. It doesn't hurt to have a little extra cash with you - although it is usually most advantageous to withdraw money from a machine on site.
  3. Clean out the fridge
    The food you won't use up before you leave - donate or throw away. Not so cozy to come home to an old rotten lunch box and sour cream.
  4. Pack for the first day in hand luggage
    Sometimes you arrive at your final destination before your luggage. Therefore, put everything you need for the first day in your hand luggage. Glasses, bikini, shorts, flip flops, medicines, Swedish coffee - whatever you need. I myself have stood for two days in Greece without either shorts or sandals. Not fun, although most things could be bought. (Except for the soft cheese. But that's another story…)
  5. Write a list for the housekeeper
    Number one: Get a house sitter. Number two: Make a list of where all the things the housekeeper needs are. Where is the water jug? Where is the key to the garage? How much water does the strawberry plant need? How often should the car be serviced? (Unfortunately, car batteries can turn out to have discharged when you are on a long holiday...)

The last day

  1. Turn off the water
  2. Unplug from power outlet
  3. Water the flowers
  4. Close the windows
  5. Take out the trash
  6. Cover the sink with gladpack (to avoid bad scents in the house).
  7. Lock the door!

Now you are ready to go!!!

By the way – One more thing!

Don't publicly say you're going on vacation! Skip open bragging updates to the whole world on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. There may be more than grandma reading your posts…

Want to read more of my travel tips? do not forget to like Rucksack on Facebook or pin the post on Pinterest!


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Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 60 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel site Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.

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