Tickets are booked, bags are packed, and you’re ready to jet off for some much-needed OOO time. But before you load your suitcase into the car and lock up, there are a few things you need to do first. Whether you’re hitting the road for a cross-country trip or hopping on a plane to a faraway locale, you’ve got to make sure your house is in order (both literally and figuratively) before you leave. This vacation checklist lays out all of the details you might forget about in your pre-trip excitement. Before you step into full-on vacation mode, make sure to cross these last-minute things off your to-do list first.
1. Clean out your fridge and take out the trash.
That leftover Thai food isn’t going to smell quite so tasty a week from now. Ahead of your trip, aim to eat up as much of your perishable food as possible. For whatever’s left, toss anything that will have expired by the time you get back. Then take out the trash so it doesn’t stink up the place while you’re gone.
2. Adjust your thermostat by a few degrees.
There’s no need to blast the AC if no one will be around to feel it. Bump up the temperature on your thermostat by about five degrees so it doesn’t run unnecessarily while you’re away. You can also keep cooling costs under control by closing your curtains or blinds before you leave. However, don’t turn off your HVAC system altogether or you risk returning home to a sauna (or causing bigger maintenance issues).
3. Free up storage space on your phone.
While you’re snapping pics of all your fabulous adventures, you don’t want to get hit with that “storage full” notification. If you’re near capacity on your phone’s storage, take some time to delete old photos or apps you never use to free up space. After you tick this off your vacation checklist, you can feel free to take as many photos and videos as you’d like.
4. Screenshot important travel information.
Nothing kicks my anxiety into high gear quite like standing in line at an international airport trying to get my boarding pass to load using the shoddy public WiFi. I now make sure to save screenshots of all my important travel information (for flights, train tickets, Airbnbs, etc.) on my phone so I’m not left scrambling if connection issues strike. If you have an iPhone, you can also add your boarding pass to your Apple Wallet, which you can access even without WiFi or cell service.
5. Let your bank know of your travel plans.
Especially if you’re headed out of the country, it’s important to alert your bank or credit card company of your travel plans. That way, when you start swiping your card all over Europe, they’ll know it’s you instead of a thief who got their hands on your info. If you forget to do this ahead of time, the bank may place your card on hold until they can verify it’s you.
6. Give a spare key to someone you trust.
This one is optional, but I always feel better if a loved one has a spare key in their safekeeping. It’s obviously crucial if you need someone to water your plants or feed your cat while you’re gone, but it can also come in handy if a package gets delivered that you don’t want to be left out on the stoop. And if a household emergency happens while you’re gone—or you happen to lose your keys on the trip—you know someone has your back.
7. Share your itinerary with a loved one.
Whether it’s a family member or a close friend, ensure someone is familiar with the details of your trip. That includes the destinations you plan to visit and when you expect to return. Of course, you hope they never need to use this information, but in case something goes amiss during your trip, it’s important that someone knows your whereabouts.