Now that you’ve decided where and when you will vacation, it’s time to do some more proximate preparation. Here’s is your pre-vacation to-do list:
If you are traveling outside the country, make sure you leave plenty of time to get any necessary documentation (passport, visa, etc.). It always takes longer than you think it will.
Also if you are traveling abroad, check to see what sort of cell service you will have. It’s amazing how dependent we are on our phones and many places don’t have widely accessible wifi. You don’t want to have to send an email and have no way to do it. Some companies will allow you to add international service for a short time for a reasonable payment.
Contact your credit card companies and your bank to let them know you will be traveling. When outside the US, I use my AM card to get cash. If my bank shut it off, I’d be in trouble.
Always leave one credit card at home — just in case.
Keep a list of your credit card numbers and the company phone numbers in an accessible place in case a card is lost or stolen. Even outside the US, you can call collect to report a lost card.
Make sure someone at home has your full itinerary and a copy of your main passport page.
A few weeks before vacation, start focusing on using up the food in your fridge. You don’t want to come home to science experiments and wasted food.
If you have a pet, arrange for boarding or other care.
Stop your newspaper and your mail or ask a neighbor to collect the papers and mail for you.
Ask a friend or neighbor to check on the house. Bonus for going inside and turning on different lights. (You can also set a timer or program a digital assistant.)
Make sure you have the essentials for the first day home. You don’t want to come home from vacation to find out you have no coffee or toilet paper.
Do a quick tidy of the house the night before you leave.
Just before leaving, turn the water off at the main valve, just in case!