15 Things To Do Before You Travel


If you are like me, most of the time I travel, I head to the airport wondering if I did everything I needed to do before I leave. In that vein, here is a list of 15 important things to do before you travel. I’ll check these off before every trip so I feel less anxious.


1. Passport Preparations

Make sure that your passport is current and that you have packed it. I constantly am checking and rechecking this. Also, make sure you are taking your current passport. Remember my travel mistake to London where I grabbed the wrong one. You don’t want to make that same mistake!

Take a couple of copies of your passport and put them in different areas just in case you lose your passport. It will help you get home much easier. My husband once left his passport in a cab, which would have helped us immensely if we had not recovered his passport. Luckily, we contacted the cab, and they returned it to us. I always have copies of our passports with us.

Most countries want you to have a passport that will not expire within 6 months, so check that also. I once saw a woman being refused entry to a flight to London because her passport expired too soon after her planned departure.

Another important consideration is having enough empty pages in your passport. I have had to get another passport before the 10 years is up just because I was running out of pages. (Horrible problem, huh?)


Open passport with stamps

When you travel with a passport, follow our list of important things to remember!


2. Double-Check Your Hotel or Airbnb Accommodations

Sadly, I’ve been burned several times by making reservations for the wrong night. Once, I booked a night and we got to the hotel and they said, “Oh, we were expecting you last night!” Talk about a rapid heart rate increase! Luckily, they were very kind and let us stay that night we arrived without charging us again.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky when I booked a night in London, not considering that I was flying during the night. I just lost that extra $200 I paid for a room while I slept on the plane. Always, always double-check that your lodging is correct before you fly or drive to your destination.

I would also add to my list of important things to do before I travel to print my reservation information. You can usually find it on a device, but I’ve gotten a little panicky when the internet doesn’t work well at a location.

P.S. I just did this again! I booked a hotel for 2 nights and forgot we were staying on a river cruise. Double booking is not fun when you lose points – although it doesn’t hurt as bad as if it was cash.😜


3. Make Sure Someone Has Your Itinerary

For safety, print out your itinerary or send it to family members. Since I travel more than my husband, I always print this out for him. That way, he can call where I am staying if he can’t reach me by telephone. It makes him feel more secure and me also.


4. Know Your Luggage Restrictions

Not every airline (especially foreign) has the same luggage restrictions. I remember traveling to Italy and finding out that the carry-on luggage restriction was much smaller than what I normally had in the United States. I ended up having to check on baggage, and that increased my travel costs. Double-check as you plan your travel so you can better plan what to pack.


Briefcase and backpack on the ground

Knowing your luggage restrictions will save you money!


5. Pack Snacks

Unless you are traveling in Business Class or First Class, airline food is horrible and/or expensive. If I travel in economy, I will pick up a nice sandwich and pack some tasty and somewhat healthy snacks for the trip. This ensures that I arrive at my destination, not completely starved. Even better, I try to make a stop at an airport lounge for some free food and beverages before every flight! I love those credit cards that give me airport lounge access!


Polaris Lounge at the Newark , New Jersey airport

This is my perfect way to NOT eat on an airplane if I’m traveling.


6. Have Essentials Handy

Make sure you have the following items packed, so they are handy for your trip:

  • Devices and chargers
  • Blanket and pillow
  • Headphones
  • Bandaids
  • Ibuprofen
  • Earplugs
  • Sleep Mask
  • Prescriptions
  • Reading Material
  • Hand Sanitizer, Masks, if needed – we had to use them in Japan recently



Grab all the essentials!

7. Visa Information Ready, if needed

If you are traveling internationally, be sure and research if you need a Visa. I needed one in Vietnam, China, and Turkey. Here is a list of countries that require visas. It would be a horrible mistake not to know this ahead of time and plan accordingly. It is definitely an important thing to put on your list of things to do before traveling.

I recently traveled to Australia and New Zealand. Both required visas, and I was glad that I had planned properly.


8. Packing Cubes

Buy yourself some packing cubes! They have literally changed my life and the way I pack for trips. I seldom check bags now because these cubes let me pack so much more in a carry-on suitcase! Most of the people I now travel with have been converted to using them too!


9. Have Mail and Newspapers Picked Up

Nothing says, “I’m on vacation,” more than mail, newspapers, and boxes piled up. For safety reasons, let your carriers know you will be gone and have them hold your items. Alternatively, arrange for a friend or relative to pick them up.


10. Let Your Bank Know You Will Be Traveling

Once on a cruise, my credit card company refused my charges because they thought they were fraudulent. A quick call rectified the situation, but it would have been easier and less embarrassing if I had notified them beforehand. Here is a quick reference on how to notify your bank about your travel plans.


11. Buy Travel Insurance or Book Tickets with a Card That Provides Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance can literally save the day. We’ve had multiple experiences where travel insurance helped prevent a trip from turning sour. Luckily, if you book your trip with the right card, it can be free. If not, buying insurance can help you save tons of money. I have used it to pay for doctor’s visits when I had Strep in China, for clothes and toiletries when luggage was delayed for 3 days in Greece, and for my sister’s surgery when she fell off an ATM in Mexico.


luggage against grey wall

After 3+ days without luggage, I was happy to be reunited. Luckily, travel insurance paid for extra clothes and toiletries.


12. Join the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (STEP)

This free program allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. They can then inform you about national disasters and emergencies and help your loved ones contact you in case of one. Just let them know where you are going and how long you will be there, and you can travel safer.


13. Reserve Your Rental Car or Shuttle Early

In the United States, I often rent a car from the airport. A few times, I waited until the last minute, which cost a lot more. We recommend Autoslash for booking your rental car.

If I travel internationally, I prefer to get a private or shared shuttle and will read reviews to find the best ones. It is important to book these early too. I hesitate to get in a taxi if I am traveling alone (too much Dateline watching), but I will use one when traveling with friends or my husband.


14. Take Out the Trash

Speaking from experience, it is not fun to come home to a smelly house. Make sure you take out the trash, clean the sink out and run the disposable, run the dishwasher, and throw out or give away any food that will go bad while you are away.


15. Check Your Destination Weather

This is huge on your list of things to do for a trip. Recently, I was expecting warm weather in Palm Springs and brought lots of shorts. It was colder, and I ended up wearing some joggers over and over.

Another time, in Italy, the weather was unseasonably cold, and I had to buy some mittens, scarves, and extra outerwear. You can usually check the 10-day weather forecast, so be sure and do that. And pack comfortable shoes! I’ve had to buy those too!


Bottom Line

If you remember to do these 15 things before you travel, your odds of having a great trip increase. Being prepared takes the worry and problems of traveling. What other things should we add to this list?




Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a Travel Mom Squad advertiser, but we always show the best public offer even when we don’t earn a commission. Terms Apply. 

Share this post

  1. I also put my mail on hold so nothing goes missing!

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to know the most popular card for beginners? 

click here

Advertiser Disclosure: Travel Mom Squad has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel Mom Squad and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. This compensation may impact how or where products appear on this site. Travel Mom Squad has not reviewed all available credit card offers on this site.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.