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Planning The Trip

  • Enroll in frequent flyer mileage program
  • Request in-flight meals for special dietary needs
  • Check auto insurance policy to ensure coverage on rental car
  • Check medical insurance policy for coverage of out-of-town needs
  • Decide whether to purchase travel insurance - Click here for info
  • Request smoking/non-smoking accommodations
  • Purchase or arrange to borrow guidebooks and phrase books for destinations
  • Ensure passport or visa is current


  • Arrange for pet sitter
  • Arrange for houseplant and lawn care
  • Arrange for pickup of packages and solicitations left at door
  • Leave emergency contact info and itinerary with relative or friend
  • Get appropriate inoculations for destinations
  • Verify available spending limits on credit cards
  • Purchase local currency
  • Purchase traveler's checks
  • Pay bills
  • Put hold on newspapers
  • Put hold on mail


  • Shoes (walking/dress/beach/hiking)
  • Swimsuits
  • Exercise clothing
  • Sweaters, coats, hats, gloves
  • Comb/brush
  • Shampoo, hairspray
  • Hair dryer
  • Deodorant
  • Lotions/creams
  • Cosmetics
  • Shaving cream, shaver
  • Nail clippers, emery board
  • Toothbrush/paste/floss
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • First aid kit
  • Mini sewing repair kit
  • Travel plugs/adapters if leaving the country
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Extra luggage space for pucrhases
  • Prescription medications
  • Vitamins and over-the-counter medications (travel sickness, headache, indigestion, diarrhea)
  • Extra pairs of sunglasses, prescription glasses, contact lenses
  • Address book/PDA and PDA charger
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Camera, video camera, film, batteries, binoculars
  • Magazines, books, portable music or DVD player, playing cards
  • Travel maps, guidebook, phrase book
  • Travel neck pillow
  • Snacks and bottled water
  • Lip balm
  • Towelettes
  • Ear plugs
  • Credit cards
  • Health insurance cards
  • Long distance phone card
  • Driver's license
  • Auto insurance policy number and agent telephone number
  • Passport/visa
  • Recent photos of all travel companions
  • Local currency
  • Traveler's check
  • Airplane tickets
  • Confirmation numbers for hotels, rental car and other reservations

Day Prior to Departure

  • Set timers for lights in house
  • Water plants
  • Empty trash
  • Update voice mail and e-mail auto-reply message
  • Give or throw away perishables from refrigerator
  • Get seat assignments for flights

Day of Departure

  • Lock all windows and doors
  • Turn down thermostat
  • Disable garage door opener or set to vacation mode
  • Remove unnecessary cards from wallet (library, video rental, punch cards, extra credit cards)
  • Power-off computer and other sensitive electronic equipment
  • Check all luggage; ensure all pieces have current ID tags
  • Set house alarm